Greece Climbing and Islands

Armed with the latest climbing guide for Greece we flew to Athens, hired a car and headed north to Meteora. An area of conglomerate pillars with half a dozen monasteries on top, this is bedlam in the summer months with tourists and a great spring destination for climbing. Having said that mid May is starting to get a little too hot already. The climbing itself was great though from long run-outs which tested to nerves somewhat to intersting route finding. We found some 30m 5b pitches with 2 bolts and zero options to use any trad gear for protection. Highlights were:

  • Excellent tavernas to get a taste of Greek food

  • Holy Ghost Guardian – 6a pillar multi pitch route

  • Fantastic history and Monasteries

From there we took a week exploring the Mani Peninsula in the Peleponese. Mostly on foot but managed to get a couple of climbing sessions in at Kardamyli. Top memories include:

  • Picking up our first words in Greek

  • Walking amongst the amazing old towers dotted around the peninsula

  • Trying to buy sheeps cheese from a farmer out of the back of his Hilux who would not take any money off us

On we went to Leonidio where we stayed for a week and met up with an old friend Rob and his wife Kate and their 2 kids who were staying 100m away and also there to climb. Here we climbed daily avoiding the sun when possible mostly with the Connolly gang. Limestone climbing on superb rock with loads of protection. We could easily have spent longer here. Kaprissi, just to the south is beautiful and also has some brilliant climbing. Having a car is a must.

One night in Athens where we dumped the climbing kit and jumped on a ferry. Sifnos was the first stop. You can stay in the centre and walk to any part of the island then get a bus back. Highlights:

  • First exposure to white and blue houses

  • People painting the cracks in the pavements white ready for the tourists

  • Huge art scene

Milos was next. A larger island though we still managed to walk most of it and then use the local transport to get back to base. Highlights:

  • A walk from Triovasalos to Pollonia  along the coast exploring the amazing geology and then a very special fish lunch

  • A day sea kayaking round the coast with a fantastic group and a guide stopping at a natural cave sauna.

  • The beautiful old colourful fishing houses and tiny harbours

Santorini was the last port of call. A little bit of a culture shock with the volume of tourists and all the associated businesses which serve them. Still worth a trip though partly for the contrast and to see “how the other half live”. Here we hired a scooter for a day to get around the southern part of the island which was fun, though a little scary at times. Highlights:

  • Caldera hike

  • Sunsets over the Caldera

  • Swimming at Oia

Final port of call was Athens. We loved Athens, walked miles and saw loads. Highlights

  • Acropolis by day and by night
  • Guided tour around Paul’s boat and a fab seafood dinner afterwards.

We really loved the Greek people, the food, the climate, the scenery, the coast, the hikes, the climbing, the swimming and of course the wine! Would highly recommend it as a place to visit.

Categories: Summer 2018