Kayaking and hiking in Greece and Balkan
Kayaking and hiking in Greece and Balkan has been on my bucket list for a while.
When you think of Greece, you often think of endless sandy beaches on the islands, warm evenings in the atmospheric small villages, with a glass of wine and tasty Greek cuisine. Well, the truth is somewhere there, but since we were traveling out of the main season, and we got there during the unexpected winterish temperatures, our experience was definitely more interesting. 😉
We actually wanted to warm up. But, as we hit the road, drove through Belgrade, arrived in Northern Macedonia and then further down towards Thessaloniki, the temperatures were colder and colder. It would actually be a perfect time to do backcountry skiing. But, we didn’t let ourselves be disturbed by that (most of the time) and we continued the trip to Athens.
We spent this time enjoying easy mornings with pancakes, exploring whatever we drove by and spent evenings tasting Greek wines & amazing Greek cuisine.
The East coast was very lonely, but very, very pretty. I loved the long, winding roads, but I knew the best of it comes after Athens. When we arrived, I had my flight to Berlin, where I photographed my first wedding this year. Got back in two days, and I was the happiest driving towards Peleponnese. But, expecting the sun, all we got was snow. Stefan wasn’t that excited.
After two days in this fairytale part of Greece, the sun came up. The temperatures quickly rose up and we finally warmed ourselves up – got what we were searching for. We did some of the most scenic sea kayak trips. My favourite ones were, to the Elafonisos and the second one to the Navarino Bay. Definitely top moments of the whole trip. Most of these places shone up in their endless beauty and remoteness because there were no people. Just two of us. And in that moment, I realized how lucky I am visiting these places out of season.
After Peloponnese, we started driving North. We met up with Stefan’s dad, Erwin, and uncle, Hans, who partly joined our trip. We did some whitewater kayaking in Peloponnese, then went to Central Greece and spent the last 2 weeks kayaking/exploring that area. As much as I love kayaking, some of these rivers really got me a bit unprepared in the beginning of the season. That’s why Stefan took us rafting to one of the prettiest gorges. There were some other rivers a bit too difficult for me, and we just explored it with the toppoduo. And this is what I loved about this trip – there was a way to do things.
One of the scenic places, worth visiting, was also Meteora. Amazed by the shapes of the rocks and surrealistic views of monasteries way up high. Small, but perfect place for hiking, trail running and exploring the views. And ofcourse – the most known for climbing.
I was very impressed also by Northern Greece – another peak of my trip was a full day hike in Vikos Gorge. Crystal clear river surrounded by steep walls. On the side of the river, there’s a nice trail that takes you all the way in the gorge, and then there is a short, steep ascent to one of the mountain villages, where we enjoyed time to ourselves in a total serenity.
We finished the trip by visiting hot springs in Albania and sunset over the Bay of Kotor. All these memories wrapped up in this photo story are now worth every single snowy and cold day, and I wouldn’t change it. The company was perfect, the van was comfortable to sleep in and this is all I needed.
PS : We did have a van broken down 20 km before home, but it happens. There is no negative ending to this story. 😉