About the Filerimos Monastery Trail
Greece is known for its beautiful coastline and its rich cultural heritage. However, hiking is becoming more and more popular among those who want to see more of Greece than just the popular sights and the sea. We spent Easter on the Greek island Rhodes, which is the fourth largest island of Greece and particularly known for its UNESCO World Heritage site that is the Medieval city of Rhodes, with its Palace of the Grand Masters and splendid Gothic architecture. While we of course went to see the sights on the island, we also wanted to do some hiking and decided to hike up to the Filerimos monastery, which isn’t too far from Ialysos where we stayed.
Besides the monastery itself, the Filerimos hilltop also holds the archaeological remains of ancient Ialysos, which was one of the three great ancient cities of Rhodes (the others being Lindos and the city of Rhodes) and numerous Orthodox Christian structures like the huge Filerimos cross and the paved road to Calgary with 14 shrine stops, depicting the Passion of the Christ. However, the most notorious living occupants of the Filerimos monastery are the numerous peacocks which strut freely around the place. The hike up to the Filerimos monastery is a fun and different way to visit the popular site. The Filerimos trail isn’t marked, so you’ll be happy to know that you as always can download our GPX trail below and use it on your smartphone or GPS device for easy navigation.
Filerimos Monastery – Ialysos Trail Details
3 h 44 min
Date of the Hike Date when we did this hike ?
Weather On the day when we did this hike ?
Temperature On the day when we did this hike ?
Wind On the day when we did this hike ?
Filerimos Monastery – Ialysos GPS Route and Trail Description
*Click on the chart to see the location on the map
GPX route helps you with the navigation on a hike. It can be used with a smartphone, handheld GPS device or a GPS watch.About GPX Route
Reaching the starting point
The Filerimos Monastery hiking trail is particularly suitable for those without a car at their disposal, staying in the northwestern part of Rhodes, from the city of Rhodes, through Ixia, Ialysos and Kremasti and down to Paradisi beach close to the international airport Rhodes Diagoras. The Filerimos trail starts and ends on the main road running through Ialysos, called Leof. Iraklidon (Leof. is short for Leoforos which means avenue), which connects the city of Rhodes with the international airport Rhodes Diagoras. The public bus lines (50, 51, 58) to the airport go on this road, and we started the trail at bus stop called Hotel Cassandra, which is in near proximity to the place we stayed. If you too are coming by bus, you can shorten the hike a bit by getting off the bus stop called Ialisos Center, which is close to the Ialysos police station. A bus ticket from the city of Rhodes to Ialysos costs about 2.10 euros (2.2 dollars) and the trip takes approximately 15 minutes, depending on traffic. It’s about the same from the airport to Ialysos.
Bus tickets are slightly more expensive to buy onboard the bus than in advance from an automate (where available) or the ticket office in town. To plan and find your departure, the easiest is to go on Google Maps and look for departures between your starting point and Ialysos (the website of the public transport provider Roda is a bit confusing and not so helpful). It’s a very good idea to be at the bus stop 5-10 minutes before the scheduled departure because the stated departure time is only approximate – busses can be both early and late. If you are coming by car, you should drive along Leof. Iraklidon (= Λεωφ. Ηρακλήδων) until you reach the crossroad next to Ialysos police station, and drive south on the road called Ialisou (=Ιαλυσού) for a bit more than a mile (1.7 kilometers) till you see a big dirt road on your right. You should park your car around here, but be sure not to block for entrance to the wide dirt road as a division of the Ialysos fire station has a small building here and need to be able to access the road in case of forest fires etc.
The trail starts on the main road called Leof. Iraklidon (= Λεωφ. Ηρακλήδων) which you follow, until you reach the H-shaped crossroad at the Ialysos police station. Here you turn south on the road called Ialisou(=Ιαλυσού), which then becomes Nik. Plastira (=Νικ. πλαστήρα), and finally Filerimou (=Φιλερήμου). The narrowing road is sometimes busy, and the sidewalk is occasionally missing, so do watch your back for cars and scooters. In the beginning you will walk past dense settlement with shops and restaurants, but after walking approximately one kilometer from the starting point at the police station, the buildings are residential with increasingly larger gardens, and you can breathe easier. A few hundred meters more and you will find an established sidewalk with benches and streetlights on the right side of the road. After having walked 1.7 kilometers from the police station, a very wide dirt road come up on your right. If you come by car, this is the area where you will want to park and start the hike.
About 50 meters in on the dirt road you will see a steep narrow path climbing up the slope to the left; it is easy to miss, so keep your eyes pegged on the left side till you find it. The narrow path is quite steep and meanders westwards through the forest, with plenty of low blossoming shrubbery. Depending on the weather, you will indulge in the smell of warm pine trees and Mediterranean herbs. After approximately 300 meters on the narrow forest path, you will come to the meandering paved road Filerimou up to the monastery, but you will only walk on it till the next turn where you will see an old gravel parking lot extend from the paved road. About 10 meters in on the (rather overgrown) parking lot you will see a narrow steep path running up the slope on the left side. Again, it is easy to miss, so keep your eyes on the left side till you find the path.
Once again, the narrow path meanders through more or less dense forest, but this time towards south. You might also have your agility challenged once or twice as there were several large trees which had fallen across the path. It was especially challenging for me as I was carrying the heavy, bulky and precious cargo that is our daughter in the Osprey child carrier. After approximately 300 meters on the narrow forest path, you will come to a paved path, which is about a meter wide. The paved path first runs northwest and then southeast; some of the way you will have a sloping concrete wall on your left, which has been built to support the paved road for cars going up to the monastery. The paved path ends at the paved road, but just before you will pass by a beautiful Ottoman wall fountain, which is sadly no longer working.
When you come to the paved road, you should look for a path going up the slope on the other side of it. There should be one directly on the other side of the road, but we thought it was a bit too steep and dilapidated, so we went 20-30 meters down the paved road (i.e. in the opposite direction of the monastery), where we found a more suitable path up the slope. Ultimately, we came to the same path as if we would have taken the steeper alternative. Once up on the slope, you quickly come to an abandoned construction site. The first signs are some more or less toppled and overgrown concrete pillars (sadly not ancient) and soon you will see a whole building out of bare brick, without windows or doors. You should follow the path to the stone staircase that goes up behind the house.
From the house you have about 200 meters of meandering forest path till you reach the northwestern end of the fenced-in monastery complex, and you will also see the parking place for visitors to the monastery. When you reach the parking place you will have walked four kilometers altogether from the police station in Ialysos. Chances are that you will be greeted by one of numerous peacocks which reside around the monastery and live large on bread crumbs from visitors. We were planning to enter the monastery site (the entry fee is about six euros – 6.5 $)- not least to see the archaeological remains of ancient Ialysos, but unfortunately the site was closed for visitors due to a strike exactly that day – damn! As with many other archaeological sites in Rhodes, you simply can’t be sure if the place is open or for how long until you get there in person.
Instead, we enjoyed some refreshments from the small café stall which is located outside the monastery grounds, while scaring off peacocks which were showing too keen interest in our sandwiches for our toddler’s comfort. After a short break, we took the narrow stone-paved path or rather Road to Calvary, which is lined with tall cypress trees and stelae with bas-reliefs depicting the Passion of Christ. The path leads to a raised terrace with a huge cross, and a small chapel next to it. From the terrace you have an excellent view of the landscape below the Filerimos hill, and you can easily spot both the new and the old airport as well as the villages Maritsa and Pastida. Always looming in the horizon of Rhodes are the coasts of Turkey. After taking in the splendid views, we returned to the monastery’s parking lot and began making our way down.
Getting back to the starting point
For our way back to modern Ialysos, we took a somewhat different and a bit longer route because we wanted to get the little one to sleep, which we feared would prove difficult on the quite steep and sometimes challenging paths we climbed on the way up. Therefore, we started by walking down on the side of the paved road Filerimou for about 700 meters until we came to the paved path again. You then follow the paved path, which is paved for about a kilometer and then unpaved for about 100 meters till it ends at the paved road for cars once again. Then you walk downhill on the road towards east for about a kilometer until it bends. Here you go left at the cute little pink chapel for the prophet Elias and then follow the (badly) paved road which goes southeast just north of the chapel. After 100 meters this road takes a sharp turn towards northeast and becomes a dirt road as the pavement ends.
Around here you can also take a short detour directly north on a sideroad to see a picturesque white chapel with a stone-paved terrace with a view down on Ialysos. Otherwise, you just follow the dirt road downhill for around 300 meters until it splits into three. You take the dirt road in the middle, which continues further down the hill and then crosses over a field. You are now at the paved road called Archimidi (=Αρχιμήδη) and at this point you have walked around four kilometers down from the parking lot at the monastery. If you want to return to the bus stop at Ialysos police station, you should go west on Archimidi till it intersects with the Filerimou road, and then follow the Filerimou road towards north back to Ialysos. It is around 2.3 kilometers walk to the bus stop. This is also the direction to go if you have come by car and have it parked below the very first dirt road of the trail.
As we were heading for the Hotel Cassandra bus stop which is further east in Ialysos, we instead went east on Archimidi until it splits into three. Here we took the one on the left, called Dimokritou (=Δημοκρίτου), which runs northwest towards Ialysos, and forks into two roads (both called Dimokritou) after a few hundred meters. We took the Dimokritou on the right and followed it for about a kilometer until it intersects with the street Agiou Nikolaou (=Αγίου Νικολάου). At this point the surroundings are again suburban rather than rural. Then we simply followed Agiou Nikolaou towards northeast (underway it changes name to 9is Maiou= 9ης Μαΐου) until we reached the Leof. Iraklidon main road again with the Hotel Cassandra bus stop nearby.
For this hike in balmy but somewhat windy weather I was wearing my new Isobaa Merino zip-neck base layer, Montane Terra Pack pants, Falke TK2 socks and Lowa Renegade hiking shoes. On my back I carried our daughter in the Osprey Poco child carrier. For sun protection I wore Tifosi Davos sunglasses, suncream on exposed skin and a cap.
Equipment under scrutiny
Isobaa Merino Zip-Neck Base Layer
I was very satisfied with the Isobaa Merino Zip-Neck base layer which I tested on this hike. The base layer is moisture-wicking, breathable and quick-drying. It is also made of very soft fabric and therefore very comfortable to wear. The zipper allows you to regulate the temperature which was perfect for this hike because it was relatively warm at the starting point but colder at the top of the hill.
Tifosi Davos Sunglasses
The Tifosi Davos have become my favorite sunglasses because they provide great coverage and excellent protection against the sun. I’m also very satisfied with the fit and the quality. The sunglasses are very light and thus perfect for sports. They come with three lenses (smoke, AC red and clear). Lenses can be changed without tools.
Conclusion and photo gallery
The Filerimos hiking trail provides you with two routes to the Filerimos monastery from Ialysos; a steep and more direct route up, and a longer and more civilized route down. It is of course up to you how you want to combine the two, or just use one of them. For the hike up you will need good hiking boots to protect your ankles and feet on the steep slopes, and also long pants as the path isn’t pruned and you will pass closely by thorny shrubbery more than once. The route down is less demanding, but also longer. Many visitors without cars at their disposal choose to go to the monastery by taxi, and this is also something you can consider if you want to skip the hike up or down.
If you have any questions about this hike, please drop us a line in the comments below.