SPORTS TOURISM ALL YEAR AROUND
Greece got involved in Sports Tourism with rapid steps in recent years. Precise figures do not exist, but it is estimated that more than 10% of arrivals in the country have to do with this specific sector of the tourist industry. It is estimated that Sports Tourism will flourish in the coming years in Greece, as the country can combine its natural beauties with sporting events, that are increasingly attracting internationally and domestic interest.
The Athens Marathon, the only one in the world that bears the title «authentic», is now one of the biggest sporting events organized every year in Greece. It in absolute connection with the history of the country, as the route has been traced in the steps of Philippides, who in 490 BC. ran the same route to convey the message of the victory of the Athenians over the Persians, at the battle of Marathon. It is also historically connected with the Olympic movement, since this route was followed by the runners in the first modern Olympic Games, in Athens, in 1896. The Authentic Marathon of Athens offers participants an unforgettable experience.
Authentic Big Blue
Inspired by the legendary movie «Le grand bleu», the Authentic Big Blue made its first dive to the bottom of Amorgos Island in 2017 and has since become a benchmark for the global diving community. Thanks to the passion of the organizers, it is today more than just a free diving competition. It is a holistic experience with many parallel events. The competition annually brings some of the top athletes of the free diving genre to Greece. Moreover, spectators have the opportunity to be introduced to the flavours of Greek Gastronomy and learn about aspects of the Aegean Islands’ Culture. From this year onwards the Authentic Big Blue gets to have a little sibling, as in addition to the competition in Amorgos, further competition will also be held in the waters of the Ionian Sea.
Prasonisi beach in Rhodes has long been known worldwide as one of the best places for windsurfing, however in recent years it has become a hotspot destination for kitesurfing as well. On this small sandy natural bridge that joins Rhodes to Prasonisi the wind plays its own games and the colourful kite eagles fill the sky. From afar, they resemble swarms of butterflies. The secret of this particular beach is that there is not one single day when the weather conditions are not favourable for the adventurous kite surfers. When one side of this two-sided beach is protected from the winds, the other side has all the wind required to offer visitors endless hours of flying and enjoyment. This is the main reason why some of the top kitesurfers in the world prefer Prasonisi for their holidays.
Having regained its stable position on the world champion ship calendar, the Acropolis Rally is a magnet for thousands of motorsport fans. Extremely hard and demanding, it is a rally in which, in order to win one will have to possess the… powers of the Gods of Olympus! The «Rally of the Gods» fully justifies its name and satisfies even the most demanding fans of rallying. This year’s event coincides with the 70 years’ anniversary since the first «throttles» on the dirt tracks of the Greek countryside, therefore the organizers are planning a series of parallel events, with the presence of legends of the rally, but also surprises, such as special night routes.
If there is one region in Greece that can be proud of its cycling culture and its long association with cycling, it is none other than Rhodes Island. The result of this tradition is the international cycling tour of the island, which started in 1987 and in the last four years has been upgraded by the International Cycling Federation (UCI) to the ME 2.2 category, which makes it a unique route in Greece. This upgrade, as well as the race’s excellent organization, has increased the competition and today more and more cycling stars and professional teams are participating. The participants have the opportunity to cycle through the «emerald island» and enjoy a demanding race in a beautiful natural setting.
Kalymnos climbing festival
Sculpted through the ages by the winds and the waves, the rocks of Kalymnos have been standing steep and proud for centuries like immovable guardians of the island. These steep rocks are also the reason why every year thousands of tourists arrive there to climb their peaks. Since 1996 when the top Italian climber Andrea di Bari went on holiday to the island, until today, Kalymnos has developed into an ideal destination for climbing enthusiasts from all over the world. With almost 3,000 ensured and marked routes, the location meets a wide spectrum of climbers’ needs, from beginners to the top, world renowned athletes. Besides the incomparable natural beauty of Kalymnos, the island offers a high-level sports and tourist infrastructure. Since year 2000, the Municipality of the island annually organizes its own climbing festival, also including a series of parallel events.
Cycling tour of Greece
After a 10-year hiatus, the Cycling Tour of Greece was back in 2022 and it is going to stay for good! The event brings the country at the centre of international competitive cycling. It is a world-wide event that showcases the beauties of Greece and highlights the demanding sport of cycling while on the other hand strengthens the country’s cycling culture. For this reason, every year the routes are different, so that the race gradually passes through all regions of the country. It is characteristic that this year’s race started from Crete and ended at the Peloponnese, on a route that passed through 23 cities.