Alternative forms of turism

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DIVING

 

A DIVER'S DELIGHT IN GREECE - 
You know the islands...now experience the underwater magic.

Greece is one of the newest destinations in the scuba diving family and this is so, for obvious reasons: the crystal blue seas, the endless coastline, the thousands of islands and islets, the 2000 diving points with more than 230 diving centres, the 150 known shipwrecks, the countless sea caves, the clear (with more than 30m. underwater visibility) and relatively warm waters make Greece a unique international diving destination.

The profound geological changes in Greece and throughout the Mediterranean sometimes resulted in the submergence of entire settlements.

You can also discover many sunken cities in the Peloponnese, such as Salanti in Argolida and the settlement of Methoni.

At Pavlopetri in Laconia, the town of Voies, mentioned by Pausanias in his book Lakonika, sleeps beneath the waves; it has been recognized as the oldest submerged town in the world. It sank in the 4th century AD due to an earthquake.

 

 

The island of Crete is one of the key diving destinations. The Aegean Sea and the Libyan Sea are two very different worlds. The waters in Kalatha and Palaiochora in south-western Crete are extremely fascinating. Apokoronas in Chania, Chora Sfakion, Platanias in western Crete, Kissamos and Gramvousa even further to the west all provide wonderful diving experiences.

The Northern Sporades islands (Skiathos & Skopelos) are a scuba diver’s heaven. Explorers are enchanted by the magnificent seabed, vivid colours and crystal-clear waters. www.skiathos.grwww.skopelos.gr

Diving off the islands of Serifos, Milos, Kimolos and Sifnos is particularly appealing. To the north of Milos, outside the bay of Adamantas, lie wonderful reefs and rocky islets, just as to the south of Kimolos.

Santorini has truly amazing underwater depths. The island’s volcanic origin lends unbelievable charm to its underwater landscape. The water has a high salt content, which makes floating easy; the clarity of the waters also allows for exceptional underwater photography.

 

The Ionian Sea is renowned for its fascinating underwater routes. Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefallonia and Lefkada are favourite diving destinations. Small islands, such as Kastos, Arkoudi, Atokos, are places where scuba divers get together. The Ionian Sea has great populations of fish, due to the marine park. Facilities are excellent and diving centres see to providing information and equipping scuba divers. Also on the opposite shores of Epirus there are diving centres which have contributed considerably to underwater exploration.

In Areopolis, Laconia, the seabed in enchanting Limeni is covered with huge slabs of rock. The lush green landscape and rocky coast make an ideal setting for marine exploration.

These and many other cities, once filled with life and glory, now provide a mythical setting where one believes mermaids and creatures of the imagination live. The cities of the deep, fascinatingly mysterious, lie in the blue silence awaiting bold explorers!

In Greece there are many associations and societies where one can learn diving techniques; there are also many companies involved with diving as a sport, which supply equipment, either to buy or to rent, at very reasonable prices.

 

CYCLING

Cycling can without a doubt be a great pleasure. The easygoing sense of freedom which a cycling holiday can provide has created an entire travel culture of its own. Greece has a longstanding tradition in cycling. There are some 80 or so clubs around the country involved in road biking and track racing, as well as BMX dirt bikes and mountain biking.

The history of cycling began for Greece in the 19th century. Indeed, in the first modern Olympics which were held in 1896 in Athens, the Greek cyclist Aristidis Konstantinidis won the gold medal in the road bicycle race.

Some cycling routes are very demanding because of the hilly terrain, others are less strenuous, but nevertheless beautiful. Cyclists, in the spirit of competition or simply with a desire to explore, will find that Greece has wonderful countryside in which to pursue their favourite sport.

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: Evia, Evrytania, Karytaina Arcadia, Mani, Parnassos and Nafpaktos.

If you are in the mood for wonderful bike rides under Crete’s sunny skies and feel the urge to explore the countryside, as well as its rich history, cycling in Rethymno is a fine option for you. Some paths may be demanding with their hilly terrain, others less strenuous, but all the more beautiful. Explore Rethymno’s magnificent nature, amidst the White Mountains and Mt. Psiloreitis, get to know beautiful beaches, legendary caves, historic monasteries and traditional villages.

In Karditsa an extensive network of urban and suburban cycle paths, with a total length of 14 km, makes it easy for residents and visitors to get around the city by bicycle. The municipality provides bicycles free of charge for travel around the town centre.

EUROVELO Routes -Throughout the country you will find three EuroVelo Routes*, (EV8, EV 11 and EV 13 not realized) waiting for you to discover an alternative holiday.

EuroVelo is a network of 15 long distance cycle routes connecting and uniting the whole European continent.  The routes can be used by cycle tourists as well as by local people making daily journeys.  EuroVelo currently comprises of 15 routes and it is envisaged that the network will be substantially complete by 2020. The official page with all the routes is www.eurovelo.com

 

CLIMBING

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.

Climbers began drifting to Kalymnos in the mid-1990s as word spread of giant cliffs and seaside ambience. In a matter of a few years, the island became a climber’s paradise. Nowadays, there are approximately 200 walking distances in 77 climbing fields, including distinctive markings for the starting point of every trekking spot.

Kalymnos - A small island located in southeastern Dodecanese archipelago, offers rock climbing and bouldering during the whole year. Especially in September, you can enjoy pleasant climbing temperatures in combination with warm water for swimming.

Kalymnos is one of the most important climbing destinations worldwide, an island that has everything a traveling climber looks for: abundance of challenging rock formations but also simplicity and authenticity. Here, the potential for new routes and new areas is enormous; less than 10% is explored, even though on Kalymnos the rock climbing experience can last for a month. Kalymnos also hosts world-famous festivals, such as the Climbing Festival, a non-competitive international meeting of athletes, which takes place every 2 years.

Other Climbing Locations: METEORA, CRETE, ATHENS (2000 climbing routes, amongst which Parnitha and Penteli)

The PELOPONNESE-   Leonidio for example, has about 1000 routes.

Talking about mountaineering, you should also meet the challenge to climb the forested slopes of Mt. Taýgetos! There are many trails and climbing routes leading to the mountain peaks, but also trekking routes along old pack animal trails starting at the lowland villages and reaching other villages high in the mountains.

Trekkers can follow the European trail E4, or combine an ascent up the eastern slopes of Taýgetos with a descent through the large ravines on the western slopes (“Vyrós”, “Ridomo”, “Rema Vidoli” and “Koskárakas” ravine). It takes two or three days to reach the peak. www.mythicalpeloponnese.gr

 

HIKING

 

You can explore Greece’s variety of landscapes, remote coves and the ruins of ancient cities, walking! Greek islands and mainland are a hiker's paradise with numbered routes, and well-organised systems of trails.

Discover “the unspoiled Greece” while following walking paths through wild flowers, lush valleys, ancient sites, watermills, and old pathways. Get to know the locals, drink wine with them, and taste the food in restaurants and tavernas.

You can also find local guides who lead botanical tours along the ancient paths of the islands, while sharing with you their knowledge on folklore, history, agriculture, and archaeology. Master with them the ancient art of bee-keeping and find out how old remedies made from herbs and flowers heal new wounds.

 

In Crete:  The gorge of Samaria is the biggest, most imposing and beautiful gorge in Chania and in Europe, and that is why it is internationally renowned and mostly visited, since more than 300000 people have the opportunity to cross it each year.

The length of the passage to the limits of the park is 12,800 km and the distance to the coast of Agia Roumeli is then another 3,200 km.

The gorge has a lot of narrow passes that are called “gates” but the narrowest pass, “the Iron Gate”, is 3 m wide and 300 to 700 m high from both sides. There are a lot of spots where you can walk over the river of the gorge on small wooden bridges.

It has a wonderful landscape with rare geo-morphological formations. It is a unique biotope with particular richness in fauna and flora.

The gorge can usually be visited from the beginning of May till the end of October, unless there are bad weather conditions. There are guardhouses of the State’s Service of the Park (Forest Inspection Service) at the beginning of the gorge (in the village of Samaria) and at its end. A doctor is also available to serve the visitors of the gorge, as well as a helicopter airport in Agia Roumeli.

For more info on adventurous activities on Crete: www.incrediblecrete.gr

In Kea: A walker’s delight with paths of total length of 36 km! Due to its close proximity to Athens (2 hours by bus and ferry), Kea (Tzia) is a particularly popular destination featuring unspoiled beaches and rocky landscapes. Most of the hikes here are a must. Read more…

Mount Olympus: At 263 km from Athens and 78 from Thessaloniki (Greece’s second biggest city) the area is ideal for the lovers of alternative activities, ranging from trekking to paragliding, canyoning, rafting, climbing, mountain-biking and jeep safari. But you don’t have to go extreme to have your personal Olympian moments. Mountaineering on Olympus is not only a divine experience but also an option covering all levels of difficulty and stamina.

Greek Islands Hiking Trails: Although Greek Islands are renowned for their beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters they are home to some amazing hiking trails you should discover. Old walking paths lined with herbs, offering their unique smells, run along the island’s land; uphill, downhill or through ravines. Countless trails will drive you by monuments, watch astonishing sunsets, live some local customs and breath in the refreshing Aegean Sea breeze that meets the mountainous air.   HYPERLINK "http://www.aegeanislands.gr" www.aegeanislands.gr

Eptálofos – Delphi - This route forms part of the E4 international hiking trail. Its starting point is Eptálofos. Hikers really love this trail because it crosses the most beautiful locations on Mt. Parnassos, and leads to the archaeological site of Delphi.

Zagorohoria - The Zagorohoria's 46 traditional stone-and-slate villages, tucked into the Pindos range, offer atmospheric accommodation, crisp alpine air, sublime views and myriad local legends. Once connected only by mountain paths and stone bridges, they're now connected by paved roads, some of which enjoy spectacular twists and turns.

Meteora – Meteora is the biggest and most important group of monasteries in Greece after those in Mount Athos. We can locate the first traces of their history from 11th c. when the first hermits settled there. The rock monasteries have been characterized by UNESCO as a unique phenomenon of cultural heritage and they form one of the most important stations of cultural map of Greece.

Pelion – The Pelion Peninsula lies to the east and south of Volos. It's formed by a dramatic mountain range, where the highest peak is Mt Pliassidi (1651m). The largely inaccessible eastern flank consists of high cliffs that plunge into the sea.

Mani – Areopolis, the capital of Mani is a rather special gem south of the Peloponnese where most houses are old war towers and constitute a very unique experience for its visitors all year round. The Diros caves, a spectacular –and still unexplored– natural site, one of the earliest inhabited places in Greece is one of the most remarkable locations of the Peloponnese.  Further to the southernmost point of mainland Greece, Cape Taínaron is located; your spiritual quest will lead you here, to the cave of Hades, the God of the dead, and the ancient temple of sea god Poseidon. This memorable trip concludes with a visit to Gýtheion, and the isle of Kranái. Here, the Tzanetákis-Grigorákis restored tower, symbol of the Greek War of Independence, hosts the Historical and Ethnological Museum of Mani. www.mythicalpeloponnese.gr

 

Se mere på:  www.visitgreece.gr

 

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