A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

header photo

Ancient Vrikounda

Ancient Vrikounda sits on a small finger of land jutting out into the sea, overlooking a wild and isolated  bay beneath  its precipitous cliffs and a view of the distant island of Saria. The peninsular is covered with ancient ruins and terraces wherever  you look and in the cliffs there is an ancient church where water drips through the roof into a font. Getting there out of season is no easy task and involves a 2 hour hike down the mountainside from the most northerly community on Karpathos. Avlona is set in a fertile valley and the unused terraces are covered in wild flowers,  the most beautiful of which is the endemic peony of Karpathos. Strange flowers of the birthwort family line the paths on the hillside and another endemic plant, the bellflower hangs from the limestone rocks. Half way down a huge rock has been neatly carved with three steps, a font and three shields and was only discovered a few years ago, according to a knowledgeable visitor we met nearby. Reputably it belongs to an ancient warrior from the pre-christian era many thousands of years ago. Near the bottom of the mountain there is a flurry of activity as local people collect wild greens in sacks and prepare themselves for the return journey. A further 15 minute's walk takes us onto the promontory where huge beautifully dressed stone walls stand in memory of another time and the ground is littered with clay pot shards. The last stop is the church dedicated to St John buried deep in a cliff below the terraces. 

Above the start of walk, below a stone chat.

The village of Avlona and below the endemic Karpathos peony.

The strange birthwort again an endemic to the Aegean and the curious carved stone.

The long haul down the steps and a small church on the way.

Above a rare campanula endemic to karpathos.

The church of St John in the cave.

Looking back, we're headed to the right of the tallest peak!

Above, the barbary nut.


Go Back