From simple trails in the footsteps of Ancient Greeks, to challenging routes tackling rocky gorges – Discover Greece picks five hiking trails for honeymooners
Greece is a hiker's heaven. Discovering its hillside villages, volcanic beaches and craggy cliffs the old-fashioned way - on foot - is an incredible experience, one that will leave you and your new spouse with plenty of honeymoon memories. So what are you waiting for? Pull on your 'his and hers' walking boots, grab a map, and familiarise yourself with these five trials from Discover Greece:
Time required? One day for energetic couples, 2-3 days for those who prefer a leisurely jaunt
Legend has it that Greek philosopher Aristotle was a great walker - as well as the theorist and academic who was famed for training Alexander the Great. The 32km Aristotle's Trail follows in the footsteps of the guru, forging a historical and cultural path through time. It stretches from Aristotle Park - a theme park dedicated to the teacher - and crosses the Aristotelian Mountain before leading you to the ancient site of Stagira, Alexander the Great's former hometown in the village of Olympiada.
Hikers will enjoy stunning views across the bays of Akanthos and Strymonikos and out to the Aegean Sea. Flora and fauna is abundant on the route too, including hundreds of herb species, such as wild cistus and oregano.
Time required? 3-5 hours
The Samariá Gorge is not only the longest gorge in Europe, stretching 16km in length, it is also the second most popular visitor attraction on Crete. Every year between May and October, more than a quarter of a million people take the hike.
An area of stunning natural beauty, the peaks that form the gorge are wild, high and steep, home to rare flora and fauna. You can admire forests of ancient cypresses and huge pines, descending between vertical cliffs that are also home to the endemic Cretan wild goat or, as it's known locally known, the agrimia.
The path begins at Xyloskalo near Omalos village in the White Mountains, at an altitude of 1,250 metres, and finishes in the village of Agia Roumeli, on the shores of the majestic Libyan Sea.
Where? Pelion, central Greece
Length? Various, 3-10km
Time required? From 90 minutes to four hours, dependent on route
The densely-forested slopes of Mount Pelion offer a great number of trails and paths suitable for hikes, horse riding and mountain biking. According to Greek mythology, the peaks were where the centaurs - half-horse, half-man - once freely roamed.
Today it consists of 24 small mountain villages, linked by routes through forests, past fast-flowing creeks and into deep gorges. These routes make up a well-connected network of hiking paths, many of which are signposted and stone-paved. Expect farms, monasteries, springs and churches along the way, not to mention more than 1,000 species of plants and flowers. Wildlife such as deer, foxes, jackals, wild boar, eagles, hawks and snakes are abundant.
Time required? Half day
The rock forests of Metéora are great hiking territory. Scale the gigantic boulders and you'll be rewarded with incredible views over this UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the chance to visit the hilltop monasteries of Great Meteoron and Varlaam.
A recommended hike would start at the foot of the Doupiani Rock, beneath the old ruins of Pantokrator monastery. From here, couples cross the massive rock pillars of Metéora towards the northern side of the rocks, following a trail that leads to the hidden monastery of Ypapanti and the ruins of St Dimitrios - which was the scene of a battle during a 19th-century uprising against the Ottoman Turks.
Where? Kea (or Tzia)
Length? 62km total
Time required? 1-8 days
The Cycladic isle of Kea (or Tzia) is popular among Athenians, but few tourists have trodden here, making it perfect for a bit of romantic seclusion. Just a one-hour ferry ride from the port of Lavrio, at the southeastern edge of greater Athens, it offers a 62km labyrinth of paths, running through thick oak forests, almond groves and past wild flowers. Traditional stone-built springs and tiny, whitewashed churches en-route lead to beautiful isolated beaches and coves.
Twelve routes feature wooden signposts for a safe hiking experience. Scrambling among the ruins of various Doric temples and the newly excavated tiers of the theatre in the ancient city of Karthea - also known as Poles and founded in the 12th-century - is not to be missed. Here you can swim in crystal-clear waters with your loved one with the age-old metropolis as your backdrop. It is a journey designed for romantics.
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