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Kastraki - Kyparissi

By: Aris Theodoropoulos
Country: Greece, Region: Peloponnese, Town: Kyparissi (Peloponnese)

Kyparissi is a secluded paradise backed by the craggy slopes of Mount Parnon and fronted by the cobalt blue of the Myrtoan Sea. Home to about 400 people, it is tucked away on the east coast of the Peloponnese—between Leonidio and Monemvasia—at the end of a scenic mountain road. The time by car from Athens is about 5 hours. Until 1970, Kyparissi was only accessible by sea or on foot by walking down a long, steep mountain path. Then, the road connecting it to Sparta was completed. And what a road… the last 10km of the drive down to the village are enough to intimidate even those of us used to verticality! As it meanders down through steep cliffs and lush ravines, the road is enormously scenic, but also quite dizzying.

Kyparissi is surrounded by consecutive belts of rock. Some describe it as ‘Two Céüses’ or ‘Half a Kalymnos’. These claims may sound exaggerated, but there is a lot of truth to them. Kyparissi truly is phenomenal, and it does have everything it takes to become an international climbing venue in the footsteps of Kalymnos. Cliffs are abundant; their quality is exceptional; climbing conditions are perfect, especially in spring and fall; touristic infrastructure is already in place; the setting is spectacular and authentic; and the locals, who are genuinely kind, would greatly welcome an extended tourist season.

So far, the scant amount of routes wholly misrepresents the vast climbing potential of the area. Even though it was discovered back in 2005, until recently only 25 routes had been equipped in Kyparissi. In spring 2015 the Kyparissi Bolting Project commenced with the aim of equipping 120 sport routes, as well as extending the area’s tourist season from the summer months into spring and fall.

Kastraki is the easiest crag in Kyparissi, with routes starting at 5a. Kastraki is in the middle section of the village, above the church and not far from the beach, in lush surroundings with beautiful views. Kastraki has all the makings of a popular crag: very good quality limestone, low to mid-grades (5a-6c), a “central” location and a very easy approach.


Getting to Kyparissi
From Athens:
Kyparissi is 300km southwest of Athens and approx. 90km from Sparta. From the Athens International Airport, take the Attiki Odos motorway in the direction towards Elefsina. Continue towards Korinthos. On the outskirts of Korinthos, turn off onto the motorway towards Tripoli. From Tripoli, continue towards Sparti. At the entrance to Sparti, turn left towards Geraki and then follow the route Agios Dimitrios-Kremasti-Lambokampos-Harakas-Kyparissi.

From Leonidio: There are two routes from Leonidio to Kyparissi. The longer route (97km) is via a paved road, while and the shorter route (64km) is via a relatively smooth dirt road which does not necessarily require a 4×4 vehicle. The paved route goes from Leonidio via Kosmas-Geraki-Agios Dimitrios-Kremasti-Lampokampos-Harakas-Kyparissi. The dirt road goes via Poulithra-Peleta-Harakas-Kyparissi. As mentioned above, a coastal road connecting Leonidio to Kyparissi (30-35km) is currently under construction. It is estimated to be completed in early 2016, and it will be part of the new Argos-Leonidio-Fokianos-Kyparissi coastal road.

Getting to Kastraki:
Go to the middle part of the village (called Paralia), on the SE side of Kyparissi. You will see the church and cemetery on the right as you drive down to the beach. Park either near the church or across the road (in a plot with olive trees used as a parking area; there is a sign). Cross the little bridge leading to the cemetery entrance and walk around the cemetery wall to the right. You will see the clear path going up to the cliff; there are also red marks. Walking time: 5 min.


On the left (Kastraki) a quality grey wall, somewhat sharp, but with great variety in features and moves. On the right (Kastraki Upper), an overhanging red wall with tufas, big holds, and athletic gym-style routes. All routes are very well-protected, so go for the onsight!


There are accommodation options for all budgets in Kyparissi; some links for Kyparissi accommodation can be found below. There are also at least two general stores and several very good tavernas/restaurants. Good to know: Kyparissi does not have a bank, an ATM or a gas station. Make sure to come prepared. If you are driving from Athens, fill up your gas tank again in Sparta or in the village of Agios Dimitrios. If you are coming from Leonidio, you can get cash and gas there.


The Kyparissi Climbing Festival (October 2-4, 2015)
To introduce gorgeous Kyparissi as a climbing venue, a small festival is planned for the first weekend of October (2,3 and 4 October 2015). The event will be organized by the local municipality with support by The North Face Greece, Vertical Life, and Zlagboard. Special guest at the festival will be Angy Eiter, the four-time world champion with three 9a ascents under her belt. Angy and her partner Bernie Ruech are very familiar with Kyparissi and Leonidio, as they have already invested a lot of time in developing new routes at both venues. The festival will include a climbing marathon on Saturday, Oct 3rd; live music and and award ceremony on Saturday evening, and free climbing on Sunday. When more details about the event become available we will update here.

Festival registration

Climbers can register online here. The first 100 climbers to register will receive a free Kyparissi Festival t-shirt by The North Face, the event’s main sponsor. To register online, you must have booked your accommodation for the days of the festival and note your hotel on the registration form. To register in person, visit the registration desk at Hotel Cavo Kortia.

Accommodation links


Greece Sport Climbing: The Best Of
by Aris Theodoropoulos
Includes the following area:
Thessaly: Meteora; Pyli Little Gorge; Mouzaki; Almyros
Athens area (Central Greece): Mavrosouvala; Hasia Cave; Acharneis; Mikri Varasova/Epos Filis; Sesi; Vrachokipos; Lelaki; Chaos
Patras area (Western Greece): Alepochori; Chatzouri; Kleisoura; Varasova
Peloponnese ( Southern Greece): Nafplio; Leonidio; Kyparissi; Zobolo; Lagada; Nedousa
Aegean islands: Symi; Anafi; Crete (the crags: Voulismeno Aloni, Plakias and Tersanas Cave)

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70m rope; 15 quickdraws (QD) for routes up to 30m, 20 QD for routes longer than 30m.


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