3 must visit locations in Greece for climbing travellers

about 2 years ago

Are you planning a climbing trip for the autumn or coming winter? Greece is a brilliant country for a traveller who likes sport climbing. Here, we present three fantastic Greek climbing areas that offer experiences for those from beginners to grade eight on-sighters. And not one of these is Kalymnos!

1) Athens

Climbing in Lelaki, Athens, Greece

The greatest city of the Antique era is fantastic from the modern climber's point of view all year round! Whether you like wrestling with an overhanging tufa and stalactites or pockets on grey limestone, Athens offers it all.

Mavrosouvala and Vrachokipos are especially Kalymnos-style tufa places, whereas high-quality grey limestone is represented by Lelaki, Sesi and Korakofolia.

The absolute speciality of Athens is a marble quarry dating back more than a thousand years, Spilia Daveli. Marble makes for very special climbing. Contrary to expectations, marble provides excellent friction and the nature of the stone, that differs from others, creates the conditions for abnormal climbing moves that every climber has to experience at some point.

Climbing in Spilia Daveli, Athens, Greece

The majority of the crags of Athens are in the mountains nearby or in the shade of their valleys. In these places, that exude the tranquility of nature, it often feels unreal that you're climbing in one of Europe's biggest cities.

Direct flights arrive at the airport of Athens from all over Europe. Rent a car at the airport and the crags of Athens are less than an hour's drive away. The approaches are usually short, so that someone arriving on a morning flight can get to enjoy climbing on the same day.

Climbing and beach life can be combined in Kakia Thalassa, Athens, Greece

Athens is full of hotels that are easy to book, e.g. through Booking.com. All the topos of the crags of Athens are available  with a 27 Crags .premium subscription.

The recommendations of the editors:

- Mavrosouvala
- Vrachokipos
- Spilia daveli
- Korakofolia (on hot days)
- Kakia Thalassa (for the rest day)

2) Leonidio

Kokkinovrachos, Leonidio

There has been quite a hubbub about Leonidio around the world for some time now, but despite that the crags are peaceful and there's no need to fear overcrowding by climbers.

There are over 800 routes to be found at Leonidio and new crags are being developed all the time. There is a lot of choice for different styles and skills to be send: overhanging with tufas and stalactites, vertical routes with crimps, slab, multipitch etc.

Overhanging tufa in Mars Area, Leonidio

The surroundings of the village of Leonidio are particularly suitable for winter climbing (from October to April) and crags that are suited to the hot summer months and cooled by the mountain winds can be found higher up in the mountains.

The views of Leonidio are dominated by the sea as well as by the mountains. A dip in the Mediterranean recovers the muscles after a long day of climbing.

If you want have a good cup of coffee, local beer or food, our recommendations is the Pánjika Cooparative (Location: in a tiny alley at the road split "to Elona / to Vaskina", follow the wooden sign), a local cafe offering traditional healthy cuisine favoured by climbers as the main meeting point.

There are many classes of accommodation options in Leonidio from a modern campground to furnished appartments or hotels which can be booked from Booking.com, Airbnb or directly in town.

The "must visit " crags recommended by the editors:

- Elona 
- Mars
Twin Caves 
- H.A.D.A
- Nifada

With 27 Crags .premium, you'll get access to the topos of Leonidio, which have been made in co-operation with bolters living in the village. 

3) Lagada

Climber on overhanging cave, Lagada, Sparta, Greece

If you go to Leonidio, you should definitely also drive two hours over the spectacular mountains to Sparta. The climbing park of Lagada is in the mountains that dominate the skyline of Sparta. The road that leads into the park itself, with its archaeological excavations, reminds you of the age-old history of the area, of which the fierce warriors of Sparta are perhaps the best-known part.

Lagada is a place that is favoured by Greek climbers. The cool mountain air, the peaceful environment and verdant landscapes create an excellent atmosphere for climbing, all the way through from March to November.

There are about a hundred routes at Lagada, from a five to an upper eight. The grade six routes are mostly vertical, whereas the upper sevens and eights are strongly overhanging tufa and stalactite formations. There is enough climbing to be had, regardless of level, for even a week, and thanks to the pleasant environment it's always nice to come there again.

It's possible to stay in a tent in the climbing park or in a nearby hut (if you beware of scorpions!). Closer to the town, there is a camping site with swimming pools, and if you want to enjoy the evening atmosphere and restaurants of Sparta, you can book a hotel near the central square from Booking.com.

Waterfalls of Lagada Climbing park, Greece

Before you leave Lagada, it's also worth checking out the crag near Lagada, Liantina. Due to its remoteness, it's a fairly little-visited place, but it has many fantastic ascents!

The routes recommended by the editors in Lagada:

- Kolokithia Me Ti Rigani, 6b
- Kremasmenos Tragos, 6b+
- Arpyia, 7a
- This is Sparta, 7c
- Herouvim, 8a

Where to get topos?

Topos for Lagada, Athens, Leonidio and all the other .premium locations are included in 27 Crags .premium subscription, which costs only €4.99/month. All the .premium topos are made and maintained by local climbers.

If you have any questions about these places, write a comment in the field below.

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