Mount Olympus - The Hiking Paradise at the Home of the Gods
Mount Olympus is one of the most popular hiking and mountaineering destinations in Europe. It offers an adventurous trip to the legendary home of the Greek gods to both beginners and experienced hikers. On their way up, travellers experience the region's diverse and breathtaking nature.
Geography - Greece's highest mountain range
With a height of 2,918 metres, Mount Olympus is the highest mountain range in Greece. It consists of the Mytikas (2,918 m), Skolio (2,911 m), Stefani (2,909) and Skala (2,866 m). Altogether there are 52 peaks. Mount Olympus lies in the north of the country on the border between Macedonia and Thessaly. Towns and villages near Mount Olympus are Litochoro, Katerini, Leptokaria and Panteleimonas. Mount Olympus is only 20 kilometres away from the sea. The climate is mild to hot in summer along the coast, while it is harsh in the mountains, especially in winter.
Nature - A unique flora and fauna
The massif has special geological features as well as its own flora and fauna. It became a protected area in 1938 and was declared a biosphere reserve by the UNESCO in 1981. The higher rock strata are characterised by a particularly rich flora and fauna. They are home to 30 types of orchids, gentian, boxwood and Bosnian pines as well as a variety of rare and endangered animal species. Among the numerous mammal species in this region you find chamois, deer, wildcats, stone martens, red foxes and squirrels. There are about 108 bird species, especially birds of prey, most of which are protected. The rivers and lakes are populated by a number of reptiles and amphibians, which are characteristic of Greece, as well as countless insects such as butterflies and horseflies.
Culture - Following the traces of the gods
The origin of the name of "Olympus" is not clear but this is not the case with the mountain's significance. Mount Olympus is the home of the gods in Greek mythology. The father of the gods, Zeus, lived on the summit, a light-flooded place, with eleven other gods in twelve heavenly palaces. The peak of Mytika was first climbed in 1913. A special sight is Greece's highest situated chapel on the peak of Profitis Ilias. At the edge of Mount Olympus, you see the beautiful village of Litochoro, which is characterised by its old town with scenic alleys and the church on the village square. Many hikes and mountaineering tours start here. Dion lies at the coast, at the foot of Mount Olympus. At the edge of the village you see an excavation site with finds from an ancient city from 5 and 4 BC. The city was once the cultural centre of ancient Macedonia. In the Archaeological Museum in Dion, travellers can marvel at finds such as mosaics and clay mobiles on three storeys. A special highlight are the four sitting philosophers of the House of Dionysos. About an hour's drive away, near Kondariotissa, you find the modern Monastery of Osios Ephraim. It was built in Byzantine style combined with modern architecture. Today it is one of the greatest nunneries in Greece.
Experience - Enjoying Greek mentality and food
Visitors of Mount Olympus enjoy a unique flora and fauna on their way up the mountain range. The Olympus is the favourite destination of many travellers of Greece who want to be active. A prerequisite is that you are in good physical condition. Visitors should definitely not underestimate the mountain or climb it without appropriate hiking gear. Besides a good state of health, you need sturdy shoes and warm clothes. If you follow this advice, you will experience a wonderful adventure. Visitors who do not dare to ascend the majestic mountain but want to explore the region's beautiful landscape can go on a tour through the forests in the lower areas of the Olympus National Park by car. Travellers who want to get to know authentic Greece should visit the mountain village of Litochoro. You experience the Greeks' typical culture, mentality and hospitality at first hand in its taverns, especially in the evening. The taverns serve dishes such as Greek salad, souvlaki and moussaka, which are characteristic of Macedonia. They are accompanied by a glass of Greek wine and ouzo.
Activities - A paradise for adventurers
Mount Olympus is the best-known mountain range in the whole of Greece and is popular with hikers and mountaineers from all over the world. You can hike from hut to hut and stay overnight. There are several mountain cabins and shelters on the way to the peak, for example Stavros, Christos Kakalos and Josos Apostolidis. The best equipped hut is Spilios Agapitos. Most huts are opened from June to the end of September, which is why these months are also the best time for travelling around Mount Olympus. Most hiking trails start in the villages of Litochoro, Dion and Petra. The E4 European long distance path is highly recommended. It starts in Litochoro and runs through the Enipeas Gorge to the peak of Mount Olympus. Only experienced mountaineers should climb the highest peaks.
You can easily reach Mount Olympus by plane via the airport in Thessaloniki (SKG), which is only one hour away. From there, you can continue your journey by car on the well-developed roads or the motorway. In addition, travellers can arrive by train going from Thessaloniki to Athens. The nearest stations are located in Katerini and Leptokaria. The people in Greece speak Greek, of course, but you can also communicate in English.
A trip to Mount Olympus means conquering spectacular hiking trails, experiencing Greek mythology and culture at first hand and being mesmerised by a rich flora and fauna.