Greece is a country that offers endless possibilities for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach holiday, a cultural exploration, or an adrenaline-filled adventure, you will find something to suit your taste and budget in this beautiful and diverse land. Here are some of the outdoor activities and sports that you can do in Greece, along with some tips and recommendations on where to go and what to expect.
Greece has over 40 mountain ranges, many of which have well-marked trails for hikers of all levels. You can enjoy stunning views of the sea, the countryside, and the ancient monuments as you walk through forests, gorges, and villages. Some of the most popular hiking destinations in Greece are:
: The highest mountain in Greece and the home of the 12 ancient gods. You can choose from gentle family-friendly trails or more challenging routes if you want to reach the highest peaks. You will need a guide and proper equipment for the latter. The best time to hike Mt Olympus is from June to September.
: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Meteora is a unique landscape of towering sandstone rocks topped with centuries-old monasteries. You can hike between the monasteries and admire the views of the valley below. The trails are easy to moderate and suitable for most hikers. The best time to visit Meteora is from April to October.
: The backbone of mainland Greece, the Pindos Mountains offer some of the most impressive hiking paths in the country. You can explore the Vikos Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world according to Guinness World Records, and the stone villages of Zagori, known for their traditional architecture and hospitality. The trails range from easy to difficult and require good physical condition and experience. The best time to visit the Pindos Mountains is from May to October.
: The most glamorous island chain in Greece, forming a circle around uninhabited Delos, an archaeological treasure trove. There are memorable hikes on all Cyclades isles, including Santorini, Tinos and Folegandros. You can walk along the rim of Santorini’s caldera, a volcanic crater filled with seawater, and enjoy the breathtaking views of the white-washed villages and the blue sea. You can also discover the hidden gems of Tinos, such as its marble villages, its dovecotes, and its churches. Or you can explore the wild beauty of Folegandros, a small island with dramatic cliffs and secluded beaches. The trails are mostly easy to moderate and suitable for most hikers. The best time to visit the Cyclades is from April to June and from September to October.
: The largest and most diverse island in Greece, Crete is the birthplace of the Minoan civilization and a unique corner of the world. There are plenty of hiking paths all over Crete, but some of the stand-out treks are: The Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe, stretching for 16 km through a national park; The White Mountains, a rugged range with over 50 peaks above 2,000 m; The E4 European long distance path, which crosses Crete from east to west for about 500 km; and The coastal paths along the Libyan Sea, which offer stunning views of the sea and the mountains. The trails range from easy to difficult and require good physical condition and experience. The best time to visit Crete is from April to June and from September to October.
Greece has one of the longest coastlines in the world and thousands of islands to explore by boat. Sailing is one of the best ways to experience the beauty and diversity of Greece’s seascape, as well as its rich culture and history. You can sail around the Aegean Sea, the Ionian Sea, or both, depending on your preferences and time. Some of the most popular sailing destinations in Greece are:
The Saronic Gulf
: A sheltered sea area near Athens, ideal for beginners or short trips. You can visit the islands of Aegina, Poros, Hydra, and Spetses, each with its own charm and attractions. You can also stop at the ancient theatre of Epidaurus and the temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion. The sailing conditions are mild and the distances are short. The best time to sail the Saronic Gulf is from May to October.
: The most famous island group in Greece, known for its whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches, and stunning sunsets. You can sail to the cosmopolitan islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, and Naxos, or to the more tranquil ones of Milos, Sifnos, and Amorgos. You can also visit the archaeological sites of Delos and Akrotiri, or the volcanic islands of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni. The sailing conditions are moderate to challenging and the distances are medium to long. The best time to sail the Cyclades is from June to September.
The Ionian Sea
: A calm and green sea area on the west coast of Greece, influenced by the Venetian and British cultures. You can sail to the islands of Corfu, Lefkada, Kefalonia, Ithaca, Zakynthos, and Paxi, each with its own beauty and character. You can also explore the mainland coast, with its picturesque towns and villages. The sailing conditions are easy and the distances are short. The best time to sail the Ionian Sea is from May to October.
: A group of 12 large and 150 smaller islands on the southeast edge of the Aegean Sea, near the coast of Turkey. You can sail to the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Patmos, Symi, and Karpathos, among others, and enjoy their diverse landscapes, cultures, and histories. You can also visit the medieval castles, the ancient temples, and the monasteries that dot the islands. The sailing conditions are moderate to challenging and the distances are medium to long. The best time to sail the Dodecanese is from May to October.
Greece has a coastline of over 13,000 km and countless bays, coves, caves, and beaches to explore by kayak. Kayaking is a fun and eco-friendly way to discover the hidden gems of Greece’s marine environment, as well as its cultural heritage. You can kayak along the mainland coast or around the islands, depending on your preferences and skills. Some of the most popular kayaking destinations in Greece are:
: The southernmost part of mainland Greece, rich in history and nature. You can kayak around the Mani Peninsula, a wild and rugged area with stone towers and caves; around Navarino Bay, a protected wetland with a lagoon and a castle; or around Monemvasia, a medieval fortress town built on a rock. The kayaking conditions are mild to moderate and suitable for most paddlers. The best time to kayak in the Peloponnese is from April to October.
The Ionian Islands
: A group of seven main islands and many smaller ones on the west coast of Greece, known for their lush vegetation and turquoise waters. You can kayak around Corfu, the most cosmopolitan island with a Venetian flair; around Lefkada, a paradise for windsurfers and kite-surfers; around Kefalonia, a large island with diverse landscapes and caves; or around Ithaca, the mythical home of Odysseus. The kayaking conditions are easy to moderate and suitable for most paddlers. The best time to kayak in the Ionian Islands is from May to October.
: A group of four main islands and 24 smaller ones on the northeast Aegean Sea, famous for their natural beauty and wildlife. You can kayak around Skiathos, a popular island with over 60 beaches; around Skopelos, a green island with pine forests and monasteries; around Alonissos, a quiet island with a marine park for endangered monk seals; or around Skyros, a remote island with a unique culture and folklore. The kayaking conditions are moderate to challenging and suitable for experienced paddlers. The best time to kayak in the Sporades is from June to September.