The third day of this amazing thru-hike, started after a good sleep and rest in the mountain refuge of Astraka. Although, day one and day two we had to carry a heavy load, we were very excited to carry on with our adventure and exploration of Mt. Tymfi.
For this third and last day on the mountain, we had as first goal to go through the Davalista pass which is located NW from the Astraka refuge, and as a final destination to get back to Konitsa where we had parked our car.
This is the third and final part of the Mount Tymfi (Pindos) North Side Thru-Hike. In case you haven’t checked the previous two parts, feel free to check it out here:
- Mount Tymfi (Pindos) North Side Thru-Hike Part 1 – Konitsa – Moni Stomiou – Sadi Migas
- Mount Tymfi (Pindos) North Side Thru-Hike Part 2 – Sadi Migas – Karteros Pass – Astraka Refuge
Astraka Refuge – Alpine Meadows – Davalista Pass
As soon we had our breakfast, we collected all our gear and left the Astraka refuge. As soon you step our of the door, the first thing one sees, is the impresive Astraka with the various climbing routes. In fact, this past winter, I was planning to visit the area and try some winter mountaineering routes, such as “Louki tis Dimokratias” ( III 2 400 m.), but the strict lockdown (due to covid-19) that was imposed in Greece did not leave the space for such a visit. Let’s hope the upcoming new winter season (2021-2022) will be better.
The first section of this trail is a downhill from the Astraka refuge towards the water pond, Xeroloutsa Tsoumani. Xeroloutsa Tsoumani, is actually the union of two lakes that are formed by the water of the springs of the valley Laka Tsoumani. It is found in Xeroloutsa Tsoumani and it offers a very beautiful spectacle in combination with the natural wealth that surrounds it. It does not have permanent water as the water usually dries up in summertime because of the small depth, but when there is water, it is a beautiful landscape worth admiring.
On the shore of the water pond, there are three shepherd’s mountain huts that are used by the local shepherds during the summer time. On that point, instead of going straight, we follow the trail towards the west (left turn). In case you would like to visit the famous Dragon Lake (Drakolimni) of mount Tymfi, you have to continue straight ahead.
More details about the Dragon lake here:
The trail path is very obvious and the elevation difference up to Davalista pass, is minimal. This means, the hiker can enjoy the wonderful landscape and the surrounding peaks, such as Ploskos, Lapatos and of course on our back, the majestic Astraka peak.
During later spring and early summer time, there is a creek formed that brings water from Xeroloutsa Tsoumani towards the Davalista gorge. If there is water, always hike on the left side of the creek and do not cross the creek in order to follow the trail signs. If you cross over the creek, at the Davalista pass, you will have to cross it again. So, my advice is to have the creek always on your right side.
Davalista – Moni Stomiou (Monastery Panagias Stomiou)
Davalista Pass is located in the NW part of the Tymfi mountain complex, near Drakolimni and above the Stomiou Monastery. It is a watery (rocky) passage, basically a gorge, from the waters of Xeroloutsa Tsoumani that flows into Aoos, this wonderful river that crosses almost all of northern Pindos.
The word Davalista seems to be of Slavic origin because the suffix lista is usually Slavic. The region of Epirus is full of Slavic toponyms.
As soon we enter the Davalista Pass, the terrain becomes very steep and in our case we had to down climb it. If there is humidity or rain, the hiker should be a bit more careful, because in case of a slip it can be fatal. The trail path is well signed and up to Moni Stomiou, most of the trail is a very steep downhill (or uphill depending from which side you come).
At certain point, the trail crosses the small river that leads the alpine waters to the main river Aoos. This crossing, was a bit tricky because the stream was strong and the rocks very slippery. Though, having successfully crossed the river, we continued to hike downhill and we also had to cross a couple of traverses with scree and snow patches. In one of these traverses, a couple of years ago (2019), there was also a fatal accident. Upon this fatal accident, some ropes has been installed, but should you be crossing these traverses during winter time pay extra attention.
Moni Stomiou – Konitsa
In one of the most impressive locations of Greece, in the ravine of Aoos, between the steep slopes of Tymfi (altitude 2497 m.) And Trapezitsa (altitude 2024 m.) Is the Monastery of Panagia Stomiou.
The original location of the monastery, founded in 1442, is located on the opposite slopes of Trapezitsa, where the name “Old Monastery” is preserved. In its current location, in an elevated elevation of the lower altitudes of the slopes of Tymfi, it was moved by the abbot Constantine, in 1774. From the almost complete destruction of the Monastery by the German army in 1943, only the church survived.
Stomiou Monastery is today an active male monastery. It has 11 newly built cells with auxiliary spaces and a small cruciform-type catholic with a dome. The iconostasis with several Byzantine icons and the remains of many saints, which were transferred to the monastery from the Old Monastery, are interesting. The visit to the monastery is only a 2-hour walk from the bridge of Konitsa.
About Vikos – Aoos Geopark
Vikos- Aoos Geopark is one of the four Greek Geoparks and was delighted to become a member of the European and Global Geopark Networks in 2010. It is located in the region of Epirus, Ioannina, NW Greece.
It occupies the NW part of the Pindus Mountain Range and is characterized by a high rugged relief and an impressive landscape. It also includes Mt. Smolikas (alt. 2637m) the second highest mountain in Greece and Mt. Tymfi (alt. 2497m) with the two spectacular gorges of Vikos and Aoos.
The Geopark covers an area of 1,200 km² and the 9,500 inhabitants reside in 61 settlements in the municipalities of Zagori and Konitsa. The territory contains several traditional settlements and monuments dating back to the 14th – 19th century including monasteries, schools, churches, chapels and arched stone bridges.
Vikos Aoos Geopark is one of the most impressive areas in Greece in terms of its aesthetic values and range of geodynamic processes. Numerous geosites within the territory are situated in landscapes of incomparable beauty. They owe their origin to a wide range of geological processes and are of excellent scientific and educational value.
Gear & Equipment
For this trip, I was carrying the following main gear:
- Lowe Alpine Cholatse II 55-65 lt backpack
- Hilleberg Akto tent
- Cumulus Panyam 600 Hydrophobic Down sleeping bag
- Klymit Stativ V Ultralight sleeping pad
- Garmin Dakota 20 GPS device
- Cumulus Minilite Down vest
- Quechua Tech-Fresh 50 T-shirt
- Cumulus Incredilite Endurance jacket
- The North Face Verbera hiking boots
- Salewa Tec X Ice Axe
- Rock Empire Mackki crampon
- Rab Spark Waterproof Jacket
Details of the Hike:
- Location: Tymfi Mountain (Pindos)
- Starting Point: Astraka Refuge
- Ending Point: Konitsa
- Trail Signs: Signed path
- Maximum Elevation: 1.919 m.
- Minimum Elevation: 460 m
- Total Distance: 12.1 km
- Hiking time: 7 hours (with easy pace – including the breaks)
- Difficulty: Medium
- When to Hike: Any time of the year (during winter time winter mountaineering gear is needed)
- Water Features: one
Bellow you can see the route we have followed on a map and on 3D:
Overview of the entire route | Konitsa – Karteros Pass – Astraka Refuge – Davalista – Konitsa
The route we have decided to follow is perhaps one of the nicest hiking routes in Greece. This route, offers majestic views with great trails. In addition, if you will visit this area end of May up to mid-June, you will be overwhelmed by the different kind of sceneries you can experience just by one round-trip hiking route.
The entire route is about 30 km long, and it can be split in three sections and each section can be an enjoyable day hike. The way we split the route was the following:
- Section 1: Konitsa – Moni Stomiou – Sadi Migas
- Section 2: Sadi Migas – Karteros Pass – Astraka Refuge
- Section 3: Astraka Refuge – Davalista – Konitsa
If you wish to see a Thru-Hike of Tymfi, but from the south side, check the following posts:
Below: This map marks all the mountaineering adventures that have been featured on Olympus Mountaineering so far, including several Sport climbing crags – Select full screen to expand, zoom in for more detail, or click on a marker for a link to the post.