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Kalymnos offers a top peak challenge

- by Jessie Binns

Kalymnos offers a top peak challenge.

The Greek island of Kalymnos is not only a popular summer beach holiday destination it is also a magnet for world class rock climbers. This is an island where many visitors combine a Kalymnos beach holiday with their favourite sport of mountaineering and rock climbing.

The mountain cliffs of Kalymnos provide some of the best rock climbing in the world and is the second most popular destination in the world for climbing.

Thousands of climbers head for the peaks of Kalymnos all year round to test any of the 2,200 rugged climbing routes that have been opened on the island and maintained with help from the Municipality of Kalymnos.

Kalymnos is an island where climbers can combine a Greek island holiday with sports tourism, a combination which helps which boosts the local economy.

In a bid to promote climbing on the island, Kalymnos this year organized its first World Climbing Festival and attracted more than 250 top climbers to tackle some very tough challenges for prize money of €10,000 and for €5,000 worth of equipment.

The Kalymnos Climbing Festival included three different competitions,- at high, medium and low difficulty levels and eight new and unexplored climbing paths were opened specially for the festival.

Participants not only had the opportunity to climb and take lessons from professional teams but also to participate in a series of events organised by the Municipality of Kalymnos.

Every year the island attracts from 6,000 to 7,000 climbers from all over the planet. Most are from Europe, with Italy, France, Germany, UK, Poland, Spain, Belgium and Austria in the lead.

But others come from as far as Australia, Japan, Brazil, USA and South America to combine their favourite sport of rock climbing with a Greek island holiday.

Kalymnos offers both exceptional climbs with good organisation and mountain routes for of all levels of difficulty, from the testing requirements of world-class climbers to beginner tourists who just want to give the sport a try.

Kalymnos is one of the islands in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands and is located about 100km north-west of Rhodes. the Kalymnos landscape is, in large part, composed of barren limestone ideal for creating good quality climbs.

The beach holiday resorts of Kalymnos are mainly confined o the west coast with the main tourist strip at Massouri where the imposing islet of Telendos sits offshore.

The east of the island is virtually uninhabited and the mountainous interior is also criss-crossed by attractive green valleys etched with mule trails that help make Kalymnos an attractive island for walkers as well as climbers.