In Rhodes there are still some off-road terrains on the mountains that pass through pristine landscapes with small rivers and dense vegetation.
We recommend the route Lardos – Laerma – Hagios Isidoros – Profilia.
You start from Lardos village. At the eastern exit of the village there is a sign pointing towards the monastery of Ypseni. It is an asphalt road that after 4 km leads to the monastery, which operates as a convent with nuns leading a monastic life. The katholicon, featuring impressive arches, was built in 1755 by the hieromonk Meletios (Meletius). The story that the nuns tell of, says that the Virgin Mary was presented to him in the form of a pillar of light and asked him to build a monastery dedicated to her: “You will dig, you will find golden coins and you will build it” she told him.
From Ypseni a relatively rough dirt road begins ascending the mountain of Igkos but it has many intersections that do not have signs. At a distance of 2.6km from the monastery ignore the detour on your left and in 3.1 km turn right. At a distance of 500m further down, turn left, on the next intersection turn left again until, in a distance of 7.3km away from Ypseni, you will find a dirt road perpendicular to your route. If you turn left, after 800m you will reach the deserted monastery of Agios Georgios (Saint George) of Igkos. There is an improvised track there, where during the winter the local associations organize 4X4 skill demonstrations. If you turn right, after 4km (ignoring two detours on your right) you will reach the historic monastery Tharri (Archangel Michael). According to tradition, a sick princess from Morocco had a vision of the Archangel Michael in her sleep and he told her “tharrei” (have courage). She recuperated and built this male monastery. The temple is known for the 13th-century religious paintings (in the Holy Sanctuary and on the dome), as well as for the ornate wooden carved iconostasis from 1756.
From the Tharri monastery the asphalt continues and after 4.1 km, it ends at Laerma, an isolated farming village in the centre of the island, surrounded by mountains and vegetation. The word “Ladarma”, where the name of the village derives from, is pre-Hellenic and means “the people of Hermes”.
At the end of the village there is a detour, with a sign pointing towards Hagios Isidoros. After 500m the asphalt gives its place to a dirt road. There begins a particularly beautiful route, with a view to the highest mountain of Rhodes, Atavyros (1,215 m). Following the signs and ignoring two intersections on your left, where there are no signs, the road becomes asphalt again after 11km. From there on, in 1km you will reach the most “forgotten” village of Rhodes, Agios Isidoros. The coffee shops, taverns and grocery stores of the village take you back to the 1960s. If you take a walk inside the village, you will find out that most of the houses have a wood-fired oven in their backyard – women still knead and bake the bread themselves.
At the southern end of Agios Isidoros, 500m from the centre of the village, you will find a detour on your left, with a sign pointing towards Profilia. You enter the dirt road and follow an equally beautiful route through the pine trees. You will find a small river with an odd double bridge: the new bridge, made of concrete, is built directly on top of the old one, made of stone, covering it irreparably… After 8.2 km you will find the asphalt road. At this point, if you turn left, you will reach Profilia in 1 km, whereas if you turn right Istrios is also 1km away.
You may enjoy other off-road routes on Rhodes, such as:
- The ascent from Arnitha to Messanagros (11.5 km).
- The ascent from Laerma to Agios Isidoros (12.5 km)
- The ascent from the monastery of Ypseni (located 4 km outside the village of Lardos) to the deserted monastery of Ai Giorgis (Saint George) on the mountain of Igkos (8 km).