Summer mountain adventures in Greece
Greece is better known for its sea and islands, but its many lush mountainous regions, often rising dramatically out of the sea, are an exciting and off the beaten track adventure travel destination. Each mountainous region in Greece has its own unique allure, with striking geological features, plentiful local culture and history, as well as amazing adventure travel possibilities.
Many of the old routes that wind their way through the Greek mountains have remained in their original condition and are explored by trekkers.
Mount Olympus, the most famous of the Greek mountains, rises to 2,917 meters. It is known as the home to the 12 Gods of ancient Greece and a UNESCO designated Biosphere reserve; evidently promising of some mythical hiking, you might bump into Zeus along the way. There are a large number of trails, some existing since antiquity, like the one starting from a small village called Dion.
Nestled between Mounts Pelion and Olympus is Mount Kissavos. Kissavos' west side faces the great Greek fertile plain of Larissa while, to the east, its creek-veined slopes drop down into wonderful beaches.
The E4 European walking route goes right down the middle of Greece and traverses Crete, while the E6 walking route snakes along Greece's northern border. The less adventurous might want to try walking the E4 down through the Peloponnese or Crete, rather than traversing the more difficult northern region.
Greece's mountainous regions are also perfect for those looking for a harder challenge - with the assistance of the many certified mountaineering associations, like the Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering & Climbing, you can get useful information on where, and how best to explore Greece's mountains and canyons.
Canyoning down waterfall licked gorges is also popular - Mount Pelion is ideal for the exhilaration of canyoning during the morning and relaxing by the sea at night. Did you know Greece also has the world's deepest gorge? The virgin Vikos gorge in the Pindus mountains of northern Greece is known for its pristine waters and varied ecosystems.
If you want to explore Greece's underground majesty, look no further than Crete's White Mountains (Lefka Ori). They are home of two of Greece's deepest caves - Gourgouthakas and the Cave of the Lion, which extend more than a kilometer into the earth. Many other caves in Crete's prefecture of Chania have both geological as well as historical importance!
All of Greece is haven for mountain bikers - and you needn't go farther than Parnitha, Athens' northern mountain border, for some good riding. The area around the Tatoi Palace is a family-friendly biking destination just an hour away from downtown Athens. The Hellenic Mountain Bicycling Association is a great way to start if you're planning a Mountain Biking holiday in Greece.
Many offroading trails are to be found all over Greece - from mountains to beaches, Greece's extensive gravel road network connects them all! You won't have any problem finding an off-road tour either in mainland Greece or in Crete, and you'll reach some breathtaking destinations that few people are lucky enough to experience!
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