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Travelling to Gorilas – Aghios Arsenios

Gkorilas or Kourilas at an altitude of 1685 m is one of the largest Thesprotian mountains. In comparison to other mountains of Epirus, Gkorilas is a small one. However, it is ideal for challenging climbing activities due to its steep slopes. The mountain is full of pathways which were traced during time by the stubborn inhabitants of the area.

Many pathways lead to this cave where according to tradition Aghios Arsenis lived. Nowadays, a metal stair allows you to enter the cave and the small Aghios Arsenis church which is inside the cave.

As a starting point for those who want to walk around the mountain can be Paramithia, which is built on the foot of the mountain, or Karioti and Chrisavgi villages which are the center of the area not far away from Paramithia.

Paramithia itself has many sights. Among others, the catholic of Panagia tis Paramithias monastery, the old (since Ottoman occupation) watch, the medieval baths, the tower (Koulia) and the big castle above the city.

From there you have two choices in order to reach Aghios Arsenis cave:

  1. Start your route from Karioti village. The beginning of the pathway is on the mountain slope, in the kiosk where the departure platform for parapente parachutes is (to reach this point you need a 4x4 car). In its beginning the route is very difficult because you have to walk on “scree”. Soon the route becomes smoother and after an hour you will be able to reach the cave without further problems.
  2. Start your route from Chrisavgi. The route starts from the kiosk located above the archeological site of ancient Eleas (Veliani). Afterwards, follow for a while the old pathway-lane that leads to Frosini and other Soufli villages and then turn right. After a difficult but beautiful 2 hours route you will reach the cave.

Both routes have signs. To return you can take the same road or if you have a local guide you can continue to Aghia Kiriaki (Popovo) or Frosini. Do not try this by yourself because the pathways above the cave have no signs.

The best time to climb the mountain is in the end of spring.

Then, apart from the wonderful view of Paramithias valley you will enjoy the scent of blossomed tea.
Chrisavgi (Velianis) taverns are famous for their location among plane trees and running waters. You will obviously have no problem to feed yourself. You will neither have problem to find a place to sleep. There are many agrotourism accommodations in the area.

 

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