Kalymnos is a stunning little Greek Island with an incredible amount of rock climbing to offer. A high concentration of superb sport climbing on only a few square kilometers makes it a very special place. New routes are constantly being added and Kalymnos is a great destination for both fanatic climbers searching for their next big send, and chilled climbing holidays.
There are not many places in Europe where you can climb amazing tufas in the morning, sunbathe on beautiful beaches in the afternoon, and have a drink in a great cozy bar in the evening; all in one magical day in Kalymnos.
There are around 64 sectors of well bolted sport climbing on the island, all on solid limestone. Some crags can be a little sharp, while others get a little polished, but there are so many climbs to choose from that you can be never short of high quality routes.
The sheer quantity of rock in Kalymnos provides all types of climbing styles, from delicate slabs and vertical crimpy walls, through spectacular tufas to pumpy climbs on big jugs. Kalymnos’ tufa climbing is very special and different from anywhere else. At crags such as Grande Grotta, the tufas are so huge, and there is so many of them, that you climb through a three dimensional maze of rock. It is impossible to get very far without kneebars and heel hooks!
In Kalymnos, superb quality tufa lines can be found across a wide grade range, from sixes to nines.
Most of the climbs are single pitch routes but there are also many two or three pitch stamina routes in sectors such as Panorama or Sikati Cave. It takes a short while to get used to a little less friction as all seaside crags usually have more humidity in the air.
There are a few villages on the island. Most climbers stay in Masouri or Armeos, both of which are very close to the most popular crags and offer accommodation in hotels, budget hostels, B&B’s and apartments for rent. Wild camping is not allowed on the island.
To get to Kalymnos you have to fly to the nearby island of Kos which is served by low cost airlines. From there you can take a ferry to Mastichari port in Kalymnos. Alternatively, you can fly straight to Kalymnos Airport which has a connection from Athens, but the flights often get canceled due to high winds.
The best time to climb in Kalymnos is from April through to May and from October to November. During those ties the island is not too busy with tourists and the conditions are good. The climate in Kalymnos is quite dry which makes it possible to climb throughout the year. Most of the crags are in the shade in the morning, so if you get your timing right, you can always find decent climbing conditions. Unsurprisingly, summers are way too hot for serious climbing. As most of the crags are south facing, climbing in winter is possible, but the rock takes a long time to dry and rain is frequent.