trekking greece
Pelion, Magnesia, Thessaly, Greece (Credit: Pelion Villas)

Great places for incredible trekking in Greece

Love hiking through nature? Check out Mt Pelion, Pindos Mountains, Peloponnese, Crete, Mt Olympus

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Millions of tourists travel to Greece to connect with its history and culture but many of them don’t know that the country has excellent trekking opportunities. More than 300 mountains, dramatic gorges, luscious forests, breathtaking trails through waterfalls, lakes, rivers, coastline, you name it, Greece has everything you could want for a great trek. The longest trekking trail in Greece is the European E4 that starts from Tarifa, Spain and ends in Larnaca, Cyprus. In Greece, the trail covers approximately 1,200 kilometers and crosses through the country’s diverse landscapes. Whether you are on the mainland or the islands, there are well-maintained routes for hikers of all fitness levels from couch potatoes to marathon runners. Regardless whether you go for a guided or a self-guided trek, it is a very rewarding experience. Below we have prepared a list with five of the most popular trekking destinations in the country.

Mt. Pelion

The thickly wooded mountain in Thessaly, with its two coastlines was the summer residence of the gods of Olympus. According to Greek mythology, it was also the land of the Centaurs (half-horse and half-human creatures). Pelion today is home to 24 picturesque mountain and seaside villages. It boasts a landscape of forests, streams, caves and waterfalls fit for gods. You can enjoy it all with dozens of well-maintained hiking paths found right across the peninsula. The so-called Centaurs’ Path is a beautiful hike with creeks and little wooden bridges .The scenery is breathtaking. According to local legend, this path was used by the Centaurs, to travel to eastern Pelion. Other famous routes are: Tsagarada-Damouchari-Ai Giannis, Kissos-Mouresi-Ai Giannis and the Waterfall Trail.

Pindos Mountains

trekking Greece
Vikos Gorge, Pindus Mountain, Greece (Credit: Onno Zweers, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Often referred to as the “spine of Greece” as it runs north to south, the Pindus Mountain range is ideal for your trekking experience. The range (approximately 160km in length) is characterized by deep canyons and valleys. Natural highlights include the Vikos gorge (listed as the world’s deepest in the Guinness Book of Records), jagged limestone peaks, alpine lakes. Valia Calda, nestled among towering mountains such as Egg, Mavrovouni, Myllia, and Pyrosteia with peaks exceeding 2,000 meters, is also in Pindus and is renowned for its natural beauty. Discover centuries-old villages, stone bridges, Byzantine monasteries and spot unique wildlife and endemic flora and fauna as you walk.

Peloponnese

Menalon Trail, Peloponnese, Greece (Credit: https://menalontrail.eu)

The Menalon Trail extends to a length of 75km and is the first trail in Greece certified by the ERA (European Ramblers Association). The long-distance hiking route passes through the villages of Stemnitsa, Dimitsana, Zygovisti, Elati, Bytina, Nymphasia, Magouliana, Valtesiniko, Lagkadia, in Arcadia, on the Peloponnese peninsula. The route is not only mountainous covered by fir forest but also full of continuous valleys, spectacular gorges with old watermills, huge natural plateaus, bare peaks, historical monasteries and chapels.

Crete

Samaria Gorge, Crete, Greece (Credit: Lapplaender, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons)

Boasting a mountain range that runs from the east to west side of the island, Crete is the destination for memorable hikes and multi-day treks, combining stunning nature, fascinating history, and mouthwatering food. The trip along the Samaria Gorge, which cuts through the rugged White Mountains of Crete, is the most famous and may become your once-in-a-lifetime experience. The trail starts at the top of the gorge, taking visitors past towering cliffs, sweeping views, and uniquely Cretan flora and fauna, eventually ending at the seaside village of Agia Roumeli on the southern coast of Crete at the Libyan Sea. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 7h to complete. The trail is normally open from May 1st through October 30th, depending on weather.

Mount Olympus

Mount Olympus, Greece (Credit: Trekking Hellas.gr)

Last but not last, is Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece and the most famous due to its mythological significance. The home of the 12 Olympian Gods, has a plateau at around 2700 meters and 3 peaks higher than 2900 meters: Stefani (2909 m), Skolio (2911 m) and Mytikas (2918 m), with Stefani being the least accessible. A vast network of hiking trails, easy to follow and doable for most fit hikers, lead to the highest summits in the country. The trail itself is not very technical, unless you plan to climb the mighty Mytikas where you will be facing scrambling over loose rocks.

Since Greece has a Mediterranean climate (generally mild year-round), you could visit the country any season. Winter tourists will enjoy a less crowded hiking experience. However, some resorts and attractions may be closed and you might find reduced transportation schedules. Make sure you check before you go.