LEONIDIO GREECE | OCTOBER 23-30, 2021 | ALL GENDERS WELCOME
“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.”
- Democritus, Ancient Greek Philosopher
Happiness, as it turns out, is also pretty easy to find climbing in Greece.
We fall in love with places all the time, and boy did we fall hard for Leonidio. We’ve traveled the world in search of that perfect combination of food, culture and immaculate stone, and nowhere has it been quite as perfect as the Arcadian Coast. Nestled on the shores of the Aegean Sea just a few hours’ drive from Athens, the town of Leonidio has it all: stunning scenery, friendly locals, a vibrant cuisine and thousands of years of history and culture, and of course world-class rock climbing on near-perfect limestone.
Whether you climb 5.4 or 5.14, the crags of Leonidio offer some of the most fun and accessible sport climbing in the Mediterranean. Tufas, pockets, steeps, slabs - they’re all there, and they’re all good. Vacation climbing really doesn’t get any better. What’s more, most of the approaches are short, and the variety of settings from the hills to the seaside never seem to get old. This trip is perfect for climbers of any skill level, and is a great place to push your limits, work on your lead game, or just enjoy the ride.
We’ve hand-picked our favorite restaurants, bakeries and snacks, and we know you’re going to love them. There are few things that beat strolling along an ancient stone path, olive and orange groves all around you, with the sea shining in the distance and the glow of the cliffs above. Add in the spinach pie in your backpack and the memory of last night’s calamari and souvlaki and the promise of more magical days and dinners to come, and you’ll start to get the picture. We really cannot say enough about just how magical this place is, but trust us - it really is incredible.
We have booked the entire Hatzipanayiotis Hotel for our retreat. The manor house is distinguished for its authentic architectural features that takes us back on a journey deep in the past, when houses in North Peloponnese were constructed with stone.
The story of the Mansion dates back to many centuries ago. The building is named after the outstanding ship-owner Kostas Hatzipanayiotis (Politis), a great personality of navigation before the Greek revolution. The Hatzipanayiotis family contributed much to the Fight for Liberation in 1821, while a member of the family, K.N. Hatzipanayiotis served as a Member of the Parliament for Kynouria and as Mayor of Limneos area, the capital city of which was Leonidio.
IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide / AMGA Certified Rock Guide
Chris has climbed, guided, skied and eaten his way across the globe. Winner of the 2020 Piolet d’Or for the first ascent of 7041m Link Sar in Pakistan, he is always hunting for the perfect rock climbing vacation to provide sun and fun to offset cold nights in snowy mountains. His hardest send in Leonidio so far is 7c+ (5.13a), but he’s just as excited about getting back to the spanakopita at the bakery as he is about finding the perfect 8a. Learn more about Chris at his website.
AMGA Single Pitch Instructor / Apprentice Rock Guide
In only six short years of climbing, Lizzy has managed to amass an impressive resume. In addition to being the founder and owner of She Moves Mountains, America’s leader in climbing instruction for women, she’s also found time to make the first ascent of the hardest trad route put up by a woman in Oregon, a fearsome 5.13. When she’s not climbing cracks or helping others achieve their dreams, she’s likely dreaming of souvlaki.
You get yourself to the Athens International Airport and we’ll meet you there. We’ll pick you up and drive you to the Coco-Mat hotel where you’ll be free to explore the enchanting ancient city, marvel at the Acropolis, and dip your finger into the world of Greek food on your own at one of the Plaka neighborhood’s many delightful restaurants. If you want to spend a few days exploring Athens beforehand, just let us know and we can help set you up with a great itinerary to explore on your own, or a local guide if you’d prefer.
We’ll start the day with breakfast at the hotel, getting the whole team together and getting to know each other before we load up for the three hour drive to Leonidio. If the weather is nice, we’ll stop along the way for a short walk through the ruins of one of the largest ancient agoras, or markets, in Greece before arriving at the Hotel Hatzipanayiotis, our home base for the week. You’ll have the afternoon to relax and explore before we head to the beach for dinner on the water and some local seafood specialities.
We’ll again start with a breakfast buffet and packing a lunch full of freshly-baked goodies before we head out for the day to climb. Most of our favorite cliffs are less than a half hour’s drive from town, with some even walking distance. We’ll spend the day on the rock and come back to town in time for a little downtime before dinner and drinks at the local taverna, home of the absolute best souvlaki on the planet (if you ask us, at least).
We’ll repeat our routine with breakfast and gifts from the bakery before heading out to climb again. Depending on the group’s skill levels and goals, we may head to two different destinations before converging again for dinner.
For folks who are keen on another day of climbing we’ll head out again, while if folks want a day off, they’ll be free to explore town or join us on a field trip to visit one of the many local artisans. Either way we’ll head over to the nearby village of Poulithra for a delicious dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Myrtoon.
We’ll once again start with breakfast and this will be our last full climbing day of the trip. It will also be our last dinner in Leonidio, and we’ll make it a special one with a full celebration dinner catered just for us by our hotel’s chef.
We’ll try our best to get an early start for a half-day of climbing before we have to pack up and get ourselves back to Athens. We’ll spend another night at the Coco-Mat, and go out for one last farewell dinner.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and you’ll have to go home. A short ride from hotel to airport should have you on your way. Although we highly recommend spending an extra day in Athens to explore the historical ruins like the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
The majority of climbers come to our retreats alone - somewhere around 90%. If you are hesitating to join because you would be coming solo, please know that we expect a majority of our participants to be joining by themselves, seeking community.
We generally have a wide range of ages at our retreats. The average tends to fall anywhere between the ages of 26 to 45. But we have had quite a few climbers in their 60's join as well. It really is up to the attitude and physical ability of the participant.
ABSOLUTELY. We will have at least 2 instructors at the retreat so that we can accommodate a wide range of abilities. In fact, teaching people the basics of rock climbing is what we do best. The entire ethos of She Moves Mountains guiding is to remember what it felt like to try climbing for the first time. It's intimidating, but we will be with you ever step of the way.
Yes, we have payment plans available. To reserve a spot we require a $1,000 non-refundable deposit. Apply the discount code "greecedeposit" at checkout to take advantage of this option. Full payment will be required by May 15th.
We have a very strict cancellation policy. Please review it before committing to this retreat.