When you think of Greece, your mind probably runs to crystal clear seas, pristine beaches, island hopping, and some amazing Greek food.
If you have been to Greece you will know that both mainland Greece and the Greek Islands are hilly and mountainous. The rugged terrain makes Greece an excellent hiking destination especially when you combine it with the ancient sites and amazing views you can see along the way.
But with so many hiking trails to choose from, where should experienced hikers start? Right here! Join me as we take a dive into the best hikes in Greece so you can enjoy the best hiking possible on your visit there this summer.
One of the best hikes in Greece has to be the Viros Gorge hike in the Peloponnese region of Greece (not to be confused with the Vikos Gorge further north). The great thing about hiking in Greece is the dash of ancient sites you get along the way and this hiking trail offers just that.
The hiking trails start out at the summit of Taygetus and you can hike to Kardamili Bay if you do the entire hike but the hiking path is poorly marked after a while and chances are you will get lost.
It’s best to follow the hiking trail all the way to the Viros river springs and stop the hike there. Start the hike in Kardamili by hiking along the dry riverbed that will lead you to the gorge. Along the way, you will pass the stunning Lykaki monastery and from there it is about 2.5 hours until you get to the springs.
The scenic hiking trails are stunning as you descend into the gorge and as you walk you’ll see dramatic cliffs and caves. The entire trail passes around pine trees and the smells are very apparent plus you may even spot an owl as you walk, or at least hear one.
The Menalon Trail is one of the best hikes in Greece if you want to see some of the lesser-known areas of this beautiful Mediterranean country. This is one of the longest hiking trails in Greece and it goes on for 75 kilometers.
The hiking trail starts in southern Greece on the Peloponnese peninsula between the two mountain villages of Lagkadia and Stemnitsa. The trail offers breathtaking views as it runs between valleys, plateaus, across mountains, and through canyons, it really is magical.
Along the Menalon trail, you will come across wildlife like wild boars, jackals, weasels, foxes, and more plus you will cross the stunning Lousios and Landos rivers too.
Since this is one of the longest hiking trails in Greece you have to do it in 8 stages and plan your accommodation along the way.
The Greek island of Crete is a hiker’s paradise that is also drenched in history, Greek mythology, stunning seascapes, and lots more. It is without a doubt home to one of the best hikes in Greece, the Samaria Gorge.
The Samaria Gorge is one of the most dramatic gorges out there and it is comparable to the Grand Canyon in some ways. The hike follows very established paths which make it an easy hike in terms of navigation but it is quite a long one.
The trail leads down into the gorge from Omalos and runs for 13-16 km and finishes at Agia Roumeli beach where you can take the most refreshing dip of your life. The full hike can take up to 7 hours depending on your speed.
Along the way, you will see beautiful Byzantine ruins, spectacular scenery, and there are parts of the Samaria Gorge that are mind-blowing. When you arrive at the point known as the ‘Iron Gates’, the path becomes tiny and you are surrounded by the 500-meter walls of the Samaria Gorge on both sides.
The Zakros Gorge Hike is one of the best hikes in Greece if you’re looking to see some sites of the ancient Minoan civilization while hiking in Greece.
This hike is actually the final section of a 4-week hike in Crete called the E4 trail that will have you hiking across the whole island. The ending of the E4 trail starts in Ano Zakros, a charming village on the island of Crete, and runs for about 8 kilometers to Kato Zakros.
This version of the trail makes the hike a little easier but you can do the whole trail as a loop starting and finishing in Kato Zakros. The great thing about this hike is that you can end with a refreshing dip and a seaside lunch no matter how you hike it.
As you hike, you’ll be surrounded by dramatic scenery and rich biodiversity as the hike goes through the Sitia Geopark. There is also an awesome Minoan archaeological site on the trail which is a must-see.
Some of the best hiking in Greece has to be found at Mount Olympus as summiting the mountain of the gods has to be the pinnacle of hiking in Greece. It is also the country’s highest peak, so there’s that too!
If you know your history of Greece then you will know that Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Apollo, Dionysus, and other Greek gods lived at the top of Mount Olympus, which is the highest mountain in Greece.
Mount Olympus has to be one of the most iconic hikes in Greece but it is not for the faint-hearted as you have to get to the 2918 meter summit. It usually takes about two days and it is not that technical but the ending does require a serious rock scramble.
What makes this the best hiking in Greece are the views. You will get the best views of Greece from the top which will include the whole of Greece, all its peaks, and more.
The Corfu trail also offers some best hiking in Greece as its trails down the untouched part of the island into places that you would never see if you weren’t a hiker.
This is an incredibly long trail that runs for some 220 kilometers and the scenery along the trails is quite breathtaking. You will walk through gorges, coves, olive groves and lots more. It is quite a trail to take on and not one for the faint-hearted so you should make sure to use a map and guidebook to take you from A to B as you will need to organize accommodation along the way.
This is an amazing trail that will help you discover all the magical things you would miss about this island if you were to just stick to its stunning coastline. Doing the whole trail is a bit much for your average hiker but you can always choose to do a section of it instead.
Mount Pelion sits on the Pelion Peninsula and is one of the most beautiful mountains and areas in the whole of Greece. You will find this delightful area around 300 km from Athens, between Athens and Thessaloniki.
This entire area is covered with old mule paths that used to connect all the traditional stone villages in the area. Today they are well signposted to great a whole network of hiking trails that take you around the peninsula and up the mountain too if you like.
The hiking in this area is beautiful and it’s perfect for all fitness levels too. You can find the starting point to the trails in the villages of Miles, Tsagarada, and Kala Nera. This area was known to be the home of centaurs in Greek Mythology and was a place the gods used to go to to relax.
The scenery is absolutely magical with forests and mountains falling into the sea with stone churches and the scent of herbs as you walk around.
The Mount Hymettus hiking trail is conveniently located just outside of Athens and by following the paths up the mountain you will be able to get the best view of the Greek capital possible.
The path is lined with a stunning pine forest and it takes about two hours to get to the top but there are plenty of great things to see along the way. The first bit of history you will stroll past is the Kaisariani Monastery, a gem from the Byzantine gem that is excellently preserved and features marble floors and the original frescoes.
After the stunning monastery, you will walk past some old Christian churches on the path that have fallen apart, and then after this, you will find chapels that seem like they are built into caves. Once you are at the top, the views are spectacular and if you time it right you will see the famous sunset over the capital.
This hike is suitable for all fitness levels and there are several places you can stop on the way up and down for a quick beer or coffee too.
Meteora is a stunning part of Greece and somewhere that hikers and history buffs love visiting. The area is around a 4-hour drive from Athens and is home to the famous Meteora Monasteries.
The Meteora Monasteries are a series of 24 monasteries that sit on the top of mind-blowing rock formations that were formed by earthquakes. You will find these stunning examples of ancient architecture close to the town of Kalampaka and there are even 6 monasteries that are still functioning today.
The hikes up to the monasteries are very steep and there are numerous paths you can take so you can plan your own routes as you please. You will need good shoes and a good level of fitness is required to do it as they sit super high on the rocks.
If you don’t fancy planning your own routes you can also opt to join a guided tour that will take you up to the monasteries.
The Sifnos Trail lies on the beautiful island of Sifnos and if you have a picture-perfect idea of what hiking in Greece might look like, this is the trail that will make your dreams come true.
The Sifnos path starts in the village of Apollonia and it takes about 7 hours to complete this trail so you will need a solid level of fitness but the path is obvious and the terrain isn’t rugged so it is long but manageable.
You will find some much steeper sections but stairs have been installed to ensure safety and easy navigation. Along the hike, you will go through a stunning national park with stunning hills and plants.
The views as you hike this trail as mesmeri135 zing as you stare into the beautiful Aegean Sea. There is also a stunning monastery to stop at along the way, one of the great things about hiking in Greece.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia
The Kleftiko Hike is another gorgeous trail in Greece as it takes you through some of the most iconic Greek landscapes you can imagine.
This trail takes you up to the top of stunning white cliffs with magical views across the sea. The hike is quite easy but the hard part is finding the start of the trail. You will want a 4×4 or a quad to get there and you will find it just a kilometer or two past the Monastery of St John Siderianos.
The path is simple to follow, just look out for the white-painted rocks guiding you along the way. You’ll notice the trail is rocky but it is manageable and it would be advised to wear proper shoes as there are venomous snakes in the area.
After around 45 minutes you will reach Kleftiko and it is magical. You can jump in the sea, spend time enjoying the beauty, and it is highly recommended to bring a picnic and spend the day there.
Image courtesy of Flickr
Sitting in the Pelion region on the Aegean Sea and not far from Mount Olympus lies the centaur’s path hike, named after the mythical half man half horse creatures that were said to live there.
The path follows the only walking route used for hundreds of years that connected west and east Pelion. It is now a road of course but there are still some sections of the path that you can walk today.
This hike is super easy and is great for all fitness levels so it is a great one for the whole family. The path runs through a lot of shade so you can even do it during the heat of summertime.
The hike is just 5 kilometers long and it follows a trail next to a stream so it is easy to navigate and you get the sound of water the whole way.
Hora Sfakion is a stunning little village in Crete that is a bit off the beaten track and it is loaded with lovely hiking trails that showcase the best the area has to offer. You will find ruins, chapels, caves, and ancient monuments too.
The start of the main Sfakion trail is at the famous St. Barbara Church and the path takes you up above the village of Hora Sfakion and offers you stunning views of the village and the sea beyond.
At the end of the trail, you will find a charming little Orthodox church with some very traditional paintings hanging inside. The hike is pretty easy apart from the steep ascent at the beginning and the views are quite magical.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia
The Richtis Gorge sits in the Siteia region of Crete and any walker will love hiking this amazing trail as it leads to a stunning 20-meter waterfall. You might think the waterfall would be dry in the summer but the river feeding it flows throughout the year.
The gorge sits inside a national park and you will find it near to the village of Exo Mouliana. The hike takes you under thick shade and when you arrive at the waterfall, a swim is a must. As the trail continues you will be surrounded by magical scenery and end up on the beach near Kalavros where you can have another swim.
The hike is around 10 km long and only takes 4 hours plus it is easy and rated for all fitness levels. You will find the starting point at the 19th-century stone bridge of Lachanas.
Image courtesy of Flickr
Lake Marathon is a popular day trip from Athens and although it is not a natural lake, it is a lovely place to hang out outside of the city.
The lake has a path going around it and you will find some great picnic spots along the way, refreshment stands, and it is great for mountain biking around if you don’t fancy the walk.
This is a very easy walk that is great for the whole family. If you want to make it a little more challenging you can link up the Lake Marathon Hike with the Oinos Gorge hike.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia
The last gorge worth a mention in this post is the famous Vikos Gorge in central north Greece, not that far from Meteora.
One of the reasons is that the Vikos Gorge is the world’s deepest gorge (by width at least). It measures 1,700m to the bottom and has quite a few of the best hiking trails you could find in this country. Two of the most popular Vikos Gorge hikes start in the villages of Monodendri or Vikos, so you might want to base yourself there.
You can do the hike from both ends of the Gorge, return of just a part like the Voidamatis Springs Trail.