Hiking In Greece: The Best Trails & Things To Know

Ah, Greece - the ultimate holiday destination! It is a land where myths of ancient gods still echo through sun-drenched ruins and happens to also be a hiker's paradise.
From the extensive network of well-maintained hiking trails with breathtaking views of beautiful landscapes, mountains, and coastlines to a rich history and culture, you will love hiking here.
Here is a Greece hiking guide to get you prepared.

Hiking in Greece: An Overview

Greece is home to Mount Olympus which is one of the most famous mountains in the world, and as such, one of the best mountains to hike in Europe.
Besides Olympus, the country also features numerous hiking trails in popular islands like Crete, Naxos, Santorini, and Rhodes. Generally, a hike in Greece is an unparalleled adventure that takes you through landscapes steeped in ancient mythology, diverse terrains and landscapes, and breathtaking vistas.
Here are reasons why you should consider hiking in Greece:
Climbing Mount Olympus.

1. Location and Climate

Greece offers stunning landscapes that range from idyllic islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas to majestic Mount Olympus on the mainland.
The climate is predominantly Mediterranean featuring many sunny days with mild to warm temperatures that are ideal for hiking.

2. Historical Significance

The trails across Greece are not just paths through nature but also history. Walking these routes, you might feel like you're tracing the steps of ancient philosophers, warriors, and gods.
For instance, Mount Olympus is famed as the mythical home of the Olympian gods and offers a variety of mid-challenge trails to the summit.
Greece

3. Unique Trails Across the Islands

Each Greek island brings its character to the hiking experience.
Crete boasts the majestic White Mountains and the famous Samaria Gorge. Naxos, with its mountainous terrains and ancient pathways, provides a blend of natural beauty and historical exploration.
Santorini offers more than picturesque villages to unfold rugged trails along the caldera with awe-inspiring views of the volcanic landscape. Rhodes combines rich history with natural beauty for diverse trails through forests and along its stunning coastline.

Best Time to Hike in Greece

In Greece, thanks to its Mediterranean climate, you can enjoy hiking all year round.
However, the best times for hiking are during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November), when the weather is mild, and the natural landscapes are at their most vibrant. These periods fall between the high and low tourist seasons for a perfect balance of pleasant weather and fewer crowds.
July and August are Greece's high season, and, as such, are characterised by warmer temperatures and more tourists.
On top of Mytikas
Hikers at Mytikas: the summit of Mt. Olympus.

Best Hiking Trails in Greece

1. Mt Olympus (2919m)

You can book Skyhook's Mount Olympus hike to enjoy a Greek adventure like no other. Also called 'Home of the Gods', Mount Olympus is Greece's highest mountain at 2,919 metres. It is a symbol of Greek mythology and home to the 12 Olympian gods.
You start the non-technical hike from Litochoro, a quaint town approximately 1.5 hours from Thessaloniki and push on to the summit, also known as Mytikas, in two days.
The final ascent to Mytikas is more of a Class III scramble according to the Yosemite Decimal System, which means it involves exposed scrambling. But don't let that worry you, your guide will get to and fro safely.
This hike will take you through lush forests filled with diverse flora and fauna, and, along the way, take in sights like the Muses Plateau and recharge at the Spilios Agapitos Refuge tucked away in the embrace of the mountain.
Still, the biggest achievement will be standing at Mytikas Peak, the mythological seat of ancient Greek Gods!

2. Vikos-Aoös National Park

Located in the Epirus region of northwestern Greece, Vikos-Aoös National Park is a UNESCO Geopark and a good bucket-list hike for you. It was established in 1973 and spans an area of 12,600 hectares featuring the northwestern part of the Pindus Mountain Range, other mountainous terrain, numerous rivers, lakes, caves, and dense forests.
At its heart lies the Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world in proportion to its width that was carved by the Voidomatis River. The park also encompasses the Aoös Gorge and the towering peaks of Mt. Smolikas (2,637) and Mt Tymphe (2,497 m) to create a diverse and dramatic landscape for hiking.
With Skyhook, you can Hike & Raft Greece's Vikos-Aoös Circuit for seven days. You start your hike in the village of Zagori where you will climb the historic Vradeto steps and then visit the Beloi balcony for your first views of Vikos Gorge. The next day, you go from the village of Monodendri, cross the Vikos Gorge, and spend the night in the Papigko village. The following day, you'll reach the Drakolimni (Dragon Lake) and sleep in a refuge close to Mount Tymphe.
Samaria gorge

3. Samaria Gorge

Samaria Gorge is located in the White Mountains of Crete and is one of Europe's longest and most famous gorges. It stretches over 16 kilometres from the plateau of Omalos down to the Libyan Sea at Agia Roumeli.
You will travel through diverse landscapes, including forests, cliffs, and the narrowest part known as the "Iron Gates." This UNESCO tentative site is home to endemic flora and fauna.
The hike is considered challenging due to its length and the rocky terrain - however, it is achievable for the moderately fit individual. Most of the path is downhill, which can be taxing on the knees, with the walk typically taking 5-7 hours, depending on pace and stops. Using hiking poles and taking plenty of breaks helps reduce the impact of downhill trekking on the knees.
But, if you want an easy hike for beginners, you can book Skyhook's Hiking trip in Crete which takes you to the Samaria Gorge, White Mountains, and Loutro Bay.

4. Mt. Taygetos and Vyros Gorge

Hiking Mount Taygetos and Vyros Gorge is an adventure that takes you through some of the most rugged and beautiful landscapes of the Peloponnese in Greece.
Mount Taygetos stands tall at 2,405 metres and is known for its towering peak, Profitis Ilias, which offers breathtaking views and a challenging ascent for hikers.
The Vyros Gorge is located on the western slopes of Mount Taygetos and offers a look into the deep ravines carved by the Vyros River, with paths that go through ancient ruins and lush vegetation.
Besides impressive flora and fauna, this Greece trekking experience will expose you to remnants of the past, including ancient paths and monasteries, the refuge of Mount Taygetos, and the Profitis Ilias church on the mountain summit. When trekking the gorge, you'll come across natural springs and the Vyros River, which carves through the landscape.
Greece

5. Nea Kameni Island, Santorini

Nea Kameni is an uninhabited volcanic islet in the heart of Santorini's caldera. It is accessible by a short boat ride from Santorini, and the hike takes you through a lunar landscape, marked by sulphur fumes, active volcanic craters, and stunning views of the surrounding Aegean Sea and Santorini island​.
The islet peaks at 150 metres, making this a relatively easy hike that's suitable for families and hikers of all levels. The ascent takes between 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your pace. The trail provides an up-close look at the geological forces that have shaped Santorini. Plus, the island’s unique volcanic activity has also led to the formation of hot springs, known as "Zesta Nera," where you can take a dip in warm waters.
Quick Tips: if you want to take a dip in the 35°C green waters, remember to carry a dark-coloured swimsuit that you don't mind disposing of. The water can easily stain light fabrics, and leave a strong smell that's hard to remove.​ Also, it's best to bring food and drinks with you to this location - it's the perfect spot for a picnic!
hiking to summit of mount olympus
Hiking to the summit of Mount Olympus.

Conclusion

If you are a nature and history lover, and hiking is your best activity on earth, you definitely want to go to Greece one day. The country rewards you with a mix of easy to challenging climbs, and on each, you get to experience the country's rich history and beautiful landscapes and views.
You just need to pick a good time (Autumn or Spring) to go hiking on the mainland or any of the islands. If you are up for the toughest challenge, then you can hike the highest peak, Mount Olympus!

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