Three of the best hiking trails in the Greek Islands

Hiking in Greece isn’t confined to the mountainous mainland. Many of the Greek Islands have epic hiking trails that take you through beautiful scenery, and some even offer bonus glimpses of the azure blue waters Greece is so famous for. The warm temperatures and rugged terrain of Greece means that it’s perfect for the more adventurous holidaymaker. Here, we take a look at three of the best hiking trails in the Greek islands.

Samaria Gorge

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This 16km hike will take between four and eight hours to complete. It’s one of the most famous hiking trails on the Greek islands and as soon as you begin you’ll understand why. This trek takes you through a gorge where the sides soar above you to heights of up to 500 metres. There’s lots of wildlife to spot too, including the Kri Kri (a Cretan wild goat), as well as Cretan badgers and martens. Remember to look up to that glorious blue sky too, where you could see golden eagles and buzzards.

The best place to begin the hike is at Xyloskalo village, as your journey will be mostly downhill and you won’t be going against the tide of other walkers. This is a popular hike so expect to see other walkers as you trek. Many people find April and May especially beautiful in the Samaria Gorge, because of the masses of wildflowers.

The Corfu Trail

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The Corfu Trail was waymarked in 2001, taking hikers on an epic 220 km trail that weaves through some of Corfu’s most beautiful countryside. This is an island of varied landscapes, and as you hike you’ll see everything from swathes of beach and juniper-topped dunes in the south, to the rugged gorges and cliffs of the north. There are olive groves to discover and a wealth of flora and fauna to spot including many varieties of orchid.

You’ll pass monasteries and ancient houses as you travel, and there are several villages to rest and refresh before you tackle the next leg of this unforgettable journey.

The Kalymnos Trail

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This hiking trail is a real beauty. Kalymnos is blessed with abundant wildlife including the famous loggerhead turtles. As you hike the Kalymnos trail, you can also keep your eyes out for peregrine falcons and perhaps the rare Andouins Gull. The scenery is a delight of monasteries, castles and Byzantine ruins, as well as beautiful beaches. You’ll travel between shepherd’s huts and get a real sense of life on the island before the tourist numbers went up.

The trail is 100 km long and takes about 10 days to complete. If you don’t have the time or energy to undertake the whole trail, there are various sections that can be done as a day hike. You’ll find various hiking routes online or in many of the guidebooks you can buy on the island.

Whichever hiking trails in the Greek Islands you choose, it’s essential to be well prepared. Avoid walking at the hottest part of the day – the best months to visit for hiking are the spring and summer months, when the weather is slightly cooler. Good footwear, plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat are essential, and always let someone know your route, and when you intend to finish your hike.

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