Hiking in Greece is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the very best of Greece’s natural scenery. This beautiful Mediterranean paradise is synonymous with the idea of relaxing on idyllic islands, and exploring fascinating archaeological sites. However, Greece is also a perfect travel destination for those that love trekking and immersing themselves in “the great outdoors”.
- 1 Where to Go Hiking in Greece
- 2 Hiking in Greece: The Best Routes to Consider
- 2.1 The Ursa Trail, Metsovo
- 2.2 The Corfu Trail, Corfu (Kerkyra)
- 2.3 The Menlon Trail, Peloponnese
- 2.4 Fira to Oia, Santorini
- 2.5 Mt Pelion Hiking Trail, Volos
- 2.6 The E-4 Trail From Kissamos to Zakro
- 2.7 Samaria Gorge, Crete
- 2.8 The Rouvas Gorge, Crete
- 2.9 Kassandra Hiking Trail, Halkidiki
- 2.10 Vikos Gorge, Zagorohoria
- 2.11 Sithonia Hiking Trails, Halkidiki
- 2.12 Kaisariani Monastery
- 2.13 Mount Parnitha
- 2.14 Lake Marathon Hike
- 2.15 Hora Sfakion, Crete
- 2.16 Mount Olympus Hiking Trails
- 3 When to go Hiking in Greece
Where to Go Hiking in Greece
There are hundreds of incredible places to go hiking in Greece. Mountains make up more than 80% of the country’s landscape.
From the Thessaly region of Northern Greece, to the rugged Peloponnese, and down to the Cycladic islands, you will be spoilt for choice when choosing where to go hiking in Greece. An increasing number of people are choosing Greece for their hiking vacations. However, the scenic trails here still see just a fraction of the tourists seen by other popular European trekking routes such as the Camino.
Hiking in Greece: The Best Routes to Consider
Among the countless hikes in Greece available, there are those that stand out among the crowd. You can find information on some of the most breathtaking trails below. There are options here for all ages, experience and fitness levels.
Some of the hikes contained in this guide are long, multi-day trips. However, many of the routes can be conquered in one day or even half a day.
This guide is fairly comprehensive. Feel free to use the Table of Contents to skip forward to the relevant sections.
The Ursa Trail, Metsovo
Metsovo is nestled high in the Pindus Mountains. The town is a popular romantic getaway destination for Greeks. However, Metsovo is relatively unknown to international tourists.
The culture of Metsovo is unique, and quite unlike that which you find elsewhere in Greece. This is because Metosovo is a Vlach settlement.
You can spend a couple of days exploring Metsovo, its various woodland monasteries and mountain vineyards, and then embark on the Ursa trail. This is widely regarded as one of the very best treks in Europe.
The well sign-posted route leads you to the town of Karakoli. Waymarkers for the Ursa trail exist in the form of signs displaying bear’s paw prints. The route starts from the central square of Metsovo.
The trail leads you past dense forests, rolling hills, fragrant meadows, and abandoned monasteries. Look out for the monastery of Agios Nikolaos along your way.
This unique stone monastery is nestled in the woodland just outside of Metsovo. It dates back to the 14th century and its appearance resembles a sheepfold. If you are lucky enough to find one of the resident monks outside, they may allow you to enter and view the beautiful frescoes.
The Corfu Trail, Corfu (Kerkyra)
The Corfu Trail was formed in 2001. It was created to form a link across some of the island’s already established paths and tracks. It is one of the longest and most challenging routes for hiking in Greece.
Officially, the trail is approximately 140 km long. However, hikers have been known to take detours and cover an extended distance.
Alternatively, it is possible to conquer shorter sections of the trail. This can be a perfect option for day-trippers that don’t want to commit to days and weeks of hiking.
Throughout its length, the Corfu Trail meanders past secluded stretches of pebble beaches and whitewashed monasteries from Kavos in the south to Agios Spyridon in the north. The majority of Corfu’s best attractions are concentrated in the northern part of the island. You can catch glimpses of the cobbled streets of Corfu old town from many vantage points along the route.
The Corfu Trail is well marked with large yellow metal plates placed at strategic locations. The plates bear the letters CT, making it easy to distinguish where you need to go.
The walk takes about ten days to complete, and offers a magnificent trip over some of the most beautiful areas of the Greek island of Corfu. There are ample opportunities to experience a piece of island life and go for refreshing swims in the Mediterranean Sea.
You have the option to stay in quaint, homely guest houses in traditional villages along the way. What better way to experience traditional life away from the crowds during your Greece travel itinerary?
The Menlon Trail, Peloponnese
The Menalon trail in the Arcadia region of the Peloponnese, lies just 200 km from the Greek capital Athens, and 110 km from the nearest airport, Kalamata.The entire approach to the trail passes through quaint towns and villages and is an easy drive all the way. The two nearby ports of Piraeus and Patras also provide an alternative to those arriving by sea.
There are eight sections of the Menalon trail extending from the villages of Stemnitsa to Lagadia, with a total route length of 75 km.Hikers can opt to cover all the sections over multi days or go on shorter treks, all depending on their level of fitness.
It is preferable to organise this hike in Greece between the months of April to November. The best companion is the hiking app Menalon Trail Topoguide. This app is available for both Android and iOS devices. Trek options are described below.
Stemnitsa to Dimitsana Lousios Gorge
- Distance: 12.5 km
- Time : 5 hours
- Grade: Moderate (only one strenuous part at ‘skala’ staircase)
Dimitsana to Zygovitsi
- Distance: 4.2 km
- Time: 2 hours
- Grade: Easy
Zygovitsi to Elati
- Distance: 14.9 km
- Time: 5 hours
- Grade: Moderate (steep inclines)
Elati to Vytina
- Distance: 8.5 km
- Time: 2.5 hours
- Grade: Easy (best for families and small children)
Vytina to Nymfasia
- Distance: 5.6 km
- Time: 2 hours
- Grade: Easy
Nymfasia to Magouliana
- Distance: 8.9 km
- Time: 3.5 hours
- Grade: Moderate
Magouliana to Valtesiniko
- Distance: 6.6 km
- Time: 2.5 hours
- Grade: Easy
Valtesiniko to Lagadia
- Distance: 13.9 km
- Time : 5 hours
- Grade: Moderate
Fira to Oia, Santorini
(10km, 2-3 hours)
There are countless hiking trails on the Greek islands. Some destinations in the Cyclades, such as Tinos, Kea, and Folegandros offer more hiking and nature than anything else.
One especially popular and breathtaking hiking trail to incorporate into your Greece island hopping itinerary is the route that leads from Fira to Oia (and vice versa) in Santorini.
The route leads you through ethereal volcanic landscapes that look like something from another planet entirely. The quaint Santorini villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli are stunning places that you will pass through along the route.
Consider conquering this hike in the late afternoon when the temperatures are cooler. You will then be able to capture some incredible photos at the golden hour. Not to mention, you will have the chance to catch a world-famous Santorini sunset.
Mt Pelion Hiking Trail, Volos
(Various hikes/8 days)
Mount Pelion is one of the prettiest mountains in Greece. It sits on the peninsula between the Aegean Sea and the Pagasetic Gulf, roughly 300 km away from Athens.
Hiking in Greece is becoming increasingly popular, especially on the forested slopes of this mountain. There are many marked paths to choose from here, conforming to all grades of capability.
Mount Pelion is densely forested. It soars over the town of Volos, dominating the scenery of Eastern Greece.
Attempting the Pelion hiking trail in Greece offers a grand opportunity to see mountain villages and secluded beaches. Here, you can walk and swim at your own pace in the Land of the Centaurs. A suggested itinerary is placed below.
Pelion Chania to Kissos
- Distance: 8 km
- Time: 3 hours
- Grade: Medium
Kissos to Agios Ioannis
- Distance: 2.5 km
- Time: One hour
- Grade: Easy
Kissos to Mouresi
- Distance: 3 km
- Time: 1.5 hours
- Grade: Medium
Mouresi to Agios Ioannis
- Distance: 2.6 km
- Time: One hour
- Grade: Easy
Agios Ioannis to Fakistra
- Distance: 4 km
- Time: 1.5 hours
- Grade: Medium
Tsagarada to Damouchari
- Distance: 4 km
- Time: 1.5 hours
- Grade: Easy
Milies to Tsagarada
- Distance: 10 km
- Time: 4 hours
- Grade: Medium
The E-4 Trail From Kissamos to Zakro
(320km/3 to 4 weeks)
The scenic E4 European Long Distance Path offers plenty of opportunities for both gentle walkers as well as experienced hikers. You can opt to hike the whole trail, or just a few sections of it. While the entire trail is over 10,000 km in length, the part passing through Greece is 320 km long, beginning from Kissamos in the west and ending at Kato Zakros in the east.
Different sections of the E4 walk have different levels of difficulty. Some areas have smooth roads, whereas other sections require trekking over narrow dirt paths in rugged terrain over gorges and mountains.
There are many sections that are unmarked, so asking for directions from the locals is important. The path traverses some of the finest landscapes of Crete and has put hiking in Greece firmly on the world map.
The path begins from Kissamos, through Elafonisi, Paleochora and onwards to Sougia. Here the road splits in two directions, offering hikers two options.
You can choose to take the tough alpine route through the Lefka Ori mountains or the coastal path to Agia Roumeli and further to Chora Sfakion. The two branches meet again at Nida and head towards the Heraklion prefecture. West of Heraklion lies the village of Zaros. Move further to Ano Asites, Ano Archanes, Psychron,Alm Salakano and finally through the Valley of the Dead to Zakros.
Samaria Gorge, Crete
The peak of Gingilos is the most popular hike in this part of Crete. However, there are other, equally beautiful alternatives.
One off-the-beaten-path option is to hike from the Samaria Gorge entrance up to the white mountains and the Katsiveli shelter. The route commences at the plateau of Omalos, home to the quaint village of the same name. Omalos marks one of two entry points into the Samaria Gorge.
Starting the Samaria Gorge Hike
Surrounded by lush green forests and the towering peaks of the white mountains (Levka Ori), Omalos is arguably one of the most beautiful spots in Crete’s Chania region. You can rest in one of the old stone guest houses here before embarking on the hike to Katsiveli.
The specific point at which to join the hiking trail is Xiloskalo, Omalos. Thousands of avid hikers set off from here every year and so it is easy to hitch a ride or have a guesthouse owner drop you at the entrance.
Xiloskaloto to Katsiveli
From Xiloskalo, the trail ascends past Kallergi, up to the Melindaou peak, and ends at Katsiveli. The limestone peak of Melindaou (1500m) is one of the most remote peaks in the area and offers breathtaking views over the Samaria gorge. The trail to this point takes approximately four hours and can be the final point for those looking for a shorter day hike.
From Melindaou, those eager to continue can venture on to Katsiveli. Upon arrival at Katsiveli, you will find yourself at an altitude of 2000m and can enjoy incredible views over the gorge without the crowds.
Camping at Katsiveli
At Katsiveli there is also a camping shelter which provides a place to camp beneath the stars at the end of a long day’s trekking. This route takes approximately eight hours.
Katsiveli shelter can accommodate 22 people. It is filled with simple yet comfortable dormitory-style accommodation. Check availability ahead of arrival if planning to travel during the summer.
The route is off the beaten path but it is still important to double-check the availability. Alternatively, you can camp outside beneath the stars.
The Rouvas Gorge, Crete
The Rouvas Gorge is a great hiking trail for those who enjoy getting back to nature during their travels. The entire route takes a total of 7 hours.
However, partial treks from Zaros to the Rouvas holly forest enable hikers to enjoy a vast array of different landscapes in just 3 hours. This partial route leads adventurers through a vast number of different landscapes, past freshwater lakes, picture-perfect Orthodox monasteries, and majestic waterfalls.
Starting the Rouvas Gorge Hike
Perched beside a spring water lake, the charming town of Zaros marks the starting point to the trek. Take a quick detour eastwards to admire the serenity of Lake Votomos before joining the well-marked path that leads towards the Rouvas forest.
As you leave the village and enter the gorge, you will pass by the monastery of St Nicholas. Although the exterior is nothing to write home about, the insides of the monastery are filled with bold, colorful frescoes that date back to the 14th century.
Admire the artwork and take a quick peek inside the neighboring church of St Efthimios before continuing along the path into the forest. Within just 2 kilometres, you will find yourself in the midst of the forest scenery surrounded by fragrant wildflowers and towering oak, maple and holly trees.
As you transcend along the path, you will find the occasional resting spot with wooden benches just waiting for you to enjoy a scenic picnic break.
The majority of the route follows a clear dirt path although the terrain is rocky in places. Assuming that you have a generally good level of physical fitness you should not encounter any difficulties though it is prudent to wear comfortable hiking shoes and to be aware that the rocks can get slippery after a rainfall.
Kassandra Hiking Trail, Halkidiki
(Various walks/10 days)
A hike in the Kassandra peninsula is a must if you want to experience an adventure in pristine nature. Halkidiki boasts 20 excellent trails. Out of these, numbers 1 to 6 are located in Kassandra.
Every path has its own story to tell. Each passes through very different landscapes.
The best thing is to don your walking boots, grab a camera and a walking stick and cover all of them. Since the Halkidiki region is in the shape of three prongs, the Trident, the weapon of God Neptune is the sign used to mark the routes.
When you go hiking in Greece, the Halkidiki corner of the country is ideal for all categories of walkers. These walks vary in length and degree of difficulty, but can be undertaken by people of all ages, depending on their physical condition. Here is a short description of the six selected hikes.
This is an extremely pleasant four kilometres circular trail starting from the pretty village of Stavronikitas in the Sani prefecture. Following the trident sign, this easy trail passes through lush greenery along the Sani beach.
The Bird Sanctuary is located in the centre. You can get an excellent view of the wetlands and it’s winged residents. The trip takes about 2.5 hours to complete.
Sani- Sani camping-Siviri
This challenging walk extends for 20km over steep terrain in some sections between Sani and Siviri. For those who want to do a partial trek, there is a camping ground midway where hikers can relax, before returning to Sani.
Those who have a head for heights can walk to Siviri lookout. From here you can witness incredible views en route. The complete walk can be done over two days.
This is a very easy two hour round walk from the Posedi beach. The trail winds its way through the forest to Kalandra and then back to the beach. Most of the walk is through the woods, but there are sections which provide fantastic views of the sea and the fragrant olive groves.
Polichrono- Helones- Polichrono
Starting from the west side of Polichrono, the highlight of this circular walk is Lake Mavrobara, the nesting place for turtles. The route is very scenic. It passes through pine forests surrounded by sandstone hills.
The circuit from Kriopigi through the village’s surrounding nature and back is a 10km walk through beautiful forests and woodlands. The picturesque village of Kriopigi is a lovely place to spend a few days. You can enjoy relaxing on the nearby secluded beaches and indulging in homemade Greek cuisine at local tavernas.
The round trip hike through the forests takes about four hours to complete.
Hanioti-Fire guardhouse- Hanioti
The fire station lookout tower is located on a ridge at the highest point in the peninsula. This spot offers great views of the countryside and western coastline of Skioni.
Vikos Gorge, Zagorohoria
The Vikos Gorge in Zagorohoria, Northern Greece is said to be the deepest gorge in the world for its height. This is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Greece.
Zagorohoria gets fairly busy with tourists at various points throughout the year. However, some places are popular for a reason.
The gorge sits in the Pindus Mountains, just north of the leafy student city of Ioannina. The total route from beginning to end takes approximately 7 hours to complete. However, there are many detours that can be taken from the main trail. These side-routes lead adventurers to hidden waterfalls, mountain passes, rickety wooden bridges, and quaint villages.
It is possible to stretch your Vikos Gorge trip out into an adventure spanning several days. You can opt to camp or sleep at cosy inns of traditional villages along the way.
Sithonia Hiking Trails, Halkidiki
(Various walks/7 days)
Hiking in Greece, especially in the mountain regions of Central Halkidiki can be an exhilarating experience. Whether on a beach walk or an intense mountain climb the beauty of these walking trails will never cease to amaze you. Most of the trails are self guided over goat paths and are of moderate difficulty. Other short walks can be enjoyed with families and children.
Nikiti to Agios Nikolas
A 2 km climb from Nikiti through pine forests to Agios Nikolas, famous for honey and nineteenth century architecture.
Elia Beach to Agios Pavlos to Petros Rock
An easy hike providing good views of the bay from the St Paul church, up the mountain to Peter’s Rock and back down to Elia Beach.
Porto Carras- Coastal Trail
Enjoy the views of the sea and the vineyards at Neos Marmaras in one of the best coast hikes in Halkidiki.
Neos Marmaras to Parthenon
The easy walk is via the tavern Drosia and the tougher one past the water mill and dam. Whichever one you choose, this hike to Parthenon village will delight you.
Mount Itamos walk
Standing at 871 m, Mt Itamos is the tallest in the region and a protected area. There are plenty of walks for all levels of walkers. Hikers are rewarded with stunning views of Sithonia and the Aegean sea from the peak.
The trek to Kaisariani Monastery in the heart of Vyronas Forest is one of the best and most rewarding hikes in Athens. It takes just thirty minutes to reach the monastery from the nearby Kaisariani neighbourhood. Furthermore, frequent buses run to the area from the centre of Athens.
The secluded monastery is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Its exteriors are filled with ornate furnishings and vibrant frescoes that depict various scenes from the Bible.
The charming cafe that sits adjacent to the monastery is a perfect place to stop and enjoy a Greek coffee and a slice of spanakopita in a beautiful woodland setting. If you wish to hike a little further, it is possible to continue walking to the peak of Mount Hymettus, passing the Asteriou Monastery along the way.
Mount Parnitha is the tallest mountain in Southern Greece. It looms above Athens, just an hour away from the city limits of the Greek capital.
There are various hiking trails that twist and turn through the foothills of Parnitha. Hikers of every age and fitness level will find a route suitable for them. One notable trail leads you to Tatoi Palace – a former Royal residence that has fallen into abandon.
It is easy to reach the entrance to Parnitha National Park. Take the bus from Athens’ Kifissia station to Thrakomakedones. From Thrakomakedones, walk to the end of Thrakis street until you reach the turnstile.
You can hike from the foothills of Parnitha to the Bafi Refuge and then stay there overnight. Alternatively, the routes from Bafi to Mola, or Bafi to Skipiza, are very pleasant. Both pass by natural springs, dense forests, and areas where wild deer roam free.
Lake Marathon Hike
Marathon lake is not a tourist attraction per-se. However, it has soared in popularity in recent years as a place to take a day trip from Athens.
The lake is a manmade reservoir that was constructed several decades ago to help solve Athens’ water shortage problems. Walking or cycling the circumference of the lake is pleasant.
There are many coffee places that sell refreshments, and grassy spots where you can have a picnic. You can also hike from Oinos Gorge to Marathon Lake for a longer, more challenging route.
Hora Sfakion, Crete
The adorable little village of Hora Sfakion is pretty off-the-beaten-path anyway, but better still, there are plenty of fascinating walking trails in the area that lead to ruins, caves and ancient monuments. One such trail leads to the cave of Agios Antonios, a tiny little chapel, Roman shrines, and an ancient beehive facility.
The Cave of Agios Antonios
The cave of Agios Antonios (also referred to as the church of Saint Anthony) awaits at the top of an unsuspecting staircase that leads into the hills. The walk takes just over 45 minutes and offers plenty to see in a short space of time. Though the church is not well-known or advertised among tourists, it is easy enough to locate. The staircase that will lead you directly there can be found on the unmarked road that leads from Sfakion towards Kampia and Anopolis.
Starting the Hora Sfakion Trail
The old church of St. Barbara is a logical starting point for the trail as it is located close to downtown Hora Sfakion. There is a narrow path that leads behind the church and opens out at the main road.
To your left, you will see two hotels – the Notos Suites and Eleana Apartments. Cross the road and you will note a white-washed staircase that leads up into the hills directly opposite Eleana apartments. Leading through a scattering of ramshackle blue and white outbuildings that are so quintessentially Greek in appearance, you can’t miss these stairs.
Simply follow the stairs to the top and the footpath that continues on from them. It is impossible to get lost as there is only one way to go.
As you ascend the steps and leave the village of Hora Sfakion behind, you are rewarded with wonderful panoramas of Sfakion and the Mediterranean. At the conclusion of the trail, you will find a tiny church that has been crafted into the cave. Inside, simple Orthodox paintings hang from the walls.
The church has become something of a pilgrimage route for locals and on occasions, you may catch a service taking place inside. At the entrance lies the remnants of an old Roman shrine.
Mount Olympus Hiking Trails
Mount Olympus is the tallest mountain in Greece. It is also a place with strong roots in Greek Mythology. According to the legends, Zeus, and the Olympian Gods lived at the top of the mountain and they would decide the fate of humans from its peak.
Today, Mount Olympus is one of the best places to go hiking in Greece. It is possible to hike to the peak – either independently, or as part of a guided hiking tour, on a day trip from Thessaloniki.
It takes approximately 6-7 hours to reach the top. However there are also many shorter trails available here. There are many natural hot springs situated a slight way up the mountain. It takes just an hour or so to reach these places so bring your swimsuit!
When to go Hiking in Greece
The beauty of hiking in Greece is that the majority of these trails can be conquered all year round. Arguably it is best to avoid trekking during the summer months as temperatures can offer soar as high as 35-40 degrees Celsius between the months of July and September.
The Spring and Summer seasons are perhaps the best time to organise a Greek hiking adventure. Temperatures are usually warm and pleasant, and most of the rain from the winter months has subsided.
An additional benefit of visiting Greece during Spring and Summer is that this is shoulder season. Few parts of the country are crowded, and prices for hotels, flights and tours tend to be lower.
Temperatures in Greece in Winter can dip very low in December and January, especially during the mountainous areas. Generally speaking, Greece has a milder winter than most countries in Europe. Some trails are still accessible during this time. However those that involve high altitudes are best saved for the warmer months.
Feel free to drop me a comment below or reach out to me via email. I also manage the Facebook group “All Greek to Me” where you can connect with Greeks and travellers. Safe travels! Geia sou! Melissa xo