Greece, birthplace of the Olympic Games, is ideal for participating in a sport or taking part in events or games (sports tourism). In the recent past the country has frequently organized many large sports/athletic events (world championships, Pan-European games, significant international tournaments, etc), with the crowning event being the 2004 Olympic Games that were held in Athens.
These sports/athletic events contributed significantly to the construction of many modern large and small sports facilities, stadiums and training centers throughout the country, covering a wide range of sports, where today local residents and visitors to the region are able to exercise or train in their favorite sport: from athletics, soccer, volleyball and basketball to tennis and golf, sailing and surfboards.
Moreover, many hotels offer their guests special facilities for sports activities (basketball, volleyball, tennis, golf, sea-sports, etc). More details can be provided by the relevant hotel official.
Greece is all about sea, an aquatic heaven, full of life. Bounding the mainland from side to side, Greek seas create an amalgamation of images, interchanging with each other, completing one another, fostering absolute harmony and sheer beauty.
Water sports are very popular in Greece, a country of seas with emerald waters and wonderful sea beds. Greece offers the sea sports lovers a great deal, since it is endowed with awesome natural attractions in Aegean and Ionian Sea; in addition our country boasts the fully equipped supplies with high quality services on the islands and around the mainland. The 3,000 island Greek archipelago is an ideal place to explore, an opportunity to discover unspoiled beaches and more than 20,000 km of coastline to admire.
Sailing is a sport that is irrevocably linked with Greece through the country’s long history and centuries of nautical tradition. Today, it is one of the most popular sports, and thousands of Greeks practice it systematically (in competitions or as just “weekenders”) in all types of sailing boats.
Information about the sport in Greece, the sailing clubs in each geographical region, the requirements and procedures needed to participate in special training programs, is provided by:
Hellenic Sailing Federation
51 Poseidonos Ave, 183 44 Moschato – Athens
Tel: 210 9404825 (8 lines) – Fax: 210 9404829
Windsurfing is an exciting sport for everybody, irrespective of age and sex. No special body strength is needed as only correct technique is required.
Apart from being fun and an Olympic sport, windsurfing has also been a professional sport since 1985, as well as a demonstration and competition sport in indoor areas, where the necessary conditions are artificially created.
Since weather conditions in Greece are ideal (mild climate, suitable wind strength, etc), the sport’s popularity has increased tremendously as more and more Greeks are “playing” systematically. In fact, European and World competitions (tournaments) –some of which rank among the more important international events- are held in various parts of the country during the summer months. At many of the country’s organized beaches you have the opportunity to windsurf or take lessons given by trained instructors.
Some indicative places where you can go for organized windsurfing are listed here.
For more information contact :
Hellenic Windsurfing Federation
7 Philelinon str., Athens
Tel: +30 210 3230068
Deep down the seas, in the deep blue, there exists a wonderful unknown world, one of enchanting beauty. The few that visit it experience the sensation of being accepted into a silent paradise, filled with infinite forms and colours and myriads of sea species. The Greek seas are recorded as the cleanest in the Mediterranean. Thus, diving into the “big blue” of Greece represents a unique experience for those who attempt it, provided they have prior training and special precautions are taken. Scuba (Scuba=Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) diving using the proper equipment is allowed in all sea areas where no specific prohibition is in force for the protection of archaeological resources. Any discovery of an ancient object in the course of scuba diving must be immediately reported to the nearest Port Authorities. It is prohibited to bring to the surface or to move objects of archaeological or other significance, located in the deep. Underwater photography or cinematography requires the permission of the local Port Authorities, which is granted after the concurrence of the competent Underwater Archaeological Findings Inspection dept. of the Ministry for Culture & Tourism.
There are numerous scuba diving centres operating in Greece, as well as scuba diving schools, while there are also scuba diving vessels that combine a holiday with scuba diving and offer an infinite variety of sights both in and out of the water.
Υou can obtain more info about scuba diving as well as the areas which have received clearance by contacting:
Greek Federation of Submarine Activity – Sports Fishing and Technical Swimming
16604 West Airport Mail Office
Tel: +30 210 9819961
Fax: +30 210 9817558
In Greece, the Vouliagmeni Nautical Club (situated in the Greater Attica region) was the first club to establish a water ski section in 1957, while in 1963 the Hellenic Water Ski Federation was founded with the aim of making the sport known throughout the country.
Water skiing is now one of the most popular modern water sports and no especial training is needed when done by amateurs for fun. There are private training clubs throughout the country, which operate at organized beaches or within the facilities of large hotel complexes.
For more information regarding water skiing in Greece, you can contact:
Hellenic Water Ski Federation
50 Thrakis St, 163 42 Ilioupolis – Athens
Tel: 210-9944334, 210-9944014 – Fax: 210-9940521
With its thousands of islands, Greece is ideal for wakeboarding, which combines surfing, snowboarding, skating and water-skiing. Wakeboarders have their own spots along the Greek beaches and every year they renew their rendevous with the waves for impressive raleys, hoochies, vulcans and tantrums.
In Greece wakeboarding can be carried out on any beach – organized or not. However, the more suitable places are:
Attica (Anavyssos, Varkiza, Lavrio, Loutsa, Galazia Akti Marathonas); Thessaloniki (Agia Triada, Volvi Lake, Nea Michaniona); Chalkis (Sunny Beach); Paros (Chrysi Akti, Nea Chrysi Akti, Tsoukalia, Santa Maria, Pounta); Naxos (Agios Georgios, Mikri Vigla); Mykonos (Ftelia, Kalafati); Ios (Mylopotas); Rhodes (Trianta, Fanes, Prassonisi, Theologo); Achaias (Drepano, Zacharo); Lefkada (Vasiliki); Karpathos (Ormos tou Diavolou); Irakleion (Ammoudara); Skiathos; Kos; Zakynthos; and Santorini.
There are also private and public clubs throughout Greece that teach windsurfing and skiing, while many also give wakeboarding lessons.
The relationship between men and the land, mountains, hills and plains are both primordial and profound. In Greece this relationship has been etched in the history, art and soul of its inhabitants. From ancient times, high peaks comprised the shelters, hide-outs and symbols of freedom, as well as the challenges for man who always wanted to explore the limits of the planet. A highlands hike follows ancient trails carved in the mountain and the hiker finds himself lost in the physical beauties of the highlands as he enjoys their secrets. Exploring caves (spelunking) always challenges the daring who want to discover the mysteries of the inner worlds of the earth, where light rarely reaches.
Thousands of years later, these passions became recreational sports and activities, but a primordial spark was always maintained: man’s need to become one with nature, to shatter the limits, to learn the unknown.
Greece offers an endless choice of land sports and activities: Mountaineering, climbing, trekking, mountain biking, spelunking (caving), canyoning, horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding, etc, are just a few of the sports that you can enjoy in Greece throughout the year as the climate is ideal for outdoor activities and sports.
Golf is a sport that in recent years has developed rapidly in Greece and is continuing to acquire more and more fans. Today there are five international standard golf courses (18-hole) throughout the country, situated in Athens (Glyfada), on Corfu, on Rhodes, in Chalkidiki and in Hersonisos on Crete, as well as a 9-hole course in Elounda on Crete. Over 1,300 players play regularly on these courses.
• Afandou Xenia Golf Course
Tel: +30 22410-51451
Fax: +30 22410-51122
• Corfu Golf Course
P.O.Box 71 – Ropa Valley
Tel: +30 26610-94220
Fax: +30 26610-94220
• Glyfada Golf Course
Tel: +30 210 89.46.820, 210 89.42.338
Fax: +30 210 89.43.721
• Hotel Porto Carras Golf Course
630 81 Chalkidiki
Tel: +30 23750-77000,
Fax: +30 23750-71 229
• Hersonisos Golf Course
P.O.Box 106 Hersonisos,
Tel: +30 28970 26000
Fax: +30 28970-30180
• Hotel Porto Elounda Mare Golf Course
Elounda, Lasithi, Crete
Tel: +30 28410-41512
Fax: +30 28410-41307
There are also mini-golf courses in quite a few hotel complexes throughout the country.
For more information on golf, you can contact:
Hellenic Gold Federation
Address: Glyfada Golf Course (Pronois Street entrance)
Postal Code: Glyfada 16610 – Athens
Tel: 210-8941933, 210-8945727 – Fax: 210-8945162
In the modern history (over 100 years) of Greek sports and the Olympic Movement, few sports have always been present. Prominent among them was tennis. It initially appeared as a sport for the bourgeoisie just before the 1st Modern Olympic Games in 1896 (Athens), where the participation of the sport in the Games contributed actively to its revival. Today however, the game is an extremely popular sport and hundreds of thousands of Greeks play tennis, both as amateurs as well as professionally.
The mild climate of the country actively helps to play the game. Apart from the courts belonging to various local tennis clubs, courts can also be found in many hotel complexes.
For more information, contact:
Hellenic Tennis Federation
267 Imittou St, Pangrati – 116 31 Αθήνα
Tel: +30,210 89.60.0127563170, Fax: +30 210 7563173
Over the past decades skiing has witnessed a spectacular rise in popularity among Greeks. At present, 19 ski resorts operate on the mainland meeting modern standards and lending themselves to the development of winter tourism and are particularly popular with both Greek and foreign visitors.
Many of these ski resorts offer training programmes for beginners as well as for intermediate-level skiers, so before setting out contact the resort and seek information. Moreover, if you do not have your own skiing equipment, you can find stores selling winter sports equipment in nearby urban areas. Alternatively, a number of these ski resorts offer you the possibility to rent part or all of the equipment required.
For more information, please contact:
Hellenic Ski Federation:
7, Karagiorgi Servias, Str. 105 63 Athens
Tel. 210 3230182, 210 3234412, Fax: 210 3230142
The core of Mainland Greece runs from the European Long Distance Walking Path Ε4 (- GR), beginning from the Pyrinaia it arrives in Greece via Yugoslavia, at the Nikis guard-post in Florina. The E4, crossing the Peloponnese, stops at Gythio and continues on to Crete. The mountain-climber is thus given the opportunity to see the enjoy of the Greek scenery and the wealth of Greek nature.
The highest elevation along the total route is the peak of Olympou Skilio (2,911 m). The ideal period for hiking along the Ε4 in Greece is from May 15th up to the beginning of October. Frequently the opening of new forest roads confuses the mountaineer. Some villages along the route are deserted during winter, which therefore limits the possibility of staying overnight. The climate is Mediterranean, very dry in summer with high temperature variations between day and night. Snow will be encountered along the route from November to June. The route to the southern section of the Walking Path (the Peloponnese and Crete) is more “walkable” than the northern section, as the hiker can walk here throughout the year since the climate is milder.All necessary information and details of other mountain routes and paths –concerning assess-ways, facilities, possibilities and local conditions for hiking, mountain-climbing or rock-climbing, can be obtained by local mountain-climbing clubs and the Greek Mountaineering and Rock-Climbing Association.
Hiking can be simple and mountainous. In the first category, the minimum distance to travel is 5 km. (around 1-2 hours) and is walked along almost flat land (very small inclination without any large elevation height) with light clothing. In the second category, the distance is 15-20 km and a 5-8 hour hike is the norm. Specialized equipment is needed, especially during the winter months. Mountain hiking can be carried out on any mountain. The basic characteristics here are the elevation difference during the trip, which may reach 500-600 m and the fact that the hiking usually takes place in elevations over 500 m.
Greece delayed creating an integrated highway network other than the main road arteries that bisected the country. Until then, communication was carried out mainly along paths which the older residents of the highland villages still call “dimosia” (dimosios = public road), because for them this was the most significant road access.
Even though some of these older paths and the stone-paved cobbled roads –which are real works of art- have been converted into asphalt-surfaced roads, most of these still “slither” between the asphalt roads and continue to exist by crossing mountains, scrubs and ravines.
Thus, in recent years and with financing from various bodies (Municipalities, mountain-climbing clubs, private individuals, etc), many sections of these “road-paths” throughout Greece and creating a broad network with a total length of approximately 3,500 km.The major part of this network is extensions of the European Long Distance Walking Paths, Ε4, Ε6 and categories Ο (3,000 km), while another 500 km of smaller walking paths have been created, which are also of comparable interest.
Mountain climbing is the hardest form of hiking. Usually the goal of the climber is to conquer a peak. In mountaineering, distance is not important. The most important element is that around 300 m of elevation is covered per hour, which means that a 1,000 m climb requires about 4 hours, together with stops. A usual mountain climb lasts 7-10 hours, including the descent.Finally, rock climbing is characterized by an ascent under summer conditions (under winter conditions it is called alpinism), on any mountain peak, on very steep slopes (cliffs), where climbing techniques will then be required (smaller or larger degree of difficulty) with the use of auxiliary equipment. In Greece,, many regions are suitable for free rock climbing, while there are also schools offering technical or artificial climbing.
Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing
5 Milioni str., 106 73 Athens
Tel: +30 210 36 459 04, +30 210 36 36 617
Fax: +30 210 36 44 687
All necessary information on mountain routes and paths/trails, access to them, facilities, mountain shelters throughout the country, organized excursions and local conditions for hiking, mountain-climbing and rock-climbing is provided by the Greek Mountaineering and Rock-Climbing Association (Ε.Ο.Ο.Α.) and local hiking and mountaineering clubs.
Equestrian sports began in Greece just before World War II, through the initiative of a group of high-ranking army officers and amateur “riders”, with the founding of the Hellenic Equestrian Club on an estate in Holargos in Attica. Following the War, the Club moved to new premises in the Paradissos suburb of Amarousion in Attica, thus attracting the attention of many Athenians who had the prerequisites for horse-riding. It soon became the first significant center for the development of competitive riding in Greece.
Since then, equestrian sports has been developing steadily in the country and is considered to be one of the rising sports. It is popular with the public, especially the young. New clubs are opening every year, new members are enrolling and new riders are appearing on the competitive circuit. It is indicative that today over 50 equestrian clubs are operating (and riding schools), of which 46 are recognized by the Hellenic Equestrian Federation. The sport today has 2,450 riders and around 1,000 horses.Apart from competitive equestrian sports, one can also take part in riding programs for beginners and for more experienced riders, in specially created areas and estates (riding centers) situated throughout Greece. These centers have qualified personnel with trained horses who will teach you the first basic secrets of riding while observing all safety rules. You will also be able to ride horseback for several hours along natural pathways and scenic mountain routes.
For more information, contact:
Hellenic Equestrian Federation
37 Dimitriou Ralli St, Marousi – 151 24 Athens
Tel: Fax: +30 210 6141859
As a sport for exilarating emotions, bungy (or bungee) jumping has acquired its own fans in Greece. It only became known a few years ago as among others, there are not enough high buildings or large bridges to attract jumpers who want to create their own personal record. However, the desire of many young persons to live this unique feeling caused by jumping into the void was the motivating force for the creation of specialised companies that train people in bungy jumping. The areas where people jump from are closely linked to bridges, especially those at the Isthmus in Corinth and at Chalkis.
A characteristic of these companies is their professionalism and their attention to detail, while the prices they charge the public make this sport available to just about everyone.Every day during the summer months, as well as on every weekend during the other months of the year, hundreds of people take their first jump under the careful eyes of a professional team, from modern bungy platforms that conform to strict safety standards certified by international organizations.
You can cycle almost everywhere in the countryside, combining tourism and physical exercise. Since the climate is favorable by providing sunshine on most days during the year, in conjunction with low humidity, you can easily cycle around Greece throughout most months.
As for mountain biking, there are special trails for this sport throughout the country. Even around Athens a cyclist can visit some interesting routes for mountain biking in Parnitha, Varibobi, Pentedli and Dionisos. Other appealing regions in the country are: Euboia, Evritania, Karytena Arkadia, Mani, Parnassos and Nafpaktos.You can get more information on the routes and mountain biking in general from local cycling associations. There are also private companies that offer cycling tourism programs, from a simple bicycle ride to mountain biking, which also provide participants with all the necessary equipment
During your holidays in Greece you will have the opportunity to discover various and enjoyable ways, for your free time. Traditional market areas but also famous fashion labels are offered for shopping, wellness and spa centers for luxury time, traditional restaurants “tavernas” or café by the sea or in the mountain, cinemas and theaters, are able to satisfy all trends and desires either you are in the city or in the island.
Greece is famous for its especially intense and multifaceted nightlife, which is not restricted to the weekends, in difference with the other European countries; the fun lasts until the early hours of the morning.
Greece is famous for its vivid lifestyle. All visitors may have an excellent stay and experience a lot of pleasant activities. Apart from getting to know the culture, the idyllic countryside, the Greek gastronomy, visitors should meet the tingling greek life style.
To start with, a lot of theatres, music cafes, trendy shops, music stages, cinemas, bars, night clubs, dancing clubs, funky restaurants, classy meeting points, casinos and after hours bars are easy to access everywhere in Greece, all year round.
Greece is a paradise for the cinephile. The reason is simple. In Greece movies are not dubbed! They are shown in their original language. The exceptions are some movies for small children, but even in Disney productions it is certain that some cartoons will have sub-titles.
Greek film has picked up pace. Thessaloniki’s International Film Festival has gained recognition as Southeast Europe’s pre-eminent forum for the screening of new films; more than 150 films compete for the prestigious awards every year. With a tradition that spans from the Oscar-studded performance of Katina Paxinou in “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, to Elia Kazan’s Hollywood reign, to Kostas Gavras’ Oscar-winning “Z” and Michalis Kakogiannis’ Oscar-packed “Zorba the Greek”, Greeks dazzled America and Europe alike. Theo Aggelopoulos, who won the Golden Palm award at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, with his “Eternity and a Day”, made new inroads to international audiences. Boulmetis’s “A Touch of Spice” and Voulgaris’ “Brides” (executively produced by Martin Scorsese) followed suit.
The majority of the movie theaters in Greece have been completely renovated, while in the past ten years or so, many theater complexes have opened in the larger cities, showing the latest blockbusters as well as older movies. There are also halls and cinema clubs for those who have more specific cinematography interests.
During your stay in Greece, do not forget to attend at least one of the hundreds of summer cinemas that can be found throughout the country. This will be a unique experience since the summer open-air cinemas are one of the more popular recreations for Greeks during the spring and summer months. At the same time, it is an integral part of the cultural identity of the country and remains in the memories of many generations.
Summer cinemas are found in every Greek city and in many coastal regions. They operate in open areas (rooftops of buildings, empty plots of land, parks, etc), and are usually encompassed by small natural or artificial gardens with trees, such as honeysuckles, bougainvilleas and jasmines, and the ground is covered with fine pebbles. The audience can enjoy soft drinks or alcoholic drinks as they watch the film under the star-filled sky, as there are small tables situated next to the canvas chairs, which makes you feel you are sitting in an open-air bar. In recent years, more and more summer cinemas are opening their doors. They differ architecturally from the old classical cinemas as they provide more comfortable seats, modern equipment, their “cafeteria” has a wider selection, and the floors are wooden instead of pebbles.
Most visitors arriving in Greece fantasize that it is a country of revelry that never sleeps – and not without reason. Greece is famous for its especially intense and multifaceted nightlife, which is not restricted to the weekends; the weekdays are just as hectic. Restrictions found in other countries do not exist here. Greeks, especially in spring and in summer usually go out to their night-time entertainment just before midnight, and the fun lasts until the early hours of the morning. Of course there are bars and bar-restaurants that open earlier, but here again you will not meet any habitués before 10 in the evening.
There are many suggestions on having a good time, satisfying all tastes and preferences, which increases year by year by adopting whatever is “new” from abroad, but the country itself continues to “lead the pack” in entertainment. A typical Greek night in Athens is long and opulent, so wear your blue jeans or your tux, put on your high heels and let yourself enjoy the experience of Greek carousing!
Health & Wellness Spa
Well-being does not concern physical health only. It is a general feeling, an internal ray of health, force and beauty. It is an on-going process.
The successful endeavor by anyone for a better life, the coverage of internal desires, his particularities, the freedom to choose comprise his personal recipe for well-being. I feel good, I’m having a good time, means that I am feeling mentally well-balanced and I feel healthy. Because if health –in accordance with the definition prescribed in the constitution of the World Health Organization (1946) – is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not just the absence of an illness or a disability”, a person can easily understand that the meaning of health is not given only by medicine, but also by other factors such as environment, economy, work, etc, and is based solely on a feeling of well-being.
Apart from the rare landscapes and special natural beauties, nature also endowed Greece with springs with important therapeutic properties. Spas are part of the country’s national wealth, while their therapeutic properties were already known in ancient times.
Natural therapeutic springs are found in many different places in Greece, and the water from specific springs differs from ordinary water owing either to its high temperature, or to the presence of rare active components.
Greece is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural spas. Thermal and mineral springs appear at 850 different geographical locations.
In addition to revitalising the spirit, the large number of mineral springs in Greece offers visitors an opportunity to receive treatment for chronic conditions in a natural way (hydrotherapy). Ailments like arthritis and rheumatic disorders are traditionally associated with the elderly, and therefore everyone believes that spas are for the “therapeutic” treatment of mainly senior citizens. However, the beneficial properties are much broader as they also benefit people of all ages. They start by improving appearance (concerns mainly the condition of the skin) and arrive at the more generalized feeling of relaxation and well-being.
The development of health and spa tourism in Greece has been rapid and there is to observe a significant growth of supply and service differentiation. The forms of hydrotherapy treatment applied in Greece are spa or mud therapy, drinking or inhalation therapy.
Fourteen hydro-therapeutic centres (owned by G.N.T.O.) annually treat around 100,000 persons, with 1,400,000 therapeutic treatments, while dozens of other spas operated by local authorities offer modern high-quality services to visitors. In addition, spa centers with state of the art facilities and specialized staff can be found in the majority of the five-star hotels, while other spas can usually be found in Athens or Thessaloniki.
Moreover, thalassotherapy is used as a combination of relaxation, revitalisation, recreation and healing that is achieved in the ideal climatic conditions of Greece and with the use of its excellent seawater. Natural resources are still in use but a holistic provision of body and soul is being introduced including wide spectrum of fitness and wellness products and services.
With one of the best climates in the world, with a unique variety of nature, as well as one of the healthiest diets in the world, Greece is the ideal proposal for psychological and physical health and the search for well-being!
Greece is the ideal destination for buying goods, offering a wide range of products that will satisfy every taste and desire. Here you will find all the European brand-names, the renowned multinational chains, as well as many Greek products – either in clothing-shoes or popular art or décor. The price-tags on these products vary, so as to satisfy the wallet of every visitor.
The opening hours of the stores are not the same everywhere in the country. The usual opening hours for stores in the centers of the large cities are continuous (9:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m.), for suburban stores the working hours are split shifts three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday – 9:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.) and morning shifts for the other three days (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday – 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.). Supermarkets operate a continuous shift up to 9:00 p.m., while all the stores are closed on Sundays.
However, you will come across various stores (mini-market, wholesale cigarette stores, kiosks) that remain open almost day and night -even on Sundays- especially those situated in tourist regions.
Many times people travel not only for rest and recreation, they seek the best way to learn about the authentic identity of the regions and the people. We would say that we were talking briefly about sightseeing tourism, which had begun in the 30’s, as the first organized form of mass tourism in Greece, whose exclusive objective was to visit significant archeological sites.
Today sightseeing tourism does not only have its educational, training and recreation character, it is also linked to multiple open-air activities that include caves, lakes, rivers, trails, hydrobiotopes (wetland habitats), ecologically-orientated excursions and other.
From data supplied by Eurostat, we know that the privately owned passenger vehicle or car remains the most popular transportation means for going on holiday in nearly every E.U. Member-State.
Greece is a country where four-wheel enthusiasts are given the opportunity to enjoy their travels by car, especially on the mainland, but also on the larger islands such as Crete, Rhodes, Lesbos, Corfu, etc. However, a tourist is also able to rent a car in any region in Greece, even on the smallest islands, by rental companies that you will come across wherever you go.
The car has an unbreakable relationship with the daily lives of the Greeks. And the result is that in Greece you can find almost whatever you need without much difficulty.
Traveling by car amongst other things makes it easy to travel around in any weather condition, summer or winter. The road network and road-signs in Greece are somewhat problematic and increased attention is needed, especially driving along the rural road network.
Check the vehicle that you will be using so that it will be in the best possible condition and your trip can therefore be enjoyable and above all… safe!
Schedule your trip correctly and enjoy it from the beginning!
Sightseeing by bicycle is an activity that allows the rider to discover the environmental and cultural wealth of a region in the most pleasant and ecological manner. At the same time, he feels happy that he himself is contributing to the cultivation and development of an ecological conscience. This is an alternative, environmental-friendly transportation philosophy. Another athletic-tourist activity that is recently gaining more and more friends is mountain-biking. The mountain bike can be used both in the city as well as in the countryside, for a stroll or to exercise.
Sightseeing through nature by bicycle is in great demand and has developed accordingly. Biking allows the sightseer to travel greater distances than by hiking.
The route that an interested cyclist can follow is characterized by its degree of difficulty, with respect to his physical condition and his experience.
Mountain bike programs are offered in many regions in the country throughout the year, covering all levels of difficulty.
In previous years and before the integrated highway network was built in Greece, transportation and communication was carried out along the main road arteries that bisected the country, but mainly along paths which the older residents of the highland villages still call “dimosia” (dimosios = public road), because for them this was the main road access. Even though some of these older paths and the stone-paved cobbled roads –which are real works of art- have been converted into asphalt-surfaced roads, most of these still “slither” between the asphalt roads and continue to exist by crossing mountains, scrubs and ravines.
Thus, in recent years and with financing from various bodies (Municipalities, mountain-climbing clubs, private individuals, etc), many sections of these “road-paths” throughout Greece were serviced, restored and road-signs added, and in this manner created a broad network with a total length of approximately 3,500 km. The major part of this network is extensions to the European Long Distance Walking Paths, Ε4, Ε6 and categories Ο (3,000 km), while another 500 km of smaller walking paths have been created, which are also of comparable interest.
E6 Walking path
The Greek section of this Path has two branches: The first begins from the area of Prespes, passes through Kastoria, Ioannina and Dodoni, and concludes at the city of Igoumenitsa. The second branch begins from the region of Florina, bisects the highland regions of Western, Central and Eastern Macedonia , travels along the borders of Greece with FYROM and Bulgaria, and ends at the city of Alexndroupolis, in the region of Thrace.
E4 Walking path
This begins from the Pyrinaia Mountain Range and reaches Greece via former Yugoslavia. The Greek section of the E4 bisects Northern and Central Greece, the Peloponnese, arrives in Gythio and continues onto the island of Crete. The hiker or mountain climber thus has the opportunity to enjoy the whole extent of Greece’s landscapes and the riches of nature. The highest elevation of the total route is the Olympo Skolio peak (2,911 m).The ideal period for hiking along the Ε4 Walking Path is from May 15th to the beginning of October, because some villages along the route are inaccessible during winter, which therefore limits the places where a hiker can stay overnight. Frequently the opening of new forest roads confuses the hiker-sightseer. The climate is Mediterranean, very dry in summer with high temperature variations between day and night. Snow will be encountered along the route from November to June. The route to the southern section of the Walking Path (the Peloponnese and Crete) is more “walkable” than the northern section, as the hiker can walk here throughout the year since the climate is milder.
Sightseeing in sites of Cultural Heritage
A tour around cultural heritage sites evolves bonds between natural and cultural wealth in the consciousness of the visitor, since environment and civilization are indissolubly tied to each other, which can easily be ascertained by a visitor; e.g. an open-air museum or archaeological site, where the monuments coexist harmonically with nature.
The discovery of the natural, historical and artistic wealth –which are also elements of its social cohesion and quality of life- is an opportunity for the visitor to comprehend the history, direction and significance of each site.