6 Greek Island Hikes You Should Step Off the Sailing Boat For
There’s no denying that the Greek Islands are the OG when it comes to summer sailing and tropical island holidays. The white washed houses of Santorini, azure seas of, well the whole archipelago, and the charming hillside alfresco eateries with totally authentic everything make for some serious Instagram game. There is more to the arid islands than their eager aesthetic though. And that’s epic hikes. What follows is a pretty good guide to where you can get your sweat on (and some great mountain top insta shots).
Better known as a seafaring island, the second largest in the Cyclades group, Andros is home to some particularly pretty walks. Pound the pavement (or rather ancient shepherds’ trails called monopatia), and you’ll soon find yourself amongst fields of wildflowers and archaeological remnants.
A tiny island home to less than 800 locals, Tilos is the perfect place to land if you’re after nature and zero people to interfere with your serenity seeking. Walking trails lead you through something of a journey from civilisation to pristine paradise, passing through meadows of wildflowers, windswept mountains, still valleys and onto deserted beaches.
Samaria Gorge, Crete
If you thought hiking the islands would be all ocean views and villages teetering on cliff tops, Samaria Gorge will come as a surprise. One of the longest canyons in Europe, Samaria Gorge is to Greece what Waimea Canyon is to Hawaii – aka seriously grand. You’ll find soaring cliffs, questionably narrow of passageways, and if you’re lucky you might spot an endemic kri-kri, a shy, endangered wild goat. The hike is a one way deal, starting at 1230 metres above sea level south of Omalos, ending in the coastal village of Agia Roumeli. The only way back is a quaint boat ride.
Do yourself a holiday favour and burn some of the booze off with a hike up Mt Zeus. Yes, like the Greek god, Zeus. The peak, at 1004m, is the highest in the Cyclades, and at the heart of Naxos’ mountainous interior. Expect sweet views from the top, and on the way up you’ll find theequally as instagrammable villages, Halki and Apiranthos (think crumbling stone walls with overflowing bougainvillea *heart eyes*).
This island is really tiny, like 13 kilometres long tiny. So if you’re hung over af, the hikes here are still somewhat achievable. Take one to the Tripitos Arch in the south, or to Erimitis Beach in the west. There’s a restaurant and bar conveniently located en route to Erimitis too.
Ok, this isn’t in the islands, but seriously you really should take your hiking boots here too. Tucked high into the Pindos range in Northern Greece, Zagorohoria is a patchwork of 46 traditional stone and slate villages. Once connected only by walking trails, you can now reach them via winding roads with spectacular views. Meaning you can choose between long, multi-day hikes or a leisurely morning stroll before a long boozy lunch in one of the villages’ quaint taverns.
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