If you’re looking for a new hiking destination, then Greece is a great place to explore. From mountains to the sea, this beautiful country offers incredible variety. Add in incredible food, friendly locals, pretty villages and an enormous amount of history, and you’ll soon see why a hiking trip to Greece makes perfect sense.
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Best Time to Visit Greece
If you’re looking for the best time to visit Greece, you’re in luck. There’s hardly a bad time to visit this country, since the Mediterranean climate is generally mild year-round and there are advantages to almost any season or time of year. That being said, the low-season for tourism is between November and March, so winter tourists might find a reduced transportation schedules and some resorts and attractions may be closed. July and August are the warmest months, but also the most crowded. For hiking tours, July and August are also very hot, so it’s best to plan a beach vacation (as opposed to a strenuous hiking trip) if you’re coming to Greece then.
We suggest the best time to come hiking in Greece are the months of May, June, September and October. However, if you’re climbing Mount Olympus then you can also come in July or August as you’ll be at elevation and the temperatures will be much cooler.
Weather in Greece
The weather in Greece is typical for the Mediterranean climate. While it is mild year-round, there are fairly distinct seasons. Summers are warm and dry, while winters can be cool and rainy. The weather in Greece also varies in different regions of the country. Winters in northern Greece can be cold and experience snow, while the southern areas tend to stay above freezing.
The weather in Greece in May averages around 20°C with just two days of precipitation. The nights are cool, and most people will find it too chilly to swim, but for all other activities, May has perfect weather and inexpensive “shoulder season” prices. Earlier in the spring, the weather in Greece in March is cool, averaging between 10-15°C. One of the wetter months, Athens expects about five days of rain in March, but these showers bring wildflowers that might just be worth braving the cooler temperatures.
Winter travelers will find the weather in Greece in December makes it the best winter month to visit. The average temperature in Athens is around 10°C but the coastal areas can be warmer. Travelers hoping to visit Greece in the fall will find the weather in Greece in October is the start of the chilly and rainy season, with average temperatures between 15-20°C and an average of four days of rain. September is both warmer and drier, making it a better fall alternative.
Best Places to Visit in Greece for Hikers
There is no shortage of things to do in Greece. Greece attractions include beautiful beaches, ancient historic sites, incredible restaurants, and so much more. For lovers of the outdoors, hiking or walking in Greece is also high on the list! Some of the best places to visit in Greece for hikers include Mount Olympus, Santorini, Crete, Paros, Naxos, Andros Island, and Tinos.
Think of Greece and you’ll probably summon images of beautiful beaches and islands, dotted with picture-perfect white villages. However, Greece is primarily a mountainous country, with wild hills and imposing crags, plunging canyons, and tree-clad slopes. In Greece mountains are a fundamental part of the country’s identity and ancient religion – mountains were the residence of the gods, lands of myth and majesty.
Greece’s mountains may be found all over the country. Perhaps the most famous Greek mountain, Mount Olympus is clad in beautiful wild flowers and is the site of an epic multi-day hike, offering some of the best views in the country. To the north, the Pindus Mountain Range is the destination for memorable hikes and multi-day treks, combining fabulous nature, fascinating history, and delicious food. Similarly, along the border with Bulgaria, the Rhodope Mountain Range has its own distinctive character, steeped in history and myth.
In Greece mountains are clad in unique forests and beautiful flora, attracting botanists and nature lovers year round. Some of these Greek mountains are home to the oldest forests in Europe, with rare and unusual species adorning the trail. The mountains of Greece make for the ideal hiking destination – the perfect combination of stunning views, lush plants, rare animals, fascinating culture, and friendly local people.
If you’re looking to explore the Greek Mountains, check out the Pindus Mountains Horseshoe Trek.
The tallest peak in Greece and, according to Greek mythology, the home of the gods, Mount Olympus is truly something special. While it is possible to drive part of the way up the mountain, Mount Olympus is best explored on foot.
Mount Olympus Hike
The Mount Olympus hike is accessible but should not be taken lightly. Much of the trail is relatively easy, but rock scrambling is involved in sections. Inexperienced and unprepared hikers can find themselves in trouble, and there are emergency rescues and fatalities on the mountain every year.
Plan your hike well, and be sure to have a map and good equipment. There are several shorter day hikes available to explore scenic gorges, but the full trek takes three days. Mountain refuges are available along the way to spend the night. Many hikers choose to book a guided hiking tour on Mount Olympus to be sure all the details are taken care of, especially since clear information in English is not always easy to find.
Other Attractions near Mount Olympus
History and nature coexist in Olympus National Park and the surrounding area. While visiting Mount Olympus, take time to visit a few other historically and culturally significant sites.
The St. Dionysios Monastery and Cave requires a hike but is well worth a visit. The history of the old monastery begins in the 1500s and stretches all the way to 1943, when German forces bombed it.
To the southeast of Mount Olympus, visit the Platamon Castle. Built in the 10th Century and remarkably well-preserved, this castle’s strategic location has made it an important fortress in wars from the Crusades to World War II.
For an overview of the area and all of the significant archaeological finds in the region surrounding Mount Olympus, visit the Archaeological Museum of Dion.
Mount Olympus is also about a 3-hour drive from Thessaloniki and everything that ancient city has to offer.
Where to Stay near Mount Olympus
The village of Litochoro is the best place to stay near Mount Olympus, before and after your hiking adventure. A wide variety of hotels is available, ranging from 2-5 star ratings, accommodating many different budgets. The village is accustomed to receiving tourists, especially hikers, who are visiting the famed Mount Olympus.
Mount Olympus Weather
While the nearby village of Litochoro has a typically Mediterranean climate, Mount Olympus weather is impacted considerably by its elevation. Hikers should be prepared for colder temperatures and risk of rain and thunderstorms as they go higher in altitude, with accompanying winds and sudden weather changes. The higher elevations on the mountain, above 2,000 m, are snow-capped for about nine months each year, from September to May. In some ravines or areas where the snow drifts to more than 10 m deep, there is snow year-round.
Santorini, Greece is a ruggedly beautiful island in the Aegean Sea, known for its volcanic activity and rich history. Its spectacular natural beauty, pleasant climate, and intriguing history draw more than 2 million visitors every year.
Hike in Santorini
While there are several good options to hike in Santorini, hiking the ridge of the Caldera Trail in Santorini may just be one of the most spectacular hikes you’ll take in your life. The 10.5 km walk between the villages of Fira and Oia offers breathtaking views out over the water-filled caldera of this volcanic island, and takes you through several charming villages along the way. Add a side-trail out to Skaros Rock for unparalleled views.
Book a guided tour to help you navigate the trail, which can be confusing at times, without missing any of the amazing overlooks and viewpoints.
Things to do in Santorini
There are many things to do in Santorini, but no visit to Santorini is complete without exploring its incredible beaches and warm water. Santorini offers perfect beach weather from May through October, during its warm, dry, and sunny summer season. While there are many beautiful Santorini beaches to choose from, two of the most unique are Red Beach and White Beach.
Perhaps the most famous beach in Santorini is Red Beach, near Akrotiri village. Descriptively named for the red color which dominates the cliffs above the beach and the colorful sand itself, the famous Red Beach at Santorini is a unique experience you won’t want to miss. Snorkeling here reveals some magnificent underwater rock formations. Stop at the nearby Akrotiri archaeological site while you are in the area to see the important work happening there.
If Red Beach Santorini is too crowded for your enjoyment, the more isolated and relaxing White Beach is also located near Akrotiri. This remarkable beach is white because of its white pebbles and gray volcanic sand. The cove is formed by tall white cliffs, creating a stunning impression in contrast with the clear blue water. The beach can only be reached by boat or on foot, so you’re sure to find it quiet and peaceful. Grab a snorkel and explore underwater caves while you’re there! Don’t miss the chance to visit White Beach Santorini!
Where to stay in Santorini
The popularity of Santorini as a tourist destination means there are many places to stay in Santorini. There are four larger towns that are on the Santorini caldera: Fira, Oia, Imerovigli and Firostafani. Staying in one of these towns gives you great views of the volcano and the caldera, and promises some spectacular sunsets.
Each of these places offers a range of options for any budget or preference. There are opulent, luxurious choices, including 5-star cave suites. There are also hostels designed for backpackers and even camping options. Santorini is for everyone! Just pick the level of accommodation that’s right for you!
Santorini weather serves up consistently warm, dry summers with plenty of sunshine. Average temperatures in June, July, and August range from 20-30°C with little to no precipitation. It can at times be very windy. The winter months, from November through March, are cool and wet. It rains frequently and temperatures range from 10-20°C on average. The spring and fall seasons are moderate in terms of both temperature and precipitation.
The Island of Crete
The largest of the Greek islands, the island of Crete is a destination in itself. With beautiful beaches, great hiking, and a rich history, this island has something for everyone. There’s enough to do to fill your whole vacation without ever leaving the island.
Hiking in Crete
The White Mountains on the island make hiking in Crete a beautiful adventure. Hike through scenic gorges, including the longest gorge in Europe: Samaria Gorge. The tallest mountain, Mt Ida (2,456 m / 8,058 ft) is an easy hike offering spectacular views of the mountains and the sea. Mt Gigilos (2,080 m / 6,824 ft) offers a little bit more challenge but rewards hikers with amazing viewpoints overlooking the Samaria Gorge, and the chance to see the unique bearded vultures (lammergeier birds) that stretch out their 3 m wingspan to glide over the gorge.
There are so many options for great hiking in Crete that it can be hard to choose where to go! Booking a guided hiking tour on Crete can lead you to all the best trails and overlooks so you won’t miss a thing!
Things to do in Crete
If you’re looking for things to do in Crete, you won’t have to look far. Take advantage of world-class beaches on the warm waters of the southern Aegean Sea. Swim, snorkel, or just relax on the beach. Those who enjoy water sports will find a wide variety of boating, kayaking, and diving opportunities.
You can also visit several different archaeological sites, exploring the ruins of Minoan palaces like Knossos. History abounds on this island, so monasteries, churches, and castles dot the island representing many different periods of Crete’s long history. Learn even more about this region by visiting one of Crete’s many museums.
The popular cities of Chania and Rethymno welcome tourists with a wide variety of restaurants where the serving staff can recite the menu in many different European languages, but for a more authentic experience, leave the tourist strip and find a restaurant full of locals. It might be harder to communicate, but your efforts will be well-rewarded!
Where to stay in Crete
This island is large enough that you should decide where to stay in Crete based on which part of the island you plan to explore the most. Even if you’re renting a car or traveling by bus, you will save a lot of time by staying closer to the attractions you most want to visit.
Staying in Chania or Rethymno are two of the most popular options. Here you’ll find a variety of hotels and hostels available to suit any budget and preference, usually just a short walk from beaches, restaurants, and other attractions. For a relaxing getaway, these areas are perfect.
If you’re looking for more adventure, consider leaving the cities for a smaller village, where a bed-and-breakfast or Airbnb apartment might be a perfect home base for an authentic experience exploring off the beaten path.
Whatever type of accommodations you’re looking for in Crete, chances are you will easily find them!
Crete’s weather is similar to other Mediterranean islands. While it is mild year-round, the warmest and driest months are in the summer (June-August) and the cooler and wetter months are in the winter (December-February). By April, the average temperature has reached 20°C and the abundance of wildflowers makes spring (April-May) an ideal time for hiking in Crete. Warm temperatures last long into the fall, while the crowds of tourists typically do not, so the fall season (September-November) is also a wonderful time to visit.
Paros and Naxos, Greece
Just a short ferry ride from the more well-known Santorini, the islands of Paros and Naxos, Greece are beautiful destinations that have been unfairly overshadowed by their famous neighbor. But this can be an advantage for the savvy traveler looking for a beautiful Greek-island vacation with a little less hype and crowds of tourists.
Hiking in Paros and Naxos
Naxos is larger and more mountainous than Paros, so it offers more opportunities for hiking. One popular route is to hike to the summit of Mount Zas (1,003 m / ). Also called Mount Zeus, this tallest peak in the Cyclades is said to be the childhood home of the Greek god Zeus, and you can visit the cave where he was born on the way to the summit. For an easier hike on Naxos, explore the Tragea Plateau and hike to the Temple of Demeter.
Paros, though smaller, also has great hiking opportunities. Walking along the Byzantine Trail is like traveling back in time, as this thousand-year-old road meanders through a landscape that is largely unchanged since the time the road was built. The stones are well-preserved, and what this easy hike lacks in challenge, it more than makes up for in character and old-world charm.
Booking a guided tour of Paros and Naxos can help you make the most of your time hiking and exploring these picturesque islands!
Things to do in Paros and Naxos
While there are plenty of things to do in Paros and Naxos, most people are understandably drawn to the beaches. The beaches on both of these islands are generally considered to be among the best in Greece, better than even Santorini’s famous beaches. Finding your new favorite, quiet cove is easier on Paros because the beach areas are better advertised, but opportunities abound on both islands. From family-friendly beaches to designated nude beaches, everyone can enjoy the warm sea breezes and pristine sand in their own way.
The current between the two islands makes the western beaches of Paros and the eastern beaches of Naxos world famous for windsurfing. Kitesurfing, water-skiing, and diving are also popular sports.
But Paros and Naxos are more than great beaches! Both islands have small archaeological sites and museums, as well as art galleries. Visit a winery or sample other local agricultural products such as olive oil, cheeses, jams, or even chickpeas.
Where to stay in Naxos
Deciding where to stay in Naxos depends on what type of accommodations you are looking for. If over-the-top luxury is your goal, then your best bet is to choose another island. While there are expensive hotels in Naxos, you won’t find any willing to spoil you as much as in nearby Santorini. The St. George Beach area offers the widest range of accommodations, from upper-class to budget-conscious. Compared with Paros, Naxos is generally less expensive and more varied. The majority of hotel options can be found on the western side of the island.
Where to stay in Paros
When choosing where to stay in Paros, remember that the standards are very similar to what you will find in Naxos, though in general slightly more expensive. If cost is no object, you’ll find the most upscale lodging options on Parasporos Beach or Monastiri Beach. On a more conservative budget, you’ll find some great options in Parikia, not far from Parasporos Beach. If you prefer camping, try camping on Krios Beach, either with your own equipment or renting a tent or cabin.
Paros and Naxos Weather
Just like most other Mediterranean islands, Paros and Naxos weather is warm and dry in the summer and cool and damp in the winter. The island weather is often windy, and these breezes can be very refreshing in the heat of the summer. The warmest months in the summer are also the most popular with tourists, but visiting in the “shoulder seasons” of late spring and early fall is a great compromise. The weather is still wonderful but it is less crowded.
Andros Island and Tinos, Greece
Two of the most underrated islands in the Cyclades, Andros Island and Tinos, Greece are treasures waiting to be discovered by adventurous travelers ready to get off the beaten path and enjoy a more authentic Greek island experience.
Hiking in Andros and Tinos
Travelers going hiking in Andros and Tinos are rewarded with gorgeous waterfalls, scenic ravines, ancient stone paths and bridges, and always the panoramic views of the coast and the sea. A 10 km circuit route on Andros takes you from Chora along the Pythara ravine, across a medieval stone bridge to the Pythara waterfalls. On Tinos, hike along medieval paved paths to explore old villages and see lovely examples of traditional architecture. You can also hike to the ancient Byzantine fort of Xobourgo.
To get the most out of your time hiking in Andros and Tinos, consider booking a guided tour!
Things to do in Andros and Tinos
There are many things to do in Andros and Tinos, but that isn’t what makes these islands special. As with many of their neighbor islands in the Cyclades, there are beautiful beaches, opportunities for water sports, fantastic hiking trails, quaint villages and fascinating history. While you will find all of these things on the islands of Andros and Tinos, choose these two islands for what you won’t find there – crowds of tourists.
Tinos is primarily a destination for religious pilgrims, on pilgrimage to the Church of Panayia Evangelistria. As such, it has resisted the commercial development so common along the beach of other Greek islands. It is a haven for travelers wishing to enjoy the beauty of the area in a more peaceful and natural way. You won’t find a lot of upscale shopping, restaurants, or bars, but instead will get a glimpse of what the Greek islands used to be.
Andros is similar in character, minus the pilgrims. This area has also resisted being over-developed for tourism and as such it is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.
Where to stay in Tinos
Choosing where to stay in Tinos is also made simple by the limited tourist industry on the island. The most popular options are in the beach town of Kionia. Since most of the island has a different character than the more urban Tinos Town, where the main port is, look for lodging that takes you elsewhere on the island to maximize your enjoyment of the slower tempo and undisturbed nature.
Where to stay in Andros
The lack of commercial development on the island means more limited options when it comes to deciding where to stay in Andros. Lodging is available in the capital village of Chora (or Hora), as well as the main port of Gavrio and a seaside resort town called Batsi. Prices range from 35€ per night for basic accommodations to 140€ per night for a 5-star hotel. Many people find it most convenient to stay in Gavrio, since the only way on or off the island is by ferry. There is no airport on Andros island.
Andros and Tinos Weather
The climate of Andros and Tinos is similar to the other islands of the Cyclades. The summers are warm and dry and the winters are mild but cool and wet. While wind should be expected throughout the region, Andros and Tinos are particularly prone to blasts of northerly “meltemia” winds. It was not without reason that Aeolus, the Greek god of the wind, was said to reign from the island of Tinos. These winds have been known to transform a warm, sunny summer day to a cool, foggy day without much warning. It is part of their charm and unique character, but good to be aware of in advance.
Interesting facts about Greece
Knowing more about Greece can enhance your experiences visiting there. Learning some “Greece fun facts” will help you see beyond the lovely beaches and great restaurants. At the very least, you’ll be better prepared for your next trivia night!
What is Greece known for?
What do you think of when you think of Greece? Greek food, full of feta cheese and olives? The eccentric father in the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Perhaps. But Toula’s dad was right to be proud of his Greek heritage! This ancient culture has given the world great ideas that are often taken for granted, such as democracy and the Olympic Games. The polytheistic Greek mythology might seem primitive to our modern way of thinking, but Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle laid the groundwork for much of our modern worldview. The Greek language, which at times seems undecipherable (“It’s all Greek to me!”) has contributed significantly to most of the languages in the western world. It might be easier to ask what Greece isn’t known for.
Greece is so much more than moussaka and Mama Mia!
Mt. Olympus in Greek Mythology
The importance of Mt. Olympus in Greek mythology cannot be overestimated. As the home to the 12 gods and goddesses of Greek mythology, the mountain was central to Greek religion and culture. From this revered location, the gods reigned and directed the events of everyday life, determining everything from the weather to matters of life and death. No one dared approach the holy mountain out of fear of angering the gods. Read more about Mt. Olympus in Greek mythology.
How Old is Greece?
It is difficult to answer the question, “How old is Greece?” with a definitive answer. The area currently known as the country of Greece has been inhabited for thousands of years. The civilization commonly referred to as “ancient Greece” developed during the 8th Century BCE, probably between 750 and 700 BCE. Dating from this time, Greece is nearly 3,000 years old.
What is the traditional food in Greece?
Traditional food in Greece developed out of the climate and geography of Greece. With so much of the country living at the coast, it is easy to see why fish is a staple of Greek cuisine. Because of the mountainous terrain, animals such as sheep and goats were herded, leading to a diet rich in lamb meat and dairy products based on goat’s milk, such as feta cheese. Olives grow well in this climate, so eating olive and cooking with olive oil is very natural. Three of the Greek national dishes that have become popular internationally are gyros, moussaka, and souvlaki.
How many volcanoes are in Greece? Does Greece have active volcanoes?
Greece has always been a hotbed of volcanic activity, but determining exactly how many volcanoes are in Greece depends on how they are measured and counted. Researchers disagree on the exact number. While the majority are still extinct, there are active volcanoes on the islands of Santorini, Nisyros, and Milos, and the peninsula of Methana. The most recent volcanic eruption in Greece occurred on Santorini in 1950.