Travelers who want to get off the beaten tourist path may want to think about exploring some of Greece’s wonderful trailheads. About 80 percent of the country is covered with hills and mountains, making it one of the primary destinations for both hiking and trekking. Even on the islands, tourists can find inspiring trails that lead to breathtaking views and give a unique perspective on the area. Many of these trails date back to ancient times, from the paths created by shepherds and monks to kalderimia, flagstone or cobbled paths that date back to the Byzantine Empire. Some of the top trails in Greece include the following:
The highest peak in all of Greece, Mount Olympus was known as the home of the gods. Today, the mountain has transformed into a hiker’s paradise with a wide variety of different plants and birds. Mount Olympus officially became the first national park in Greece back in 1938; it features more than 160 kilometers of trails leading to several breathtaking vistas, as well as some refuges that hikers can take advantage of during multi-day treks. For travelers who enjoy exploring mountains, this destination is a must.
Another great option for people who want to explore the natural beauty of Greece, Pelion is a peninsula found about halfway between Athens and Thessaloniki. Green and lush, Pelion is home to miles of ancient kalderimia connecting various villages. Helpfully, all of the paths have been signposted to help people travel easily by foot between the different destinations.
These paths offer scenic hikes with trails starting from several major villages, including Kala Nera, Tsagarada, and Milies. Greek mythology holds that this area was once home to centaurs, beasts with both human and horse features. While hikers are not likely to encounter centaurs, they will find monasteries, churches, and placid water springs, as well as diverse fauna.
About 75 kilometers in length, the Menalon Trail is a mountain path that runs through Gortynia, at the heart of the Peloponnese. This trail is a bit of a challenge since it moves across rugged mountains and deep canyons, but hikers will also come across charming villages like Nymfasia, Dimitsana, and Elati.
The trail is divided into eight sections that vary in length and difficulty, so hikers of all skill levels will be able to find a path that suits them.
Epirus remains one of the lesser-explored parts of Greece, but hikers will find one of the most exciting destinations in the whole country here, as well as some of the most scenic views. Visitors should head to the Vikos Aoos National Park, located in Zagori, to hike the Vikos Gorge, which the Guinness Book of Records cites as the deepest gorge in the world.
Hiking along this incredible gorge will prove to be an unforgettable experience. Individuals should also make time to visit some of the picturesque villages in the region to get a taste of local culture. Furthermore, the surrounding Pindos Mountains have some worthy trails with excellent views of the range’s nearby lakes and 2,000-meter-high peaks.
This island is perhaps best known for its food, which visitors can enjoy after hiking along its more than 200 kilometers of trails. Along the island are several ancient trail networks that take hikers past landmark buildings and stunning sea vistas. In total, Sifnos has 19 well-marked trails that individuals can use to explore the island and work up an appetite.
One of the more unique hiking experiences that individuals can have in Greece remains Mount Athos in the east of the Halkidiki Peninsula. In Greek, this mountain is also called Agio Oros (Holy Mountain) as it is home to 20 different monasteries. The mountain range has a distinctly peaceful atmosphere and its beauty is simply stunning.
Because the area is a bit secluded, it is best attempted by seasoned hikers, although the paths do vary in length and difficulty, so those who are less experienced will still have options. Hikers will encounter a wide variety of different animals and flora. However, due to religious reasons, women and young children are not permitted to visit.
The attraction of Nisyros, an island between Kos and Tilos, is the fact that it is a volcano! Along the edge of the island are several whitewashed villages with accommodations for guests. From these villages, individuals can hike upward toward the volcanic crater. They can also find some natural pools scattered around the island in which to cool off during their hike. Additionally, the hike is possible to do as a day trip when staying on the nearby island of Kos.