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Kalymnos: The Best Rock Climbing Destination in Greece

Climber in Kalymnos Island
Rock climbing in Kalymnos. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 2.5

The Greek island of Kalymnos is considered one of the best rock climbing destinations in the world. It receives 10,000 climbers every year who normally spend about a week on the island.

Since rock climbing is better enjoyed during the cooler months, this also means that Kalymnos is a popular Greek offseason destination.

Kalymnos as a first-rate rock climbing destination

Kalymnos is a top destination for fitness lovers and rock climbing fanatics.

The island is home to more than 3,500 climbing routes that are pre-equipped with permanent drilled-in bolts. All that’s required to start climbing are rock shoes, rope, and quickdraws (slings with two carabiners to attach the rope to the bolts).

Kalymnos also offers vast tracts of still-unexplored rock. As experts agree, even although it’s never without some risk — accidents still occur — it is one of the safer forms of climbing.

Climbing cave Kalymnos rock
Sikati Cave, Kalymnos. Crédit: alpguideCC BY-SA 2.0

These are the reasons which attract a wide variety of climbers to Kalymnos, with different characteristics in terms of age and ability.

Spots for families and rock climbers of all ages

Kalymnos is often chosen by rock climbers of all ages, including teenagers, families, and older climbers, as there are many routes that range in difficulty on the island.

One of the islands most famous climbing spots is the Grande Grotta — a vast cave shaped with a roof boasting a forest of large hanging stalactites.

At night, after spending all day exploring the island’s caves, rock climbers usually gather in the bars and tavernas of Massouri to enjoy a relaxing moment.

Other than climbing, Kalymnos is also famous for its past related to sponge harvesting, a thriving industry that made the island known all over the world.

Although an ancient tradition, the practice still makes up a vital part of the economy and local identity.

In fact, immigrants from Kalymnos built the town of Tarpon Springs, FL in the US, where their descendants continue to dive for precious sponges to this day.

Pothia, the main town of Kalymnos

Pothia, the island’s main town, is a maze of brightly colored houses and seaside spots, which are perfect places to relax during any climbing holiday. Southwest of Pothia, at a short distance, is Therma, an area with hot therapeutic springs.

This famous rock climbing destination receives adventurers all year long, as many of them have fallen in love with the natural scenery and insist on returning to the island.

This is also what happened with a very original couple of climbers from Luxembourg who  organized the most extreme wedding on the Greek island three years ago.

Marc Morocutti and eight-months-pregnant Sandy Kirtz pledged their eternal love while hanging from one of the unique and spectacularly beautiful climbing spots that overlook the nearby island of Telendos.

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