Updated January 22nd, 2023 by Travel the Greek Way
This post is about Greek Island Hiking, specifically about hiking in the Cyclades: Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos & Paros, Ios, Mykonos & Delos, and Santorini.
The Greek islands are well-known for their endless sandy and rocky beaches, clear green-blue waters, amazing vistas, friendly locals, and delicious Greek food. But, did you know that Greek island hiking is a fantastic way to experience real Greece and its well-hidden secrets behind every mountain, hill, or valley?
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Greece Quick Reference
- Where to stay in Athens with stunning Acropolis view: Niche Hotel or The Foundry Suites
- Book your ferry tickets with no-hidden-fees at FerryScanner or FerryHopper
- Rent a car with Discover cars for reliable new cars at affordable prices
Which islands belong to the Cyclades?
The Cyclades Greek islands are an island cluster, including the likes of Mykonos and Santorini, and another 220 islands (approx).
There are also smaller Cycladic islands, an island cluster within a cluster, the so-called “Small Cyclades” favored by the more adventurous-minded hikers.
The general morphology of Cyclades Islands (with few exceptions such as Andros) is rocky and barren ground, with low or no vegetation and limited water/springs – you must carry your own, ample, water supply at all times when visiting the Cyclades.
Which Greek islands are the best for hiking?
All the Greek islands provide excellent hiking choices as they have high mountains with hiking trails crossing them. The same trails often end up on majestic seasides, pass by classic archaeological sites, abandoned medieval towers and churches, deserted villages and so much more. A surprise view in every turn you take!
Those trails are the old paths the islanders used to take to go about their businesses, mostly on horses, mules, or donkeys, and to visit neighboring villages. Today, most of the old “donkey” trails, have been cleared out, signposted, and are used mainly by nature lovers and hikers.
Best Greek Islands for Hiking
Amorgos, the Island of Colors
Amorgos is one of the best Greek Islands for hiking and nature. It is a long and narrow island of the Aegean Sea, famous for its amazing variety of herbs and wild birds, with minimal Cycladic architecture.
A very beautiful island in all, with high mountains and trails, that crisscross Amorgos, just perfect for hiking. Amorgos is also an island for people who seek privacy, tranquillity, and contact with the wild nature of the Cycladic Islands.
What is hiking in Amorgos like?
The local guides call the Amorgos trails “Blue Paths” because they all have stunning sea views. There are 7 spectacular hikes (altitude: 300-821 m) for all levels which have been used since antiquity.
The locals still use them to move around the island. Some of them are quite challenging (the peak is Krokellos at 821m) and would require a lot of mountainous hiking experience.
Some trails follow exposed ridgelines where the winds can be so fierce that they can actually blow you off the path. Be careful of the winds and use wisely your walking sticks.
For full details of all 7 trails visit the Official Amorgos Island Website.
What else can I see on Amorgos Island?
- 5 Archaeological sites, 4 Museums & remains of a Venetian Castle
- The hanging on-the-cliffs Monastery of Hozoviotissa (can be visited by hiking – the sunset is awe-inspiring from the spot) and another 10 Byzantine churches and monasteries
- All kinds of outdoor activities (scuba, diving, yoga)
- 22 Beaches (some very secluded ) & 9 villages to visit, explore, and enjoy
- Kafe “Naftilia” of Prekas. A traditional family-run cafe in Katapola working since 1944!
Interesting facts about Amorgos, Greece
- Luc Besson’s movie The Big Blue was filmed here
- It is an unspoiled Greek Island – no cruise ships or sushi bars here, no sophisticated tourist facilities
- Very close to Kalotaritissa Beach lies the Shipwreck of Amorgos, which allegedly belonged to modern pirates. Sank in 1980
- The boat needs 8-9 hours if you take a Blue Star Ferries or about 6 hours with a SeaJet
- On Amorgos is produced exquisite thyme honey, and local Psimmeni Raki (an alcoholic drink). Drink wisely and in small doses!
Where to Stay in Amorgos
My pick! Kaerati Apartments: Located on a beautiful hill overlooking Katapola village, with big, new, fully equipped, spotlessly clean rooms and with a garden perfect for breakfast, you will have an amazing stay. Check for prices and availability in Booking. com
Related Post: Amorgos Island, an Authentic Experience in the Aegean
Anafi Greece, the Small Volcanic Island
Anafi Greece is one of its kind island, unspoiled from mass tourism, a gorgeous, wild, and remote island offering absolute peacefulness and connection with nature.
Anafi is situated east of Santorini, and its most impressive feature is a gigantic and intimidating rock, Kalamos, only second in size to Gibraltar rock. As it is 460 m high, it is a very popular climbing spot.
The brave ones who climb or hike to Kalamos rock, have also the pleasure to visit Panagia Kalamiotissa church, a beautiful whitewashed chapel, built in 1715, right on the top of Kalamos. From there you can enjoy one of the best sunsets in the Mediterranean.
What is hiking in Anafi like?
Rocky terrain, volcanic-ash granite, and limestone from the Santorini volcanic eruption paths, steep cliffs, and cove-scalloped morphology. Barren of trees or large plants. The peak is Vigla at 582 m.
There are a few paths to choose from on the 18km trail very old network and well-signposted, but if you had to choose one it could be:
Chora – Ancient Kastelli – Kalamos peninsula all the way to the top of Panagia Kalamiotissa church (around 7 km)
Check here for Hiking Trails of Anafi from Wikiloc
What else can I see on Anafi Island?
- Chora (the capital town) is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in the whole Cyclades
- 3 Archaeological sites and a museum
- Too many beaches to choose from: all with sandy or pebbled, some secluded, crystal clear, emerald, turquoise, and blue water
Interesting facts about Anafi, Greece
- Mouth-watering thyme honey, strofilia wine, local cheese
- There are 2 ATMs in Agios Nikolaos Port and 1 in Chora
- The trip from Pireaus lasts 9-11 hours. Alternatively, go to Santorini at a high speed (4 hours) or fly from Athens and from Santorini take the 2-hour boat connection to Anafi. Once a week there is a ferry leaving from Lavrio in Athens
- Anafi used to be an exile island for the Greek communists
- Anafiotika area in Athens Plaka was built by Anafi workers back in the 19th century
Where to Stay in Anafi
My Pick! Maki House is a fantastic property, offering unlimited views of the Aegean Sea, in a beautiful whitewashed Cycladic house.
Related Article: The Complete Guide to Anafi Island
Andros Greece, the Captains Island
Andros Greece is the second-largest island of the Cyclades, only 2 hours away from Athen’s smaller port of Rafina. It took the “Captains Island” name from the many rich Greek ship-owners that come from the island (just like Chios island). It has a low touristic development, which is surprising considering its proximity to Athens and its beautiful Cycladic characteristics.
It differs from the other barren Cycladic islands as it has a lot of water and consequently a much greener environment. There are 7 mineral water springs on Andros with the most famous in Greece being Sariza, which is bottled and sold in supermarkets.
What is hiking in Andros like?
Generally speaking, there is a high level of a walking culture on Andros island and this is reflected in the well-signposted paths of the island.
There is a well-signed network of over 170 km of waymarked and some of them are cobblestoned paths. 100 km of them are signposted trails that connect the north with the south part of Andros and form the Andros Routes.
Andros has a rich landscape, compiled of 4 main mountains, offering magnificent sea views and some challenging uphills, with Kouvaras being the highest at 1000 m.
The island also features 4 small rivers that have created fertile valleys with a variety of lovely figs, pines, apples, and plane trees. Gorgeous paths lead to the Cave of Foros, rich in Stalagmite formations cave, the ravines of Pithara, rivers, abandoned towers, secluded picturesque villages, and springs at every turn.
If you had to choose one, then an exciting trail can be the 10 km circuit route from Chora along the Pythara ravine, across a medieval stone bridge to the Pythara waterfalls.
Find detailed info on Andros’ trails in the links below:
- Andros Routes: A website dedicated to all Andros Trails with maps and photos
- One foot forward: an interesting site with info on hiking, amongst others, from a network of nature lovers living in Andros
- Great info, maps, routes on Best Trails in Andros from AllTrails
- October Hiking Festival: Andros on Foot
What else can I see on Andros Island?
- Classy and elegant Chora town, with a mixture of neoclassical buildings and Cycladic whitewashed houses
- 3 Archaeological Sites, 2 Castles, 4 Monasteries
- 6 Museums (Archaeological, Folkore, Nautical, wonderful Goulandris Museum of Modern Art)
- Many soft, golden sand beaches like Chryssi Ammos or Tis Grias to Pidima Beach, where the characteristic rock on one side
- Tower of Agios Petros (There is a hiking trail up to the tower)
- Tourlitis Lighthouse
Interesting facts about Andros Island, Greece
Try Fourtalia, a traditional dish made of potatoes, omelets, and cheese.
Sweet choices: nougatines, local marzipan sweet, Kaltsounia made with honey, walnuts, pin nuts, and patsitsakia, made of roasted almonds.
Andros is connected by boat to many Cycladic islands.
Related Article: Amazing things to Do on Andros Island
Where to Stay in Andros
My Pick! Villa George in Batzi Andros is perfectly located in front of the sea with a fantastic beach to swim in, quiet, super clean with friendly and helpful staff. Batsi village is just 5 mins walk.
Paros & Antiparos, the Sister Islands
The two islands are very close and there is a ferry boat trip duration is about 7 minutes. It is usual to pop into Antiparos for a day tour if you are already in Paros.
Paros is a very popular vacation island and is famous for its golden-sand beaches and its simple lines as a place. Antiparos is less crowded than Paros and really worth visiting just for its stunning beaches.
Paros was one of the first Cycladic islands I visited back in my early twenties and the only thing I remember doing was staying on the beach all day and clubbing all night. No hiking back then! 😀
What is hiking in Paros – Antiparos like?
Paros Island is formed by a single mountain, Profitis Ilias (724 m peak), which ends up in small hills around the seaside of the island. Paros has a hiking trail network of approximately 35 km, not all of them well-marked.
While hiking in Paros you can come across numerous old houses, olive groves, windmills, watermills, cisterns, and pigeon houses. The island has no forests but mostly low trees and bushes.
Find here Paros & Antiparos Hikes with details and photos of the trails.
What else is there to do on Paros Island?
- Byzantine Monastery of Ekatontapyliani, a 4th Century Byzantine Masterpiece
- Naoussa, Lefkes, and Parikia most picturesque towns
- The (very) popular beaches: Kolymbithres, Golden Beach, New Golden Beach, and Santa Maria
- The Ancient Quarries, Cave of Nymphs & Aghios Minas Monastery
- Archaeological, Byzantine, Folklore & Wine Museums
- Sanctuary of Asklepios, Mycenaean Acropolis, Ancient Cemetery
Interesting facts about Paros Island, Greece
- Paros is a favored windsurfing location
- It is surrounded by a few islets biggest being its sister-island Antiparos
- There is the valley of Butterflies or Petaloudes, where Tiger Moth butterflies gather in large numbers in June
- It is a very fertile island producing world-famous excellent wine with varieties like Mavrotragano, Mandilaria, Savvatiano
Where to Stay in Paros
Villa Kelly Rooms & Suites: Built in a traditional Cycladic style and featuring a swimming pool, Villa Kelly Rooms & Suites is just a 7-minute walk center of Naousa and 700 m from Aghii Anargyri Beach.
Ios, the Party Island
Ios Greece is a medium-sized island, located between Naxos and Santorini.
Although the busy nightlife in Chora and on the beach of Mylopotas has given Ios the “youth island” reputation, it is a very beautiful Cycladic island worth visiting and exploring.
What is hiking on Ios Greece like?
Ios Island Terrain: rocky, barren landscape with most hikes being demanding and requiring experience on similar ground. Its highest mountain peak is Pyrgos (704m) with Profitis Ilias at 514m and Vouni at 409m. There are 9 marked trails crossing most of this Ios island.
Interesting facts about Ios Island, Greece
- Chora’s architecture is dominated by Classic Cycladic whitewashed houses with thick walls, made of stone in order to protect from heat and cold
- 35 km of sandy beaches
- Must try its local cheeses, like Xino, Skotyri, Myzithra, and the Mizithropites (Mizithra pies) and the watermelon pies, yummy!
What else is there on Ios Island?
- Tiny Archaeological Museum: mainly exhibits from the Bronze Age
- The Prehistoric Settlement of Skarkos
- Tomb of Homer (allegedly)
- 365 churches, including the Ios landmark church of Virgin Mary Gremiotissa
- 12 windmills, remains of a Venetian castle, and numerous bars!
Where to stay in Ios
- Liostasi Hotel is located in a beautiful area overlooking the protected bay of Ios Chora, with an excellent breakfast and a swimming pool.
Related Article: Best Things to Do on Ios Island
Mykonos and Delos, the Famous and the Sacred
Mykonos island lacks the ancient donkey paths the other islands have, it is a quite flat Greek island and most of it is touristically developed, so that leaves you with very few hiking options.
In any way, there are other reasons to visit Mykonos besides hiking and one of them is to go to Delos, the small Sacred island which is only 30′ away.
What is hiking on Mykonos island like?
The island’s highest summit is the Profitis Ilias hill at 372m, it features no rivers, but numerous seasonal streams.
The terrain is very rocky with many areas eroded by the strong winds. There are some places in the inner part of Mykonos that may have some walking interest.
Interesting facts about Mykonos
- Mykonos was a flourishing center during the Cycladic (2000 – 1600 B.C.) and the Mycenean (1400 – 1200 B.C.) civilization
- It is centrally located among the Cyclades and that makes it a good base for island-hopping
- Jacqueline Kennedy visited Mykonos in 1961 which kick-started the Mykonos boom. For the last few decades, Mykonos has been the must-visit island if you are a Jet Set member
- The best time to visit Mykonos is in May when all the places are covered in colorful wildflowers and September when all the mass tourism is gone and you are left with a still very warm sea but in a much quieter environment
- It is an expensive island
What else is there on Mykonos?
- Mykonos Chora boasts one of the most picturesque harbors of the Cyclades and the labyrinth of alleys offers stunning views of the sea or hidden authentic Cycladic architecture.
- Beautiful but super-busy sandy beaches. Bustling nightlife.
- 3 Pelicans, Irene, Petros & Nicolas, Mykonos official mascot since 1958
- Church Panagia Paraportiani, built in the 1500s and is a great place to view the sunset
- The 7 windmills in Chora which you can admire while having lunch at the “little Venice” seaside
- Archaeological, Nautical, and Folklore Museums
- Kafenio of Bakogias: one of the most (and one of the last) authentic places to have a really traditional meal in Mykonos since 1970, a small family place. Find it in the Gialos area
Delos (or Dilos) island, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, is the birthplace of the twins Apollo and Artemis gods and houses a large sanctuary that was built to honor them. Delos is the most important archaeological center of the Cycladic islands.
Delos’ highest hill is Kythnos at 112m, south of the archaeological site which offers a hiking opportunity and a sweeping panoramic view of the islands around. On top, you can rest on the broken stones of the once foundations of Zeus Sanctuary.
This is an interesting, yet short hike as the lower slopes of the hill are covered in ancient ruins. You can go uphill by using the stone stairs past the Temple of Isis.
Where to stay in Mykonos
Related Article: Complete Guide on Mykonos Island
Santorini, the Super-Star Island
You can read essential tips on Santorini Greek island, a 3-day itinerary, and the Caldera – Oia trail which is very impressive in my post here: The Best Things to do in Santorini.
Hiking Dangers in Greece
I have collected information from my own experience and from American friends who have hiked extensively on Greek islands and I have compiled a useful list for you:
What is the best time to hike Cyclades Islands?
All year round is great to hike in the Cyclades.
However, during the winter it can get too windy so you risk falling off the ridges while in summer it is too hot to hike, and risk getting heatstroke. If you really would like to hike in the summer, you should start off at the earliest possible.
My favorite months to hike in Greece is October (warm but not too much) and April (everything has blossomed). Read here more extensively about hiking dangers in Greece where I have collected all possible problems that you may encounter while hiking or doing other outdoor activities in Greece.
This Greek island hiking guide acts as a useful guide to choosing the Greek islands for hiking that suit you best.
Where to Stay in Athens
Looking for the best hotels and apartments near old Athens Plaka and Acropolis Parthenon? Find in my complete list below the best accommodation in Athens for a really unique travel experience!
- Where to Stay in Plaka, Athens’ Old Town (Hotels and Apartments for 2023)
- Acropolis View Hotels & Apartments in Athens
- Best Athens Beach Hotels (By the Athens Riviera Coastline)
- Central Apartments in Athens (near Acropolis)
- Athens Budget Apartments
- Athens Budget Hotels
- Bus: If you are arriving at Athens International airport you can travel straight to the port by taking the X96 express bus (€6, children <6 yo, free entrance), which departs every 40 minutes and the average trip lasts 1 hour – runs 24/7
- Athens Metro (€10 ) is easily found across airport arrivals (blue line – M3) going directly to Piraeus port. The average trip to Piraeus lasts 1 hour
- Taxis are available in front of the airport (around €40, take up to 4 people)
- Rent a car with Discover cars to rent reliable new cars at affordable prices
- You don’t like driving but love hassle-free solutions? Book a Private transfer with an English-speaking driver from Athens International Airport to Piraeus Ferries, or anywhere else in Greece
Where is your dream hiking destination? Would you go to a Greek Island?
I’d love to hear about where you’re spending your vacation this year, especially if you have any exciting travel plans! There are so many things to do on Greek islands. I hope that you get the chance to visit as many as possible. Till next time, Evgenia❤️
Travel Resources for Greece
- ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Greek: “Ya sou” and “Efharisto”
- FerryScanner or FerryHopper to book ferries to the Greek Islands
- Rent an Affordable Car in Greece
- Athens Metro Website (timetables and tickets info)
- Map of Athens Metro
- Trains (Hellenic Train)
- Public Buses KTEL
- Booking.com: I use Booking.com because I can get the best deals on both hotels and apartments, free cancellations, and great prices!
- Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
- COVID Info for Greece: Ministry of Tourism Official Website
- Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100– EMERGENCY NUMBER 112
More Reading on Greece
- Greek Islands Hiking Trails: The Cyclades Guide II
- 6 Best & Easy Athens Hikes
- The Complete Adventure to Kalavryta, Peloponnese
- Is Sifnos Greece a Good Island for Hiking?
- Best Travel Guide to Spetses Island
- How to Spend 7 Magical Days in Chania Crete
- 16 Surprising Things to Do in Salamina Greece
- Amazing Places to Visit in Greece in November