Greece Walking Holidays

Just a whisker away from the country's famous beach resorts is a totally different world; and a walking holiday will help you unearth it. Itís a world where you can follow kalderimia (cobbled paths from the time of the Byzantines) through forested hills and amble along little-known coastal trails, visiting traditional villages and hidden archeological sites, stopping to dip your toes in the bright blue sea or to grab a glass of retsina at a local taverna.
Greeceís terrain is rich and varied and you'll discover a wide choice of walking routes to suit all abilities, with areas away from the most popular routes offering equal bounty in terms of heart-pumping exercise and cultural diversity. From cliff-top monasteries and the legendary Mount Olympus in the north to olive groves, gorges and beaches on the islands, walking holidays in Greece are full of adventure.

Where to walk in Greece

Many of our walking holidays in Greece, both small group and self guided, include island hopping, with public ferries, sailing boats or small ships taking passengers to islands both on and off the radar. Here, you can spend days hitting coastal and mountain trails, stopping for picnics or in traditional tavernas and hearing tales of myths and legends that give Greece much of its magic. Hop between the Cyclades Islands, which include Paros, Naxos and Santorini, or head to the Ionian Islands to explore Kefalonia, Lefkada and Ithaka, on foot.
You could also focus on getting to know one island in depth. Keen hikers should make for Crete, with a walking pole and sturdy boots on hand to tackle the fantastic walking trails in the White Mountains or the Samaria Gorge. Or head to the large island of Evia to the east of the mainland, an undiscovered gem thatís home to sleepy villages and rugged mountain trails.
Mainland Greece has plenty of natural and historical treasures to discover on two feet, too. The Zagori region offers the chance to immerse yourself in the caves, gorges and forested canyons of Vikos-Aoos National Park; the Pelion region reveals cobbled paths and trails in the foothills of a spectacular mountain; magnificent Mount Olympus is the place for hardcore hiking with nights spent in mountain huts; and in southern Greece small group tours discover the archaeological treasures of Athens and Delphi.

How tough are the tours?

This very much depends on the itinerary you choose, though, with a few exceptions, walking holidays in Greece are more about gentle discovery than tough trekking. On walking holidays in the Cyclades, for example, you may walk up to 10km a day, but this will be at a relaxed pace with few steep ascents, and with plenty of time to stop for a swim or to visit a local winery. In many cases, walks are optional, so youíre free to spend the day at the beach or reading in a cafe if you fancy a break from walking.

You could also opt for a more adventurous trip Ė a week tackling the slopes of Mount Olympus, perhaps, or hiking Vikos-Aoos National Park, in northern Greece, walking up to eight hours a day and with some nights spent in simple mountain refuges.

Walking holidays tend to be a week long, but four-day trips, focusing on a single island such as Santorini, are a great short break option, and longer, 10 day to two-week trips, taking in several islands, are also available. In terms of kit, youíll need walking shoes and perhaps poles, if your holiday includes walks on steep or rocky routes. Bring layers, for peeling off or putting on, as whatever the time of year, you could still experience daytime heat and evening chills.

Our top Greece Holiday

Greece walking holiday, Kythnos

Greece walking holiday, Kythnos

Hiking holiday on Kythnos, a beautiful Greek island in the Cyclades group

From Ä495 6 days ex flights
Small group travel:
Departing every Monday from 3rd April until October. Runs with a minimum of two people.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Greece or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

What style are the tours

The majority of walking holidays in Greece are run as small group breaks, with a maximum of 16 people, and combine walking with cultural, culinary and water-bound exploration. Small groups are suited for walkers who like to make friends along the trail and youíll have the added bonus of local knowledge from expert guides to help transform seemingly meaningless rocky ruins into fantastical folklore.

You can also opt for a tailor made trip, allowing you greater flexibility with your itinerary. You could either travel with your own personal guide, or travel under your own steam on a self guided option. If you do the latter, youíll follow a well designed itinerary and will be provided with local support and an information package, giving you all the necessary info on walking routes as well as on cultural, archaeological and natural sites of interest. Self guided walking holidays can also be run on a fly drive basis.
Combined walking and sailing holidays are hugely popular, too. These small group trips take you to discover walking trails both on and off the beaten path, with small ships and yachts allowing you to access far flung and even uninhabited islands that larger ships and ferries canít reach, so you can discover deserted villages, empty beaches and hidden trails.

Best time to go walking in Greece

Although tailor made walking holidays can take place throughout the year, small group tours are usually organised from April to June and September to October as temperatures are much more comfortable outside of the crushing July and August heat. Spring is a wonderful time for a walking holiday in Greece. The countryside is lush and green from the winter rains, the hills are thick with wildflowers, and itís a great time to meet local people, before the start of the typical tourist season. Autumn is also lovely, with warm seas but milder temperatures after the heat of summer, and golden leaves on forested slopes.
Written by Nana Luckham
Photo credits: [Page banner: Annie Spratt] [Topbox: Randy Connolly] [Where to walk: Onno Zweers] [Sunset: Michael Lefrancois]