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Ten of the Best Greek Islands for Walking

There’s more to holidays in Greece than soaking up the sunshine and eating all that delicious food! With such a wide variety of landscapes – from coastal paths to forested mountain views, ancient sites to traditional villages, all criss-crossed with ancient mule trails – Greece offers incredible walking opportunities.  

If you fancy lacing up your hiking boots and exploring on foot, here’s our guide to ten of the best Greek islands for walking.

1. Crete

samaria gore

Crete is the largest island in Greece – and it’s bursting with wonderful hiking, from coastal paths to mountains and deep gorges and ravines. Perhaps the best-known trail in Greece, the Samaria Gorge is essential for any walker visiting Crete. This 16km path cuts through the White Mountains in the south of the island, and is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

2. Tilos

tilos walkling trails

Walking in Tilos is a feast for the senses. This tiny island offers a wealth of walking routes, many based on old shepherd’s trails. The island’s natural water sources mean Tilos is carpeted in wildflowers during spring, and thanks to the hunting ban you’re sure to see some wonderful wildlife on your walks, especially during the shoulder seasons.

3. Amorgos

Located in the southern Cyclades, Amorgos is a sleepy island criss-crossed with secluded trails. Known as ‘blue paths’ because you can see the sea wherever you turn, these trails connect ancient settlements and lead to isolated beaches. The best-known trail – the Old Strata route – is an ancient trading route that passes several beautiful monasteries.

4. Evia

Greece’s second-largest island, Evia is a hotspot for hikers thanks to its beautiful and varied landscapes, comprising craggy mountains, verdant forests, flowing waterfalls and secluded beaches. The most popular trail heads to the summit of Dirfi Mountain, the highest peak on the island, crossing alpine-esque terrain. It’s a challenging trail, but you’re rewarded with mesmerising views from the top.

5. Nisyros

The crater of the volcano in Nisyros – Photo Credit: Helen Simonsson

Walking in Nisyros offers something truly unique to hikers – the opportunity to walk through the smouldering crater of a potentially active volcano. The Stefanos Crater is an otherworldly landscape, punctuated by bubbling fumaroles and accompanied by a distinct sulphuric whiff. Many of the hiking routes skirt the rim of the crater, offering a bird’s eye view over the lunar-esque landscape.

6. Andros

The quiet Cycladic island of Andros is developing a burgeoning reputation for hiking, with around 300km of interconnected trails around the island, many based on old mule routes. Serious hikers will want to tackle the multi-day, 100km Andros Route, awarded the ‘Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe Award’ by the European Ramblers Association.

7. Rhodes

Rhodes might be better known for its beaches, but the largest Dodecanese island offers some truly spectacular hiking, too. Seven Springs, the Valley of the Butterflies and the hike to the tomb of Kleobolus in Lindos are all popular tourist trails. Head to the wilder south and west of the island and you’ll find picturesque routes through forests, vineyards, and abandoned ruins, all to yourself. 

8. Corfu

Like Rhodes, Corfu is a magnet for sunseekers. But step away from the main tourist areas, and it’s easy to find its wilder side. This verdant island boasts an array of hiking trails, the jewel in the crown being the 220km Corfu Trail. This multi-day hike crosses the length of the island, passing hillside villages, olive groves, monasteries, and beaches. You can also choose to walk shorter sections for day hikes.

9. Sifnos

Located in the heart of the ever-popular Cyclades, Sifnos is a chilled little island that floats under the radar of mass tourism. Like many islands, it has an ancient network of trails, and in recent years the municipality has improved this network, leading to over 100km of professionally designed and way-marked trails, passing churches, monasteries, ancient ruins, picturesque villages and golden beaches.

10. Karpathos

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Located on the southern edge of the Dodecanese close to Crete, Karpathos is a mountainous island with many great hiking routes. Explore craggy mountains, pine forests, secluded beaches, traditional villages and ancient ruins on foot. With varying difficulty levels there are hikes for everybody here, although the trail to the highest point, Kali Limni, is the pick of the bunch with incredible views from the top.

Discover Some of the Best Greek Islands for Walking with Nissia Holidays

Nissia Holidays specialises in the tiny, unspoilt Dodecanese islands of Halki, Tilos and Nisyros. If you fancy lacing up your hiking boots and exploring some of the best Greek islands for walking, check out our accommodation. (Although less well known for walking, Halki has some lovely routes too, including the trail leading to the medieval castle.)

For more information or to book your holiday in Halki, Tilos or Nisyros, contact Nissia Holidays on 01455 289421 or email us: info@nissiaholidays.com.

Jo

Jo worked on Tilos in 2006, as the last Island Manager for Laskarina. She now runs a travel writing business and travel blog, The Wandering Wordsmith, and spends much of her year travelling. But Greece, especially Tilos, will always hold a special place in her heart.

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