Hiking in the village of Steni in Evia

Perched at an altitude of 450 metres on the slopes of Mount Dirfys, the village of Steni in central Evia Island is the ideal destination for hikers, cyclists and even motorcyclists. It is an area where stunning routes intersperse a diverse landscape of centuries-old plane trees, towering firs, rivers, streams and winding brooks, within a 100-km distance from Athens.

Wandering through enchanting streets and corners

The traditional stone-paved main square with charmingly quaint cafes, and popular tavernas is a good starting point for small walking tours to explore Pyrgos or Skounteri (the old village), as well as the narrow lanes of Upper (pano) and Lower (kato) Steni. The village streets are lined with charming two-storey stone-built homes, well-kept courtyards, traditional water fountains, as well as new buildings. Steni’s most famous fountain is Vrysi tou Giatrou (Doctor’s fountain) just a few metres from the main square; around it there are kiosks selling local products.

About one kilometre away, on the road to Kampia, there is an ancient wall which is believed to be part of a sanctuary that was dedicated to the god Apollo. Take a trip to the cave church of Agia Kyriaki outside of Kampia; the Paliomylos Ravine; and the Venetian Tower in the area of ​​Skounteri, near the country chapel of Zoodochos Pigi, at a 5-6 km distance from Kato Steni. You will find the Byzantine church of Palaiopanagia halfway between the village and Loutsa. A visit to the ‘Aesthetic Forest’ (a type of nature reserve) of Steni on the slopes of Mt. Dirfys is a must. The region is part of the Natura 2000 Network, and it is a beautiful wooded area of plane trees, chestnuts, firs, oaks, and wildflowers, beautiful gorges, rivers and streams.

Hiking on Mount Dirfys

With three main trails leading up Mount Dirfys, Steni is the ideal destination for those in search of wildlife experiences, and for seasoned hikers. S1 leads to the Michalis Nikolaou shelter of EOS Chalkida, at a 1120-metre elevation. To get to the peak, it’s an extra two-and-a-half hour climb, and it’s the most challenging route of them all. It starts from the village sports field and leads to a dense forest of firs, arbutus and lentisk shrubs. After passing the Sykamino spring, which gushes at the foot of a rock, and after a hike of a few kilometres on a dirt road, you will reach the Elatia area, which is a fir tree forest (elato is Greek for fir tree). The Shelter (Katafygio) is a half-an-hour hike ahead. It is a resting area, located midway towards Delfi peak, and it also provides hikers with overnight accommodation.

The return to the village does not have to be over the exact same route, as the S2 trail from the shelter to Steni is an easy and beautiful alternative path through a forest with chestnut and plane trees. It is a very well-tended path and the best marked one of all three main routes.

Route S3, the only one connecting Steni with Xirovouni, is also very enjoyable. It follows the old trail to Metochi, and, after Templa, it becomes a mountaineering path of medium difficulty.

If you’re looking for some more hiking excitement, there are three more trails for you to follow: the rugged and quite difficult S4 trail, which connects the shelter with Stropones; the S5 trail which provides an easier alternative to S1 from Steni to the shelter; and the S6 trail, which starts at Steni and ends at Stropones, via a detour to the shelter, about halfway. It’s an easy path to choose for descending, whereas the ascent can be very demanding.