Explore mountain trails and coastal routes when hiking in Greece. This introduction to hikes in Greece is perfect for outdoor lovers looking for a walking holiday destination in Europe.
Best Hiking Trails in Greece
Greece might be best associated with ancient history, sunshine, and beaches, but it's also an outdoor lovers paradise. Hikers in particular will be amazed at the amount of mountain trails, day, and multi-day hikes that can be enjoyed.
An increasing amount of people are taking walking holidays in Greece, which can be as varied as trekking through gorges, over mountains, or around the Greek islands.
This travel guide acts as an introduction to hiking Greece, and is an essential read before planning your Greek vacation.
Where to go hiking in Greece?
Great question! The answer is, pretty much anywhere. It's estimated that hills and mountains cover nearly 80% of the country, so there's plenty of places to choose from.
Criss-crossing the Greek terrain, are official (and marked) trails, as well as unofficial paths. You can also easily create your own routes if one doesn't exist.
Your decision on where to hike in Greece may be based on whether your entire vacation will be devoted to walking the scenic trails of Greece, or if you would just like to spend a day or two hiking, and the rest on the beach.
Where to Hike in Mainland Greece
The Greek mainland is made up of 6 regions. These are Sterea (Central Greece which include Attica and Athens), Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia, and Thrace.
Of these, I would say that the Peloponnese is perhaps the most popular for tourism overall, whilst the other regions offer a more authentic nature. Broadly speaking, of course!
Hike in the Peloponnese
Hikers looking for a long distance walking trail in Greece should definitely consider the Menalon Trail. The route has been carefully worked out with 8 different sections, and you can also stay at accommodation along its 75km path.
Viros Gorge is another hiking destination in the Peloponnese of Greece. It starts at Taygetus summit and winds its way to Kardamyli Bay. Note – You can now visit the Patrick Leigh Fermor House in Kardamili. A must for walkers and adventurers!
Central Greece Hikes
Central Greece has a number of places of outstanding beauty, with Meteora being perhaps the most well known. The landscape is like none other in the world and man has made their contribution by building monasteries on top of some of the eroded peaks.
You can find out more here: Hiking in Meteora.
Hikes in Athens Greece
Athens may be famous as the birthplace of democracy and the home of the Acropolis and Parthenon, but it also has some interesting hikes in the surrounding areas.
Mount Ymittos, overlooking the city, has a network of hiking paths of varying lengths. If you follow a path to the top of the mountain, you will be rewarded with amazing views over the city.
North of the city, the Parnitha mountain range has a number of trails, including the Fyli fortress hike, and the Pan's Cave hike.
Oinoi Gorge And Lake Marathon has a trail which is unmarked, but there is an information board at Oinoi Tower.
Sounio National Park from Sounio to Lavrio is an unmarked area, but you can easily create a logical route using Google maps.
Where to Hike in Thessaly Greece
The mountains of Pelion are another popular area for outdoor enthusiasts. In fact, it is a year around destination in Greece, with a ski resort in the winter, and great beaches in the summer.
In this region, old mule paths have been repurposed as walking tracks, complete with signage. Wikiloc is a great resource to use for finding day and multi-day walks in this area.
The Mount Olympus range is perhaps the biggest draw for hikers looking for treks in Thessaly. It's possible to get to Mt Olympus on on day trips from Thessaloniki, and also to stay in the area in order to explore it.
There are over 160 kms of trails in the area, as well as a few refuges for those planning to spend 2 or 3 days hiking Mount Olympus Greece.
Walking in Epirus (Vikos Gorge)
Epirus is a region in Greece that often gets overlooked. Traveler either don't reach there at all, or if they do, are traveling through it to get to other parts of the country.
It's a shame, because Epirus has an area of outstanding natural beauty in both the Pindus mountains, and Vikos Gorge.
In addition to hiking in Pindos and the gorge, outdoor lovers can also take part in watersports such as kayaking, and spend time in the rustic looking villages of the area. A good town to be based is Ioannina.
Trekking in the Greek Islands
Let's not overlook the Greek islands though. Many of them now have specific walking paths and routes which are signposted to help with directions.
Hiking in Crete
Crete has some of the best hiking trails in Greece. Some, like the Samaria Gorge are popular day activities for ‘regular' tourists, whilst others are really only suitable for experiences hikers.
Gorge trekking Crete
The Samaria Gorge is by far the most popular day hike in Crete. I actually remember walking this route when visiting Greece with my family when I was 9 or 10 years old!
In my opinion, it's easiest to take an organised day hike through Samaria, as transport to the start and from the end points will be laid on for you. Don't underestimate the heat if walking in Crete in summer, especially at Samaria!
Other gorges of note in Crete include: Richtis Gorge, Agios Antonios Gorge at Patsos, Kourtaliotis Gorge, Imbros Gorge, and Rouvas Wood and Gorge.
Long distance trails in Crete
You might choose to base your Crete walking holidays on a route following a long distance walking trail. If this is the case, you should look into the 330km Cretan section of the E4 trail. This crosses the island from Kissamos to Zakros, covering many mountains and landscapes.
Hiking in Santorini
Santorini may be more renowned for its blue domed churches and amazing sunsets, but it also has a rather nice caldera hike which stretches from Fira to Oia.
It only takes 4 or 5 hours to complete, and is a nice way to experience some of the island away (for the most part) from tourists.
You can find out more here: Santorini Walks
Corfu Walks and Hikes
Again, Corfu may be associated with beach vacations than outdoor activities, but it has a splendid walking route to try. Known as the Corfu Trail, walkers will find themselves strolling through olive groves, over hills, and past lakes as they soak up incredible views.
Stretching almost 200 km from the white cliffs near Arkoudillas in the south of Corfu to the wild coastline of Cape Agia Ekatirini in the north, you might need to allow 10 days to complete the entire route.
Hiking in Tinos and Andros
We visited the Greek islands of Andros and Tinos in 2019, and one of the pleasant surprises was to see a network of well marked hiking paths on each island.
These are a new initiative, designed to encourage tourists to walk up to some of the smaller villages, and soak up some great views along the way.