Hiking Trail No 2 provides an exhilarating opportunity to conquer the summit of Mount Zas, which stands at an impressive altitude of 1004 meters. This trail forms a loop and can be hiked in two different directions, allowing hikers to choose their desired level of challenge. The estimated time to complete the loop is between three to five hours, but there are ways to make the hike more manageable.
Commencing at Filoti, the trail is marked by signs that guide you towards notable landmarks such as the 18th-century church of Panagia Filotitissa and the historic Venetian Tower Barozzi. As you ascend from the Temple of Irini, the path leads you through a mountainside adorned with lush tree vegetation and vineyards. After crossing the main road and reaching the church of Agia Marina, you will find yourself at the foothills of Mount Zas. The upward path will take you past the source of Levgasa and a rock-engraved ancient inscription that reads "ΟΡΟΣ ΔΙΟΣ ΜΗΛΩΣΙΟΥ" - "Mountain of Zeus, protector of sheep".
The route to the summit mostly traverses a rocky landscape with sparse vegetation. Reaching the pinnacle at 1004 meters offers a profound sense of accomplishment and rewards you with awe-inspiring panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the Cyclades.
For those seeking to embark on a loop that includes Zas Cave, the trail continues north from the summit and then heads west with a steep descent. Approaching Zas Cave, the path becomes more challenging and less clearly defined. The entrance to Zas Cave is always accessible, although it is advisable to carry a headlamp or torch to fully appreciate the geological formations within.
Descending from the cave, you will follow a restored cobblestone path that leads to Aria Spring, a beautifully landscaped and idyllic spot ideal for rest and rejuvenation during your hike. The path then continues in a southerly direction, culminating near a partially ruined windmill, as it coincides with the Filoti–Kalantos road.
A popular option for hikers is to commence the hike directly from Agia Marina church, where parking facilities are available. After reaching the summit, they can retrace their steps to return to the starting point.
Experienced hikers seeking an increased challenge may choose to tackle the loop in the reverse direction, commencing from Aria Spring and ascending to the summit after exploring Zas Cave.
Here are some essential tips for your hike:
Begin early in the morning, particularly during the scorching summer months.
Carry an ample supply of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized.
Remember to wear a hat and apply sunscreen to shield your face and body from the sun's rays.
Trail Level: ****
Duration: 3 hours and 30 minutes (full loop)
Elevation Gain: Approximately 600 meters starting from Filoti