... is the most beautiful part of the island and a wonderful and recreational place after visiting islands catering to mass tourism. If the rest of the island is dry, meagre and of fascinating craggedness, the fertile 3.7 miles long valley of Vathys, with his down to earth inhabitants, is the paradise garden of the island. Drawn-out through to whole middle of the island, surrounded by mountains, a virtually surreal green oasis which abounds in mandarin orange groves and other fruit bearing trees. The valley was inhabited in the neolithic, the byzantine and the roman eras as the remains of an acropolis and an ancient temple from recent excavations indicate. It is like the land that time forgot. Narrow, often dirt lanes invite you for a walk or to hike, atmospheric old houses and chapels, huge orchards and small farms dominate the landscape. No industrial firm, no busy road and no mass tourism disrupt the unhurried life at the valley, whose hospitable 900 inhabitants will give you a warm welcome and like to invite you to a small talk about all the world and his brother.
The attractive valley of Vathys is situated 6.5 miles (10 km) NE of Pothia, only reachable within 15 minutes by the coast road that leaves the habour boulevard to the East. Start of construction of these spectacular road was already before 2nd world war -but the completition was in 1967, because of building it by handcraft only with pickax and dynamite. The twisty coast road offers, especially when it is bright, a beautiful view on the islands Kos, Pserimos, Imia and the Turkish coast. It winds between rockscapes and the blue sea. Nevertheless, watch out for goats that sometime jam the road !
The first view from the road down to the valley is incredibly beautiful and one of the most impressive panoramas of the dodekanes. Stop at the top of the last hill in front of the valley for a breathtaking view of the turquoise fjord, leading into a green valley of orange and tangerine groves.
The roads through the valley forms a labyrinth between whitewashed walls amidst sapgreen Orange, Tangerine and lemon groves and lead along little hamlets like Rina, Platanos, Metochi and Stimenia, where the asphalt road changes to a dead-end dirt road to the valley end, that is only separated by a narrow mountain ridge from Arginonda at the other end of the island. A new road was build between 2003 - 2009 and connects the valley with Arginonda. There is a fantastic view from the top of the mountain ridge.
My house is lying at the slope 30 m above Rina, with a wonderful view over the valley and the sea. Rina, the small harbour hamlet is lying in a fjord-like bay, that is impossible to see into from seaside. The hamlet was named after the church Agia Irini that was built on the remains of the village that was destroyed at the beginning of the 15th century by an earthquick. The villages public life happens here. Here are some taverns where the citizens of Vathys get together, groceries, a pastry shop etc. You’ll get everything for your daily needs and will have relaxed days between welcoming greeks.
Vathys has no own beach, but a very nice secured bathing area with superb clear water next to the harbour. There are changing rooms, toilets, shower, taverns, stairs and ladders to the sea, some “natural” diving platforms are built at the cliff, long benches where Tamarisk trees are spending shadow. There is nobody who wants to offer you umbrellas or sunlounger. Everybody takes his beach mat or air mattress where he want, you have to relax between friendly greek people. The narrow harboured bay has nearly no current, so that untrained swimmers are also able to swim to the other side of the bay to take a sunbath at the rocks. At the other side of the harbour we prepared a small reclaimed beach for non-swimmer.
But there are fantastic lonely beaches in lovely bays nearby Vathys that are only reachable by boat. Therefore I arrange cruises for my guests and day guests to perfect dream beaches, that you often will have only for your own.
There are many worth seeing evidences in our valley of earlier periods. Neolithic, byzantine and roman remains attest the exposed position that the valley always had.
Panagia Kyra Psili
Panagia Kyra Psili is a lonesome monastery, build into the rocks at the foot of a 130 feet (40m) high scarp at the highest mountain of the east coast, only accessible by a narrow stair way (approx.30 min.). For more details see walking-tours.
Above the valley, at the slopes to Pothia it is easy to make out the caves of the first inhabitants of Kalymnos at the neolithicum.
A little cave in the cliff left-hand near the bays exit. It can only be reached by the sea (boat or swimming). Probably it was used as a temple in pre-christian age.
About 10 Min. walk behind Platanos right-hand of and above the main road. The stone-walls date from 3000 BC thus they are the most ancient reminds in Kalymnos. Next to the wall are hellenistic, byzantine and middle-aged sites, situated around the church of the archangle, Taxiarchis.
The temple / church of Taxiarchis Micháel is the best preserved sample of the Hellenic high crop at Kalymnos. His 3 phases of construction, 300 BC, 600 AD und 1300 AD, each started after collapse of the parent building, are very easy to indentify because of the different styles. Famous mosaics. Please do not step on them!
Also you can find the remains of the collapsed basilica (built 6 AC), that was, with it’s length of over 88,4 feet (27,5 m), the biggest church of the dodecanes. It was built next to the ruins of an also collapsed Akropolis temple, that was still built in the same period (500 BC) than the famous Akropolis of athens! You can see the impressive, still unrestored floor mosaics (Please do not step on them!), the baptistery and some mural paintings till today.
The little chapel close to Rina, is decorated with frescos of a famous 13th century painter. Also there are icons of well-known artists in several other chapels of the valley. Sadly, most of them have to be locked. But with my attendence it is possible to visit them.
Here you can find a well-preserved historical plantation home, as well as one of the guard-houses, which were at both sides of the valley at 300 BC.
There are much more interesting things to discover at Vathys ! I will be glad to advice or to guide you.