“Fonissa” is a stream that in its course a deep rupture is formed, from Vrysoules village to Loutro, in the municipality of Xylokastro. In ancient times this stream was the boundary of ancient Pellini and was called “Krios”(Aries), a fitting name because of its vigorousness. Equally fitting is its current name, “Fonissa”(murderess), as it is particularly dangerous for someone to be in its narrow opening when water is running.
In order to enter “Fonissa” we follow the road from Kato Loutro to Korfiotissa. Although this is a small gorge it makes up with its specialness and its imposing presence. Hidden and surprisingly beautiful, it unfolds before us on a course of about 10 km. It is formed when the river starting from Korfiotissa gets interrupted by a large limestone hill for about 1.5 km before reaching the Corinthian Gulf. While crossing the walls get very close, creating cave features, thus giving peculiarity and character to the landscape. The typical width is 2-3 meters and the walls are of solid limestone.
The Fonissa Gorge first got secured in 1984 by Spyros Apostolopoulos and Aris Theodoropoulos and it has been renewed several times by different groups, so it gets visited a lot. Water flows during the spring and shortly after the entrance we come across the first dark narrow point. For nearly a kilometer (800 meters) the light is really scarce for the visitor and few are the open spots. In the canyon we find five technical descents, with the largest one being 18 meters high, and just before the exit we see the light again. Even though equipment is required for the entire course, we can walk it all the way.
“Fonissa” has 5 technical descents, an altitude difference of 250 meters and a length of 1.5 km while the crossing time for a 4-member group is about 3 hours.
The canyon can be visited by 2 ways:
1st way, for experienced hikers-climbers-adults
Track: The descent of the canyon is done by using mountaineering equipment, is aimed to adults with experience.
The Canyon during the summer months does not present too much difficulty but we should emphasise that the descent is addressed to experienced hikers-climbers.
Total length: approx. 1.5 km
Duration: approximately 3 hours descent.
2nd way, for non-experienced hikers and children over 16
A part of the canyon, starting from the end and moving backwards, is accessible from not so experienced hikers without any use of mountaineering equipment. This part of the track is of exceptional beauty, it passes through a cave and gives the possibility to not so experienced hikers to enjoy the real beauty of this canyon.
Duration: approx. 1 hour moving at a moderate pace.