Lousios Gorge Hike: A Spectacular Scenic Monastery Trail

Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through them, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. It's one of the ways we keep bringing you free content. Learn more in our Disclosure Policy.

The fabulous Lousios Gorge hike in the Arkadia Region took us through spectacular scenery and past ancient ruins. We passed the cliffhanging Prodromou Monastery and explored both the old and new Philosophou monasteries. built into the sides of the Gorge.

Lousios Gorge is in the mountainous Arkadia Region of Greece, in the middle of the Peloponnese. It is home to ancient Arcadian ruins and astounding cliff-top monasteries precariously perched overlooking the gorge.

The scenery is stunning, with plenty of shade if you are hiking the gorge in the warmer months.

There are several Lousios Gorge hiking options, but we started near the Ancient Gortys and parked in a small parking lot (see map). However, you can also start at Dimitsana or Steminitsa, in the car parks by the monasteries.

So come along with us as we explore the Lousios Gorge monasteries hike.



Continuing on our Greece road trip, we left Olympia with its bus loads of tourists and headed inland to a much less crowded part of the Peloponnese, to a town called Dimitsana, in Arcadia.

We parked the motorhome in Dimitsana’s Water Power Museum car park for the night, which we had all to ourselves.

The next morning, we visited a beautiful little church, St. Ioannis, which overlooks the Water Power Museum. It was only a two-minute stroll, and as we are keen geocachers, we found a little cache there.

Minutes later, a herd of about fifty goats strutted over the little bridge by the church — a common sight in these parts.

Dimitsana’s Water Museum demonstrates the importance of water power in the area. It highlights the main pre-industrial techniques that took advantage of water to produce a variety of goods, and it links them to the history and daily life of the local society.

The Water Power Museum has a flour mill, a fulling mill, and a gunpowder mill. There is also a tannery exhibit showing the various stages of the processing of animal hides.

For more details, check out their website here and download a  leaflet with opening times, prices and more details here.  

church under a tree with 2 small bridges crossing a small river in front
St Ioannis Church, Dimitsana, Greece
pack of multi-coloured goats walking under a tree
Goats in Dimitsana, Peloponnese

Leaving the Water Power Museum car park, we headed to the spot where we would park the camper for our Lousios Gorge hike.


We parked in the small car park near the start of the Ancient Gortys part of the hike. (Co-ordsN37.539579, E22.046523)

The Lousios River’s edge was about 30 metres away, and the scenery was enchanting. Turquoise blue water flowed under the old, traditional stone bridge whilst autumn colours dripped from the trees.

Not only was it a postcard-perfect scene, but according to Greek Mythology, Zeus himself used to bathe here in the Lousios River. And no wonder, with such beautiful scenery.

turqoise river with tree with autumn leaves over the river
Lousios River


Crossing the bridge over the River Lousios, you come to Ancient Gortys — an ancient Arcadian city. Some of the remnants are believed to be ancient healing grounds.

We wandered around with the sound of nearby goats and the jingle jangle of their bells.

old ruins in the lee of a hill
Ancient Gortys, in Lousios Gorge, Greece
lady sitting in some ruins
Ancient Gortys in the Lousios Gorge

The arch-shaped porticos in the wall below are considered round-backed seats as part of the ancient healing centre.

stone ruins at the base of a hill
Arched-shaped porticos at the Ancient Gortys in the Lousios Gorge


A short distance along the Lousios Gorge hiking path, you come to Saint Andreas Church. Even in its state of disrepair, the remnants of frescoes on the walls are still visible.

old church in amongst the trees
Saint Andreas Church in Lousios Gorge
wooden church door with stone walls
Saint Andreas Church’s old wooden entrance door
faded fresco on an old stone inner wall
Ayios Andreas Church Fresco can still be seen on the wall
close up of a coloured faded fresco on a stone wall
Close-up of the fresco


The route along the Lousios Gorge Hiking trail gradually became steeper as we followed the signs for the Prodromou Monastery. The pathway led into a forested area, and we soon arrived at the ancient Prodromou Monastery ‘Fulling-Tub’.

At first, we thought that ‘Tub’ meant it was the monk’s bath area (the clue word being ‘tub’) but later found out it was a water mill where ‘fulling’ (a process of thickening the material in woollen cloth), took place.

Our research also led us to find out where the saying, ‘on tenterhooks’,  came from. A cloth is strung tightly on hooks called tenterhooks in the fulling process.  Interestingly, in pre-medieval times, urine was used for fulling instead of water — how lovely!

a sunken area with stones to sit on
Prodromou Fulling Tub on the Lousios Gorge hike
broken wooden slats
Broken wooden slats — keep your eyes open


After the Fulling-Tub, we crossed the ancient Prodromou Bridge ruins and continued our hike along the Lousios Gorge to the first Monastery on this route, Moni Agiou Ioanni Prodromou or otherwise known just as Prodromou or St. John the Baptist Monastery. 

It’s absolutely amazing how this Greek Monastery hangs off the cliff face so high up; it would have been a great feat of engineering in its day.

Prodromou monastery dates back to the 16th century and was rebuilt in 1973 over the remains of an old hermitage. 

A guided hiking tour, the first certified trail in Greece by the European Ramblers Association (ERA), covers this part of the Menalon Trail. It takes you along this part of the Lousious Gorge and includes a water museum visit.

⭐️ For more details, check out this Guided Hiking Tour at Lousios Gorge | ⏰ 6 hours | ⭐️ 5/5 star

buildings built on the steep side of a rocky mountain
Prodromou Monastery along Lousios Gorge Hike

We reached the halfway point and were already feeling it in the legs (well, I was – Lars seemed to stride up the mountains as if we were still on flat ground, with me breathing heavily behind!).

To my relief, the path led downwards for a while in the shade of the trees (which always means ‘up’ on the hike back …but light relief for now — forever the optimist)

Note: The Prodromou Monastery is closed between 1300 and 1700

Sign post in greek language in the trees
Half-Way Point Sign for the Philosophou Monastery on the Lousios Gorge Hike
stream running between some boulders
The scenery along the Lousios Gorge hike


After walking through the forested path, we arrived at the ancient Philosophou Monastery, (sometimes called Filosofou monastery). From here, the view looking out across the Lousios Gorge was pretty spectacular.

mountain ranges with stone buildings on the side
View across the Lousios Gorge — the Prodromou Monastery can just be seen on the far right cliff face. 

The ruins are accessible by climbing up the steep steps on the side. Once at the top, the ancient Philosophou Monastery was fascinating to clamber through. Needless to say, we spent a while investigating the little nooks and crannies.

The monks’ spaces were so small — like a modern-day version of tiny homes. It’s difficult to imagine what their life would be like living on the side of the mountain.

stone steps up the side of a mountain
Steps to the Ancient Philosophou Monastery
stone buildings on the side of a mountain
The Ancient Philosophou Monastery
Wall built into the rounded rock
Wall built into the rounded rock
Ancient Philosophou Monastery – tiny doorways and rooms built into the cliff face
Ancient Philosophou Monastery – tiny doorways and rooms built into the cliff face
Walls clinging to the mountain cliffs
Walls clinging to the mountain cliffs


A few more steps further on the Lousios Gorge Hiking path, you arrive at the more modern Philosophou Monastery.  As we approached the entrance, a friendly monk invited us into the reception area and offered us water and Turkish Delight.

He then gave us a book with an English page marked up to read about the history of the monastery. Neither of us had our reading glasses with us, but it felt wrong not to look at it for some reason, and the monk watched us intently.

Lars seemed to be studying it very carefully; I managed to squint and notice one date: the ancient monastery was founded in 963 AD.

bells above a church gate
Gate to the ‘new’ Philosophou Monastery
monk sitting outside his church
‘New’ Philosophou Monastery Reception and the cheery Monk
‘New’ Philosophou Monastery Chapel
‘New’ Philosophou Monastery Chapel


After a quick look in the little chapel, we were ready to set off back to the campervan. A couple of cute cats lying in the sun outside of the chapel distracted me; they were both so friendly and just wanted a cuddle.

Lars, much more of a dog person, made the mistake of sitting beside them, and that was it! They were all over him and were extremely reluctant to climb off.

In fact, once he had managed to prise them off, they followed us for over 200 metres back down the path. We did break into a bit of a jog where possible to discourage them from coming any further.

man with cats around him
Cat attack at Philosphou Monastery

Our descent only took us an hour. It was a much easier walk on the way back, as the path was mostly downhill, and we spent less time stopping to take photos.

The scenery along the Lousios Gorge was spectacular, the ruins of the old monastery extremely interesting, and the Lousios Gorge Hike certainly ensured we had our daily exercise quota. 

Lousios Gorge Hiking Map

map showing a hike in the mountains
Map of the Lousios Gorge hike at the hike start


  • Take plenty of water and some snacks
  • To visit the monasteries, make sure that if you are a woman you wear a long skirt and men wear long trousers. The monks have some clothes you can use to cover up if you’re inappropriately dressed.
  • The hike is of medium level – with quite a few challenging elevations.
  • Note that the  Prodromou Monastery and the church is closed between 1300 and 1700



We were camping in our hired motorhome, but a good place to base yourself, if visiting the area, would be Dimitsana or Stemnitsa.

To find Booking.com accommodation deals in that area, click here.


While you are in the area, you may like to:

💙 Go rafting on the Lousios River | ⏰ 4 hours | ⭐️ 5/5 star reviews

💙 From Athens – take a tour of the Mountain Villages of Peloponnese, Monasteries and Lousios River Private Day Trip | ⏰ 9 hours | ⭐️ 5/5 star reviews

💙 Take a 2-Day Private Tour to Dimitsana and Stemnitsa from Athens | ⏰ 2 days |

Nearby Karytaina

view of a Karytaina on a mountain side from above near Lousios Gorge
View of Karytaina

The next leg of our Greece road trip took us towards Sparta, but just 30 minutes south, we stopped at Karytaina for the night.

If you have time, we would recommend a stop at this medieval town on the steep hillside overlooking the valley of the Alfeios River (the main river that the Lousios River flows into).

Karytaina is known for its mid-13th-century Castle that still proudly sits atop the hill. A walk along the cobbled streets and a steep but short climb lead you to Karytania Castle. Parts of it have been renovated, but most of it remains as ruins harbouring the history and tales of times gone by.

A few minutes southeast of the town, you come across the Ancient Karytaina Bridge.

On one side of the bridge is a small Byzantine Chapel built into one of the bridge’s columns, dating back to the 15th century. 

Ancient Karytaina Bridge
Ancient Karytaina Bridge

Lousios Gorge Greece … That’s a Wrap

Spectacular scenery and hanging clifftop monasteries are the highlights of this hike, but the whole walk seems to have something to see just around the next corner. There’s certainly no time to get bored, and the undulating ground keeps you on your toes, too.

We loved this hike and would love to hear from you once you’ve visited. What was your favourite part?

Send us an email. We love to hear from you.

But Lousios Gorge is just one of the amazing things to see in Greece – read all the reasons why Greece is worth visiting here.

Pin and Save for Later

6.Lousios-Gorge pinterest pin



These are the travel resources we recommend and use when planning our trips.

For a more thorough list, visit our Travel Resources page here.

Photo of author


Shelley, a former primary school teacher with a law degree, is the owner and writer of Lifejourney4two. Beginning her adventure in Perth, Australia, she has since explored Europe's diverse landscapes and Africa's wilds, traveling in motorhomes, cars, and bush campers. Her travel guides blend practical advice with engaging storytelling, capturing the joys of life on the road. Shelley's transformation from 'One Day' to 'Day One' showcases her adventurous spirit and loves to inspire others to pursue their travel dreams.

10 thoughts on “Lousios Gorge Hike: A Spectacular Scenic Monastery Trail”

  1. We are interested in doing the trail. One question. How did you get back from the end of the trail to the starting point?

  2. Thanks … going to Lousios today (with plenty of water btw and no ambition to take the full route) … really appreciate your extensive description. Thanks!

  3. What a wonderful hike! Beautiful scenery but really interesting as well. So that is where the term ‘being on tenterhooks’comes from! I love hiking and this is definitely one I would enjoy – but you can keep the cats!

    • I hope you get to do it one day Jane – but you have already done so many fantastic hikes on your own travels that look simply awesome. Thanks for stopping by and happy hiking 🙂

    • Oh wonderful – so glad you found it useful. Its a beautiful trail isn’t it! Did you have a look around either the old or new monastery? Thank you so much for getting in touch and so pleased you enjoyed it.


Leave a comment

Pin It on Pinterest