Greece's varying landscapes, ancient capital, and the diverse islands surrounding the coast make it perfect for hikers. Some may even say that it's magical. In this article, I'll share my top tips for hiking in Athens, the Greek Islands, and beyond.
Sir Edmund Hillary said, "It's not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." I think that about sums up hiking as a hobby. It's more than a hobby, really, as seasoned hikers would say it's in their blood. Hiking anywhere will help you discover yourself and see your world in a new light.
Hiking Greece, you'll find, is on another level altogether. You'll find stunning vistas, fascinating archeological temple ruins, and sparkling seas. If that's not enough to keep you mesmerized, Greece offers some of the best weather in Europe year-round.
Below, I'll go into some of the best hikes in Greece, why you should visit, what to pack, and, most importantly, where to chill after.
Best Places for Hiking in Greece
Athens and Beyond
Start by exploring Parnitha mountain near Athens. At just over 1,413 meters, Parnitha is the tallest mountain in the region of Attica. You can hike the entire way, bike, climb, or use the cable car.
The pine forest hosts dozens of animal species and a real array of herbs and native plants. Parnitha mountain is a must-visit if you're interested in ancient Greek culture. There are several monasteries and churches to be found, as well as the ruins of a 400 BC fortress.
Lycabettus Hill is an excellent option for those wishing to stay in the capital. This particular hike will take you above Athens, offering panoramic city views. It's a short climb up to Lycabettus Hill, but enjoyable for its brief distance from the Acropolis and stunning city vistas.
Fascinating Island Hikes
Considered one of the best hiking destinations in all of Europe, Crete offers stunning landscapes and island vibes. A popular hike is the 16 km canyon trail of the Samaria Gorge, just outside Chania.
Samaria is just 3 meters wide at its narrowest point, though it expands to about 150 at its widest. You'll see translucent turquoise waters and rock formations towering far above you. As this is a particularly challenging trek, you can choose to go on a guided trip.
If a challenge sounds like your thing, you may also wish to visit the lesser-known island of Hydra. The nearly 20 km hike around Mount Eros is said to be one of the more challenging to complete, taking six hours on average. It's worth it though, as you'll be able to see the Aegean Sea and Peloponnese from Eros' summit.
For a more relaxed hike, you'll want to visit the island of Rhodes instead. The ancient island town Lindos, which translates to 'pretty' in several languages, is beautiful indeed. Here, you'll be able to visit hilltops covered in the shade of olive trees, all while looking out into the blue of the Aegean Sea.
Lastly, don't forget to take a day trip to Santorini. There's plenty to do on this magical island. The famed Fira-Oia hike will lead you through several picturesque villages and along the stunning Caldera cliff.
Santorini isn't the most affordable place to visit in Greece if you stay overnight, but it's well worth it as a special romantic treat.
Check out these top recommended hostels & hotels in Santorini. A more budget-friendly option is to camp in Fira, Santorini's capital.
Mythical Hikes That Go Above and Beyond
Greece isn't just a beautiful place to visit. It also has a rich, fascinating history.
If it's the culture and history that draw you there, you must visit Mount Olympus. At 2,917 meters in height, it's the tallest of the mountains in Greece. It's no surprise that the ancient Greeks used to believe their gods resided here. Explore the 12 Gods trails on this multi-day hiking tour.
Mount Olympus National Park offers 20 possible hiking trails in Greece, each ranging in length and difficulty. Whichever route you choose, you'll see a wealth of beautiful sights. There are little villages, ancient ruins, canyons, waterfalls, and much more!
Where to Stay for Multi-Day Hikes in Greece
Greece is great for island-hopping, longer treks, and camping. You can enjoy a longer hike by connecting multiple day trips across the islands.
While Greece doesn't legally allow wild camping, there are plenty of lovely campsites you can visit between hikes. Greek camping 'villages' often include beautiful amenities such as pools, making them much like a hotel.
If an actual hotel or B&B is more your thing, you'll also find these between hikes. Small boutique hotels often cost as little as £36 a night, so you'll be spoilt for choice.
What to Pack for Your Hiking Trip
If you're hiking for the first time ever, be prepared for an exciting hobby! Start by reading this handy guide to packing for a hiking trip.
As hiking in Greece never gets cold, you'll want to pack light but dress in layers. Bring a lightweight backpack for essentials such as water bottles, snacks, and extra layers. Sturdy hiking shoes or boots with protective socks are also a must.
Sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen with a high SPF are also good for avoiding sunburns. You'll also want a map and phrase book if your phone dies. If you're after a more comprehensive guide, this backpacking packing list covers everything you'll need.
A top tip for those who enjoy exploring flora and fauna is that you can pack a pocket foraging guide and a pocketbook on local plants and herbs. Remember to pick only anything growing in abundance and only what you can clearly identify.
Where to Unwind After Hiking
Greece's beautiful, soft golden beaches are the best places to unwind after a hiking excursion. After a long day of hiking and adventuring, there's nothing better than popping your feet into the sea or relaxing on the sand.
Crete is particularly well-known for its lovely beaches. You can consider challenging yourself if you're hiking the Samaria Gorge. After about 5 to 7 hours, you'll wind up at the stunning beach of Agia Roumeli. The village of Agia Roumeli is so remote, it'll feel like you've found your very own desert island!
Another fantastic beach is the dreamy Kokkini Beach in Santorini. This particular beach has stunning red sands and is surrounded by impressive hills. Swimming here is magical! You can visit it en route to the equally impressive Akrotiri lighthouse.
If you choose this route, make sure you pack especially good hiking shoes as the path does frequently have landslides. Once you reach Akrotiri, you'll be rewarded with the most stunning views.
Plan Your Greek Hiking Trip With Pilot!
Maybe you already know where you're going, or you're still deciding between this hike and that one. Either way, you can plan your perfect Greek hiking holiday with Pilot!