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Rock Climbing in Kalymnos: Your Essential Travel and Climbing Guide to Greece's Advenure Paradise

Everything you need to know for traveling and climbing to Kalymnos, Greece's Rock climbing paradise

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Kalymnos is a Greek island located in the Aegean Sea, and it is renowned worldwide for its exceptional rock-climbing opportunities. Greece's most famous, World-Class Climbing Destination has gained a reputation as one of the premier rock-climbing destinations in the world. It offers a remarkable variety of high-quality limestone cliffs, stunning sea views, and a favorable climate for climbing year-round.

The island features many climbing routes suitable for all levels, from beginner to advanced. Whether you're a novice or an experienced climber, Kalymnos provides an extensive range of routes with varying difficulties, ensuring there is something for everyone. We will look into some of the most fundamental things to know before planning a trip to Kalymnos, such as:


1. Best Time to Visit
2. How to move around Kalymnos: the best options for climbers
3. Essential informations to go rock-climbing in Kalaymnos
4. How many climbing routes Kalymnos has?
EXTRA: Other similar destinations



Over the years, Kalymnos has developed a robust climbing infrastructure. You'll find well-maintained bolted routes, climbing guidebooks, and easy access to climbing areas. The island is also home to climbing shops, rental facilities, and experienced local climbing guides who can enhance your overall climbing experience.

“Climbing is not all about climbing”: Kalymnos immerses yourself in the island's beauty while enjoying the sport's thrill and offers a vibrant and welcoming climbing community. The island attracts climbers worldwide, creating a lively atmosphere where you can connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and find climbing partners.

Overall, Kalymnos stands out as a world-class rock-climbing destination due to its incredible range of routes, stunning landscape, high-quality rock, and welcoming community. Whether you're a seasoned climber or a beginner looking to embark on a new adventure, Kalymnos offers an unforgettable climbing experience in a breathtaking Mediterranean setting. But in which year can Kalymnos offer all of this?




1. Best Time to Visit


The optimal time to visit Kalymnos for rock climbing is spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October). These seasons offer pleasant temperatures, less crowded climbing areas, and better conditions for outdoor activities. However, checking weather conditions and climbing guides to plan your trip accordingly is essential.

 While Kalymnos offers climbing opportunities throughout the year, it's worth noting that the summer months (July and August) can be pretty hot, with temperatures reaching high levels. Many climbers prefer to avoid this period or focus on climbing in the shade or early mornings.


2. How to move around Kalymnos: the best options for climbers


That's what the most experienced climbers can achieve for! © Giovanni Rocca



To reach Kalymnos for a climbing trip, you have a few options:

International Travel: If you're traveling from outside Greece, the most common solution is booking a flight to a major international airport in Greece, such as Athens International Airport (ATH) or Thessaloniki International Airport (SKG). These airports offer numerous international connections. Being Kalymnos an Island, it’s not over yet! In fact, from Athens or Thessaloniki, you have several options to reach Kalymnos:

  • The most convenient way to reach Kalymnos is by taking a domestic flight from Athens International Airport (ATH) to Kalymnos Island National Airport (JKL). The flight is approximately 45 minutes, and Olympic Air and Sky Express operate flights.
  • Another option is to take a ferry from Athens (Piraeus Port) or other nearby islands like Kos. Ferry services are provided by companies such as Blue Star Ferries and Dodekanisos Seaways. The journey duration can vary depending on the ferry route and schedule, but it typically takes 4-6 hours from Athens to Kalymnos.


Once you arrive at Kalymnos Island, you can reach the main climbing areas by various means. The public bus system offers rock climbers convenient access to many climbing areas. 

Climbers can board buses and reach popular sectors such as Missouri, Poets, and Grande Grotta. Similarly, if you wish to spend a day at the picturesque beaches of Kalymnos, the buses provide hassle-free transportation to beautiful coastal spots like Myrties and Kantouni.

Kalymnos has a bus network that connects significant villages and areas. However, the bus service might be less frequent or convenient for accessing specific climbing spots, so it's recommended to check the bus schedule and plan accordingly, and keep in mind you will probably need a plan B. Transportation options and schedules may vary, especially during the low season. So, checking for the most up-to-date information and making any necessary reservations in advance is best.


If you need more autonomy during your climbing trip, get a Rental Car or a Scooter - a scooter is a bit less comfortable, but remember: you’re in Greece! It’s all about experiencing the local habits - and it’s also the most convenient option!




3. Essential information to go rock-climbing in Kalaymnos


Embarking on a rock-climbing journey in Kalymnos, Greece, promises an unforgettable experience amidst stunning limestone cliffs and breathtaking views. To ensure a successful and enjoyable climbing trip, being well-prepared is crucial. This article presents five essential pieces of information to guide you through your rock-climbing adventure in Kalymnos.


  • Climbing Season and Weather: Kalymnos offers excellent climbing conditions throughout the year, but the ideal time to visit is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November). The weather is mild during these seasons, with cooler temperatures and, less humidity, comfortable climbing conditions. Climbing is also possible during the summer, but only in specific sectors and on challenging days. Make sure to travel during spring, winter, or autumn to get the most out of your trip.

  • Climbing Grades and Route Selection: Kalymnos caters to climbers of all skill levels, offering a wide range of climbing routes. The island is renowned for its excellent sports climbing routes, typically rated using the French grading system. Beginners can find more accessible routes (5a-6a), while more experienced climbers can challenge themselves with more complex grades (6b and above). Especially if you’re a beginner, you’ll find a perfect playground to improve your technique, challenge yourself on slightly harder routes and enjoy your first steep climbs.

  • Climbing Equipment and Recommended Gear: having the right climbing equipment is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience in Kalymnos. Essential gear includes a climbing harness, helmet, shoes, a belay device, a  60 to 80-meter long dynamic rope, and a chalk bag. Don’t forget your quickdraws, though! The number of quickdraws you'll need for climbing in Kalymnos can vary depending on the climbing routes you plan to tackle. However, as a general guideline, having a minimum of 15-20 quickdraws in your climbing kit is advisable. Ensure that your gear is in good condition and meets safety standards. Carrying a first aid kit, sunscreen, plenty of water, and snacks for sustained energy during climbing sessions is also recommended.

  • Accommodation and Transportation: Kalymnos offers various accommodation options, with popular areas like Massouri and Armeos being convenient due to their proximity to climbing sectors. Booking accommodation in advance is recommended, especially during the peak climbing season. As for transportation, renting a car or scooter provides flexibility and easy access to climbing areas. Alternatively, the island has a reliable bus network that connects significant villages and tourist spots, offering a cost-effective option for getting around.

  • Local Climbing Ethics and Safety: Respecting local climbing ethics and safety guidelines is crucial to preserving Kalymnos's natural beauty and ensuring a safe climbing experience. It's essential to clean up after yourself, stay on marked trails, and avoid damaging vegetation or disturbing wildlife. You can familiarize yourself with any crag or bolting guidelines and practice proper climbing etiquette. Always prioritize safety by double-checking your gear, using proper belay techniques, and being aware of potential hazards on the routes.



4. How many climbing routes Kalymnos has?


Kalymnos offers many climbing routes, with estimates ranging from over 3,000 to 4,000 routes, from 4a to 9a. The island has a reputation for its extensive and diverse climbing opportunities, catering to climbers of all skill levels. The routes are spread across circa 66 crags, mainly south and west facing. The climbing offers many options for climbers to explore and enjoy. Remember that the number of routes grows as new routes are continually being developed and established by the local climbing community. We recommend that you refer to the most up-to-date climbing guidebooks and resources for the most accurate and comprehensive information on the climbing routes in Kalymnos. Here is a selection of Guidebooks and Apps that can help you adventure on the island:



 


EXTRA TIP: Other similar destinations

One of the finest crags Cyprus has to offer is Buffa Wall, Kyrenia © Thomas Georgiou / Cyprus Outdoor

  • Crete, Greece: Crete, the largest Greek island, offers a diverse and captivating climbing destination similar to Kalymnos. With its rugged limestone cliffs and stunning landscapes, Crete provides a variety of climbing opportunities for all levels of climbers. The areas of interest include the south coast near Tersanas, Agiofarago, and Matala, which feature challenging routes and breathtaking sea views. Crete's climbing season spans from spring to autumn, offering pleasant weather conditions for climbers. The island's rich history, charming villages, and delicious cuisine make it a well-rounded destination for climbing and cultural exploration. Crete is one of the 50 World’s best off-the-beaten-track climbing destinations, and it’s featured in Mapo Tapo’s The Climbing Travel Guide.

  • Leonidio, Greece: Located in the Peloponnese region of Greece, Leonidio has gained popularity as a top climbing destination in recent years. It offers a unique climbing experience with its stunning red limestone cliffs and a wide range of routes suitable for all skill levels. Leonidio boasts over 1,000 routes, including challenging overhangs and technical face climbs. The perfect season for planning a climbing holiday to Leonidio extends from autumn to spring, providing mild temperatures and excellent friction. The town offers a quaint atmosphere with charming taverns and accommodations, making it a delightful place to unwind after a day of climbing.

  • Troodos Mountains, Cyprus: While Cyprus is not technically part of Greece, it shares cultural and historical ties, and its climbing destinations offer similar experiences to those found in Greece.
    For climbers seeking a different experience within the Greek region, the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus offer a picturesque setting for climbing adventures. This mountain range, located in the heart of Cyprus, features an array of limestone crags surrounded by beautiful forests. The climbing areas in the Troodos Mountains, such as Rock of Aphrodite and Amargeti, provide a mix of single-pitch and multi-pitch routes suitable for various skill levels: we will explore those areas during our Cyprus Climbing Road Trip. The best time to climb in the Troodos Mountains is during the cooler months, from autumn to spring, when the weather is more favorable. You can read more about Cyprus and its climbing opportunities by reading our comprehensive article “Rock Climbing between Southern Europe and Middle East


We will frequently update the article to give you the most reliable information.