Blog›Peloponnese's hidden rock climbing gem: a guide to Ermionida, Greece
Peloponnese's hidden rock climbing gem: a guide to Ermionida, Greece
Nestled in the warm embrace of the Mediterranean lies the charming peninsula of Ermionida - a place steeped in history and mythology. With Athens just a stone's throw away, Ermionida offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The area is known for its stunning natural beauty, crystal-clear waters, and many secluded beaches. With 73 beaches, visitors can bask in the sun, swim in crystal-clear waters and explore hidden coves. Add a mild Greek climate, and you may realize Ermionida is only one of Greece’s hundreds of ideal spots for summer holidays.
But the peninsula has more to offer than just sun and sand. Visitors can immerse themselves in some of Greece's most important ancient sites, plan cultural activities, and indulge in visits to nearby islands like Hydra, Spetses, and Poros. The famous Sanctuary of Asklepios and the ancient theater of Epidaurus and Mycenae are fascinating sites to explore. You can’t miss them, even if you’re a passionate climber looking for aesthetic walls and adrenaline.
Luckily, there are more - Ermionida is also home to a newly born climbing development project, which aims to offer Greek and international climbers a valid alternative from Kalymnos, Leonidio, and all the most popular climbing destinations in Greece.
If you haven't booked your tickets for a climbing holiday in Greece, we’ll make it happen in just a few minutes. Just keep reading!
Once upon a time, back in the 2000s, a climbing revolution occurred in a remote area of Greece located in the Eastern part of the Peloponnese. The British climber Jim Titt and the German Inge Zaczek found a golden pot while spending their holidays in Ermionida.
Ermionida is located on the east of Peloponnese, south of Athens. The traditional taverns, the cafés, the paved streets, the beautiful houses, and the crystal clear beaches around this area make this town an exciting summer destination of Peloponnese.
Once Jim and Inge realized how good the quality of the rock was there, they immediately booked another flight to Greece. The result was more than 200 routes with stainless steel bolts bolted on the area’s excellent limestone rocks.
In recent years, the local climbing community Climb Ermionida (@climbermionida) carried out maintenance works on the various crags, replaced several anchors with new high-quality and certified materials, and revived the whole area into a new era for climbing activities.
While traveling around the area, you can admire olive and pine trees and plenty of bays with turquoise waters. If you’ve ever worn a pair of climbing shoes, you will immediately notice orange and red walls popping from the ground at every turn. Pay attention to the drive, and guess how many crags have been developed. Here’s a hint: very few!
Despite the hard work Climbing Ermionida is putting into climbing development, the area’s potential remains to be defined. As of now, Ermionida offers nine sport-climbing crags, 300+ sport climbing routes (from 4a to 9a), plenty of trad climbing routes (more than 30!), and multi-pitch routes for the most adventurous climbers.
The crags of Ermionida offer guaranteed good climbing conditions and easy access. Plus, the crags are more organized and less crowded than other popular destinations, making your climbing more relaxed.
With plenty of routes for all types of climbers, Ermionida is the perfect destination for both beginners and experienced climbers. For those seeking a challenge, the hardest route in Peloponnese is still an open project waiting for the First Ascent. Alternatively, you can choose among a handful of challenging routes from 8b+ and above. On the other hand, if you're seeking relaxation, adventure, and a way to enjoy climbing, Ermionida offers dozens of 5-stars routes starting from 4a.
If you want a complete overview, we suggest you download Ermionida’s climbing guidebook - you’ll find grades, topos, descriptions, and all the directions on how to get to the crags. In the next few weeks, we will dive deeper into Ermionida’s climbing community and its best climbing areas.
So pack your climbing shoes, chalk, and rope, and get ready to explore the stunning island of Ermionida!
In recent years, leisure tourism in Peloponnese has experienced a significant flow of visitors, attracting travelers from various parts of the world. The region's rich historical heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture have contributed to its popularity as a sought-after leisure destination. Destinations like Nafplio's charming atmosphere and historical architecture have lured visitors seeking a relaxing and culturally rich experience. The luxury resorts and idyllic beaches of Costa Navarino have provided a luxurious escape for travelers looking for a tranquil seaside retreat. Keep reading if you’re not into fancy hotels with a sea view! As you probably understood, some serious climbing and affordable, family-owned accommodations are around!
Archaeological sites such as Olympia, Mycenae, and Epidaurus have continued to captivate tourists, offering them a glimpse into the ancient wonders of Greece. These sites and others have drawn history enthusiasts who seek to immerse themselves in the region's past. That being said, Peloponnese's natural beauty has also played a crucial role in attracting leisure tourists.
The region's picturesque gorges and the diverse landscapes, such as the Gorge of Neda, have offered a serene escape for nature lovers. Mountain ranges like Taygetus and Parnon have enticed outdoor enthusiasts looking for hiking and climbing opportunities. So why is Ermionida, a small municipality in the Argolis regional unit, playing an essential role in Peloponnese tourism?
Climb Ermionida is a locally-driven climbing community that aims to revitalize and expand the climbing offerings in the region of Ermionida. Since its inception, the group has made significant strides in achieving this goal through revitalizing local crags and creating and free distributing a complimentary climbing guidebook, "Climbing in Ermionida.”
As a result of these efforts, Ermionida has witnessed an increase in the number of worldwide visitors seeking an alternative to established climbing destinations such as Kalymnos and Leonidio. Currently, Ermionida is emerging as a new and exciting hotspot for climbers.
Furthermore, Climb Ermionida is actively pursuing new development plans to enhance the region's climbing offerings. These plans include the establishment of a 10th crag that will feature ten new routes, further developing existing crags, such as Castle Thermisia, and creatingnew multi-pitch routes.
The community is committed to working with local stakeholders and partners to ensure these plans align with the region's sustainable development objectives and promote responsible climbing practices.
The group's efforts have contributed to the growth of the climbing community in Ermionida and have positively impacted the local economy by attracting visitors and generating tourism revenue.
Our top-3 crags in Ermionida
Well, now you profoundly understand Ermionida’s tourism offer and climbing environment. But what about the climbing itself? Please keep reading to find out the Local’s (and ours) favorite crags of the area.
Ermionida has three unique sport-climbing crags you might want to know before planning a trip to Peloponnese. You’ll find crags suiting all styles and skills, so don’t panic:Greece is not always about steep overhangs on big tufas. Plenty of routes and sectors are specifically bolted and developed for hosting beginner and occasional climbers. That's also why Greece is a perfect destination for muti-day climbing group trips.
Katafyki Crag boasts an impressive gorge with a prominent face exceeding 150 meters height and a striking rock expanse stretching along the river bed. The main wall features a special overhanging middle section traversed by a large horizontal roof punctuated by holes in the middle. While this may appear daunting at first glance, it becomes more manageable once engaged. Who in the world does not love jugs?
Access and seasonality
Accessing the climbing area is a mere 20 meters from the road. The routes are well-protected from the elements, making this region a desirable destination. Climbing in Katafyki is pleasant year-round, as the main wall is shaded after mid-day. There are about 70 routes available, including four multi-pitch trad routes, ranging up to 123 meters, and three multi-pitch sport routes that stretch up to 150 meters in length. The grades of the routes range from 5a to 7c+.
In addition, near Katafyki Crag, you can find the Pleiades Crag (Multi-Pitch routes) and Petrogerakas Crag.
The Castle of Thermisia is first mentioned in written sources as Trémis in 1347, in the will of Gautier II de Brienne, Count of Lecce, de jure Duke of Athens, and de facto Lord of Argos and Nauplia. Notably, this castle is not included in a comprehensive list of Frankish castles in Greece dating from 1377.
Access and seasonality
The castle is atop an imposing cliff, which overlooks the coast and the village of Thermisia. A closer inspection of the rock reveals that it is even more challenging than it appears at first glance, with its extensive, red, bulging, and holdless features.
Castle Thermisia Crag offers four different sectors, with routes ranging from the easiest at 5a to the most challenging at 8c+/9a, which remains an open project.
The Didyma crag is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding crags in the Ermionida region. It is a prominent crag located in the Ermionida, Argolis region. This climbing crag boasts excellent accessibility, exceptional rock quality, optimal orientation, and breathtaking views, making it one of Greece's finest sport climbing destinations. This sector has yielded around 70 routes in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grades, with the potential for numerous additional routes in higher grades.
Access and seasonality
The crag offers a diverse range of climbs suitable for every skill level, and there are some beginner-friendly routes with extra bolts on specific routes, making Didyma an excellent choice for families. The convenient access to the top of the routes makes Didyma an excellent place for setting up top ropes - just in case you want to share some family time at the crag or show your friends what climbing is all about! If you’re the experienced climber in the group, no worries: you’ll get what you’re looking for. The crag features a more technical, challenging sector on steep gray walls.
The crag's development has so far concentrated on the first 250 meters of the cliff, specifically in the sector "summertime." Yes, that’s right: one of the best crags in the Peloponnese region is perfect for climbing with high temperatures. You shouldn’t expect to find perfect conditions, but at least you’ll get the chance to climb protected by the sun… and the heat!
These were our top-3 climbing spots in Ermionida; we hope you enjoyed them! Remember that one of the primary purposes of Climb Ermionida is accessibility: that’s why they wrote and designed a free guidebook of the whole area, featuring every crag and route available in the region. You can download Ermionida’s climbing guidebook here, and why not visit Climb Ermionida’s Instagram profile to stay updated during their maintenance and development efforts?
Thanks for reading! We'll update this article whenever there are more significant developments of the existing climbing offer or in case of bans, restrictions, or works in progress at one of the crags. Thanks again to Climb Ermionida for their collaboration and work in creating a safe, enjoyable climbing destination and sharing all this information with "Trust the Locals," Mapo Tapo’s column designed in collaboration with local climbers and climbing developers worldwide. We aim to inspire people to discover new climbing destinations through responsible tourism.