The Ultimate Guide of Hiking and Mountaineering in Greece

You can explore Greece’s variety of landscapes, remote coves and the ruins of ancient cities, walking!

The core of Mainland Greece runs from the European Long Distance Walking Path Ε4 (- GR), beginning from the Pyrinaia it arrives in Greece via Yugoslavia, at the Nikis guard-post in Florina. The E4, crossing the Peloponnese, stops at Gythio and continues on to Crete. The mountain-climber is thus given the opportunity to see the enjoy of the Greek scenery and the wealth of Greek nature.

The highest elevation along the total route is the peak of Olympus Skolio (2,911 m). Highest peak of Greece is Mt.Olympus Mytikas at 2917m. The ideal period for hiking along the Ε4 in Greece is early mid spring. Mid to late spring is probably the best time of year for hiking in those areas, since summer and early fall are normally very hot and dry, and late fall through early spring are cold and rainy. The last years in Greece, hiking and mountaineering activities have become very popular and on the famous routes and during high season, you will certainly meet many more hikers from Greece, and not only.

The climate is Mediterranean, very dry in summer with high temperature variations between day and night. Snow will be encountered in most of the mountains from November to June.

Few people know about the varied and extensive mountain regions of Greece. Apart from Mt.Olympus at 2917m, Greece has more than 30 mountain peaks above 2000m. Gifted with mild Mediterranean weather and sunshine, landscapes with amazing sea views, ragged gorges, crystal clear rivers, Greek mountains are a hidden paradise for trekking enthusiasts. One of the most “alpine” type of mountain range in Greece is Vardousia. Vardousia offers many different hiking and mountaineering routes, as well climbing and ice-climbing opportunities.

Almost all trekking activities can be combined with cultural visits in archaeological sites, such as Delphi bellow Parnassus Mountain, Sanctuary of Hera under the peak of Geraneia Mountain range.

One of the most common questions people from abroad Greece have, is where to find information, maps and guides about Greek mountains and trekking routes. There are some official online resources, but some of them are “work in progress“, some are not fully detailed and some other resources are only in Greek language (www.pezoporia.gr).

Maps, Digital Maps and GPX files of Greece

The best printed maps for Greek hiking are those of Anavasi, which include a superimposed GGRS87 (Greek Geodetic Reference System 1987) grid. If GGRS87 is not listed in your GPS device, then use the following settings (grid describes the transverse mercator projection from latitude-longitude to GGRS87 northing-easting coordinates, datum describes the Molodensky transformation from WGS84 ellipsoid to GGRS87 ellipsoid):

  • User Grid: Longitude origin=+24.0E, Scale=.9996, False Easting=+500,000, False Northing=0
  • User Datum: Dx=-199.87, Dy=74.79, Dz=246.62, Da=0, Df=0

Map Sources (Greece)

  • Anavasi sells also digital maps of Greece, which can be used on the Etrex 20 GPS receiver as well as Iphone/Android.
  • Another great source of digital maps of Greece is Pegasus. Pegasus offers free of charge maps of Greece and Cyprus which includes many detailed hiking trails. The Pegasus maps are not as detailed as the ones of Anavasi, but Pegasus is offering everything free of charge.
  • OpenStreetMaps is one more open source and most of all free source of digital maps. For the ones having a Garmin device, can simply visit this website and download the digital map of their interest.
  • This website offers general and hiking maps of Greece. Though, I have never purchased any of their products, thus, I can not provide any further information.
  • Finally, one of the best map sources I ever came across is the old Soviet Army maps. The only minor issue of those maps is the Russian language used on the maps. Other than that, the Soviet Maps are perhaps the most detailed maps ever created.
  • For the ones that already have digital maps installed on their device, a great resource of trails is WikiLoc. WikiLoc, currently has more than 17.000 registered trails on their system. You have see more here.

Mountaineering and Climbing clubs in Greece.

Greece has plenty of mountaineering and climbing associations and clubs. All the mountaineering associations are under the umbrella of the Greek Mountaineering and Rock-Climbing Association (Ε.Ο.Ο.Α.)

All necessary information on mountain routes and paths/trails, access to them, facilities, mountain shelters throughout the country, organized excursions and local conditions for hiking, mountain-climbing and rock-climbing is provided by the Greek Mountaineering and Rock-Climbing Association (Ε.Ο.Ο.Α.) and local hiking and mountaineering clubs.

E.O.O.A. also provides a great source of materials and library to its members. More about it on this following link.

In parallel with all mountaineering and climbing association in Greece, there are many private groups that organise hiking activities in Greece and not only. Those groups are mainly organised via Facebook or their own website. Therefore, a quick search on Google and/or Facebook will provide you a bigger insight on these private groups.

Mountain Refuges in Greece

Bellow a list with the most visited mountain refuges in Greece. A map of pretty much all mountain refuges in Greece can be found here. Bellow a list with detailed information of every mountain refuge.

MOUNTAIN PLACE  

ELEVATION

 

BEDS

INFORMATIONS  

TEL.

VARDOUSIA Pitimaliko

1750

16

Ε.Ο.Σ. Άμφισσας

2265285777

VARDOUSIA Pitimaliko

1800

20

Πεζ. Ομ. Αθηνών

2103634549

VASILITSA Diaselo Gomaras

1900

12

Χ.Ο.Χ. Γρεβενών

.

VELOUXI Diavolotopos

1840

40

Ε.Ο.Σ. Καρπενησίου

2237023051

VERMIO Kato Vermio

1365

18

Ε.Ο.Σ. Ναούσης

2332028567

VERMIO Seli

1450

60

Ε.Ο.Σ. Θεσ/νίκης

2310278288

VERMIO Laka Mire

1450

80

Σ.Χ.Ο. Βέροιας

2331026970

VERMIO Tria Pigadia

1450

35

Ε.Ο.Σ. Ναούσης

2332028567

VERMIO Tria Pigadia

1470

60

Ε.Ο.Σ. Ναούσης

2332028567

VITSI Vigla Pisoderiou

1650

60

Σ.Ο.Χ. Φλωρίνης

2385029939

VRODOY Lai LIA

1500

100

Ε.Ο.Σ. Παπίγκου

2653241138

GAMILA Diaselo Astrakas

1950

28

Πεζ. Ομ. Αθηνών

2103634549

GKIONA Laka Karvouni

1950

30

Ε.Ο.Σ. Χαλκίδας

2221025230

DIRFI Liri

1150

50

Ε.Ο.Σ. Αιγίου

2691025285

ZIRIA Portes (Β΄)

1700

14

Ε.Ο.Σ. Κορινθίου

2741029970

ZIRIA Oropedia (Α΄)

1550

20

Ο.Φ.Υ. Λαμίας

2231022814

KALLIDROMO .

1000

30

.

.

KITHERONAS Petalo (Vag. Tsakos)

1130

26

Ε.Ο.Σ. Ελευσίνας

2105546572

KISSAVOS Kanalos

1600

35

Ε.Ο.Σ. Λαρίσης

2410220097

KOZIAKAS (Xatzipetros)

1740

15

Ε.Μ.Ο. Τρικάλων

24310278500

WHITE MOUNTAINS VOLIKAS (A’)

1340

35

Ε.Ο.Σ. Χανίων

2821044647

WHITE MOUNTAINS KALLERGI (Β΄)

1680

50

Ε.Ο.Σ. Χανίων

2821044647

WHITE MOUNTAINS SVOURIXTI (Γ’)

1950

25

Ε.Ο.Σ. Χανίων

2821044647

WHITE MOUNTAINS TAURI (Δ’)

1200

40

Ε.Ο.Σ. Χανίων

2821044647

MENALO Plateau Ostrakinas

1540

16

Ε.Ο.Σ. Τριπόλεως

2710232243

MITSIKELI Vrisi Paleochori

1400

28

Ε.Ο.Σ. Ιωαννίνων

2651022138

ITI Trapeza

1850

24

Ε.Ο.Σ. Λαμίας

2231026786

ITI Pauliani

1030

36

Φ.Ο. Αθ. “ΦΟΙΒΟΣ”

2103234461

OLYMPOS Stauros (Δ΄)

950

30

Ε.Ο.Σ. Θεσ/νίκης

2310278288

OLYMPOS Vrisopoules (Β΄)

1900

50

ΚΕΟΑΧ Ολύμπου

2410228915

OLYMPOS (Sp. Agapitos Α΄)

2100

80

Ε.Ο.Σ. Λιτοχώρου

2352081944

OLYMPOS Plateau Mouson  (Kakalos)

2650

15

Ε.Ο.Σ. Κατερίνης

2351023102

OLYMPOS Plateau Mouson   (Giosios Apostolidis)

2740

80

Σ.Ε.Ο. (Θεσ/νίκης)

2310224710

OKSIA Karvounolaka

1700

40

Ε.Ο.Σ. Λαμίας

22310224710

OXI Kastanologgos

1030

20

ΟΕΣΕ

2224022378

PAGGAIO Vlahika Kalivia

1550

25

Ε.Ο.Σ. Καβάλας

2510835952

PAGGAIO Koilada Orfea

1750

.

Ε.Ο.Σ. Καβάλας

2510835952

PAIKO Tourkiki Vrisi

1450

40

Β.Α.Ο. Θεσ/νίκης

2310270379

PANACHAIKO Psarthi

1500

40

Ε.Ο.Σ. Πατρών

2610273912

PANACHAIKO Prasoudi

1800

10

Ε.Ο.Σ. Πατρών

2610273912

PARNASSOS Saradari

1900

20

Ε.Ο.Σ.Αμφίκλειας

2234022640

PARNITHA Varibobi

600

12

Ε.Ο.Σ. Αθήνων

2103212429

PARNITHA Bafi

1160

50

Ε.Ο.Σ. Αθηνών

2103212429

PARNITHA Flabouri

1160

40

Ε.Ο.Σ. Αχαρνών

2102461528

PARNONAS Arnomousga

1450

35

Ε.Ο.Σ Σπάρτης

2731022574

PILIO Zagora

480

16

Ε.Ο.Σ. Βόλου

2421025696

PILIO Chania (Pileus)

1200

33

Ε.Ο.Σ. Βόλου

2421025696

PILIO Chania

1250

40

Φ.Ο.Βόλου

2421024290

PILIO Agrioleukes

1350

80

Ε.Ο.Σ. Βόλου

2421025696

PIERIA Ano Milia

1050

62

Ε.Ο.Σ. Κάτερινης

2351023102

PIERIA Bara

1900

100

Σ.Ε.Ο. Κοζάνης

2461025909

PIERIA Lagomana

1460

40

Ε.Ο.Σ. Κοζάνης

2461025600

PIERIA Sarakatsana

1680

80

Σ.Ε.Ο. Κατερίνης

2351031311

PIERIA Giourtia

1435

40

Ο.Σ. Βελβενδού

2464031884

TAIGETOS Varvara

1600

28

Ε.Ο.Σ. Σπάρτης

2731022574

FALAKRO Bardiseva (Α’)

1140

16

Ε.Ο.Σ. Δράμας

2521023054

FALAKRO Kiouri (Γ’)

1400

16

Ε.Ο.Σ. Δράμας

2521023054

FALAKRO Xoros (Β’)

1700

20

Ε.Ο.Σ. Δράμας

2521023054

HELMOS Pouliou Vrisi

2100

16

Σ.Ο.Χ. Καλαβρύτων

2692022346

HORTIATIS

1000

45

Σ.Ε.Ο. Θεσ/νίκης

2310224710

PSILORITIS Prinos

1100

14

Σ.Ο.Χ. Ηρακλείου

2810227609

PSILORITIS Toubotos Prinos

1500

Ε.Ο.Σ. Ρεθύμνου

2831022710

Mountain Refuge Regulations in Greece.

  • 1. The mountain refuges are not Tourists’ Kiosks, Hotels or Centres of Amusement. They were built in order to serve mountaineering and Skiing in the expeditions to the White Mountains
  • 2. In the mountain refuges IT IS NOT ALLOWED:
  • a) to enter with your climbing shoes on (in the lobbies you can find slippers)
  • b) to bring food or refreshments in the dormitories
  • c) to gamble
  • d) to drink alcohol
  • e) to smoke in the dining rooms and the dormitories.
  • f) to use the cooker ( the appliances can only be used by the leader or any other person who has the permission to do so)
  • g) to enter the refuge with hunting guns, other arms, game or dogs
  • h) to use transistor radios, cassette players etc (on the contrary a lot of singing is allowed)
  • 3. The time of sleeping and relaxation is 10pm. The leader has the right to change it, depending on the program of the next day.
  • 4•The generator (where there is one), is turned off at 10 pm.
  • 5•Whoever stays in the mountain refuge, no matter his position, age or sex, has the same obligations to keep the place clean, and implement the regulations of the refuges.
  • 6. The mountain refuges were built with great personal effort. Everything inside them has been transported and made with hard work and a lot of money is spent.

That’s why they need your care and your love, to keep them always ready to receive the friends of the mountain.

TOP 10 Highest Mountains in Greece

Peak Height Mountain range Regional unit
m ft
Olympus 2,917 9,570 Olympus Larissa, Pieria
Smolikas 2,637 8,652 Pindus Ioannina
Kaimaktsalan 2,524 8,281 Voras Florina, Pella
Gramos 2,520 8,268 Pindus Ioannina, Kastoria
Giona 2,510 8,235 Pindus Phocis
Tymfi 2,497 8,192 Pindus Ioannina
Vardousia (Korakas) 2,495 8,186 Pindus Ioannina, Trikala
Parnassus 2,457 8,061 Pindus Boeotia, Phthiotis
Ida (Psiloreitis) 2,456 8,058 Ida Rethymno
Lefka Ori 2,452 8,045 Lefka Ori Chania

Mountaineering/Climbing Equipment Stores in Greece

In Greece there are not many dedicated stores for mountaineering and climbing activities. Most of the “heavy duty” Greek mountaineers shop from the internet or when they go abroad on mountaineering expeditions. This is happening because the local stores do not provide a large selection of products. The range of products they have is rather small and relatively more expensive compared to other countries. Nevertheless, bellow a list of the most interesting stores that provide mountaineering, climbing and hiking clothing and equipment.

Search and Rescue in Greece

The Hellenic Rescue Team (H.R.T.) is a Non Governmental Search and Rescue Organisation, whose members have participated voluntarily in operations since 1978, while it has functioned as an association since 1994.

With a workforce of more than 2,500 volunteers throughout Greece, the Hellenic rescue team participates in search and rescue operations in emergency situations and mass destructions, wherever they take place, both in Greece and abroad, and is staffed by volunteers with professional conscience and excellent training.

On an operational level there are two Directorates – Operations and of Training – which have their headquarters in the Central Administration of the HRT in Thessaloniki, while, simultaneously, specialised departments operate in each branch throughout the Greek territory.

Operations Centre (24 hours) call 0030 2310 310649

Fire Fighters Rescue team (24 hours) call 199

112 is the common emergency telephone number that can be dialed free of charge from most mobile telephones and, in some countries, fixed telephones in order to reach emergency services (ambulance, fire and rescue, police). 112 is a part of the GSM standard and all GSM-compatible telephone handsets are able to dial 112 even when locked or with no SIM card present.

Weather and Climate in Greece

The climate in Greece is predominantly Mediterranean. However, due to the country’s unique geography, Greece has a remarkable range of micro-climates and local variations. To the west of the Pindus mountain range, the climate is generally wetter and has some maritime features. The east of the Pindus mountain range is generally drier and windier in summer. The highest peak is Mount Olympus, 2,918 metres (9,573 ft). The north areas of Greece have a transitional climate between the continental and the Mediterranean climate. There are mountainous areas that have an alpine climate.

In this climate, the winter is harsh with abundant snowfalls, while the summers are cool with frequent thunderstorms. This climate is to be found on high mountains, like Pindus and Rhodope. Few meteorological stations are in areas with a truly Alpine Mediterranean climate in Greece and these are not available online.

  • Abs. minimum temperature: −27.8 °C (−18.0 °F), Ptolemaida.
  • Abs. maximum temperature: 48.0 °C (118.4 °F), Elefsina and Tatoi.

 

This post provides an almost ultimate guide on online and not only sources of information for mountaineering (hiking, trekking, climbing) activities in Greece. If you have questions, feel free to get in touch with us. Equally, if you have any suggestions or you would like to provide us additional information on this post, we will be happy to hear from you via the contact form.

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4 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide of Hiking and Mountaineering in Greece

  1. Are there any trails or parts of Greece where you’re allowed to wild camp, or are you confined to the refugios? I’m visit Greece every year and would love to hike more, but I prefer wild camping to sleeping in a refugio.

    Like

    1. Hi there,

      Officially in Greece wild camping is prohibited by the law, though, this law is rarely applied and if it is applied is usually in high traffic summer destinations in the Greek islands and/or other famous sea side site.

      With regards wild camping in the mountains of Greece, although same law is valid, I have never heard anyone that had issues with any local authorities. Actually, locals are in favour of wild camping (as far everyone respects the natural environment).

      In addition, due to the fact Greece has many mountains and most of them are not much visited, there are chances that besides some wild life you will not meet anyone else while camping.

      Finally, if you need more details, feel free to let me know.

      Like

    1. Sounds really interesting!

      Although I have not done the entire E4 in Crete, I have hiked on various locations in Crete and is really nice.

      With regards the whole E4, I would like to inform you that unfortunately not all E4 path in Greece is cleared up and open. There are some parts of the trail that there has not been proper maintenance and therefore I’m afraid you will face difficulties.

      Having said that, the beauty of hiking/trekking in Greece is partly because there is not much human interference with the nature. Most of the trails are old paths that locals have been using for the past few centuries.

      Finally, if you would like to have some further information about trail paths in Greece, feel free to let me know and I will be glad if I can help.

      Like

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