Walking, hiking and trekking in the Cyclades
is definitely not the first idea that comes to one’s mind when planning
to go to Greece. Nevertheless, hiking is a wonderful way to discover the
country, the landscape and the villages, and to get to know the people.
There is still a
long way to go in order to make hiking in Greece really attractive for
ordinary tourists. Although there is a wealth of ancient trails in Greece,
and although the infrastructure of the century- old-paths has not been
destroyed by modern roads in many places, we do have to admit that even
the Greeks themselves have often not yet recognized the tourism value of
these trails. Therefore, tourist offices and some maps can still only give
you very scant advice concerning nice hiking trails. Often hikes are only
indicated with (partly disappeared) coloured
dots or lines, and even this is not always reliable. In addition,
most locals do often not understand that people want to walk on the
ancient paths, and this definitely not in de Summer heat. Instead, the
Greeks rather show you the way to some asphalt
or gravel roads, and that is definitely not what we actually want
The marvellous descent from Apíkia to Chóra on Andros.
The path to Sinetí on Andros.
You can find any further information about a holiday in Greece on http://www.belvilla.co.uk/holiday-cottage-greece
The monopáti to the Profítis Ilías on Kýthnos.
couple of publications on hiking in Greece
There are not so
publications available on hiking in Greece:
* Marc Dubin, “Trekking
in Greece”: very comprehensive with regard to the whole of Greece,
but rather old and not enough details on the islands we are interested in. The
indications are often too short as well. Still, this is an interesting
* “Walking the Aegean Islands”, Graf Editions (translated from the German title: “Wandern auf den Kykladen”): beautifully edited, with many interesting maps. Maybe, certain hikes run along regular roads too often, or there is not even a trail you can follow. But still, this is a very interesting little book.
From the same author
you can also find the nicely published "Naxos and the Small
Cyclades", with 30 hikes.
In May 2006 the same author published "Western & Southern Cyclades", with 51 walks.
* Dans les Montagnes de Grèce, Editions Olizane, Genève: this French publication only contains two short contributions on the Cycladic isles and these descriptions are very general. For the rest of Greece this book might be useful.* For people who can read Greek, there is a nicely illustrated guide on the Cycladic isles, "Kykládes", published by Explorer, Fidíou 18, 106 78 Athens. When talking about the islands of Amorgos, Andros and Tinos attention is also paid to hikes.
The English version appeared in the year 2004, under the title "Cyclades. A complete travel guide." The three sections on hiking do no longer appear in this edition.
In March 2009 the first real good travel guide, solely devoted to the
Cycladic isles, appeared, in the series of Evasion, by the publishing
house of Hachette. This French travel guide is put together by the French
journalist Maud Vidal-Naquet and is entitled "Iles grecques. Les
couple of other publications
If you would like to
read an old description of the Cycladic isles, there is the truly
interesting "The Cyclades" by J. Theodore Bent. This is a
great travel book from 1885 which was re-published in the year 2002
A lot of details
about Amorgós and the small Cycladics are to be found in "Amorgós
und kleine Ostkykladen" by Dirk Schönrock.
The path to the Profítis Ilías on Sífnos
The path to the monastery of Panachrántou on Andros.
There are not really
a lot of decent websites on hiking on the Cycladic isles. .
For Tínos, there is the excellent site of Karolos Merlin, see http://www.tinos.tv
* Since 2002 some
very beautiful maps are being published in the series Topo; the publisher
is Anavasi, 34, Orminiou GR - 11 528 Greece. You can buy these maps on the
islands and on the airport.
* In the course of
spring 2009 a lot of new maps appeared in the series of Skaï-maps. These
maps are also very detailed, with sometimes more recent inofrmation than
* At the Road Bookshop, Ippokratous 39, Athens, another interesting
series of maps is being published. These
maps give also some indication of certain monopatia. Andros, Mílos,
Santoríni, Folégandros, Kéa, Páros, Náxos, Kímolos and Mílos, etc.
are already for sale.
* In 2001 the local
authorities of Amorgós have published a beautiful guide in Greek and in
English; the title of this edition is "A Travelogue of Amorgos.
Footpaths of historical and cultural interest." It is a marvellous
little book with great pictures and with very good maps of the 6 official
hikes. For now, this guide is only available at the town hall of Chóra.
The start of the monopáti to Langáda on Amorgós.
The walk from Chóra to Egiáli on Amorgós.
The marvellous kalderími to Chóra on Sérifos
advice before departure
* If possible, never
hike all by yourself – or take a cell phone with you. You can also
leave some information on where you go to at the reception of the hotel or
with the people you stay with.
* Always take enough
If the indications
for these hikes are not sufficient, and if you do get lost in one way or
another, these suggestions might be able to keep you on the right track:
1. Many Greek
farmers tend to close off their own paths by means of a fence or some
thorn bushes – in general you should never cross these blockings, as
these paths usually come to an end on a field.
2. When you do get
to one of those fields, never try to climb over the stone walls: this is
not a good idea and in the end you will definitely have to turn back.
3. The tracks of donkey dung are usually very good guidelines: there are always a lot of these tracks (fresh or dry) on often-used, so good trails. This means that if you hesitate at a junction you always have to choose the path with most donkey tracks.
hiking time I give is always the actual walking time (AWT). When
calculating this time, no attention has been paid to pauses to rest, short
stops to take pictures, visits, picnics, etc.
Monopáti near Potamiá on Náxos