Ziria, the second highest mountain of Peloponnese, is located at the northern part of Peloponnese and its mountaintops form the shape of a horse-shoe: the western part includes the tallest top (2.376 m) and the eastern part the tops Chioni (2.117 m) and Doussia (2.086 m). Its southern border is Lake Stymphalia – which separates it from Oligyrtos – and its western part is the secluded valley of Feneos and Olvios River – it separates it from Dourdouvana. The ancient name of the mountain was Killini and it was given after the ground’s cavities (dolines). The mountain was dedicated to Hermes and at the end of the Ziria plain, NE of the top, there is a cave, where it was presumed to be the legendary cavern where Hermes grew up. At Ziria there are extended forests of coniferous and many interesting kinds of wildflowers have been registered.
Great Cave of Kefalari
From the village Kefalari begins a route, which follows the current and it ends up after 1.028 ms in view site. The path follows an ascending course until it originally reaches a fountain lying at the boarders of the village. The ascending course continues at the boarders of the ravine and after crossing vertically a forest road, reaching over the site Issomata, ends up at the previous view site. From there the visitor can distinguish from the one side and at the top of a slope, the Great Cave and on the other side the Paparigopoulou valley. The ascension to the Great Cave is feasible through a path with great inclination, which cannot be clearly discerned. From the point where the route cuts down the forest road, the visitor can alternatively follow the road to Issomata and from there via mountaineers’ paths to reach Little Zireia, or return to the starting point.
Agios Vlassios – Kleissoura
That was the main path from Trikala to the mountain for the cattle – breeders, the inhabitants but also for the visitors. The path begins 100 meters after the Agios Vlassios monastery and it passes through the thick forest.
Varnevo – Flampouritsa
At the 6th kilometer of Trikala – Ziria road, after the characteristic right turn, the path begins and it descends towards the Flampouritsa ravine. At the bed of the current, the path is ramified and it either goes parallel to the current, towards the end of the ravine or it ascends to the big plateau of the mountain. A third branch without marking, crosses steep slopes of Little Ziria and it ends up at the chapel of Ag. Triada, over the Mana village.
Varnevo – mountain crest – Hermes cave – Bird Bank
The route begins at the site “Varnevo” and it follows the mountain crest, always having on the east side the slopes and the precipices of Flampouritsa and on the west side the Ziria plateau. At 1.750 m a steep but well – marked path leads to the Hermes cave. Over the site “Bird Bank”, the path is ramified and the first branch roughly descends to Flampouritsa to meet the ravine route, whilst the other branch ascends to meet the top path at 1950 m.
Plateau – B’ Refuge – Mark (2.376 m)
It is the classic ascension to the mountain top. From the shepherds’ sheepfolds at the plateau, the B’ refuge is 15 minutes away. From there, the path follows the big current till the characteristic mountain top at its end, at 1.950 m. consecutively; the route turns west and ascends the big mountain back which defines the mountain crest, leaving at the left the high meadows and the sheepfolds. Reaching the highest top of the mountain at 2.374 m, nothing gets in the way of the view of the other mountain tops of Peloponnese and of central Greece.
Holy Monastery of Panagia (Virgin Mary) – Kefalari
This route is a part of the old monastery, which connects Trikala to Feneos. From the center of Mesaia Trikala, a community road leads to the Holy Monastery of Panagia (Virgin Mary), built on the 16th century. It originally follows a forest road for 300 m. Then it crosses the small current and it ascends till it meets the big current. From here the route develops parallel to the current to an old forest road, which is no longer in use, where there are many springs and fountains.
Kefalari – Dassio Lake
The route follows the forest road of Middle Trikala – Dassio Lake – Plateau and it develops into an open forest current. It is especially used during winter, when the snow usually cuts off the road access to Dassio Lake.
Dassio Lake – Rachi – Zacharias – Kleftaki
The route begins at the northeastern end of the lake, by the forest road M. Trikala – Dassio Lake – Goura. It follows the north bank and then it ascends north to the back. From there it ramifies to the right towards Kleftaki and to the left towards Zacharia.
Ano Trikala – Plateau – Mountain Top – Goura
Starting point is Ano Trikala, which is the most usual starting point to ascend to Ziria. Once upon a time, the road stopped at the upper quarter of the village. It is worth starting ascending to the village and following the old path, towards the Vlassios monastery, to get to the plateau (1.500 m) in about 2, 5 hours. There, at a small distance between them (30′), one can find 2 mountaineer refuges. From the end of the plateau starts the path to the top. At the beginning, it ascends until it reaches a smooth back, then it turns west and in 1h 30′, it leads to a saddle, between the central top and Prophet Ilias (2.150 m) and in 60′ to the top itself. We come down again to the saddle (40′) and we descend this time to the west, passing the small current of Farmamila, we cross a plateau, full of dolines, we enter the beautiful forest, we follow the forest road that bypasses the Back of the Kaki Plevra and we reach the village Goura in 3hrs..
Although Little Ziria is in fact an appendix of Ziria, it is often considered by the mountaineers to be an individual group and its ascension is never combined with the ascension from Ano Trikala’ side, which is the highest top of the group. We reach Kiato, from the road to Stymphalia, village Kefalari, which is built on the SE slopes of Ziria. 15 minutes away from the square, in the East, a forest road leads to the hospitable guesthouse of the Mountaineers Naturalists Union (M.N.U.), one of the most active naturalists unions in our country (approximately 870 m). From the refuge, we follow a marked path, which crosses clusters of schinus and in 20′ (980 m of altitude) we meet the first pine tree. Deserted fields and in 30′ we meet the forest road which comes from the village. At 1.150 m altitude, we cross extended plateaus, at the seat of Issomata and we head SW entering the forest. We meet stone-built parapets of old fields (1345 ms in 30′) and we follow the bed of the dried current, which descends from the higher tops. 50′ of ascension and the current is divided (1685 m altitude). We follow the central and somewhat forest back, because the left one is very steep and in 1 hour and 10′ we arrive at Doussia (2.086 ms). A spectacular view to the mountain tops of the North and Central Peloponnese, ascending from the same route to the plateau and, as an alternative solution, we can follow the forest road, with a Northern direction, reaching Manna village.