Hiking on Kalymnos
The island of Kalymnos has many paths. Some are well-trodden, typically Greek, ancient ways to churches and mountain tops. Some are stone-paved kalderimi. And some are tiny, almost hidden trails known only to the Kalymnian hunters and shepherds by the scratches of goats’ hooves.
Visitors to Kalymnos are slowly getting to know these paths on the mountains and along the cliffed coastlines. Some of the paths are quite easy and suitable for virtually all walkers, such as the route above Kantouni Bay to visit the beautifully positioned church of Saint Photis, or the paved trail known nowadays as The Italian Path which leads over the lower hills between the Vathy Valley and Pothia. More adventurous walkers will enjoy the steeper walk to the highest point of the island, Prophitis Ilias, at 676 metres above sea level. Other walks on the island will take you to remote chapels and monasteries, Byzantine castles and even older archeological sites, giant caves and collapsed dolines, mountain ridges and hidden beaches.
All of these walks enjoy an exceptional landscape where rugged limestone mountains rise abruptly and dramatically in close proximity to a deeply indented Aegean island coastline. Perhaps of all the nearby islands, here this contrast is at its most pronounced. Whilst other nearby islands may have prettier, gentler scenery, very few can match the immense contrast between the strong lines and harsh grandeur of the Kalymnian escarpments and the verdant patches of olive, myrtle and citrus groves clinging to the lower slopes.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, a new breed of visitor has started to come to Kalymnos. The many steep tufa-covered caves and cliffs of the island offer a savage landscape that has rapidly led to the island becoming one of the world’s leading destinations for the sport climber. And of course these enthusiasts for the outdoors have also started to spend their ‘rest days’ exploring the mountains and the hidden, secret, almost inaccessible, bays of the island.
With more experienced ‘mountain people’ in mind, there is also a long-distance trekking trail, The Kalymnos Trail. To learn more about The Kalymnos Trail, click here.