Snorkel in azure coves and dive into turquoise sea craters. Roam ancient ruins and cliff-top temples. Seek out secret waterfalls and ancient olive groves. Hike winding river gorges and towering peaks. Savour fresh fish, farm cooking and artisan raki. And as the sun sets watch golden eagles from an alpine refuge or shooting stars from a driftwood fire.
This inspiring guidebook maps Greece’s magnificent wild side. With dazzling photography, evocative travel writing and detailed directions, it’s the perfect companion for adventurers, families and armchair explorers. Coveirng Greek mainland plus Crete, Corfu, Rhodes & over 20 other islands including over 1000 places.
New from the award-winning Wild Guide series, with over 600 secret adventures and 400 wilder places to eat and sleep. Taking you to extraordinary and beautiful places no other guidebooks reach.
- Swim in warm turquoise coves and explore shimmering sea caverns
- Snorkel amidst submerged ancient ruins
- Trek through astonishing canyons and up alpine peaks
- Discover cliff-side monasteries and hermit-cave churches
- Marvel at thundering waterfalls and deep forest pools
- Enjoy fresh fish and local produce over a driftwood fire
- Wild camp on a secret beach or keep cosy in a mountain hut
Greece Adventures – Contents
Regional overview 6
Route finding & safety 16
Wild swimming 20
Ancient wonders 26
Sacred sites 28
Local food 30
Wild stays 32
1 Eastern Macedonia & Thrace 36
2 Chalkidiki 46
3 Central Macedonia 54
4 Western Macedonia 62
5 Zagori 70
6 Corfu 78
7 Western Epirus 90
8 Eastern Epirus 98
9 Thessaly 106
10 Sporades 116
11 Evia 126
12 Central Greece 136
13 Lefkada 146
14 Kefalonia & Ithaca 154
15 Western Greece 166
16 Messenia 174
17 Mani 184
18 Eastern Laconia & Kythira 194
19 Argolis 204
20 Attica 212
21 Andros 220
22 Northwestern Cyclades 228
23 Milos 238
24 Paros & Antiparos 246
25 Naxos & Lesser Cyclades 254
26 Santorini 264
27 Western Crete 272
28 Central Crete 282
29 Eastern Crete 294
30 Rhodes 304
About the authors
Sam Firman is a writer and editor with a love for skiing, climbing and all things outdoors. He once hitchhiked from the UK to China, and has been travelling to Greece for years. Nick Hooton is a designer, engineer and entrepreneur with a passion for wild swimming, photography and adventure. He fell in love with Greece during childhood family holidays.
Snorkel above ruins submerged in an azure cove. Trek up astonishing river gorges and towering peaks. Dive into the turquoise embrace of a giant sea crater, or the dark depths of a sinkhole abyss. Explore pitch-black caverns alive with bats and myths. Roam ancient settlements and ridgeline castles, or contemplate in mountain monasteries and cliff-top churches. Seek secret waterfalls in old-growth forests and along twisting canyons. Savour morning-fresh fish, farm-to-table cooking and artisanal raki. And, when it’s time to rest, watch golden eagles from an alpine refuge or shooting stars from beside a driftwood fire.Travelling in Greece can feel like being placed into a postcard, only to discover that the scene in fact extends to the horizon in all directions.
The signature sugar cube houses perched above deep-blue island bays aren’t cherry-picked snapshots, but reasonable representations of much of Greece’s celebrated coastline – and just the maritime tip of a magnificent iceberg.
The country unfolds from the virgin forests of southern Bulgaria to the sparkling Libyan Sea, and is bordered by Turkish islets to the east and Albanian peaks to the west. The diversity is a delight, and sailing the archipelagos is only one possibility.
Places and people forged by fire
Three tectonic plates – the Eurasian, Aegean Sea and African – meet beneath Greece. Over geological epochs, slow but formidable activity at this boundary has created a northwestern arc of mountainous scars, from the mighty Pindus range (the ‘spine of Greece’) to vertiginous Crete. Within this embrace, the volcanic islands of Santorini and Milos are the most famous members of the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, which continues to forge, and violently shake, a landscape of relentless peaks, plunging gorges, mysterious caves and crashing waterfalls.
This natural splendour is overlaid with myth, faith and history (oh, and goat droppings). A shrine or a story means you are never truly alone in Greece’s wild places; every nook provides a portal into millennia of rich human tapestry. The absence of wildness, or wildness in another form?
Between these wild places, it seems impossible to find a Greek village without a tree-canopied square and a fabulous taverna serving local ingredients and family recipes. Even the cosmopolitan hubs, often charmingly overgrown, possess a relaxed radicalism of good-life slowness playing out before polemical, psychedelic street art. As guests, we quickly learned that Greeks know how hard life can be, and how to live well anyway.
The waypoints in this book inevitably tell only tiny fragments of a big story. But with that caveat laid, what can you expect?
Beaches Europe’s longest coastline is an epic poem of peninsulas and emerald islands. From coves beneath colossal cliffs to fishing-village inlets, perhaps the biggest challenge in writing this book was finding new superlatives to describe beaches. Please forgive any repetitions.
Mountains & Gorges Greece is an alpine array of peaks and ridgelines above river gorges and dusty canyons, a deep-time mountain landscape that hides many of this book’s best wild places. To behold it and delve into it is a privilege.
Rivers, Lakes & Waterfalls Mountains mean mighty catchment areas, resulting in rivers replete with rushing rapids, secret waterfalls, lazy meanders and lakes both lofty and lowland. Wild swimming abounds far beyond the beaches.
Caves Complex geology makes Greece a speleological wonderland. Limestone mountainscapes create karstic underworlds riddled with legendary caves, while colourful volcanic coasts harbour glistening sea caves and gaping sinkholes.
Forest & Trees Greece is carpeted with forest, some of it truly ancient, partly because the towering landscapes above its arable plains are too sheer to deforest. Greek adventure plays out against backdrops of aromatic pines, wizened olives and old-growth Norwegian spruce. And venerable planes provide convivial canopies in village squares and shelter for jewel-box churches.
Ruins From its golden shores to its white zeniths, this land is a historical and mythological canvas. From 40,000-year-old Paleolithic digs to Second World War hideouts, via Bronze Age temples and Roman baths, swathes of European history have been written here.
Sacred Sites Greece is a deeply, widely and wildly religious country, with Eastern Orthodox shrines, churches and monasteries scattered across its landscapes, often in places of solitude and spiritual significance.
Many places recorded in this book lie far from the usual path, and some sit squarely on it, too splendid to omit. Countless others aren’t represented – a book can only be so big, after all. Do let us know about more gems for next time!
This book is a collection of wild waypoints, but a journey is made of more. The ‘places in between’ often feel guidebook-worthy themselves, given so much of the country is woven together with spectacular, inaccessible terrain. On countless occasions we have found ourselves threading between mountain villages in the golden hour, the low light lingering in the canyons below, wondering whether to simply revise our destination. A few rules of thumb may help you travel widely and wildly.
The local people are your friends, typically happy to chat (or gesticulate) with curious, respectful visitors. And though Greek isn’t the easiest for those accustomed to the Roman alphabet, a few choice terms – a Kalimera here, a Yamas there – will bring warm smiles, helping hands and maybe even shared escapades.
Given today’s bonanza of travel books and blogs, it’s surprising how places can still feel wild if approached with open-mindedness and a few resources, even on the islands. If you can, pack a tent, a hammock or some local delicacies to allow for deeper, longer stays. Similarly, the ability to drive, bike, paddle or hike will broaden the map.
Remain attentive to Greece’s landscape. Even its arid southern hills are alive with aromas and wild herbs ready to bewitch, or brew around the campfire. Its skies swoop with birds of prey; its northern forests harbour bears, wolves and deer aplenty; and its seas swim with fish, loggerhead turtles and Greece’s national animal, the dolphin.
So too with the cultural landscape. Flicking through a compendium of Greek myth or history on the ferries will enrich your journey, as will looking up the undercurrents of the places you go. And remember that village squares and unexpected diversions can contain more adventure than the wildest peaks. Offering fire and a blanket to lost hikers, missing ferries from the ice-cream queue, impromptu skinny dips beneath the hunter’s moon: the memorable moments will only loosely align with the waypoints you meant to meet.
Whether you scribble in it, gift it, accidentally drown it or leave it on the coffee table, we hope you enjoy this humble book and the magnificent country that made it possible. And please, let us know how you go!
Sam and Nick