Hiking in Greece is a popular activity and is it any wonder why! The entire country is a giant museum, with ancient archeological sites, medieval villages, modern monuments and stunning landscapes at every turn. Greece is also very mountainous which means it is full of valleys, gorges and waterfalls – a hiking paradise. It also has a very moderate Mediterranean climate with ideal outdoor conditions for much of the year.
This Guide to Hiking in Greece covers 30 of the best hiking routes on both the Mainland and the Greek Islands. It includes hikes that are very easy, difficult and somewhere in between and there are routes to takes that are suitable for all ages.
Mt Olympus is notably the highest mountain in Greece with an altitude of 2917m at its peak. It is situated in the north of the country, slightly southwest of the city of Thessaloniki, on the border of the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia.
The town of Litochoro is the closest village and the most common gateway to start your climb of Mt Olympus’s highest peak. For advanced hikers, it takes two days to reach the top, requiring an overnight stay at one of the mountain refuges.
A key highlight, other than the fact you will conquer Greece’s highest peak, is that you’ll get to visit the historical home of the most important Greek Gods. In Mythology Mt Olympus was home to the Greek Gods and Goddesses and the throne of Zeus. If you are into Greek Mythology this is one of the most important sites in the country.
This hike is not for the novice hiker, although an excellent challenge for those with a good level of fitness.
Moderate to difficult hiking rating.
Where to stay in Mt Olympus
2450 metres above sea level you can find Refuge Christaki, a couple of small rustic stone cottages that can sleep up to 30 people. This is the highest point that you can actually drive to on Mt Olympus and is a popular dropping off and pick up point.
There are also several good hotels at the base of the mountain. Most people stay in the town of Litchoro where Afroditi and Xenios Dias in town are both excellent or Ktima Faki in the foothills is worth checking out too.
The Grand Canyon of Greece or more formally known as Vikos Gorge is the Guinness World Records’ deepest gorge in terms of its relative width. It is located in the mountainous Epirus region in north-western Greece.
There are many variations and starting points to explore this gorge, however, the most common hike begins at Monodendri and ends at Vikos Village.
If taking this trail, it will take approximately seven hours to cover the 12 km distance.
During this hike, you’ll wander by dense forests, the Klima springs, rivers, and striking limestone rock formations.
Despite a low number of technical difficulties associated with this hike, it still retains a difficulty rating due to limited exit opportunities out of the gorge once entered.
Where to stay for the Vikos Gorge
Kipoi is a beautiful town and should not be missed. We love Hotel Machalas here or Rodia Boutique Hotel. At the other end of the Gorge people love the stunning Mikro Papigo 1700 Hotel and Spa as a well earned treat after the hike. Aberratio Boutique Hotel is also popular.
Meteora is an incredible UNESCO world heritage site consisting of six Greek orthodox monasteries built on the top of some extraordinary rock formations in Central Greece.
The site is located near the town of Kalabaka in the northwestern region of Thessaly.
Due to its central mainland location, it is not the most convenient site to get to. Visitors can travel by car to Meteora from Athens, taking approximately 4.5 hours, or take a slower regional train to Kalambaka.
For hikers, there are two common hikes -the long loop and the short loop. The varying lengths allow you to witness the marvellous and mythical beauty of the Meteora monasteries.
The Long Loop
There are over 100km of different hiking trails that weave in and out of this site and around remarkable rock formations. So, for hikers looking to get real acquainted with everything that Meteora has to offer in natural beauty and history, then the long loop hike should be on any hiker’s must-do list.
This hike starts close to the town of Kalambaka and loops through all the monasteries, returning to Kalambaka. It is approximately 16km in length and is dog friendly for those who like to bring their furry friends along on their hikes.
This hike has a moderate difficulty rating and requires a good level of fitness.
The Short Loop
For those hikers short on time, but still wanting to hike between a few of the more important Meteora Monasteries, then the short loop is a great option. This hike starts near the closer town of Kastraki and is 5.3km in length.
It weaves between some incredible rock formations to pass through the Holy Monastery of Megalo Meteoro and the Holy Monastery of Varlaam.
This trail is rated moderate in difficulty due to a few steep inclines and rugged terrain.
Athens is more than just the capital of Greece. For those who are yet to visit this important city in world history, then you are in for a treat. Especially if you want to hike some of its higher points by foot. This is one of the oldest cities in the world and home to more than 5 million people!
You could argue that just walking around the ancient centre is itself a hike, where it is very easy to clock up 10,000 steps without even realising it.
The time of year you choose to visit Athens may impact the difficulty and preparation of some popular hikes in the capital. Due to its location, the summer heat in Athens can be quite brutal for those who aren’t used to hot temperatures, especially in August.
This is something to consider if planning to visit Athens during the summer months and are wanting to hike up to the following two sites which are the most well known, although there are many others as well.
The Acropolis Hill
When visiting Athens, the Acropolis impossible to miss. Located right in the middle of the city on top of a hill, even from ground you can get a sense that the views it offers from the top will be nothing short of spectacular.
The route officially starts from Dionysus Zonars’ café parking lot and requires everyone to trek up a rocky path and series of stairs to reach the top. The complete loop including stairs and walking around the site is 1.8km.
The difficulty of this trek is generally easy for those in good health but can get more strenuous in the summer months. There are lots of stops along the way – the Odean of Herodes Atticus Theatre for example is about half way up. Most people don’t even realise they have ‘hiked’ The Acropolis!
Further reading: A Complete Guide to The Acropoplis
Another elevated site located just adjacent to the city is Mt Lycabettus, a hill sitting 277m above sea level and twice the height of Acropolis hill. The most common starting point is from Aristippou and takes approximately 90 minutes to walk up the circular path and final stairs.
At the top, you will find the church of Agios Georgios, as well as a café and restaurant offering panoramic views of the city. It is recommended to arrive at the top just before sunset to enjoy the most spectacular views of the city.
The hike up has an easy rating and is an enjoyable undertaking for beginner to advanced hikers alike.
Further reading: Where to stay in Athens
The Peloponnese Peninsula is the southernmost part of the Greek mainland. The easiest way to access the peninsular is by car from Athens, with the northernmost regional border approximately 89km from the capital. The region is full of incredible sites and beautiful towns and beaches and offers several breath-taking hikes ranging in difficulty and distance.
Hike to Mystras
Mystras is an archaeological site situated on top of a hill just outside the town of Sparti. The site is more commonly referred to as the “Wonder of Morea.” The site itself dates to 1249, and for visitors, offers beautiful medieval ruins that reflect the varying civilisations that had conquered it in the past.
The hike to the top, including exploration of the site itself and returning down to the adjacent village, is 6.2km. This hike is accessible all year round, but easiest between October and April.
Despite this, the rugged terrain that accompanies the trail up to the site makes it more on the moderate side and for those that are more confident on their feet.
Where to stay in Mystras
Lousios Gorge stretches from the town of Karytaina to the town of Dimitsana. It is in the western Arcadia region on the Peloponnese Peninsula. The hike is 14.6km and well-marked for hikers. Some highlights along this hike include passing by three monasteries built into the cliffs and an incredible waterfall.
The gorge itself is famous for being extremely narrow, shielded by dense forests and steep cliffs. The river that runs through the bottom is traditioned to take its name from the Greek God Zeus, a popular pull for those interested in Greek mythology.
Most of the hike is considered quite comfortable but in some parts more difficult due to stream crossings and is narrow in places. There are also limited routes out once entered adding to its difficulty rating.
Where to stay
This is perfect if you are looking for a greater hiking challenge in the area that includes some of the best sites in the central part of the Peloponnese Peninsula. The Menalon Trail is the first trail to be certified in Greece and should be on the bucket list of all avid hikers.
The trail begins in the small village of Stemnitsa and ends in the village of Laggadia. The trail is 75km and passes through the already mentioned Lousios Gorge, the western side of Mt Menalon, the Mylaon river valley and the Gortynian mountain range.
There are a total of eight sections that make up the trail and is considered a five-day hike for the more experienced hikers. The trail offers breath-taking scenery of the Arcadia region.
Each section has a varying rating of difficulty, but as with many multi-day trails, completing the whole thing makes it more of a difficult hike. In full, this hike is only operational between April and November.
Visit the Menalon Trail Office for more information.
Where to stay
See Lousios Gorge above
The Greek Islands
Hydra is one of Greece’s more cosmopolitan islands situated in the Aegean Sea between the Myrtoan Sea and the Argolic Gulf. It is easily accessible from Athens by taking a two-hour ferry from the mainland.
There are no cars on the island, making it the perfect destination for explorers. There are two common hiking routes on the island, the Mouth Eros Loop and the Limnioniza Walk.
Mount Eros Loop
The Mouth Eros loop is one of the more popular hiking trails on the island. It offers hikers stunning views of the Aegean Sea, especially from the peak of Mount Eros itself, standing at 588m.
This trail begins from the settlement of Hydra and spans a total of 20km, taking approximately six hours with small breaks. This hike is rated moderate to difficult depending on fitness level.
The best time to do this hike is between October and April as the summer heat can make this hike only possible for the most advanced hikers seeking an endurance hike.
If you want to walk right through the centre of Hydra, then the Limnioniza walk is the trail to do this. It is a 10.3km round trip starting from Hydra settlement consisting of slight inclines and declines the entire way.
The route is perfectly indicated by consistent signage. One of the top highlights of this trail is the beach you reach when you make it across the island. However, the descent down to the beach adds another layer of difficulty to the hike and should be taken with care. It is rated moderate overall.
Further reading: A Complete Guide to Hydra
Santorini needs no introduction and is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. The island attracts vast amounts of tourists yearly due to its unique, picturesque white and blue-capped villages and church domes sprawled along steep cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea.
The island itself is relatively small, spanning 18km in length and 12km in width. Despite its size, its rugged landscape offers several hikes that embrace its unique beach and mountain scenery.
Oia to Fira Hike (and the smaller Oia to Imerovigli section)
The stretch between the towns of Oia and Fira is perfect for all levels of hiking experience. Due to its accessibility and easy terrain, it is considered one of the best things to do in Santorini.
It is approximately 10km in length, taking about 3-5 hours and is conveniently paved with only some sections of cobblestone. For those wanting to scale the other direction, there is a shorter section that can be walked from Imerovigli to Oia that is 8.7km.
The hike itself scales the steep cliff tops along the coastline, offering several spots for unbeatable photos that are sure to make you the envy of all your friends and family.
Skaros Rock/Panagia Theoskepasti Hike
The short hike to Skaros Rock, which passes by the church of Panagia Theoskepasti can only be accessed from Imerovigli. The path itself leads you down a narrow path to an isolated viewpoint on the edge of a cliff face.
From Imerovigli, there are approximately 10 minutes of stairs going downhill to reach the official entry point next to the Church Agios Georgios. The loop itself is 1.4km in length. There are signs forbidding entrance to Skaros Rock on the other side of the church Panagia Theoskepasti but these are commonly ignored by everyone who visits.
However, the path itself is still considered to be dangerous and should be taken with caution. Not only will you have exquisite views of the surrounding islands from this point but be able to take stunning photos of Church Panagia Theoskepasti.
Kamari to Ancient Thera
The Kamari to Ancient Thera (Fira) hike is a back trail offering hikers unique scenery and viewpoints not commonly witnessed by general tourists to the island. The hike starts at Perissa, ascending to a small plateau along the side of Mesa Vouno Mountain.
The hike itself is 10.8km long and weaves through the ancient cemetery of Sellada with views of the settlements of Kamari and Perissa from both sides. The hike is openly exposed with little shade making it more moderate in difficulty.
Hiking in Santorini
Crete has the most to offer of all the Greek Islands when it comes to memorable and unique hiking adventures.
As the largest island in the Greek Archipelago, it offers its visitors a unique variety of different eco-systems that set it apart from the other islands.
There are two common points of access to the island by flight or ferry, Heraklion the capital in the northeast or Chania in the far west. The island itself is quite mountainous, with Mt Ida, the island’s highest peak standing at a height of 2,456m (8,058 feet).
What comes with this terrain is an abundance of stunning scenery to be explored including many breath-taking gorges, isolated beaches, and several panoramic viewpoints over the Mediterranean and the Libyan Sea.
A car is best to get around the island but public transport options are available, however limited. Here are five hikes that should be added to your bucket list if you choose to visit Crete.
The Samaria Gorge is a UNESCO biosphere reserve, located in the south-eastern part of the island, entwining through the White Mountain range. It is the second-largest canyon in Europe.
The scenery on this hike is quite stunning. You will walk through huge canyons, thick pine forests and past babbling creeks.
A key highlight of this gorge comes at a point known as “the Gates”, which is only 13 feet wide and nearly 1000 feet high – surely to impress all those that pass through this point.
The hike is 14.3km in length and starts at Omalos and end at the sea at Agia Roumeli.
It has a difficult hiking rating mainly due to limited points of exit and a steep descent.
Where to stay at the Samaria Gorge
Many hikers stay a night or two in the small town of Agia Roumeli at Artemis Studios or Hotel Agia Roumeli. Its a great spot for a swim and a cheap and cheerful and you can catch the ferry from there to the charming coastal villages of Loutro or Sougia.
Preveli Beach is a highly popular isolated beach, located in the south of the island. The beach itself is at the mouth of the Preveli gorge. There are two ways to access this beach.
The first is by starting at Megali Gefira Bridge and walking directly along the gorge for 7.6km to the endpoint of Prevail beach. The second option is to access the beach from the top of the cliff adjacent as there is a relatively steep path down.
It will cost you two euros to enter the carpark to reach the point of descent and will take approximately 20-30 minutes to make your way down. The beach is quite popular with tourists, despite its isolated location and has its very own taverna at the bottom and the famous Preveli Palm Forest.
Be aware, this beach and gorge can get extremely windy due to the gorge acting as a wind tunnel from the winds that blow in from the north side of the island.
Where to stay at Preveli Beach
There is very little accommodation at Preveli Beach itself, no doubt a big part of its appeal. The Preveli Tavern have rooms to rent which is very popular and inexpensive.
The hike to the Gouverneto Monastery is an 8km one-way, moderate trail starting just near the village of Chordaki, near Chania. The trail is quite hilly and offers hikers the chance to see native Cretan wildlife, caves, and beaches, as well as breathtaking views of Chania and its surroundings.
If you are looking at entering the monastery itself, there are specific clothing requirements that need to be considered.
Another stunning gorge to trek, Richtis gorge is a 9km up and back hike starting at the village of Exo Mouliana in the northeast part of Crete. Although this hike has a moderate difficulty rating, part of it can be quite challenging for lesser experienced hikers as it requires some climbing.
Some key highlights that will be seen on this hike are old watermills, dense vegetation and a beautiful waterfall.
Where to stay at Richtis Gorge
Most people who hike the Richtis Gorge stay at the small coast town of Mochlos where Hotel Mochlos is a good choice. Others do it as a day trip from Sitia or Agios Nikolaos or even stay in upmarket Elounda.
The Imbros Gorge entrance is in the small village of Imbros, located centrally south between Chania and Rethymon, and heads towards the south of the island. The hike associated with this gorge is considered much easier than the one at Samaria Gorge, just west of here.
It is 11km in length but has equally dramatic widths to navigate through, the narrowest point of the gorge only 1.6m apart. A key highlight that will be seen along this hike is the beautiful stone arch Xepitira.
Paras is part of the Cyclades Island group located in the central Aegean Sea. The island is only accessible by flight from Athens or through various ferry routes from the mainland and surrounding islands.
A relatively small island, it can be driven around in less than an hour. Due to its small size, there are two common hikes available to do on the island.
The Byzantine Road is the oldest trail on the island, dating back to 1000AD and starts from the village of Lefkes and ends in Prodromos. The hike covers 6km and heads from east to west.
During the walk, hikers will get to experience native Greek flora, stroll past olive groves and have stunning views of the surrounding sea, mountains, and villages. The trail itself can get busy due to its easy terrain.
Another popular hiking option on the island is the Paros Park hike. Starting from the small village of Naoussa, the loop hike covers 6.3km in total around the northern peninsular and is accessible to all skill levels.
This hike is catered to those who like to get away from all kinds of human intervention and be one with a stunning island landscape.
Just west of Paros is the biggest Cyclades Island of Naxos. To get to this island requires direct ferries from other surrounding Greek Islands, the easiest and most frequent connection from the famous island of Mykonos. Otherwise, there are direct flights from Athens.
Naxos offers hikers several choices of hikes that visit the numerous archaeological sites, famous white sandy beaches, and a unique chance to try high-quality local produce. Here are two popular hikes that can be done on the island.
For those interested in combining their love of Greek Mythology and hiking, then there’s no better hike to do than the one to Zeus Cave or more formally known as the Cave of Zas. This cave is claimed as one of the alleged birthplaces of the God, Zeus.
The hike begins at Filoti village and covers a distance of 7.9km up Mt Zas. The highest point reached on this hike is 600m and can get quite windy. The trek up to the cave is considered quite difficult and can take two hours.
Mount Zas Trail
For those more interested in far-reaching panoramic views, another popular trail that also begins from the central town of Filoti is the dedicated trail that scales Mount Zas to its peak.
This trail is much shorter at only 5.3km and gains an elevation of 396m. This hike is considered easier than the hike to Zeus cave, but still just as impressive in what it offers hikers.
Another lesser-known island in the Cyclades region is the island of Sifnos. As there is no airport on the island, it is only accessible by ferry and is equally as stunning as any other island in the Greek Archipelago.
Spanning 15km in length and 7.5km wide, it is a great destination to explore on foot. The main port is in Kamares in the northeast and there are literally only 10 taxis on the island.
Platis Yialos to Fikiada Loop
This is the longest circular hike you can do on the south of the island starting at Platis Yialos and passing through Profitis Ilias Kontou and Fikiada. The loop is around 11km long and takes approximately 4.5 hours to do.
During this hike, hikers will experience fantastic views of Fikiada beach and Vathi Bay. It is considered an easy hike with only small sections a tad more difficult.
Prophet Ilias Trail
This trail is ideal for those who like to conquer the highest peaks of any given place. In the case of the island of Sifnos, its highest peak not only holds stunning views but is where the holy Profitis Ilias monastery stands at an elevation of 695m.
The hike starts from the village of Apolonia and when at the top, hikers will be able to see the whole island, the surrounding sea, and all nearby islands.
The total distance that will be covered is 6.4km and takes about 2.5 hours. Overall, it’s quite moderate in difficulty.
Further Reading: A Complete Guide to Sifnos
Another spectacular volcanic island located in the Cyclades Island region is Milos. Easily accessible by ferry from the mainland, it was made famous as the discovery place of the life-size Aphrodite statue now located at the Louvre in Paris.
A small island that only spans 23km from east to west, its size shouldn’t deter hikers from exploring some of the most stunning natural landscape that Greece has to offer. Here is the most popular hike offered on the island.
Kleftiko Caves Lookout
The most popular hike on the island is to hike out to the Kleftiko Cave lookout. A short hike in comparison to many hikes listed here, it is 4.7km to and from the starting point of Milos village.
The hike leads to the stunning Kleftikos bay, one of the most iconic places in all of Greece. Overall, the hike is considered quite moderate in difficulty.
The island of Corfu is one of the more popular Greek Islands located in the Ionian Sea. Easily accessible from numerous airports throughout Europe, it’s a prime destination for those looking for an easy access Greek island hiking trip getaway.
Due to the size of the island, there are numerous transport options available, but the easiest option for hikers to access some of Corfu’s best trails would be to hire a car.
Cape Drastis Loop
For those looking to really experience the beauty of the Corfu landscape, the Cape Drastis Loop hike is sure to deliver. The hike starts at the settlement of Peroulades situated on the northwestern cape of the island.
The hike consists of 6.9km of stunning countryside and views of the Ionian turquoise waters. Hikers will get to walk through olive groves and small forests to reach Cape Drastis and loop back around to Peroulades. The hike is great for all levels of hikers.
Where to stay near Cape Drastis
Erimitis Beach Hike
For hikers interested in walking the north-eastern headland of the island, the Erimistis beach hike makes this adventure an easy and enjoyable feat. The hike starts from the small village of Agios Stefanos in Sinies and ends at the magnificent Avlaki beach.
During this hike, hikers will follow the Erimitis path passing by three stunning lakes and several secluded beaches. The distance covered is approximately 6.8km from point to point and should only take 1.5 hours to do.
Where to stay for Erimitis
This is a rugged part of Corfu with verdant green pine forests covering the many hills right down to numerous small, secluded beaches. The main town people stay in is Agios Stephanos which has a lovely small fishing harbour and a couple of excellent tavernas.
Floros Apartments are on the hill and are a short stroll to the waterfront. Great views and amenities.
Kefalonia is another lesser-known island located just west of the Greek mainland and offers exclusive hiking experiences to hikers. The easiest way to access this island is by ferry from the port of Patra, three hours south of Athens.
The most common hike is to climb Mount Ainos. Standing at 1,628m, the peak of Megas Soros offers unbeatable views of Kefalonia island, the other surrounding Ionian islands, and the Peloponnese coastline on the mainland.
This hike has a low to moderate difficulty rating and can take anywhere from 2.5-3.5 hours to complete.
Zakynthos (aka Zante), another famous island in the Ionian Island region is best known for the iconic viewpoint of Laganas Bay seen in all tourism ads promoting the island. One way to see this stunning bay is through the hike up Skopos Hill.
The hike up Skopos Hill is a 12.7km back trail near the village of Agrassi in the northeast part of Laganas Gulf. The hike itself is quite strenuous and takes approximately four hours to do. However, once at the top, you will have the best view of Zakynthos and the surrounding Ionian Sea.
Further Reading : Where to stay on Zakynthos