greece adventure
Man on Mt. Olympus (Credit: George Parlantzas on Pixabay)

Dive into a world of Greek adventure with these 10 outdoor activities

Hiking, Sailing, Kayaking, Scuba diving, River-trekking, Rock-climbing, Snow skiing, Marathon Race, Mountain biking, Horseback riding

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With its mild Mediterranean climate, a coastline of about 16,000 km and  incredibly diverse landscape Greece is fast becoming a go-to destination for thrill-seekers who go beyond the “sea, sun, culture” holiday scheme.

A wider crowd of visitors have come to discover that Greece offers many opportunities for an action-packed adventure. From sailing and scuba diving in the Cyclades or the Ionian to hiking in Mt Olympus, Meteora or Pindos, from exploring the pristine gorges of Crete or Epirus to rock climbing in the island of Kalymnos, Greece can satisfy every adventure on your bucket list.

A plethora of activities such as mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding even snow skiing are waiting for you. Step away from the tourist crowds and add a bit of adventure to your next Greek getaway!

Top 10 outdoor adventures in Greece

Hiking

Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in all of Greece (2918m), where the famous Ancient Greek Gods were all said to live, is one of the best hikes in the country. Pindos in Epirus features the Vikos Gorge and stone villages of Zagori. In Meteora, there are 16kms of walking trails leading to the famous centuries-old monasteries. The Menalon, in the Peloponnes offer hikers impressive paths. Crete is home to the spectacular White Mountains and Samaria Gorge is a must-do hike. Mount Pelion in Thessaly with its rich landscape of forests, streams and waterfalls is truly beautiful.

Sailing

Thousands of islands, with varying fascinating landscapes, surrounded by crystal waters and the country’s marine tradition make Greece the ideal sailing destination. The Ionian, Sporades, Cyclades, and Dodecanese Islands offers all the pleasure a sailor might seek in summer holidays. Each of these regions offers its own highlights and attractions. For the seasoned sailor, the “meltemia”, the prevailing north winds that blow every summer from about 5 to 7 Beaufort from May to September in the Aegean, a phenomenon known since antiquity, can be a sheer delight, as it means there is some serious sailing to be enjoyed.

Kayaking

Grab your paddle and exploring the 11th longest coastline in the world. The sea in Lefkada, Kefalonia, Rhodes, Santorini, Evia, Sounio, Small Cyclades is suitable for kayaking and the conditions are ideal. The rivers Voidomatis, Arcoudorema, Aoos, Arachthos, Acheron, Kalaritikos, Acheelos, Langafzas, Erymanthos, Nestos and there’s much more to paddle in Greece which offers several rivers in all grades.

Scuba diving

The underwater paradise is featuring caves, reefs, shipwrecks, sculpted rock formations and spectacular marine life. Dive in Zakynthos for its sea turtles, in Alonissos, home to the country’s first undersea archaeological park, in Santorini for an underwater landscape configured by centuries of volcanic activity, in Leros for World War II shipwrecks. Other islands offering exquisite diving are Amorgos, Mykonos, Naxos, Lesvos, Crete, Zakynthos and Corfu in the Ionian Sea, Thasos, Pavlopetri in Peloponnese. The peninsula of Halkidiki is also great.

River-trekking

There are more than 2,500 km of rivers in the country, Awe-inspiring is the only way to describe Voidomatis River in Epirus, Pantavrexi Waterfalls in Evritania, Neda River in Peloponnese, Geropotamos Gorge in Central Macedonia, Korinthos and Kompsatos in Xanthi. River trekking excursions in Greece are usually organized between May and October, because this is when the weather is milder. Embark on a truly unique adventure!

Rock climbing

There is excellent climbing potential all over Greece. There are around 2,000 sport climbing routes in Athens (Parnitha, Penteli and Hymmetus mountains). Agiofarago in Crete, Varasova in Western Greece, Leonidio in Peloponnese and the imposing Meteora in Thessaly are also good options. But the “mecca” for sport climbers is the mountainous Dodecanese island of Kalymnos. It attracts climbers from every corner of the world as it boasts dozens of excellent climbing sites and the weather makes year-round climbing possible thanks to its dry climate. Strap on your gear and climb one of the hundreds of routes. The easily accessible routes accommodate different levels and styles, from adrenaline seekers to more-cautious beginners.

Snow skiing

For those interested in winter sports, it will be great to learn that Greece has some of the best and most picturesque ski resorts in the Balkans and is considered by connoisseurs as an excellent winter vacation destination. Parnassos Snow Center and Kalavryta Ski Center are the two closest to Athens. Pelion near the city of Volos offers, one-of-a-kind views of the nearby Aegean. In central Macedonia region there is Kaimakatsalan, home to the first Speed Trap of the country. Tria Pente pigadia in Naousa, Seli in Veroia, Vasilitsa in Grevena, Elatochori on Mount Olympus should also be under your radar if a skiing escape is in your plans this winter.

Marathon Race

The Athens Classic Marathon is an annual marathon road race held in Athens every November attracting thousands of long-distance runners from around the world. It is inspired by the Ancient Greek legend of Pheidippides, a messenger who is said to have run from Marathon to Athens to bring news of the Greek victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. The 42.195 kilometre (26.2 mile) race concludes in the magnificent Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympic Games.

Mountain Biking

From the ancient olive groves to the rugged mountain paths, an unforgettable journey through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country awaits. Moutainous Arcadia in Peloponnese with its picture-perfect villages Vytina, Dimitsana and Stemnitsa, Lake Plastira in Thessaly, Lake Aoos next to Valia Kalda, in northern Greece, Asopos Canal north of Athens, are just some of the places where nature takes centre stage. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time rider, grab your helmet and go for an exciting ride.

Horseback riding

Try a unique horseback riding experience, where you experience the beauty of nature, surrounded by beautiful and gentle animals. Immersing yourself in diverse landscapes. There are horse riding centers scattered across the country that offer riding courses and horse riding tours. One of the most popular places to go horseback riding is Crete, where you can ride on the Lasiithi Trail that takes you from coast to coast through the mountains.