1. Sandsurfing in Limnos
You will feel like a Bedouin in Limnos as you cross the ‘mini desert’ on the northwestern side of the island, an expanse of about 7 hectares of huge golden sand-dunes and little vegetation. The dunes are best visited early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sand is not too hot to walk on barefoot. Snowboarders frequently come with their boards to slide down the sandy slopes. The best way to reach the site is by car – follow the signs to the dunes from the village of Katalakko (about 4.8 km away). After playing in the sand, take a dip at nearby (2.4 km) Gomati beach to wash off.
tel. (+30) 6978-187863
40 euros per person.
2. Hiking Under Waterfalls
If you hike alongside the river Krikelopotamos in Evritania where the rocks are every shade of white, red and purple, you will come to the heart of the impressive gorge of Panta Vrechei (meaning ‘Always Raining’). Here you will understand how the gorge got its name: waterfalls create a curtain of falling water 80 meters in length. If you would like to live this adventure accompanied by an experienced guide, Trekking Hellas organizes hikes, taking you to the start of the trail by 4×4. Before the hike you will drive along the prettiest route on the mountain of Kaliakouda, reaching an elevation of 1,700m. Hikes are organized every weekend by appointment and are accessible to hikers of all abilities.
The Rapsani Wine Adventure is organized for groups of 4-12 people, from 40 euros per person.
3. Jeep safaris for wine lovers on Mount Olympus
Drive in an open-top jeep in the PDO region of Rapsani, famed for its red wine that is created from a blend of the indigenous varieties Xinomavro, Krasato and Stavroto which are grown in vineyards on the southeastern slopes of Mt Olympus. You will stop at vineyards at various elevations (from 200m to 800m above sea level) to try the wine produced by each one. The wine tasting will be followed by a picnic at the church of Aghioi Theodori with a view of the village of Rapsani where you will stroll after lunch and visit the Museum of Wine and Vine.
4. Truffle Hunting in Meteora
Put your faith in the nose of a truffle dog and go hunting for the edible treasures in the forest. In Kalabaka, the Natural History Museum of Meteora and Mushroom Museum arranges excursions with experienced guides and mushroom gatherers who will teach you about the natural environment and the secrets of these unique subterranean fungi. The day ends with a truffle pasta cooked out in the field and a visit to the museum where you will see 300 different stuffed animals and some of the many species of mushrooms that grow in the area.
31 euros per person
First Period 17-30/6, 1.150 euros per person, second period 15-25/7, 900 euros/person.
5. Parnassos Summer Camp
All electronic devices are prohibited for the duration of the summer program of Elatos Resort, Summer Mountain Adventures which aims to teach kids to love the mountains. They wake in wooden cabins in the fir forest of Parnassos at an elevation of 1,300m above sea level, they hike, learn about natural cycles, play games, construct musical instruments and at night observe the planets and the stars through a telescope. Aimed at kids aged 7-14.
6. Celebrating Nature in Kavala
For the 10th year the WoodWaterWild Festival will be held in Kavala, on the 16th and 17th of June. And it is truly amazing how many activities will be squeezed in to the gorge of Palia Kavala which features a footpath, waterfall, a small lake and restored watermill where there is a special area for camping. Climbing, archery, hiking, paintball, yoga and other activities will be on offer, as well as mountain running and mountain biking competitions. Concerts, parties, exhibitions, storytelling and bazaars will also be held, as well as tasting sessions and workshops to teach kids about the environment.
www.woodwaterwild.gr, tel.(+30) 6945-523061, entry is free. The concerts and most of the activities are also free – the festival is supported by volunteers and local associations. In some instances due to the cost of materials, participants will be asked to contribute small sums (eg a few euros for paintball / horseback riding).
7. Hiking around gorgeous Mount Dirfys
From the car window you will see the chestnut trees of Steni Forest giving way to plane trees in the ravine. Higher up on the mountainside they are replaced by firs, backed by the alpine terrain of Mount Dirfys on the one side, and the Gulf of Evia on the other. One stunningly beautiful route starts just 7km from the village of Steni and leads to the saddleback of Dirfys (1000m elevation) from where the dirt road begins (2-3 km) that leads to the Michalis Nikolaou mountain refuge. In this area you can also hike along the many marked forest trails, climb to the peak Delfi (a demanding mountaineering route), rock climb on the Karaoulis rock face, go mountain or dirt bike riding, or just enjoy a picnic by the river.
8. Kayaking on the wild side of Antiparos
You will long remember the day when paddling around the southwestern side of Antiparos you discover a volcanic landscape of white stone, with caves and naturally sculpted archways lapped by the deep blue sea. Do not also be surprised if you happen across seals or sea turtles. On the small island of Despotiko you’ll pull your kayak ashore for a picnic and a visit to the temple of Apollo.
www.seakayakparos.com, tel.(+30) 6977-206541, 80 euros per person, duration: 7 hours. You can arrange meet-up points with the organizers on Paros or Antiparos.
9. Hiking on Hydra
Walking on Hydra is par for the course given that cars and motorbikes are strictly forbidden on the island. Now a network of very well-signposted paths has also been created allowing you to easily explore the entire island on foot. Start with Route 1 which begins at the clocktower in the port. It climbs to the monastery of Profitis Ilias with its stunning panoramic views, reaches the peak of Mt Eros and continues southwest and ends on Bisti, one of the attractive beaches on the island’s northern coast where pine trees reach down to the sand and crystal clear waters, and the hum of cicadas fills the air.
10. Swimming in the Pools of the gods
From the area known as Priona on Olympus (if you are not an experienced hiker you can get there by car) you will plunge into the cool of the forest, heading down the shady E4 path. After a 2 km hike you will come across a fairytale setting where waterfalls feed plunge pools. The frigid waters spring from river Enipeas – myth has it that this is where the beautiful Leto would bathe – and if you’re bold, jump in, otherwise just fill your canteen with cold water. If you continue hiking to Litochoro expect the journey to take about 5 hours.
fb page: Konstantinos Vasilakis Photography, 120€/person. Accomodation: 13€/person.
11. Photography Tours in Zagori
The photographer Konstantinos Vasilakis offers an alternative way of enjoying the natural beauty of Mt Tymfi: photographing it for 4 days away from civilization. Participants set off from the village of Mikro Papigo. The 6km hike to the Astraka mountain refuge (1,950m elevation) where the lessons will be held and where participants will spend three nights is relatively easy, passing through forested and alpine terrain. Days are then spent hiking and photographing the alpine meadows and mountain lakes of Mt Tymfis, and the evenings are spent at the refuge bonding over photography.
12. Water biking in the moonlight on Lake Plastira
Sitting out in the middle of lake Plastira with the August full moon rising over the mountains: how is that for one-of-a-kind alternative experience? Water bikes can be ridden by almost any age as they are easy to master, and they offer a peaceful way to enjoy the lake without a motor disturbing the peace and quiet. During the day you can rent them and go wherever you like, or take part in an organized tour.
www.tavropos.com, tel. (+30) 24410-92552, 6977-740066, 10 euros per person. Free for kids who sit in the child seat or on a double bicycle. Full moon: 15 euros per person with wine and snacks around the fire.
- You can visit Kolymbithres by yourself but guided tours can also be arranged. For more information visit www.alpinezone.gr and www.trekking.gr
- www.trekking.gr, tel.(+30) 6981-114041, prices are about 20-35 per person, depending on the number of participants and whether you will be returned by car following the hike.
13. Swimming in the natural pools of Kolymbithres
Everywhere in Zagori you will be surrounded by nature, but in Kolymbithres you will find yourself in a narrow rocky gorge where time, wind and water have sculpted gentle oval pools. With no mobile phone reception, as you descend the natural setting becomes ever more enchanting. You will encounter hikers from all over the world and in places where the water depth allows, you can enjoy a refreshing swim.
14. Retracing ancient footsteps along the paths of Delphi
Aside from the magical walks around the archaeological sites and to the ancient stadium, Delphi offers incredible hiking. Whether one follows the ancient path between Delphi and the ancient port of Kirra, or the path that begins at the Angelos and Eva Sikelianos Museum and leads to the Corycian Cave, the landscape is richly diverse and the views wonderful, particularly in the afternoon. Sun rays can frequently be seen sparkling on the surface of the Corinthian Gulf, reminding one why the Temple of Apollo, the god of light, was built here.
15. Rock Climbing in Leonidio
Leonidio in Arkadia is known as the rock climbing capital of the Peloponnese among enthusiasts, and it is one of the hottest up-and-coming destinations for the sport in the entire country. Indeed in recent years it has been the site of a successful festival that attracts climbers from Greece and abroad. In the wider area you will find more than 1,000 rock climbing routes of varying degrees of difficulty. In the Kokkinovrachos sector alone there are 169, in the sector Mars there are 35, in Twin Caves there are 38, and so on.
Visit climbinleonidio.com for more informaiton.
The next Rock Climbing Festival will take place on November 1-4.
- Picnics are organized every weekend in May and June by the guesthouse Dimosthethins, tel. +30 23430-41302, Cost: 12 euros per person, 6 euros for children over six.
- Tel.(+30) 6947-634197, tac.com.gr. Mountain hiking from 20 euros per person, mountaineering 30 euros per person, mountain biking 25 euros per person, rock climbing 45 euros per person.
16. Picnicking with fireflies
From mid May until the end of June there are nights when the plane tree forest in the foothills of Mt Paiko between the regional units of Pellas and Kilkis twinkles in the dark. This magical sight is thanks to the fireflies that glow in their attempts to attract mates. You can take in this enchanting phenomenon while have an evening picnic at the wooden tables at the site Dio Potamia under the plane and oak trees while nature puts on its light show.
17. Mountain Sports in Tzoumerka
Wild and impressive, the Tzoumerka mountain range is one of the most interesting places in Greece to get out into nature. Near the village of Agnanta you’ll find the Tzoumerka Activities Center where you can take part in a range of outdoor sports and games, from archery to relay races. By appointment, the center also organizers activities out in nature. Contact Yannis Theocharopoulos, a physical education teacher and mountain guide accredited by the Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing to arrange your preferred activity: hiking in the forest, mountain climbing up to one of Tzoumerka’s peaks, mountain biking (on dirt roads) or rock climbing. If you like, you can create your own personal package of activities or choose one of the suggested options (eg 1 hour hiking in the forest, lunch pack, climbing on the indoor wall, archery, flying fox, sauna, coffee).
18. Walking the Longest Gorge in Crete
Flanked by the enormous rock walls of the narrow gorge you will feel like an ant as you traverse Samaria, one of the longest gorges in Europe, with a length of 13 km. The narrowest point is at Portes where the walls of the gorge are only 3 meters apart. The route is signposted and takes about 6 hours to complete, allowing for some stops. You will rest and quench your thirst at springs under plane, cypress and pine trees, you may see rare wild goats, and you will wander through the empty village of Samaria that was abandoned in the 1960s. At the end you will be rewarded by a refreshing dip in the Libyan Sea.
Samaria National Park
tel. (+30) 28210-45570
Entry 5 euros per person open daily 06.00-16.00, after 16.00 only for those who want to hike the first 2 km of the gorge.
80-150 euros per person per day (for small groups).
19. Photographing the Birds of Lesvos
In the spring you will see them flirting, in August feeding their young, and in September setting off on their migrations. Lesvos is inhabited or visited by over 300 species of birds. Beyond the birdwatching in rare ecosystems such as the Kalloni salt pans, Lesvos also offers all of the joys of a Greek island: ouzo by the sea, pristine beaches and charming villages. Book your birdwatching trip via Birding in Greece which offers tailor-made excursions accompanied by an experienced wildlife photographer.
20. Riding the Rack Railway up Mount Helmos
Here it is not the destination that matters as much as the journey. Along an impressive 22.4 km route through the Helmos-Vouraikos National Park, the rack railway line that links Diakofto with Kalavryta passes through forests of plane and fir trees, through tunnels hewn out of the rock and over narrow bridges that are in such harmony with the natural environment that they look like they have been there forever. As the gradient gets steeper the historic train uses its cog wheels to latch on to the toothed rail to climb up. The train ride takes about 1 hour. See more here.
www.trainose.gr, 9.5 euros per person (for a single ticket Diakofto – Kalavryta).