The Greek Islands
We spent a month on some of the Greek islands in 2022 and did some hiking, although this wasn’t a hiking trip. So I’ll just give a small amount of information here.
It’s easy traveling between the islands on ferries, then taking buses or taxis once on the islands.
We went to Amorgos because I’d read that the walk from Chora to Egiali is one of the great island walks. Amorgos is not nearly as touristy as some of the other islands, and we loved it. Especially the town of Chora, which is where we stayed.
Johnny Africa’s page about Amorgos has this to say: “[Amorgos] is a very special island with what is in my opinion the most stunning old town in the Cyclades….. The Amorgos Chora is without a doubt one of the, if not the most beautiful old towns in all of the Cyclades.”
Katerina & Maria’s page about Amorgos has this to say about Chora on Amorgos: “In this spirit, Amorgos has its very own Chora. Oh, and what a Chora that is! It may not be the most impressive of all, the way Chora in Andros is. Nor the unquestionably most beautiful one. That would be Chora in Folegandros. Yet, in a way that we can’t possibly put into words, Amorgos has the most seductive Chora we’ve ever laid eyes on, a ruthless enchantress who’s bound to leave an empty space at the very spot that once held your heart.
But you wanted to know about the hiking. The hike goes from Chora, past the Panagia Hozoviotissa Monastery, then along paths on the spine of the island until it descends into Egiali. From Egiali you can take a bus back, unless you prefer to walk back along the same path. See the All Trails link below.
The monastery is definitely worth visiting, although you’ll need to check the time it opens. It’s a stunning and somewhat incomprehensible building, nestled right up against a big overhanging cliff.
Crete is much bigger than any of the islands in the Cyclades. It has much bigger mountains, and bigger gorges. And the most famous of the gorges is the Samaria Gorge.
We stayed in Chania, which is a beautiful town that’s well worth exploring. The easiest way to hike the Samaria Gorge, unless you have your own car, is to do one of the tours that take you there and bring you back. Which is what we did. You will almost certainly see many, many people on this hike.
The general structure of the tour is:
- The tour operator will drive you 90 minutes to the top of the gorge in a luxury bus.
- You hike down the gorge to Agia Roumeli, the village by the sea at the bottom of the gorge, where you will probably buy drinks and eat lunch.
- The tour operator will give you a ticket for the ferry to Sougia where they will pick you up and drive you back to Chania.
It’s a long day but totally worth it.
Naxos is the biggest island in the Cyclades, and its most famous hike is the hike up Mt Zas (also known as Mt Zeus). The hike starts at the upper end of the town of Filoti, and the best way to do it (IMHO) is as counter-clockwise loop, going up past Aria Spring and Zas Cave. This gives you the steepest and best hiking on the way up, and an easier and less interesting descent. See the AllTrails link below.
We stayed in Filoti but in retrospect it would have been better to stay in Naxos Town and take the bus to Filoti for that one hike. Naxos Town is far more interesting than Filoti.
One doesn’t go to Santorini for the hiking but because it’s, well, Santorini. However, you have to do things while you are there, and one of the things is to hike from the main town, Fira, down the island to Oia. It’s not particularly difficult, just 6.5 miles long, although it does have some loose downhill sections. You’ll probably see lots of people on this hike. Most people catch the bus back from Oia.
Another thing you can do if you want some exercise is walk down the cobblestone path to the old port, and back up again. It’s good exercise, but it has the downside that there is donkey poop embedded in between all the cobblestones 😄.
Links and Other Clicks
Very good website for hikes on the Cyclades Islands.
Chora to Egiali (Amorgos) hike on AllTrails.
Mt Zas (Naxos) loop on AllTrails.
Fira to Oia (Santorini) on AllTrails.
We used Ferryhopper to book ferries between the islands.
Anavasia mapp is a very good map app for hiking on the Greek islands. The app is free but you have to buy the map for each island. At the time of writing they cost $4.99 each.
Naxos buses web page. There’s a link to the timetables at the top of the page.