Climbing on the Greek island Kalymnos is something you have to do once in a lifetime as a climber. An island full of crags with thousands of routes and many many climbers from all over the world. Although Kalymnos is a Mecca for the sports climbing scene since the 90is, the atmosphere is still laid back.
The crags are easily accessible, even though a scooter is necessary to get around on that small island. You won’t find any other place on earth, where 90 % of the scooters are driven by people wearing climbing helmets. 😉
You can climb all over the island. But most of the crags are located around the village Masouri in the west of the island.
The rock on Kalymnos is compact limestone. With lots of slabs, tufas and stalactites. If you like good holds, dynamic moves and step-overhanging routes, you’ll love it. They are usually bolted in a plaisir way and well maintained. Some of the cracks are a bit polished, especially the ones with less than 10 minutes approach like Arginonta. On the other hand this means if you are willing to walk more than 20 minutes to your crack, you will find a quite place most of the time.
What makes Kalymnos special beside the great quality and variety of climbing routes are some nice bays. We recommend to visit Palionisos, which is a bit of a drive but can be combined with climbing in “Secret Garden” or “Palionisos”.
Exploring Kalymnos island
The city of Kalymnos/Pothias is worth a trip. Explore the harbour or the old castle and many cafés.
The island is very barren, positive worded you have a great view from nearly everywhere on the island. But it is usually to hot to go mountain biking or hiking.
As Kalymnos is only 21 km long and 13 km wide, you can also do a scooter trip around the island and stop wherever you like to rest and enjoy the view at the sea. To enjoy the sunset, stay around Masouri.
There is a hospital near Pothias with an 24/7 ambulance with greek standards. Kalymnos also set up a climbing rescue team in 2013. These guys work unsalaried, so feel free to donate.
Getting there and around Kalymnos
Either by boat or airplane. We combined our holiday on Kalymnos with a trip to Greeks new Climbing Spot Leonidio and two nights of culture and party in Athen. So we took the airplane to get there (JKL), which takes 1 hr. There you can catch a cab or arrange a pick-up with your accommodation.
You can also use a ferry, especially if you’d like to visit other Greek islands as well.
If you don’t want to be limited to the rocks close to hotels, rent a scooter. You can get them from 12 € per day. Driver licence and expedience in driving scooters needed.
As some of the approaches are steep and Kalymnos in general is a mountainous island (< 10 % of the area are flat), don’t rent the smallest scooter if you use it with two persons. One might to have walk up the street then (so did I …).
Updates of routes and info for events can be found here.
An overview of the most popular crags at Kalymnos offers climb-europe.