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Magical Mount Ainos

Updated: Apr 25

Every year, on the 18th of April, UNESCO celebrates ‘World Heritage Day’. You might ask yourself; ‘what is the connection between this and Mount Ainos?’. Let me explain: Mount Ainos is part of the UNESCO Global Geopark that stretches all over Kefalonia and Ithaca. These ‘sights’ vary from caves to mountains, wetlands, beaches, and even sinkholes that can be found near Argostoli. Mount Ainos and the other sights have been part of this list since 2022. Because yesterday was World Heritage Day, I thought it would be a great idea to write about the hike that I did a couple of weeks ago. More on this later!

In addition, another interesting fact is that Mount Ainos is the first location in the whole of Greece that has been designated as an International ‘Dark Sky Park’. Because of the little light pollution in this area, you can observe the night sky better than anywhere else in Greece. Because of the reduced light pollution, animals can maintain their normal activities at night such as hunting, mating, and much more. Thanks to its designation in 2022, the animals that live near Mount Ainos Geopark, are protected against this light pollution. Every year, the ‘Dark Sky Park’ organizes various events related to stargazing. If you are interested in this, make sure to check out their website: 

Back to my hiking adventure from a couple of weeks ago. On a Sunday morning, we drove from Argostoli to Geopark Mount Ainos. A scenic road took us almost to the top of the mountain, where we parked our car. Even if you are not able to hike to Megas Soros (1628m), I would still recommend driving up the mountain and walking around near the ‘Mount Ainos Parking’, close to the television towers. The nature is stunning, even at the start of the trail. After taking some pictures of the unspoiled nature and the rock formations, we hiked approximately 5 kilometers when we arrived at the steps that would take us through the extraordinary forest of Ainos. The scenery here is breathtaking, and for a second, I thought I was hiking through the unspoiled nature of New Zealand. The mystical fog combined with the green landscape made it extremely beautiful. On our way to the top, we passed through various varieties of landscapes. Rocks, pine trees, hills covered in moss, Ainos has it all. Halfway through, we paused for a couple of minutes to enjoy some fruit and to catch our breath. During our lunch, we enjoyed the view, even though we were in between the clouds, which made it even more mystical. Shortly after our lunch, we reached Megas Soros, the top of Mount Ainos, the tallest peak of the Ionian Islands. After snapping some photos, we made our way down the mountain and reached the car after a couple of hours. Exhausted, but satisfied, we drove back to Argostoli. There is so much more to tell about nature, wildlife, history, but I will leave that for another blog post!

If you live in Kefalonia and you have never been to Ainos, or if you are planning on visiting the island as a tourist, I would highly recommend visiting Mount Ainos. Even if you are not an experienced hiker, it is worth it to wander around the Geopark and take in all the beauty that this park has to offer. If you are lucky, you might even spot some wild horses. Mount Ainos is the perfect place for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, hikers, and (astro) photographers. Long story short, my Mount Ainos adventure is one I will never forget!

Written by: Jeroen

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