Mountain villages are very common throughout Greece and many without electricity, roads or a mains water supply still exist both on the mainland and on the many islands.
Kalymnos is home to a rural village which in recent years has become more accessible to those who choose to hire a car. Palionisos (Παλιόνησος), in the North-West of of Kalymnos, is accessible only by car or taxi. The road to the village starts on the East coast of Kalymnos, to the North of the village of Scalia (Σκάλια) and winds its way to the top of the mountain before winding down the other side.
The road then simply stops on the outside of Palionisos, leaving you with the issue of turning round and then parking. The reason I say ‘issue’ is this: the road doesn’t widen to allow you to turn round; you must turn round, with the mountainside on one side and a drop into the valley below on the other. The road is no wider than the average UK street, and you will find cars are often parked at both sides of the road.
You then have to travel into the village on foot, should you wish to visit the beach or taverna. The route takes you on a dirt track on the mountainside – and you are effectiveley walking through the main path of the village; the photo used above shows what sort of view you get from the dirt footpath.
Most of the properties in the village are one-room buildings, however there is one taverna in the village (it is well signed from the footpath) which looks more recent: its the sort of place that only twenty (maybe even ten) years ago would have been very remote, with no way out in the event of an emergency; in fact the road has only been open since earlier in 2009.
This ruralness is highlighted by the presence of a sign outside the village. Written in the Greek language, it basically says:
The inhabitants of Palionisos thank donations from Municipality of Kalymnos, the Prefecture of the Dodecanese and the South Agean Periphery for the work in installing our main electricity supply.
The work cost 3,500,000 and was completed in November 2006.
Quoted from a roadsign on Kalymnos, Greece
As you walk through the village, you will notice you are following what look like some sort of cables: don’t worry though. These are only carrying the water supply coming from the watertank outside the village: they’re not trailing electricity cables!
Once you have followed the path you will end up at the ‘town’ beach. Even in the middle of August, you will find that there are no more than 5 groups of people (I’m avoiding describing them as families – both times I went, I never saw anyone very young) spread out over the beach. For the amount of people there, the beach is quite large. There are often 1 or 2 yachts out in the bay; but this doesn’t significantly increase the number of people on the beach.
The beach is shingle, with a couple of trees to give you shade. It is also very sheltered, with mountains on 3 sides: with a relatively narrow passage for yachts to pass through. There are no shops in the area, so there are very few tourists and many of Palionisos’ residents seemed to be elderly Greeks. Even whilst on the beach, you can hear goats upon the mountainside!
When you’ve had enough time at Palionisos, simply jump back into your car and head back over the mountain to the main road.
The image used to accompany this blog post shows the mountainside at Palionisos; it is the view you get from the footpath and with over 70% of Greece being mountain is a very common sight in the country! It is licenced under a Creative Commons license. This means you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work on the conditions that you attribute it (with a link to this website) and do not use for commercial purposes. If you alter it, the work must be re-distributed under an identical or similar license.