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The Cave of Pan at Mount Parnitha is one of my favorite hiking destinations near Athens. Even on a sunny weekend when the rest of the mountain teems with hikers and day-trippers, the area of Western Parnitha around Fyli stays quiet and peaceful.
Pan’s Cave lies in a beautiful setting deep inside the Goura canyon. There are multiple trails leading to the cave, some longer and more challenging than the others. But no matter which path you choose, you’ll be treated to a day of enjoyable hiking, unspoiled nature, and stunning views.
Maps, signposting & difficulty
All the hiking trails around Fyli in Western Parnitha are very well marked thanks to the ongoing efforts of the local mountaineering club EPOS Fylis. The trail to Pan’s Cave is no exception.
The trail from Fyli is marked by red signs, except for the final descent to the cave which is marked in blue color. The area is covered in the Anavasi map of Mount Patnitha as well. The map is particularly useful if you decide to combine multiple trails into a circular hike.
The hike to Pans Cave from Fyli definitely has its challenges. At around 16 kilometers it is quite long especially if you decide to come to Fyli by public transport. The final descent to the cave is very steep and at its end, it is secured by a metal rope.
The trail has quite a lot of elevation gain, too, as it climbs up and down on the slopes of the Goura canyon. Other than that, it is clear and easy to navigate.
If you come by car, you can choose a slightly easier trail to Pan’s cave passing through the slopes of Arma on the other side of the Goura canyon. It is shorter in length but still has almost 500 meters of elevation gain.
The descent to the cave is pretty steep, too, and you’ll have to cross the river bed of Goura before reaching the cave. This can be tricky during winter and early spring when the stream fills with water running from the mountains.
How to get to the beginning of the trail from Athens
The trail to Pan’s Cave starts just outside of Fyli on the northwest outskirts of Athens. Getting to Fyli from the city center is relatively fast and easy even by public transport.
We usually take the suburban train from Stathmos Larisis in the direction of Kiato and get off at Ano Liosia. The train ride takes only around 15 minutes and the normal metro ticket applies here as well. The trains do not run very often so it is a good idea to check the timetable beforehand.
From Ano Liosia take bus number 723 and got off at a stop called Agios Kyprianos right after the football field of Fyli. The ride takes around 15- 20 minutes.
If you come by car you can drive all the way up to the beginning of the trail at the end of a street called Thrasyllou on the outskirt of Fyli. This way, you’ll save yourself almost 2 kilometers of walking over an asphalt road.
Hiking from Fyli to the Cave of Pan
When we arrived at Fyli we got off the bus at a stop called Agios Kyprianou and continued on foot from there. At first, we followed a street called Thrasillou climbing towards the cliffs of Alogopetra and the entrance of Goura canyon.
We passed a few shabby farms full of chickens, goats, and neglected-looking dogs and finally reached a crossroad with two dirt roads. We followed the left road along the wooded slopes and into the canyon.
After a while, the dirt road turned into a rocky trail. We passed the climbing crags of Mikri Varasova and EPOS Fylis with their impressive cliffs towering above the trail as well as a couple of springs.
After a while, we met another path climbing up from the Kliston Monastery. From this point, the most strenuous part of this hike started. For the next two kilometers, the path climbed through the forested slopes gaining around 350 meters of elevation.
Once at the top, hiking become much easier, and striking views towards the canyon of Goura and the impressive cliffs of Arma opened up. We continued along the rim of the canyon passing the spring at Tamilthy along the way.
After another one and half kilometers, we come to a crossroads of paths. We left our trail here and followed the signs pointing to the left towards the Cave of Pan (Spileo Panos).
Descent to Pan’s Cave
After leaving the main path the trail started descending abruptly. It become rockier and rockier until it turned into an easy scramble and finally disappeared altogether.
The final meters of the descents consist of a steep rock face with steps carved into it and a metal rope securing the climb. It looks scary from the top but is actually pretty easy once you manage to make the first step.
For centuries, the Cave of Pan served as a place of worship to the god Pan, hence the name. If you bring a flashlight and don’t mind a bunch of shrieking bats flying over your head you can explore the 70 meters long cave with some interesting stalagmites and stalactites.
Otherwise, enjoy a break at the terrace in front of the cave shaded by the surrounding cliffs and lush vegetation. It is worth the effort to descend all that way down to the bottom of the gorge as well. If you come during winter or early spring, you’ll find a bubbling stream running through the bottom of the canyon creating lovely pools and rapids.
You can return to Fyli the same way or follow the trail descending to the bottom of the gorge marked by blue signs. This trail circles the peak of Arma and returns back to Fyli around the Kliston Monastery. It is longer and has slightly more elevation gain but the beautiful scenery along the way is well worth the effort. At least in my opinion.
Shorter alternative: Hiking to the Cave of Pan via Arma
If you come by car and want to make your hike to Pan’s Cave shorter you can follow another trail starting at the opposite side of the canyon above the Kliston Monastery. To get to the beginning of this trail, drive through the village of Fyli and continued in the direction of Moni Kliston.
Ignore the branch of the road heading towards the monastery and continued uphill. After about 10 minutes you’ll reach a small parking spot at a sharp left turn of the road with few signs pointing to the forest.
This is the starting point of the trail to Pan’s Cave, as well as the trails heading towards the Via Ferrata of Arma or the spring of Goura. See the location in Google Maps HERE.
This trail has around 3.5 kilometers each way and almost 500 meters of elevation gain. It has its challenges, especially at the end but it’s shorter and very easy to find. It is marked by blue signs all the way to the cave.
In the beginning, the trail follows the ancient road of Arma climbing steadily through the pine-clad slopes of the eponymous peak. It reaches it highest point at Kiafa Marista and from here, it starts its long descent to the cave.
It becomes steeper as you get closer to the cave with some sections secured by metal ropes and a couple of steps. Once at the bottom of the gorge cross the riverbed, dry or filled with a lovely bubbling stream depending on the season, and climb up to the cave on the other side of the gorge.
MORE FROM PARNITHA:
- LIMIKO TOWER HIKE: PALIOCHORI, DIASELO PANOS, LAKKA ZIRELI, LIMIKO, MAVROREMA, DRASIZA
- RAINY HIKE TO THE STREAM OF GOURA AT WESTERN PARNITHA
- FYLI FORTRESS HIKE AT WESTERN PARNITHA
- AGIOS GEORGIOS KERAMIDIOU HIKE AT MOUNT PARNITHA
- MOUNT PARNITHA LOOP: MPAFI SHELTER, MOLA, SKIPIZA
- AVLONA TO AGIA MARINA HIKE AT MOUNT PARNITHA