In April 2017 we check new destination on worlds climbing map – Leonidio in Greece. Almost two weeks in this quite new sector was a good time. In this article, you will find some tips for climbing and accommodate here.
Leonidio (~6000 residents) is placed in a valley on the east coast of the Peloponnese peninsula (210 kilometers from Athens). It is surrounded by big limestone crags, and from city to Sea is 3 kilometers. The best way to getting there is to buy a fly ticket directly to Athens. From there you have a 4-hour drive (you can rent a car from airport) to Leonidio (highway and later express road near of Mediterain Sea.
Climbing in hot rock. Photo. Damian Granowski
Another option is going there by bus:
From Athens International Airport take Bus X93 to Kifissou Bus station (in greek: Κηφισού). It is the final station of the line, ca. 1h drive, 5€.
At the bus terminal buy your ticket at the counter "Leonidio" (in greek: ΛΕΩΝΙΔΙΟ or Λεωνίδιο).
From Athens to Leonidio
8:15 am, 11 am (1x switch in Tripolis), 16:30 o'clock. Drive: ca. 4h
Fridays is an extra Bus at 18:30 o'clock.
From Leonidio to Athens
5:30 am (except Sundays)(via Tripolis), 8:15 am, 16:30 o'clock
Athens Bus Station: (+30) 210 5124910, 210 5124911
Leonidio Bus Station: (+30) 27570 22255
Accommodation & Food
Leonidio – The traditional town offers a lot of places to accommodation. There is the big touristic base for summer, when a lot of people go there for holidays (sea and beach). But out the season lot of them is free (and probably cheaper). Here you have link to possible places.
The traditional town still offers a pleasant way of life and is a good place to choose for a relaxing and/or active vacation! Many of you have visited our beautiful village and have experienced the stunning cliffs surrounding Leonidio. Currently, there are more than 1000 routes across a wide range of grades, and there is still potential for much more.
In Leonidio, you have 2 small supermarkets. But you also have a lot of bakeries, small shops (fruit & vegetables). For long evenings you have a tavern and pizza restaurants. Local taverns have a lot of vegetarian and vegan dishes.
There is „Leonidio Climbing Guidebook” (edition 2016, also in English). Almost 1000 routes in 50 sectors. More than 40 intro pages. It cost ~30 euro. It was produced by the climber from Panjika cooperative in Leonidio. They have in Leonidio bar, climbing shop, the restaurant in one ;).
Przemek Patelka on Tufa Tango 6c, Sector Mars
Best season for climbing
Climbing conditions in Leonidio are best in autumn, winter, and spring. Best period for climbing is from October to April, with the climate being typically Mediterranean. Some crags can be climbable even on hot spring and summer days.
We have been there on the beginning of May and there was a lot of crags where you can climb. But in many cases, we tried to climb in shade, For example, after 1 am there was shadow on sector Mars. Main sectors (above Leonidio) like Hot Rock are best in winter when the sun is your friend :-).
Daniel Wdowiak on Metallica 5c+
A lot of climbers is there at the beginning of November, when is Leonidio Climbing Festival (in this year 2-5 November).
In Leonidio is limestone. Usually red/orange in overhangs. The vast majority of climbing routes in Leonidio are relatively new. Many still require thorough cleaning of loose rock and traffic to improve. Pieces still break off, so helmets are strongly recommended.
Ania Kołodziej in Sector Red Rock
In general quality of rock is good. You will find crimps, pockets (not so many), tufas. Climbing on slabs, vertical, overhanging rock.
Mateusz Kołodziej climbing 6b in Sector Mars
Near of Leonidio, there are close to a thousand climbing routes ( the state from 2016), most of them are quite new. The majority are single pitch routes, but you will find some multi-pitch climbing (up to 200 m) on the main cliff above the city. All the climbs are sensibly bolted (no clipstic required).
It is recommended to take an 80m rope since some of the routes are up to 40m high and required as many as 20 quickdraws (I hear that on some harder and long (~50m) routes you need 25). However, it is possible to get away with a 70 m rope and still climb the majority of the routes. Even 60 m rope should be ok, for a lot of routes (For example sector Mars). For sports multi-pitch climbing you need 80 m single rope (rappels are 40 m long) or 50-60 double rope. The double rope should be better on traditional routes.
Daniel Wdowiak and Krzysiek Sadnicki on multipitch route Mira 6b
Almost every climber will find something for them. From french 5a to 9a. But this area is not for very beginners climber. It is ok if you do 6a grade (OS or quick RP). There are not many routes at 4 and 5 grade.
A lot of routes have soft grade and are good for Onsight. It depends from the area. There where are routes bolted by German and Czech climbers will be more thoughtful.
One more time I repeat - A helmet is highly recommended, especially on vertical/long routes.
Approach to the crack is usually short and well-signposted. Some sectors are 20-40 minutes from parking. And there you drive 5-20 minutes from Leonidio. Sectors like Red Rock, Hot Rock, Mars are available 20-30 minutes of walk from Leonidio. If you prefer you can hire bicycle or scooter in the town.
Most popular sectors:
Vertical, red-yellow wall. 15 minutes from parking above the valley of Leonidio.
Routes: up to 40m, 6a – 7a+
40 minutes by walk from Leonidio. The sector is in shade after 13:00, but after 17:00 tufas can be wet...
Katarzyna Miszograj on Tufa Tango 6c, Sector Mars
Routes: up to 40m
Grade: 6a+ to 8a
Climbing on vertical routes in Twin Caves
This sector is in shade until 11:00 and after 18:00
The Kokkinovrachos multi-pitches
There is 4 sports routes in the lower 6 grade and 12 fully bolted or traditional routes up to 200 meters. Recommended multi-pitches are: Tha Ta Poume 7a, Plug and Play 7a+, Aramis 6c, Mira 6b.
I don’t recommend Pillar of Fire. Its ugly trad (with some bolts) - better take only quickdraws and go for fully bolted routes :-).
Second pitch on Mira 6b
Take necessary gear + water, adequate clothes, and headlight. Best way to go down is rappeling by this same route or go to dedicated rappeling route on the right side of the wall (rappels have 40 m and are marked by red dots).
Other options for rest
- Mountain bike
- Diving in Sea
- visit monasteries of Elona. One hour from Leonidio is Mycenae and Tiryns
There are a lot of climbing sectors in Leonidio. You can find more information and topos here:
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