Trekking in the Brenta Dolomites my first hiking and rock climbing paradise
Sometimes it is helpful to know the author of a trekking book, a walking guide or hiking information because you can consider better whether the routes are suitable for your capacity and physical condition. For this reason I wrote something about myself. I am an internationally licensed mountain guide (UAGM) and I have been working as a rock climbing school director in our Alpine Mountaineering School of Arco - Lake Garda Italy for 20 years. In the year 2003 I was invited to visit Kalymnos Island, the new rock climbing paradise and I quickly fell in love with this small Island in Greece. Within a very short period of time I "produced" my website kalymnos-climbing.org and the latter www.kalymnosclimbing.eu. Up to date we have about 1.200 visitors per day on this domain and I believe to have contributed a lot to the development of climbing and trekking tourism. Year by year I have visited Kalymnos with my "old" customers or young participants of our rock climbing courses and often it happened that we spent a lot of time "walking" on the paths of Kalymnos to reach our programmed climbing spots. Every time I was fascinated by the views, wildness and solitude of this territory. I am convinced that once I have reached the age to no longer being able to go rock climbing, I will definitely spend my walking holidays in Greece.
Guided hiking trek to Monastery one of the antique monasteries
Do you now the famous "Grand Randonnee" in Southern France or Mallorca Island with its fantastic paths directly above the sea? Kalymnos is much better regarding the panorama and untouched nature! Do you now the famous "High routes or the so-called Alte Vie" in the Italian Dolomites, full of walkers, hikers an trekkers walking in a noisy queue? These "main road paths" do not exist on the wild Island of Kalymnos in Greece. Everywhere you encounter silence, beautiful views and your only company is goats. Sometimes you are even happy to find an empty plastic water bottle because this is means "someone was here before and I am on the correct path". Everywhere on Kalymnos there are mountains, crests, ridges, antique monasteries and small deserted bays were you can swim alone. Sometime you visit villages where the friendly inhabitants are happy to ask "How are you?" because this is the these only phrase they know in English language. Hiking and trekking through the Kalymnos Island is for me a personal great satisfaction: I have to train my senses to find the direction (follow the nose) which is one of the many characteristics of a mountain guide. Only in Patagonia or in the Jungle of Thailand I felt similar sensations as here: Kalymnos is totally different than the most touristy and busy Islands in Greece. For the fans of jungle trekking: please do not come to Greece on Kalymnos for your walking holidays: here are only small bushes and the air is fragrant of sage and mint.
A foto of the Studios ideal accommodation for trekkers and walkers
Up to the year 2000 the hotels have been open only from June through September. The
first rock climbers which came to Kalymnos found their first roof over their head in the so-called
"studios": small apartments with kitchen, bedroom, balcony or terrace. The cleanliness and
furniture however was not very much acceptable. Some of them are still in the same condition as years
ago and so it happens that you reserve in internet a very "romantic" studios with seaview for
only 22 Euros per night and when the night is over you leave disappointed the next morning: either you
try to experience on your own or you trust our recommendations because we know exactly which accommodation
on the Island you should avoid. Good studios in Greece cost from 40 to 50 Euros per night, the same price
you have to pay for a hotel room BB.
How do you get to Kalymnos Island? Please forget a "romantic cruise" from Athens by ferry (10-12 hrs.): I have tried this terrible trip myself ! On Kalymnos there is a new airport and why not fly directly on the Island? Forget this option too because the scarce connections from Athens make you spend a night in the airport and you have to spend more money. The best way to came here is to book a flight in internet (or with your travel agency) to KOS with a low cost company such as AEGEAN AIRLINES - OLYMPICAIR - RYANAIR. From Kos you take a boat to Photia ca. 30 minutes. This way you are able to start from London in the morning and be arrive in the late afternoon. How to get around on the islands in Greece: by scooter with automatic gear suitable for 2 persons (please bring along your drivers license and wind-proof jacket) or by rent-a-car. Cost for a scooter per day: ca. EUR 15 - 20; rent-a-car per day: ca. EUR 40 - 50. In case you are scared to drive a motorbike or scooter, in our guided hiking and trekking holidays in Greece, we offer the possibility to share a rent-a-car (for 4 persons) among the participants and divide the costs.
Every year after my arrival I bought my a new map of the island but every time was disappointed as the maps were only suitable for a "car tourist' s holidays". Here there is the so-called "Municipal Athletic Organization" whose young member have taken the praiseworthy and useful task of tracing and maintaining the rock climbing routes, building of new climbing spots, etc. Many years ago they gave me a handwritten Trekking routes guide with some descriptions of old walking routes between the small villages and the monasteries on the mountains. These paths have been called "donkey' s paths" in the past. On the paths which are leading to the appx. 50 climbing spots on the Island we found many multi-colored signs. Once you are beyond the climbing crags, the situation turns out to be much different: all of a sudden there are no more marks, no signs, sometime only "Steinmann' s" but NOTHING else.. From each paths you have a fantastic view and sense of "lonely planet" but sometimes it needs a lot of adventure spirit to find the right way within a in a NET of "goats' paths". The 15.000 inhabitants do not walk because is too hard for them and they prefer to move by car or motorbike: why walk or hike in the mountains? The 50.000 goats on the Island have a different opinion and they are running up and down everywhere. For this reason there are so many paths. In April 2009 I have finally found a new map for hikers and trekkers (Anawasi Edition Athen) scale 1:25.000, even with GPS marks, fantastic, you can order the map in internet. Finally I can read on a map my favorite round trip on the Island, finally I do no longer miss the correct path! But please be careful with the interpretation of the legend of the map regarding the description of the paths, for example "difficult crossing with unclear path" or "a long traverse above the cliffs on a faint but passable goat track" or "Two step sections with stairs", ecc. For these reasons and not only for business we offer Our guided hiking and trekking tours on Kalymnos in Greece.
The small port of Vathy an destination of one our guided trekking tours
The local inhabitants told us that every time of year was suitable for walking and climbing
holidays. The hotels owners at to Lake Garda in Italy are telling the same thing but this is only advertising. In
wintertime it is cold here and raining. On the Island there are reliable statistics: between April to October
there are an average of 10 rainy days and this is the best time to enjoy your walking and trekking trips. I think is
better to avoid the months of July and August because of the heat and b winds and in order to avoid the masses
of daily-excursion-tourists who coming from closeby and touristy Kos Island.
Above I have described the paths which require a little mountaineering experience, sense to find the right direction, capacity to read a may and to use the GPS. On my handwritten "Trekking routes guide" is written: "In case of emergency call: 69445796735" which is the number of the mountain rescue service... but in Greece the mountain rescue is organized by a voluntary base and I guess in case of accident it is not the same situation like here at Lake Garda Italy where in case of emergency you have a helicopter with doctor within 20 minute! In Pothia there is a small and nice hospital but I do know about their experience in handling serious injuries. Short and clear: in your walking excursions you should avoid all risks, do not trek alone, and take along in your rucksack a first-aid-kit !!!
Another problem regarding equipment: the trekking boots need not to be too heavy and the climbers often even walk around in flip flops but in case of doubt take with you your normal mountain boots. What to wear ? Here it happens that you are sweating on a steep path in the hot sun and then a few minutes later you are freezing on a pass in the with b wind coming from North. This means you should take with you a windcheater (necessary also for driving the scooter, fleece (better wind stopper), cap, sun cream, etc. You will find the it very handy to use the telescopic hiking sticks on the paths.
Another business affair ? Indeed many of our initiatives of our mountaineering and rock climbing school in Arco have been very successful: starting with the first rock climbing courses at Lake Garda in 1989 up to the last offer "rock climbing courses on Kalymnos" This time it is different: it is all about Delio' s b will because he insists in making this pearl of nature known to all hikers in the world and to offer his clients an unforgettable hiking holiday. It is very costly for our Alpine School to send a mountain guide to Greece. On our secure paths at Lake Garda or in the Dolomites, a mountain guide can accompany up to 15 hikers whereas on Kalymnos the situation is different and one mountain guide should be available for every 6-7 participants. We know that every hiker who has good knowledge in reading maps, using compass, GPS and altimeter etc., is able to do the treks on their own. Our offer is destined for persons who do not have this type of hiking experience and we tell them Welcome to our guided hiking holiday on Kalymnos !!! We prefer treks which have the same starting and ending point because in this way we can avoid taxis or long waiting times for public transport to get us back to our car or scooter. Among the routes there a 7 different ones (see below) according to physical condition, experience and requirements of the participants, the max. elevation difference is ca. 600 m., max. duration ca. 5 hrs. Some routes on the Anawasi map we have not yet tried and sometimes these are paths which are only known to hunters and goat shepherds: welcome to our first ascent ! The mountain guide reserves the right to change the itinerary with respect to safety reasons and the physical condition of the participants. During our hiking holiday we are offering a novelty such as one resting day or a rock-climbing day for beginners (easy routes). In this case you should also bring along a harness and rock climbing shoes (these are also for rent). This is our offer:
2 trekking days
1 resting day or rock-climbing day
3 trekking days
Number of participants: min. 5 - max. 7 (for treks with more participants with DEFINITE mountain experience, please ask for an offer)
PRICE: EURO 767,00 per person - supplement for rock-climbing day: EUR 75,00
Our service starting in Kalymnos:
6-day hiking holiday with internationally licensed mountain guide (UIAGM); English, German and Italian speaking. Included: 6 nights rent of a small apartment (studios suitable for 2-3 persons) or hotel room (B & B) in double room. Supplement for single room: EUR 75,00
Not included: food/drinks; cost for rent-a-car, cost for scooter rent. Upon request we can rent a small car for 4 persons (ca. 40-50 EUR per day) and share the cost. Supplement for single room EUR 55,00