The 5 best walks in the Cyclades to discover the archipelago on foot

Fancy a sporting break in one of Europe’s most beautiful locations? Discover our guide to the most beautiful hikes in the Cyclades!

A veritable jewel in the Mediterranean, the Cyclades archipelago boasts an eclectic mix of sandy beaches and pearly villages, each with its own unique atmosphere. Each island has its own unique character, setting it apart from the others. Whatever the length of your trip, the Cyclades archipelago is well worth a visit. While some are happy with a relaxing seaside vacation, others prefer a more athletic experience.

Now’s your chance to try your hand at hiking in the Cyclades! Known for its mountainous terrain, the archipelago is home to dozens of circuits accessible to all. What’s more, a walk in the heart of the Greek islands is a kind of pilgrimage, where you become even more immersed in the local culture. Hiking is like living the Greek way of life, relaxed and close to nature. So get your hiking boots on and join us in discovering the best hiking trails in the Cyclades!

Byzantine hiking: an authentic journey to the heart of Paros

Randonnées dans les Cyclades

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: 2h
  • 🏔 Location and stages : Lefkes – Prodromos village
  • 🥾 Level of difficulty: easy
  • ℹ️ Relevant information: dogs must be kept on a leash during the 6 km hike on paved roads.
  • 💙 We like: the path through olive groves
  • 🧭 Se e the layout

This guide to hiking in the Cyclades gets off to a flying start with a tour of the island of Paros. Paros is, among other things, beautiful beaches with windsurfing and kiteboarding spots, still-occupied monasteries, a rich nightlife and an authentic capital. This word sums up the island’s atmosphere. So, what better way to discover all these aspects than on a hike, and soak up even more of the place.

Your walk stretches for 6 kilometers between the villages of Lefkes and Prodromos. You’ll cross the island from east to west along an ancient path, dating back at least 1,000 years. In other words, one of the oldest on the island! The advantage of this hike is that it’s suitable for all the family. The difference in altitude is relatively slight, and the path is paved all the way. In short, it’s a pure moment of fun in one of the most beautiful parts of the Cyclades!

Apollonia loop: a trail in the heart of a protected natural area

Apollonia

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: 5h
  • 🏔 Location and stages : Apollonia loop – Panagia Toso Nero (Sifnos)
  • 🥾 Level of difficulty: moderate
  • ℹ️ Relevant information: spring is the best season for this relatively popular 14.6 km circuit
  • 💙 We like: crossing a protected natural area and stopping off at the Panagia Toso Nero monastery.
  • 🧭 Se e the layout

For this hike in the Cyclades, we’re now leaving Paros and heading for its (almost) neighbor, Sifnos. Although separated by just over a hundred kilometers, the two islands are very different. Indeed, Sifnos is more secretive, more confidential and still resists the onslaught of mass tourism, which is very present in high season on the rest of the archipelago.

Sifnos is also known for its many churches and monasteries, symbols of the Greek island. In fact, during your hike you’ll have the chance to stop off and visit one of them. The « Apollonia Loop » passes through the monastery of Panagia Toso Nero. Here, you’ll have an exceptional view of the Aegean Sea and the natural area around you.

But beware: this itinerary is twice as long and more complicated than the previous one, although not inaccessible to beginners. And don’t forget to set off early: the pleasant nature of the route makes it very popular with travellers, especially in spring.

Donoussa: a plunge into the heart of the Cyclades

Randonnée dans les Cyclades

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: 1h30
  • 🏔 Location and stages : Donoussa – Kalotaritissa (Donoussa)
  • 🥾 Level of difficulty: moderate
  • ℹ️ Relevant information: this lightly traveled 4.3 km route is suitable for all seasons.
  • 💙 We love: breathtaking sea views
  • 🧭 Se e the layout

Although considered moderate, this itinerary remains relatively short and therefore accessible to the greatest number. It is located close to Naxos, the Archipelago’s largest island, on the tiny island of Donoussa. A 4-kilometre dirt road links west and east to reach Kalotaritissa. A well-deserved swim awaits you on the beach of the same name, as well as a breathtaking view over the bay of Roussa.

It won’t be any different from what you’ll see on your Cyclades tour. A word of advice: don’t forget your camera, it would be a shame not to immortalize these postcard landscapes. Finally, the ultimate advantage of this tour lies in the fact that it is not particularly popular with the public. Peace and quiet are the watchwords here.

The Agios Arsenios loop: an itinerary through beaches and villages

Agios Arsenios

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: 1h30
  • 🏔 Location and stages : Agios Arsenios loop (Naxos)
  • 🥾 Level of difficulty: easy
  • ℹ️ Relevant information: this 5.6 km route is lightly trafficked and accessible in all seasons.
  • 💙 We love: the diversity of landscapes between land and sea
  • 🧭 Se e the layout

Just a few kilometers from Donoussa, head for the great Naxos. The island of Dionysus, Naxos has preserved its rural character with vineyards, orchards, ancient ruins and traditional villages. It’s this eclectic mix of landscapes that you’ll have the chance to discover on your hike.

Yes, we know, 1h10 isn’t enough time to explore all the island’s wonders. But it does give you a glimpse, doesn’t it? What’s more, it’s an easy tour, accessible to the whole family and generally not very busy! On the agenda: the natural environment of Agios Prokopios Park, the Stelidas hill, wetlands, beaches and even a salt well! Definitely one of the most beautiful hikes in the Cyclades!

Karthea Archaeological Site: a trail through the twists and turns of history

Randonnée dans les Cyclades

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Running time: 1h40
  • 🏔 Location and stages: Kea
  • 🥾 Level of difficulty: moderate
  • ℹ️ Relevant information: 4.3km, lightly trafficked, route on the southwest side of Kea Island
  • 💙 We love: discovering the archaeological site of Karthea, one of the island’s four ancient cities and one of the most important ports in the Cyclades.
  • 🧭 Se e the layout

Last but not least, our guide to the most beautiful hikes in the Cyclades takes you to the south-west of the island of Kea. What’s so special about this itinerary? To immerse you even deeper in the history and culture of the archipelago. The tour takes in the valley of the Vathypotamos Ravine and then descends to the Karthea Archaeological Site and the Bay of the Poles. It’s a real journey back in time!

Indeed, until the 6th century BC, Karthea wasone of the island’s four ancient cities. It was famous for its port, one of the most important in the Cyclades. Although only ruins remain, the city was inhabited for over 1,300 years. After this historic pause, you can retrace your steps back to the starting point and, by the same token, finish point of this tour.

So, are you ready to lace up your boots and set off on a Cyclades tour? Our selection of the best hikes in the archipelago is here to make your stay as enjoyable as possible! What’s your favorite tour? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!