Cape Maleas, Little Mt. Athos
If you decide to explore Cape Maleas, or Little Mt. Athos as it is also known, you’ll want to come back to discover even more about this stark landscape redolent of legends of hermits, pirates and centaurs, to explore its tiny chapels and caves, or just gaze at the surrounding Mediterranean.
The scenic path, with the steep mountain slope with its typical vegetation of Mt. Parnon on the one side and the sea with views of Kythera, Antikythera and Elafonisos on the other, begins just after the petrified forest and chapel of Aghia Marina. Experienced hikers will take at least an hour to negotiate the path along the steep slope leading to the white chapel of Aghia Irini Cavomalousa, built on the ruins of an even older monastery. Arrangements can be made to stay overnight in one of the monks’ cells there.
Another 10 minutes’ walk takes you to the very tip of the cape and the monastery of Aghios Georgios at Maleas, once the focus of monastic life on the cape. Traces of several of the monastery buildings are still standing. At its highest point is the old church with some remaining frescoes. The chapel is in a considerably better state, with a few but interesting frescoes. This is also the site of the hermitage of the Venerable Thomas. Below Aghia Irini is a steep path leading to the Kokaliara Cave, one of several on the cape.