The first things that come into people’s minds when they think of Greece are ancient temples, picture-perfect whitewashed villages and paradise beaches with turquoise waters. However, Greece is also home to some bucket-list-worthy hiking trails through spectacular landscapes that will mesmerize any nature lover. From relaxing forest walks to more challenging hikes in the mountains, Greece offers various trails suitable for every level.
Best hikes in Greece
I’ve teamed up with some travel bloggers to share with you the best hikes in Greece and show you that there’s more to this country than just beaches and historical sites!
Ready to see some epic landscapes?
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Vikos Gorge hike, Epirus
Known as the Grand Canyon of Greece, Vikos Gorge is an amazing natural spectacle tucked away in the mountainous Epirus region in northwestern Greece. Despite its jaw-dropping landscapes, this part of the country is often overlooked by tourists, which in my opinion makes it an even more attractive destination to explore.
Although there are various trails in this region, the Vikos Gorge hike is the most famous of them and surely deserves a spot on the list of the best hikes in Greece. It also holds a Guinness World Record as the world’s deepest gorge relative to its width.
The hike starts in Monodendri, a traditional stone village typical of this part of Greece. From there, you’ll descend to the bottom of the gorge along a fairly steep path. The 13km route continues through the gorge along Voidomatis river and takes you through a beautiful untouched forest while the imposing walls of the gorge tower above your head. Once you get closer to the end of the hike, you’ll be rewarded with goosebump-inducing vistas of the magnificent gorge.
Note that this is a one-way hike so you begin and end the hike in different places. This means that when you finish the hike in Vikos village, you’ll need to get a taxi that would drive you back to your car or accommodation.
If you’d prefer to hike together with an experienced and knowledgeable guide, here are two options (the latter includes transportation back to Monodendri, so you can skip the taxi):
Meteora hike, Kalambaka
Meteora is a region in the northwestern part of Greece, which boasts one of the coolest landscapes I’ve ever seen. The area is known for its huge sandstone columns that rise dramatically from the ground. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, there are also medieval monasteries built on top of these gigantic vertical rocks!
The best way to explore this unique scenery is to go hiking in Meteora. There are various trails to choose from, but we decided to hike the 9-kilometer route that goes past the best viewpoints in Meteora as well as two of the beautiful monasteries.
The trail starts north of the town of Kalambaka where you’ll hike up a shaded rocky path to the Holy Trinity Monastery. After you’ve reached the impressive monastery, head towards Psaropetra lookout along the main road of Meteora. Once there, you will be rewarded with striking views of the surrounding rocks and understand why this trail is considered one of the best hikes in Greece!
As you continue on the main road, you’ll see the beautiful Roussanou Monastery and more breathtaking vistas of these giant rock formations. Finally, walk down to the village of Kastraki before heading back to Kalambaka to finish your hike.
If you’re visiting Meteora in the summer, I recommend hiking this trail early in the morning to avoid the midday heat and tourist crowds, and to see the beautiful sunrise glow over the hills and valleys of Meteora.
For more details on the hike and the exact route, read my article on the best things to do in Meteora.
For the ones that would prefer to hike around Meteora with a professional hiking guide, here are some great options:
Mount Zeus hike, Naxos
Located on Naxos island, Mount Zeus (or Zas) is the tallest peak in the Cyclades (1003m) and surely one of the best hikes in Greece. According to mythology, this is the place where the Greek god Zeus was raised, and there’s even a small cave you can visit where supposedly Zeus was born.
You can do the Mount Zeus hike along two different routes – one starting in Agia Marina and the other at Aria Spring. We did the latter one, which we later found out is much steeper and more difficult than the route starting from Agia Marina! You can also choose to hike up via one route and come down via the other.
The scenery along the way is incredible, complete with views over green meadows, nearby villages and the hilly terrain of the island. You’re also likely to see some mountain goats showing off their impressive climbing skills.
Although the hike to the top of Mount Zeus from Aria Spring is only 2.5km, it took us about 1.5 hours to get up there. The steep ascents and the rocky path with no shade from the sun make the hike quite strenuous, so take lots of water with you and wear sunscreen. In the more challenging parts of the hike, you even need to do a bit of rock scrambling.
Bring celebratory snacks or drinks to reward yourself once you’ve conquered the summit and enjoy them with incredible 360-degree views of Naxos, the surrounding islands and the Aegean Sea.
Kleftiko hike, Milos
Chosen by Vanessa Fou from Real Greek Experiences | Follow on Facebook
Kleftiko Bay in Milos is one of the most iconic landscapes in the whole of Greece. The tall, white rocks jutting out of the sea feature in every Milos guide.
Most people visit Kleftiko on a boat tour. However, not everyone realizes that there is actually a hiking path to Kleftiko! To hike to the popular spot, you will first need to get to the beginning of the hiking trail itself. This is a couple of kilometers after the Monastery of St John Siderianos, up in the mountains in western Milos. The road to the monastery is an easy dirt road, but the last part is a little rougher, so it’s best to get here by either a quad or a 4WD. The beginning of the path is clearly marked. Just leave your vehicle and begin your hike!
For the most part, the path is quite easy to follow, as many of the rocks have been marked with white paint. The path is generally easy, but it’s pretty rocky and gets quite steep in places. Closed shoes are definitely recommended, especially as Milos is home to a species of a venomous red viper. For this reason, stick to the path, and avoid stepping on loose rocks or bushes.
It should take you 40-50 minutes to get to Kleftiko, and the sight from above alone is totally worth the hike. Once you get there, leave your stuff on the rocks, and jump in the beautiful water. Bring with you all you need for the day, including plenty of water, snacks, sunblock, your swimsuits and snorkeling gear. You will definitely love swimming around the massive rocks, and the landscape is quite spectacular!
For more information, check out this article on hiking to Kleftiko.
Fira to Oia hike, Santorini
Chosen by Lynne Sarao from Well-Caffeinated Traveller | Follow on Instagram
One of the best ways to explore Santorini, Greece is to hike from Fira to Oia. This 10-kilometer hike is undoubtedly one of the best hikes in Greece and takes 2 to 4 hours, depending on how fast you go. You’ll also want to leave some time to explore both Fira and Oia.
Starting in Fira, the capital of Santorini, head to the edge of town and start walking right. The path is well marked, although there are quite a few stairs and steep inclines to contend with. But trust me, it’s worth every step!
Firastefani is the pinnacle of the hike with views of whitewashed buildings, green cliffs and crystal blue waters. Here, you should get some water and a bite to eat, because this is the last chance you’ll have for a while.
About halfway through the hike, you’ll reach the highest point of Santorini where you can enjoy a stunning vista of the whole island. After admiring the view, take a moment to explore the beautiful church before continuing to Oia.
When you’ve reached the beautiful town of Oia, head up to find a good spot for the famous sunset. Stake your spot out early because it gets very crowded. After a breathtaking sunset, hail a taxi back to Fira. The 20-minute ride costs about 14 euros.
If you’d prefer to hike this scenic trail with a local guide and learn about the history and the geology of Santorini, consider taking this 5-hour guided hike.
Centaurs’ Path hike, Portaria
Chosen by Anne de Graaf from Anne Travel Foodie | Follow on Instagram
Located between Athens and Thessaloniki, Pelion is a region that is bordered by the Aegean Sea on one side and the Pagasetic Gulf on the other. The Pelion region has a long mythical history and is close to the famous Mount Olympus. The story goes that Pelion was the spot where the Gods went to relax. And there’s a great hike that you can do there to relax as well. It’s called the Centaurs’ Path, named after the mythical creatures that are half man, half horse.
The Centaurs’ Path used to be the main walking route from East to West Pelion. There are roads nowadays of course, but you can still walk part of the Centaurs’ Path. It’s an easy hike suitable for all ages making it perfect for families, and it’s still doable when the days are really warm in summer. I actually very much recommend it in summer as the hike is mostly in shady areas.
Since it’s a clear walking path right next to a water stream, you won’t get lost. The hike is 5 kilometers and will take you about 60 to 90 minutes.
You can find the starting point right next to the town Makrinitsa. From there, walk the trail uphill and then walk back down to the village at the end.
Read more at annetravelfoodie.com
Zakros Gorge hike, Crete
Chosen by Amber Charmei from Provocolate | Follow on Instagram
The Gorge of the Dead (or Zakros Gorge), despite the foreboding name, is filled with intensely positive energy. It makes an ideal destination when you’re driving in Crete – it feels like the very edge of the earth. And it’s a fantastic place to hike.
Zakros Gorge is the ending of the 500-kilometer E4 trail in Crete, which begins in Kastelli in the northwest, heads to the rugged and thrilling south coast and then through the glorious mountains traversing the center. This last section leads from the charming traditional village of Ano (upper) Zakros – an elevation of approximately 270 meters – to Kato (lower) Zakros, by the sea, about 8 kilometers away.
Those who want more of a challenge can make it a round trip, starting preferably in lower Zakros and ending up there again for a refreshing swim, a seaside taverna meal, and a wonderful nights’ sleep. Located in the heart of the Sitia Geopark, a place of rich biodiversity, this hike gives a taste of the drama of the Cretan landscape.
Zakros Gorge also has an archaeological site – one of the palaces of the Minoans – Crete’s great Bronze-age civilization. The Gorge of the Dead, right by the palace, was a sacred place for the Minoans who lived here. It takes its name from a beautiful practice. During the excavation of the grounds, the archaeologists found no cemetery. Later, they discovered that the Minoans had honored their dead by laying them to rest in the caves high on the sides of the gorge. Today still, the gorge is filled with a sense of reverence.
Best hikes in Greece: Final thoughts
Although Greece is often overlooked as a hiking destination, its imposing mountains, dramatic gorges and beautiful coastlines make it a paradise for hikers! I hope that this list of the best hikes in Greece inspires you to explore some of these scenic trails on your next trip to this charming country.
You might also be interested in my other posts about Greece:
- Top things to do in Meteora
- Best beaches in Milos, a paradise island in the Cyclades
- Best things to do in Milos
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