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, (+30) 22730-25940
Hikes are organized every weekend from June to October.
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.
Dates: first period 28/6 – 11/07; second period 12-25/7
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 11th year the WoodWaterWild Festival will be held in Kavala, towards the end of June (exact dates TBA). And it is truly amazing how many activities are squeezed in to the gorge of Palia Kavala which features a footpath, waterfall, small lake and a restored watermill where there is a special area for camping. Climbing, archery, hiking, paintball, yoga and other activities are on offer, as well as mountain running and mountain biking competitions. Concerts, parties, exhibitions, storytelling and bazaars are also be held, as well as tasting sessions and workshops to teach kids about the environment.
Tel.(+30) 6944-624281, (+30) 2510.831.388, www.woodwaterwild.gr
Entry is free.
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 (somewhat more challenging), 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, sections of which have been recently restored.
www.seakayakparos.com, Tel.(+30) 6977-206541, 80 euros per person, duration: 6-8 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 washed by crystal clear waters, and the hum of cicadas fills the air.
10. Swimming in the Pools of the gods
From the area known as Prionia 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 feed the 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.
Spring: 14/05 – 23/05 2020. Groups from 3-6 people. Price 2,200 euros all included. Nights are spent in shared dormitories in a mountain refuge.
Autumn: 09/11 – 18/11 2020. Groups from 3-6 people. Price 2.700 euros all included. Nights are spent in luxury traditional guesthouses.
11. Photography Tours in Zagori
The photographer Konstantinos Vasilakis offers an alternative way of enjoying the natural beauty found in the Zagori region through his photography workshop taking place twice a year, in autumn and in spring. It is organized like a guided tour of the area’s most beautiful and remote locations. The “Zagori in Autumn” workshop taking place in November is held around two main locations: it starts off in the charming village of Kapesovo in central Zagori and continues west of Mount Tymfi in the village of Aristi, offering an impressive view of the peaks of the Astraka mountain range. The journey lasts 10 days overall and transportation to and from the shooting locations is included. The “Zagori in Spring” workshop takes place in May; it offers a 10-day hiking adventure around Mount Tymfi, passing through terrain with alpine forests, rivers, and the famous “Dragon Lake”. For the most demanding hikes, you will be accompanied by mules to carry your equipment.
12. Water biking in the moonlight on Lake Plastira
Sitting out in the middle of serene 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, 6974-520444
Price per person: 10 euros/ 30 min and 15 euros/ 1 hour (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 (summer only).
You can also book guided tours for groups between 4-12 people.
- Kolymbithres: You can visit Kolymbithres by yourself but guided tours can also be arranged. For more information visit www.alpinezone.gr and www.trekking.gr
- Delphi: www.trekking.gr, Tel.(+30) 6981-114041, 4-hour easy trek. Participants must be 10-years of age or older.
Prices: for 2 people: 50 euros/person; for 3 people and over: 40 euros /person.
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 graceful 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 strolls around the archaeological sites and the ancient stadium, Delphi offers incredible hiking. The Ancient Path of Delphi takes you through the fir forest on the slopes of Parnassos where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the vast olive grove below, the Corinthian Gulf and the mountains of the Peloponnese in the background. You will be able to take in all of the ancient temples from above, giving you a different perspective of the site once known as the navel of the Earth. Rays of sun sparkling on the sea will remind you why the Temple of Apollo, the god of light, was built here. The hike is available year-round.
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 information.
In the autumn a Rock Climbing Festival is held – dates for 2020 TBA.
- Firefly Picnics: Picnics are organized every weekend in May and June by the guesthouse Dimosthenis, Tel. +30 23430-41302, Cost: 15-30 euros per person, depending on group size, reduced rates for children. Picnics can include bike rides.
- Tzoumerka activities: Tel.(+30) 6947-634197, tac.com.gr. Prices range between 20-45 euros per person depending on the package of activities.
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 organizes 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, mountaineering 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. The gorge can be visited between May 1 – October 15, with entry allowed 06.00-16.00 (after 16.00 only for those who want to hike the first 2 km of the gorge).
Groups of up to 9 people can be accommodated
Price: 50-100 euros per person depending on group size
19. Photographing the Birds of Lesvos
In the spring you will see them flirting, in August raising their young, and in September setting off on their migrations. Lesvos is inhabited and visited by over 300 species of birds. Beyond the birdwatching in rare ecosystems such as the Kalloni salt flats, 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).