Famous for: One of the world’s largest petrified forests, around 11 million olive trees and a lot of ouzo. Lesbos is an island of contrasts, of lazy olive groves and harsh, rosy-hued volcanic rock. But the most surreal spectacle is the petrified forest; bizarre marble pillars pepper the landscape. Only on closer inspection can they be identified as fossilised trees. Like a scene from a Narnian battlefield, these stone sequoias are beautifully baffling. A four-hour walk starting from Sigri skirts this UNESCO-protected site and dramatic views, often stretching out over glistening waters, unfold around every corner.
Famous for: Being home to the 12 Olympian Gods, the first national park in Greece and jaw-dropping views.
Greece’s highest peak, Mount Olympus, has become fabled just as much for its flora and fauna as its mythical status. It’s a birdwatchers paradise, home to honey buzzards, falcons and golden eagles. Routes to reach the seat of the gods range from well-maintained pathways to little more than shepherds tracks. The charming town of Litohoro — all gable roofs and wooden gates — is an ideal starting point, and from there its possible to ascend the Mytikas summit — the highest point at almost 10,000ft.
Famous for: The celebrations of the ancient gods and its mythical forests, said to be home to centaurs.
The Pelion peninsula is relatively unchartered territory tourist-wise, and all the more lovely for it. In one direction cliffs plunge into turquoise waters and in the other, lofty eucalyptus and plane trees meet wild olive groves. For a three-hour hike, start at the seaside village of Kala Nera and follow the footpath towards Milies, through lush vegetation and wild flower meadows.
Famous for: The world’s only source of mastic, 100+ species of orchid and mestoutsiko, a local (and lethal) wine made from figs and grapes. Chios’s captivating terrain ranges from lonesome mountain crags in the north to lush, fertile valleys in the south. It’s a magical place, with the island’s highest peak, Mount Pelineo, offering postcard-worthy views across the ocean. A two-hour route to the summit, starting just before the village of Viki, follows an old footpath, passing a fresh-water spring and a small, steepled church. Pyrgi is also well worth exploring, its buildings are adorned with geometric patterns found nowhere else in the world.
The Menalon Trail
Famous for: The first certified trail in Greece, wild swimming and villages selling homemade honey. Running through the heart of Arcadia, this place is as bucolic as its name suggests. The Menalon Trail packs in scenery that will leave even the most demanding nature lover lost for words. A two-and-a-half-hour hike from Elati showcases the richest part of the route, passing through forests of pine and fir trees.
Famous for: Its cobbled pathways, well-marked hiking trails and for once being the preserve of Greece’s shipping clans. Visitors to Andros — and there are relatively few — tend to stick to the island’s 70 beaches but inland, arched stone bridges meet babbling brooks, and waterfalls spill through chestnut forests. Striking out from the stately town of Chora, a stone-paved circular trail follows the footpath along the Megalos Potamos River, weaving among citrus groves and cypress trees.