Climbing in Thermisia Castle (Kastro Thermisia) – Argolis

During winter time, climbers always search nice south facing walls for their climbing activities. This is also the case here in Greece, that although temperatures are rather moderate, during winter time, is always nice to climb under the warm sun rays.

One of the nicest climbing crags for crispy cold but nice sunny winter days is the crag in the Thermisia Castle (Kastro Thermisias). Also, the Kastro Thermisia crag has a spectacular view of the argosaronic sea.

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Castle of Thermisia

History of The Castle of Thermisia

The castle of Thermisia appears in the written sources, as Trémis, for the first time in 1347, in the will of Gautier II de Brienne, Count of Lecce, de jure Duke of Athens, and de facto Lord of Argos and Nauplia. Surprisingly the castle is not referred to in a list of frankish castles in Greece dating from 1377. After his death, his possessions passed to Guy d’Enghien, son of Isabella de Brienne, Gautier’s sister. The daughter of Guy, Maria, after the death of her husband Pietro Cornaro, in 1388 sold her possessions to Venice for the sum of 500 ducats per year as long as she lived. Before the Venetians had the chance to settle in, it was occupied by the Despot of Mistra, Theodore Palaiologos.

The walls extend over two rocky heights, connected by a saddle, so following the natural defensive position. The castle consists of a defendable line and an acropolis. The south side of the castle is inaccessible, so it was not walled. For the same reason the south side too of the acropolis is unwalled. Though, the south side, due to its long rock faces, are very interesting for some new sport climbing routes.

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Playground Wall

The entrance of the citadel will have been built south of the cistern, on the south-east side of the wall which is now in ruins. It is the only point where the terrain would allow a natural way-in.

It is likely that there existed a second entrance on the north end of the west part of the fortification, by which one might access the village. Scholars argue that there was some sort of stairway, which connected the two parts (i.e. the citadel with the fortified settlement), though there are no clear indications.

In the space enclosed by the wall and outside the citadel, there are numerous remains of buildings. On the acropolis of the castle, there are the remains of a cistern and a church; this last has been assigned by scholars chronologically either to the 11th-12th centuries or later, in the 13th century.


See more climbing crags in Argolis region:


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View towards Hydra Island
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A window towards Ermioni
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Venetian Wall Crag
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Climbing Crag
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Spectacular view towards Hydra and Dokos island while belaying

Approach to the Castle of Thermisia

Driving time to the castle car park is just under 20 minutes from ErmioniThermisia village itself is small and has few amenities, however, there are at least three good tavernas within the village, one of which is located by the sea front.  It is mainly an agricultural area, plentiful in orchards with citrus fruits, apricots and olive trees.

Driving from Ermioni towards Poros on the coast road the next village is Thermissia. The cliff lies above you. Take a turning left as you approach the village, just before a sign on the right to Hydras Wave Camping, Follow the tarred road to its end at the castle.

Once you reach the parking lot there are some red and yellow arrows that one has to follow. These red arrows lead to the entrance of the castle and therefore for the approach one has to pay attention to see the obvious rock pile that leads to the climbing crag.

Despite the new road, signpost (if you can find it) and the floodlighting the authorities have not seen fit to provide any access paths up to the castle so to gain the upper tier is a bit of an adventure and to gain the top and the castle itself requires some climbing ability. However, a spectacular site and worth the trip.

Walk in: Take the path marked with faint yellow arrows up to the gap in the castle walls allowing access to the coastward side of the cliff. The path leads from the car park along the base of the cliff on the non-seaward side and then zigzags up to the obvious gap. Through this to gain the seawards side. The routes are here, 5 min.

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Follow the Red Signs
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Path to the castle and to the Venetian Wall Crag
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Turn point to the Crag
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View while approaching the crag
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Castle Wall

Kastro Thermisia – Venetian Wall Crag

An imposing cliff overlooking the coast and the village of Thermisia. Close inspection reveals an even more daunting prospect than a first view would suggest. Big, red, bulging and holdless seems to sum it up.

This is actually a great place to visit with a super view over the coast, a ruined castle to explore and a real classic climb, New Order which takes you up an unfeasibly overhanging wall at only 6a. The cliff is floodlit during the summer months and this would give a superb photo opportunity!

In my opinion the grades are somewhat downgraded, and the routes are often hard to start! At this point, I also have to pay respect to J. Titt that took care of almost all routes on this climbing crag.

Name

Grade

Bolts

Venetian Wall

5b

9

Shadow Corner

5c

8

The Leading Edge

6b+

8

The Leading Edge (Direct Start)

6c+

8

In the Red Corner

6a

8

The Cutting Edge

7a

8

Bombastic

6a

8

Pinnacle Crack

6a

7

New Order

6a

11

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Venetian Wall 5b (bouldery start)
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Venetian Wall
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Venetian Wall
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Belaying with spectacular view
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Amazing view while belaying

I have visited several climbing crags, but I have the feeling this is the one with the nicest view overall. I of course enjoyed the views in Leonidio and in Neraki (Nafplio), but the castle of Thermisia offers a breathtaking view.

This crag is best to be visited  in sunny days from late autumn till late spring, because during summer time is getting way too hot and the climbing will not be pleasant anymore.

Also, it is important to say that this climbing crag is not very friendly for kids because the access to the crag is not easy and it might be a bit dangerous for kids to play around the crag.

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Beautiful rock face
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The Cutting Edge 7a
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The Leading Edge (Direct Start) 6c+
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The Leading Edge (Direct Start) 6c+
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The Leading Edge 6b+
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The Leading Edge 6b+
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The Leading Edge 6b+
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The Leading Edge 6b+
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abseiling with stunning view of Dokos island
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The Leading Edge 6b+
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The Leading Edge 6b+
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The Leading Edge 6b+
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The Leading Edge 6b+ (almost at the belay)
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Stunning view

About Thermisia Village

Thermisia is a small village by the sea that lies East of Ermioni.  The village acquired its name from the temple of Demeter, who was the goddess of Thermasia (Heat: from the heat of the hot water springs).  Demeter used to be worshipped in the area and a temple was built to her close to the sea, a lagoon has been formed on that very spot.  In the early Medieval period some fine saltpans were found here, which remained profitable until the 19th century.  Today this lagoon area is an important stopping place for rare migrating birds.  2 kms before the entrance to the village, stands the imposing Lizzard rock which rises to 350 metres, on top of which the Medieval Frankish Castle of Thermisia has been built.

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2 thoughts on “Climbing in Thermisia Castle (Kastro Thermisia) – Argolis

  1. Pingback: Climbing in Didima – Argolis, Greece – Olympus Mountaineering

  2. Pingback: The Ultimate Guide of Climbing in Argolis, Greece – Olympus Mountaineering

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