Leonidio is a small town 200 km from Athens, which I have visited in October last year. 5 climbing days did not allow me to get to know the area in depth, but I did some interesting routes.
Tufas! The first time I had the opportunity to see such a rock formation and I was impressed. Most routes are on the level 6c – 7c, so unfortunately not much for me, but I made one 6b top rope. And while I usually do not feel like doing the same route the other time, it gave me so much pleasure that I would gladly do it again and I regret that eventually we didn’t have time.
On the way to Mars, you will pass the Namaste sector. Most routes there are also in the 6c – 7c range, but there is also one 5b+ and one 5c+. Generally, the Leonidio grades are rather easy and I often had the impression that given on climbinleonidio.com, which we used, are a little overgraded, but these two, as for five, did not seem so easy.
Actually, the subsector of the largest sector Kokkinovrachos. Probably the best sector for climbers on the level 5 – 6. It contains about 30 routes, of which a dozen are two-pitches, or rather one-pitch with extension. The first part is always easier, at the level of the majority of 5a – 6a+, it is about 20 m long and ends in a normal belay station. Next comes the harder, shorter part (10 – 15 m) on the level 6a – 6c+. Views of the town, the sea and the surrounding rocks are great :)
The sector closest to the sea, with beautiful views and a short approach. Good for hot days, but be prepared for mosquitoes. There is something for beginners as well as more advanced ones. There are a few 5b – 5c, a lot of sixes and a lot of routes in the range of 7a – 7b. As for Leonidio, the routes are rather short – most up to 20 m.
Sector Twin Caves
About 40 routes, from easy 5c – 6a up to 8b+. At climbinleonidio.com, we read that the sun is from 12 am – 1 pm, but this applies to the right part of the sector, rich in difficult routes. On the left part, where there are easy routes it was hot already at 11 am. Beside, it was very crowded, so we didn’t spend there much time.
Sector Crash of the Titans
A lot of climbing on level 6b – 7c. For beginners on the left there is one 5c. There are only two routes listed on climbinleonidio.com, the current list (though I don’t know if it is fully up to date) is for example on plezanje.net. We were there just before sunset and in the afternoon light the rocks looked beautiful!
In the Kokkinovrachos sector there are more than 10 sport multi-pitches routes. One is graded at 5c+ (Mignonette) and the others at 6b or higher. We climbed the easiest one, and although I was a little disappointed with its level because I was expecting some challenge, it gave me a lot of pleasure. Earlier, except for the course, I did only one three-pitches route in Sokoliki in Poland, but I have known for a long time that multi-pitches routes are something that I like :)
The picthes are as follows: (according to info from agorf.gr)
- 5b, 30 m
- 4c, 20 m
- 5a, 25 m
- 5c+, 20 m
- 5c, 25 m
- 5c, 35 m
- 5b, 20 m
However, both with my friend we agreed that it’s overgraded and the most difficult pitches are 5b.
Between the fourth and fifth pitch, it is worth looking around well, because the belay station is hidden behind the rock on the right side and it is easy to bypass it. Or we are just not perceptive ;) In any case, the Germans who climbed before us did a station in the middle of the pitch, after they realized that the pitch was too long. I got to the next belay station, but I ran out of quickdraws (I had 19), so I didn’t use the last bolt and third one from the end. Then, during rappeling, my friend also missed this belay station, only when I came down after him I spotted it.
As for the rappel, it seems that you can also go down the path to Leonidio. This pair of Germans probably came down this way.
The bad weather did not allow me to take nice pictures, but the views anyway where beautiful :)
Transport and accommodation
By car from the airport of Athens, it is reportedly about 3 hours to Leonidio. I traveled with a friend by a bus and it takes approx. 5 – 6 hours – almost 1.5 hours for the bus (X93) from the airport to the bus station and from there 4 hours. The bus timetable between Athens and Leonidio can be found here: www.athensguide.com/practicalinfo/busschedulesA.htm. Tickets can be bought probably only at the bus station (if you can get them online, the website must be in Greek, because I didn’t manage to find it in English) but it should not be a problem. We traveled on both ways by the bus at 8:15 and it was almost empty.
We were accommodated in Poulithra, a few km from Leonidio, in Haus Katerina. I was very satisfied. For a 2-bed room, with a bathroom and kitchen, we paid 22 euros, although it is normally a little more expensive. We had cheaper, because one of us spent several weeks there with his family. Despite this, for the price of about 12 euros per person, you can find accommodation in Leonidio and the surrounding area, especially if you are in a group of several people.