There is good reason why Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Aphrodite and the rest of the clan chose Greece as their home. With its piercing blue seas and rugged rocks and mountains, it is a place for deities, heroes and myths. It is also the perfect destination to enjoy an active holiday, with options that range from mountaineering, rock climbing, via ferrata, hiking, swimming, skiing and more and for all levels too! Furthermore, all that action can be paired with leisure, making for the perfect complement of outdoor adventure and after-sport fun. Not to mention, that Greece also boasts delectable cuisine to savor and fuel-up for the next adventure.
The question is Aegean, Ionian, Cretan or Mediterranean Sea? Because Greece has them all, and 227 inhabited, needless to say gorgeous, islands too, plus mountains galore that make up 80% of its surface area. With so much to choose from, studying your options well and going with a certified guide is a must. Find the perfect tour for your Greek adventure here and read our pick of top 5 tours to enjoy a thrilling active holiday in Greece!
1. Climbing Mt. Olympus
Considered to be "home of the Gods", Mount Olympus is also a national park since 1938 with breathtaking landscapes, and amazing vegetation and wildlife. Furthermore, its varied terrain makes it ideal for hiking and mountaineering enthusiasts.
There are two main trails to climb Mount Olympus. The Prionia Trail (1,100m) takes you through valleys, lakes, the Agios Dionysios Monastery, forests, and different peaks is breathtaking and the most popular route. Otherwise, the Gorstia Trail is a bit longer, though less challenging in terms of terrain and less crowded. These routes usually take two to three days to complete, with overnight at some of the mountain huts in the area. There are also other, more challenging options to climb Mount Olympus, but keep in mind you will need to be properly prepared. In all cases, going with a certified guide ensures you make the most out of the experience and that you do so safely.
Want to know more? Read our guide for climbing Mount Olympus.
Area / Region: Mount Olympus is part of the Olympus Range located between Pieria and Larissa.
How to get there: Mount Olympus is around a 3-hour drive from Thessaloniki. Other options include taking a train and a taxi, or a bus.
Difficulty level: Mount Olympus is considered fairly challenging to climb, and is graded a class III climb. You will need to be in good shape and ready for some scrambling action too.
When to go there: For hiking, the best time of the year to go is the summer, between late May and August.
Check out these Hiking trips to Mount Olympus and pick the perfect option for you!
2. Rock climbing in Kalymnos
Kalymnos is famous for having one of the highest concentration of sport routes in the world! With over 50 stunning limestone cliffs and more than 1000 single pitches, this stunning island in the Aegean Sea is a rock climbing haven.
But it's not only the quantity that counts, it's also the top quality of the rocks. You will find amazing crags with stalactites and tufas, slabs and more, plus breathtaking views and seaside options for when you want to take a break from the climbing.
Love rock climbing? Find out more about all the Rock Climbing options in the Mediterranean!
Kalymnos is divided into four basic climbing areas. The largest concentration of rock climbing options is in the center and the north of the island. The south of the island is perfect for those that want a more remote experience, and there is also an option of taking a ten-minute boat ride to a smaller island of Telendos. Whichever your preference, an experienced guide will be able to find the right itinerary for your needs.
Area / Region: Kalymnos is one of the Dodecanese islands to the west of the Bodrum peninsula between the Kos and Leros islands.
How to get there: Options to get there include flying or taking a ferry from Athens, or flying to Kos and taking a ferry from there.
Difficulty level: There are options for all levels, but climbing in Kalymnos is ideal for those with climbing grade F5 up to F7B+ (5.9 – 5.12c).
When to go there: You can go climbing in Kalymnos year round, however the best times of the year are in the spring, during April and May, and in the autumn, during September and October.
Check out these amazing rock climbing options in Kalymnos and start planning your adventure now!
3. Ski touring in the Pindus Mountains
Greece usually brings to mind sandy beaches rather than snowy mountains, but in fact, with around 80% of its surface area covered in mountains, it is a great option for winter sports! And, because it is a more unexpected ski touring destination than say Switzerland, it is less crowded.
Peaks in Greece are not as high as in the Alps, it's true, however, in winter you can find pristine powder snow at altitudes of just 1,000 m.a.s.l. and with the sea right down below.
Would you like to learn more about Greek winter options? Find out which are the best Ski touring spots in Greece!
The Pindus mountains is a range to the north of Greece, with Mount Smolikas, at an altitude of 2,637 m.a.s.l as its highest point. Other important mountains in the area for ski touring include Mount Grammos, Mount Vassilitsa, Gamila, Lakmos and more! Furthermore, this region of Greece also boasts many historic and architectural landmarks that you can visit when you're done with the powder.
Area / Region: Located in northern Greece and southern Albania, on the border of Thessaly and Epirus.
How to get there: You can fly in, take a bus or drive to Ioannina from Athens.
Difficulty level: Intermediate to sustained
When to go there: winter months between December and March
Find a certified guide to take you on an unforgettable ski touring adventure in the Pindus Mountains and start planning your trip!
4. Hiking and swimming in Crete
The most majestic and historic location in Greece, plus, the biggest of its islands, is Crete. Once the center of the Minoan civilization, the oldest known civilization in Europe, it is home to the palace of Knossos and also the alleged birthplace of Zeus, all good enough reasons to visit.
Furthermore, this popular tourist destination is also a hiking and swimming haven with mountains, valleys, gorges, rivers, lakes and of course turquoise lined beaches that sparkle under the sun. It helps that it is said to boast one of the healthiest climates for humans to live in!
Area / Region: Region of Crete in the Mediterranean.
How to get there: Fly into Haniá, Iráklio (Heraklion) or Sitía airports, or take a ferry, and then in Crete travel by bus, taxi or car hire.
Difficulty level: All levels
When to go there: Climate is great year round. The warmer months between April and mid-October are the most popular, and the best of those moths are April-June and September-October which are less crowded.
Join a guide for a 1-week hiking and swimming tour in Crete and discover its amazing landscapes, gorges, mountains, and seaside havens.
5. Climbing a Via Ferrata in the Aoos Valley
The Aoos Valley lies on the banks of the Aoos river that gets its name from the Greek Adonis, who was the lover of Aphrodite. Imagine then how beautiful this region is with its bright green vegetation and emerald waters.
It is surrounded by Mount Smolikas, The Tymfi massif, the Vassilitsa dual peaks, and Trapezitsa and is a great place for many outdoor adventures including Via Ferrata that will allow you to access some of its most beautiful stunning spots.
Area / Region: The Aoos valley is a river valley in the region of Ypirous north of Ioannina in the Vikus National Park.
How to get there: You can fly in, take a bus or drive to Ioannina from Athens and then head to the town of Konitsa.
Difficulty level: All levels
When to go there: In the warmer months, between May and September.
Book a 1-day Via Ferrata adventure in the Aoos Valley and explore its river, ridges, mountains, bridges and more, under the guidance of a certified expert!
Whichever your preference, Greece has an option for you that promises a sense of wonder. Choose one of the guides featured at Explore-share.com and enjoy both culture and the thrilling wilderness on a fun-packed active holiday to Greece you will never forget!