A Greek Climbing Odyssey - 16 Days
"The journey is the thing"
- Homer, The Odyssey
**As an exploratory expedition, this odyssey is in constant evolution. The details inscribed below are our intentions, but plans may vary somewhat along the way. To be kept up to date with news subscribe to the Odyssey newsletter here:
|Difficulty Rating:||Grade 2 - Moderate|
Homer wrote in the Odyssey “The journey is the thing”. It is the sum total of every individual experience that adds up to the grand value of a Journey. Every sunrise. Every meal. Every interaction with a stranger. Every bolt and every drop into the ocean. This IS our Adventure. This is YOUR Odyssey.
On this exploratory expedition, we will journey across mainland Greece spending time at some of the nations top sport climbing locations. We will climb on a mixture of granite, sandstone and limestone, both in the mountains and by the sea. There is a great range of climbs at most of the crags we'll visit, although there are many more options if you're leading sport routes above grade 16.
We will start gently, on short single pitches to make sure everyone is up to speed with sport climbing outdoors, then work our way up from there. Our last big crag has an option for a 900m multi-pitch sport route! To maximise our experience we will have local Greek climbing guides giving us valuable insight into each location and available for instruction and coaching if required!
To finish off our Odyssey, we will charter a large sailboat and visit at least 2 Greek Islands, famous for deep water soloing! Beaches, barbecues, sunsets, cruising and climbing. The perfect way to finish!
Not a rock climber? No problem! Each destination we will visit is not just for rock climbing. There are endless amounts of sights to see and experiences to be had, from small quaint villages to bustling metropolis' and even a historic castle on a hill! We will guide you through your journey, there will never be a shortage of things to do!
- 9 days sport climbing (mainland)
- 4-day sailing cruise including deep water soloing
- Climb Athens, Nafplion, Leonidio, Patra, Kefalonia and Zakynthos
- Opportunities to explore Athens, Epidavros, Ancient Olympia and Mycenae
- Private small group transportation
- Incredible local cuisine
- Independent, family-run boutique accommodation
- End to end facilitation by our expert guides
Day 1: Arrive in Athens
Day 2: Warm-up climb at Acharneis (Athens) and drive to Nafplion
Day 3: Seaside climbing at Nafplion
Day 4: Seaside climbing at Nafplion then drive to Leonidio
Day 5: Climb around Leonidio
Day 6: Climb around Leonidio
Day 7: Climb around Leonidio
Day 8: Drive to Ancient Olympia. Visit a beach along the way. Optional tour of the Archeological site.
Day 9: Drive to Kalogria. Climb by the coast in a diverse environmental reserve. Drive to Patras
Day 10: Climb at Varasova - option for a long multi-pitch journey - OR back to Kalogria
Day 11: Climb at Varasova - option for a long multi-pitch journey - OR back to Kalogria
Day 12: All aboard! Take our chartered sailboat to Kefalonia/Skala, explore beaches, find deep water solo spots
Day 13: Explore more of Kefalonia, then sail to Zakynthos.
Day 14: Explore Zakynthos - deep water soloing and the famous "Shipwreck beach"
Day 15: Sail back to Patras, drive to Athens
Day 16: Depart Athens
Day 1: Arrive in Athens. Spend the afternoon exploring the historic neighbourhoods around the Acropolis. Dinner with a view and a night in a boutique hotel. If we have time and energy there is an option to explore the downtown crags in Athens.
Day 2: We'll depart Athens early to beat the heat and head out for a warm-up climb at Acharneis, the best training crag in Athens. When we're done, we'll drive to Nafplion for dinner in the original capital of Greece.
Day 3: Explore seaside climbing at Nafplion. Start with a great training crag, improve your footwork, then stroll down to the beach for a swim.
Day 4: Explore seaside climbing at Nafplion. Test ourselves on Nafplion's number 1 crag, then drive to Leonidio.
Day 5-7: Explore the high cliffs towering over Leonidio. There are many different sectors to explore here, we will have our own transport and able to plan out which ones to visit depending on what we want to climb. Leonidio is famous for it's moderate to hard sport climbing, as well as its fantastic multi-pitch sport routes. We'll spend our evenings in a stunning boutique hotel in the small quaint village.
Day 8: Today will be a rest day from climbing. We'll drive to Ancient Olympia, with a number of opportunities to visit a beach along the way. In the afternoon we will have a chance to visit the museum and tour of the Archeological site.
Day 9: Heading off after another buffet breakfast, we'll drive to Kalogria a fantastic small crag by the coast in a diverse environmental reserve. When we're done, we'll drive a little further to the city of Patras.
Day 10: Just out of Patras is one of the birthplaces of Greece climbing - Varasova. Its massif rises over 900m above sea level and offers options from single pitch sport routes to 900m+ mixed adventure climbs. If there is any unfinished business, we also have the option of heading back to Kalogria.
Day 11: Another day around Patras, choose your challenge - Varasova or Kalogria.
Day 12: All aboard! We take our chartered sailboat to Kefalonia and visit the small seaside town of Skala. Around here there are some fantastic spots for deep water soloing. We'll explore the town, the beaches and the cliffs and finish off with a sunset and a feast. We will spend the next 3 nights sleeping on our vessel.
Day 13: We have little plans for our time on the yacht - we'll be as free as the ocean itself. At some point, we will sail to Zakynthos where we will spend the night
Day 14: Today we explore Zakynthos find more deep water soloing and the famous "Shipwreck beach".
Day 15: Our last morning on the yacht. At our leisure, we'll sail back to Patras, then drive back Athens on the new super freeway.
Day 16: Today is our departure day. We strongly recommend extending your stay to make the most of your time in Greece (and the rest of Europe) and we're more than happy to chat about your journey and where it will go next!
Detailed crag information - Source: Vertical-Life Climbing
Crag: Acharneis/Mount Parnitha
Routes: 57 Routes over 5 sectors
A very popular sector south of Fili village, Acharneis (pronounced a-har-NEES) is a model training crag. Routes are easy and well-protected, the terrain below is clear, and the climbing is perfect for beginners and schools. Acharneis was created by instructors of the Acharnes Alpine Club and it serves as their main training venue.
Routes: Nafplion - 261 over 9 crags. Anatoli - 25 routes
Anatoli is one of the newest Nafplio sectors (November 2014) but it is already extremely popular. The reason? Easier grades (most between 4a-6b+), dense bolting, easy access and shade or sun depending on season and time of day. If you are a new climber or want to improve your footwork, don’t miss it. As a bonus, you can walk down to the beach for a swim afterwards!
Climbing: Technical and enjoyable on vertical or off-vertical, fully-pocketed, very compact grey and red limestone. Good footwork is a plus.
Crag: Leonidio region
Routes: 1351 routes over 36 crags
A town with approximately 6000 residents, Leonidio is built in a valley at the foot of Mount Parnon, on the east coast of Peloponnese. Towering above the homes like a giant fiery waterfall is a jaw-dropping, 250-meter, red limestone cliff. The entire area around Leonidio is well on its way to becoming an enormous climbing park. At the time of writing, there are about 300 routes and counting. The vast potential is obvious: Leonidio has morphed into a climbing ‘worksite’, with new crags and routes going up feverishly. Of course, there is also a downside to all this: the routes are not entirely cleaned of loose rock, many approach trails are still unclear and poorly marked, and some crags can be hard to locate. So if you are looking for a perfectly organized climbing venue, it is best to wait a couple of years. But if you want to be in the frontline of climbing developments, to climb fantastic routes with no chalk marks, or even equip some world-class lines, now is the time to go
Routes: 108 over 8 sectors
The cliffs are in the midst of a singular ecosystem. Strofilia forest and lagoons Kotychi and Prokopos belong to the European Union’s Natura 2000 network of protected areas—a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species. Kalogria is a coastal wetland comprising saltmarshes, lagoons, reedbeds, sand dunes and an extensive forest that reaches the water. The wetland is designated as an Important Bird Area for migratory birds, as well as for breeding and wintering waterbirds. More than 350 bird species have been recorded in this ecosystem. Among them, wild ducks and geese, herons, flamingos, glossy ibises, Eurasian coots, Dalmatian pelicans, and swans, to name a few. But the area’s biodiversity does not end here. Foxes, otters, martens, weasels, jackals and dozens of other amphibians, land animals and reptiles call Kalogria home. And the sandy beach with its dunes is an important nesting site for the beloved loggerhead sea turtle. Last but not least, Kalogria is notorious for its supernatural mosquitoes! It is a swamp, after all. Come prepared: cover up and use bug spray, even in winter.
Routes: 84 routes over 7 sectors
Its massif rising to 917m on the west coast of Greece, across the water from the city of Patras. Its south and southwest faces form an impressive promontory the end of which drops directly into the sea. Greek climbing took its first steps here in 1958, so Varasova has a special place in the hearts of Greek climbers. The approximately 200 routes of Varasova include single- and multi-pitch sport routes. There are also several mixed-character ‘adventure’ routes with as many as 18 pitches and, although these usually have a few bolts per pitch (mainly on solid sections of rock) plus fixed belay anchors, they will also require placement of nuts or other trad gear (usually in cracks). In spring, many features are obscured by vegetation, so be prepared to do some ‘gardening’. Some parts of the multi-pitch routes are runout, but most anchors are bolted and set up for rappelling. There is still vast potential for new routes in Varasova, especially for bolted sport lines. Grades range from very easy to very hard, the majority being in the mid-grades (5c-6b).
Expedition cost is $4,600* twin share, ex Athens, Greece.
*minimum number of bookings required, see Terms and Conditions for full details
- Airport transfers to Hotel in Athens
- All accommodation as set out in the itinerary
- All breakfasts
- All meals while the group is together
- Private vehicles for the tour
- Qualified rock climbing guides
- Insitu climbing skill instruction
- All access permits and fees
- 4-day yacht charter
- Lunch and dinner in Athens - as per itinerary
- Travel Insurance (compulsory) - must cover sport climbing on natural surfaces
- International flights to Athens
- Personal clothing and equipment
- Personal climbing equipment (harness, shoes, belay device, rope, quickdraws)
- Additional personal expenses such as alcohol and additional snacks
- Tips for guides
- Cost raised by cancellation or modification due to events beyond our control, e.g., landslides necessitating trail diversions, weather delays, political unrest, illness, etc.
Each climber must have a minimum list of personal climbing equipment.
- Padded climbing harness
- Climbing shoes
- Certified rock climbing helmet
- Belay device
- 3 x locking carabiner
- 1 x sewn sling or Personal Anchor System (PAS) - *NOT a daisy chain
- 2 x prussik cords
- Quickdraws - at least 10, shared between 2 climbers.
- Dynamic climbing rope - 1 between 2 climbers. Min 60m.
Additional Optional equipment:
- Additional quickdraws for longer or multi-pitch routes - up to 16 per climbing pair
- basic trad pro - most commonly nuts/wires and small cams - only needed for long adventure climbs (we will have some to borrow)
- Chalk bag
If there are any questions about gear, don't hesitate to get in touch. We will also be doing an order of equipment from various suppliers specifically for this expedition, so if you are looking to purchase any new kit we can help!
Note the below items can be added at the time of booking.
The Battles That Shaped the World - Day tourFrom Athens, we'll depart on a long day to learn about 2 major battles that, back in 490bc and 480bc, shaped the world as we know it today. We'll visit the sites, museums and monuments at Marathon and Thermopylae and learn all about the heroic feats of the Greek's fighting back against the overwhelming force of the mighty Persian Empire. Price below is per person, min of 4 people required.
|Difficulty Rating:||Grade 2 - Moderate|