Climbing & Hiking
Steep crags, stark cliffs and daredevil overhangs have turned Kalymnos into Greece’s premier destination for rock climbers. It now boasts more than 80 designated climbing sites, holding almost 3000 marked routes. Most are located above the island’s west-coast road, especially around and north of Armeos – white roadside markers identify the precise spots – though several of the finest ascend the flanks of Telendos Islet, just across the water.
Climbing season runs from March to mid-November, with the busiest period from mid-September until the end of October. An annual climbing festival takes place during the first 10 days of October.
The man largely responsible for the boom is Aris Theodoropolous, who along with Katie Rousseau writes the astonishingly detailed and comprehensive Kalymnos Rock Climbing Guidebook and maintains the useful www.climbkalymnos.com website, which includes a climbers’ forum. Head to Kalymnos Adventure Center for equipment and info.
Kalymnos is also increasingly popular with hikers. Established routes are detailed on the excellent 1:25,000 Kalymnos map published by Terrain Maps (www.terrainmaps.gr). Serious hikers may want to undertake all or part of the highly demanding, multi-day Kalymnos Trail, a 100km route that circles the island and also goes around Telendos for good measure. Carl Dawson published a useful guide to that and other island trails in 2015; see www.thekalymnostrail.co.uk.
Kalymnos is also becoming known as a diving island. For the beginner looking to qualify as a PADI open-water diver, as well as for the seasoned diver, there are plenty of hidden treasures in Poseidon's realm awaiting your inspection, including wreck dives, sea caves and diving with dolphins. There are four main outfits: