Countless kilometres of natural paths run across every slope and gorge of Greece, leading to villages, monuments, beaches, and other breath-taking destinations.
When thinking of Greece, the sun, sea, and its vast mythology are usually the first things to mind (alongside fantastic food that is). Greece however is also a hiking and trekking haven, where even the smallest islands hide within them scenic trails for you to discover. There are hundreds of routes that wind through lush forests and end at beautiful beaches, and divine paths that run alongside waterfalls, rivers, and gorges.
A dedicated My Greek Island podcast episode is also available on the podcast platform of your choice called "Top hiking trails in Greece". Click here to listen.
Take a look at some of the best hikes in Greece for you to try, both on mainland and on the islands, which have something for every level of hiker.
16km (10 miles), 6 hours
As you might expect, not all of Greece's best hikes are on the mainland. The islands are also an adventure playground, with some of the best hiking in Greece taking place on Crete. The Samaria Gorge trail, located outside of Chania in Crete's beautiful White Mountains National Park, is considered one of Crete's must-do experiences, so you'll rarely be alone. The trail is 13 to 16 kilometers long (8 to 10 miles) and allows you to explore the entire park while following the river. The path narrows to a few metres at the 'Sideroportes,' (which translates to 'Iron Gates,' and the gorge walls rise 500m high. Walking from the top of the gorge to the bottom can take approximately 6 hours, ending at Agia Roumeli beach where you can take a refreshing swim and catch the boat back to civilization.
Planning to trek the Samaria gorge and visit the region of Chania in Crete? See below the MGI 7 day proposed travel itinerary for visiting this region in the form of an e-book accompanied by an interactive map, designed to give you a brief taste touching on the best the region has to offer.
4km (3miles), 2-3 hours
If you are a history buff who enjoys hiking, the path to the ancient city of Vroukounda, which is located in the northernmost part of the island of Karpathos, is ideal for you. The over 2000-year-old path that leads to Vroukounda begins in the village of Avlona and takes a few hours of trekking to reach. Built on a low-lying cape in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, Vroukounda is a walled city. Once there, carved Hellenistic burial chambers, city walls, building ruins, early Christian basilicas, and the church of Ai Yiannis Vroukunditis (which is built in a cave) can still be seen. If your ancient Greek is up to par, there’s even an ancient inscription carved into a rock that expresses gratitude to Minokritos, the son of Mitrodorus of Samios, for his work as a physician in Vroukounda. As a show of appreciation, Minokritos is granted permission to participate in the Vroukoundians' festivities, and although this sounds odd, festivals held in northern Karpathos are only open to locals, with tourists only permitted to observe but not to participate.
At the end of the hike, you'll find yourself alone in in a secluded paradise surrounded by beautiful scenery.
The Corfu Trail
220 km (136miles), 10-15 days
The Corfu Trail, on the island of Corfu, is one of the longer ones on this list, stretching 220 kilometres/136 miles and tracing the island's perimeter and rocky surrounding area. The natural habitat here is diverse, with beaches and dunes, plateaus, and gorges in the north. Pass through olive-tree lined hills to reach Mount Pantokrator, the highest point on the island from which you can see the entire island of Corfu as well as the coast of Albania.
Fira - Oia Trail
10km (6miles), 3-4 hours
Hiking with a view of the caldera creates an unforgettable experience for those who enjoy walking. The most well-known hiking trail on the island runs from Fira to Oia. It takes about 3hours, while having the Caldera by your side the entire time. Due to the size of the sea Caldera, the height at which the trail is located, and the magnificent volcanic formations, the trail winds along the coastline of the awe-inspiring caldera. The route begins in the northern part of Fira at Imerovigli where you can marvel at the fortress-topped Skaros Rock, then continues toward the Church of Saint Gerasimos in Firostefani where you can take in Fira's beauty. Continue north through paved alleyways and white-blue chapels while gazing at the vast blue of the Aegean until you reach the charming village of Oia.
Long Pelion Trail
168km (100miles), 4-9 days
The Pelion Peninsula is midway between Athens and Thessaloniki and is another fascinating hike that is suitable for hikers of all fitness levels and abilities. The old mule paths, or kalderimia, that once linked villages have been cleared and signposted, and now serve as scenic hiking routes. The trails begin in villages such as Kala Nera, Milies, and Tsagarada. As you progress, the scenery becomes postcard-perfect, aromatic with thyme, sage, and mountain tea, and sprinkled with old stone churches and the occasional silent ruin. This is a much more tranquil option than the Greek islands.
8km (5miles), 4-6 hours
The Meteora Monasteries, about a four-hour drive from Athens, sit atop remarkable rock formations created by a series of ancient earthquakes near the town of Kalampaka. You can trek around the area and visit the 6 open monasteries if you wish. There are dozens of paths of unique beauty between the rocks of Meteora and in the surrounding area, that are unmarked and waiting to be discovered.
75km (47 miles), 5-8 days
The Menalon Trail is a long-distance hiking route that connects the mountain villages of Stemnitsa and Lagkadia on the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece. It's a much more off-the-beaten-path route than most hiking in Greece, and the 75km route is not only mountainous but also full of canyons, massive natural plateaus, and bare peaks. The route is divided into eight sections, each varying in difficulty, to ensure that some of the routes are accessible to even novice hikers while remaining interesting to more experienced hikers. You'll pass through beautiful landscapes and picturesque ancient villages no matter where you walk along this route.
12km (7.5 miles), 6-7 hours
The Vikos-Aoos National Park in Zagori is situated in the centre of mainland Greece, in Epirus. It is a humble region of Greece that often goes unnoticed despite having some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. The Vikos gorge, which runs through the Zagorohoria villages, is 12 kilometres long and 900 meters deep. It is traversed by the Voidomatis river, which has turquoise crystal waters all year round. The nearly seven-hour hike begins south of Monodendri and heads north to the Papingo villages, but you can opt to turn around after 6 hours at the small village of Vikos (uphill route).
Mount Olympus is a mountain range with 46 peaks higher than 2,000 meters that is situated between Macedonia and Thessaly. Here you will find wild animals and plants, cold waters, natural waterfalls and natural springs. A normal climb up Mount Olympus takes two to three days, but there are a variety of routes that may be taken up and around the mountainside, which might keep a dedicated hiker or climber busy for weeks. The Two-Day Mytikas Climb is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a hiker. The route follows beautiful paths in the green environment of the mountain. Starting from Prionia at 1,000m and following the European Trail E4, you will reach the Spilios Agapitos shelter at 2,100m after about 3-4 hours. There you will enjoy the unobstructed view to Litochoro and the Aegean! The next morning at sunrise, you can continue following the sigmoid path E4 until you reach Triethnes at an altitude of 2,400m. At this point, the 3 main paths of Olympus separate.If you continue on the main path E4 up to Skala peak (2,866m) you will be able to enjoy an amazing view of the entire mountain. From there, depending on the prevailing weather conditions, you may follow either the stone path to Mytikas at 2,918m (climbing equipment will be required) or the path to Scolios at 2,911m, the second highest peak in Greece
50km (31miles), 1-2 days
The peninsula of Mount Athos is the easternmost of the three peninsulas of Halkidiki. Its slopes are overgrown with dense and untouched vegetation. Centuries-old trees, dense forests, steep cliffs and gurgling waters make up a truly special landscape. On the mountain there are many paths which vary in difficulty connecting the monasteries and the hermitages. Paths vary in degree of difficulty. For example, a relatively easy path is the one that connects the monasteries of Dochiario and Xenophon. It has no hills and there are signs all the way. On the contrary, a difficult path is Agia Anna - Athona peak, where it is advised you leave very early in the morning in order to be reach the peak at noon and have time to descend again by the afternoon. In choosing a route, you should take the weather conditions into consideration as it is best to opt for routes that have dense forests in August.
Unfortunately, time has stood still in more ways than one regarding Mount Athos. This space is entirely dedicated to prayer and the worship of God; as such, according to the Greek Orthodox church, the “avaton” applies, which basically means women are prohibited from visiting.
From unexplored coastline paths to mountain trails covering easy routes to tough treks, Greece has hiking trails for every level of fitness. Where will you go next??
Did you enjoy this post? If so, please leave a comment below and spread the love in the MGI community. And if you have a request for a specific post, feel free to get in touch!