Mount Olympus – Greece

When Is the Best Time

Mount Olympus, the mountain of the gods, is an impressive geographical hike, the maximum altitude is 2.917 meters, but it’s only some kilometers from the Aegean Sea.

The best time and season is from June until the end of September. In the spring the mountaintop is known for thunderstorms, hence the number of trees felled by lightning.

Weather and Crowds Details | Time – Seasons – Months
  • Because of its high elevation, Mount Olympus gets pretty cold. The mountain is usually snow-capped between September and May.
  • About 10,000 people per year hike to the summit of Mount Olympus. Most of them in the holiday season, which results in crowds.
  • June through to September is an excellent time in terms of weather conditions.
  • Shoulder Months: May and October provide pleasant weather and fewer visitors. The winter months are dangerous for inexperienced hikers and climbers. There is a chance of avalanches, and the weather conditions can get serious! The average hiker should avoid the time between December and April.

 

Recommended Tours and Hikes | Easy to Moderate

 

You don’t have to do the strenuous full-week hike to enjoy the breathtaking sights of Mount Olympus. Find great tours here (via GetYourGuide, with excellent service: Mount Olympus Tours. Tip: Book in advance!

Find the best hotel deals for Thessaloniki here: booking.com low price deals for Thessaloniki (save the link!)

 

How Fit Do I Need to Be to Climb Mount Olympus?

Although no previous experience is required, a basic level of fitness is necessary to climb Mount Olympus. It is highly recommended to be prepared for a real trekking experience. When hiking Mount Olympus, you must be prepared to wear clothing and gear for spending three days on the mountain. Also, it would help if you prepare for hiking from hut to hut and hiking up to 8 hours a day.

If you’re not sure you can handle this hike, we recommend you start training a few weeks in advance, hike a couple of hours a day while carrying a backpack.

What Are the Accommodations Like When Climbing Mt. Olympus?

Depending on the hike you select, you can spend some time in inns before or after the climb of Mount Olympus. However, during the climb itself, you will stay in mountain huts.

Mountain huts in Greece are located in some of the most dramatic landscapes of the country’s mountains. They vary in size and style, but they have a cozy and warm atmosphere, with welcoming hosts and authentic food.

When visiting a cabin, prepare to meet people from all over the world who share the same love for the mountains and hiking with you. However, expect that you won’t have the privacy and amenities of a hotel room. You’ll be sharing rooms, bathrooms, and sleeping quarters with bunk beds. Most cabins will have blankets, but no bedclothes or towels, so it is advisable to bring a small sleeping pad if you don’t want to sleep directly on the mattress.

What Should You Pack for a 7-Day Hike?

Packing the appropriate clothing and gear is one of the most critical aspects of preparing for this hike. Carrying the right gear while climbing Mount Olympus will avoid overpacking and make the hike even more enjoyable. Our packing list:

  • Hiking boots
  • Socks
  • Trekking pants
  • Underwear
  • Casual shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm sweater
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Sun hat or cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Warm hat
  • Daypack
  • Headlamp
  • Sun protection
  • 2 Water bottles, 1 liter each
  • Bed sheet-sleeping bag liner
  • Toiletries and a small towel
Should You Tip the Guide After the Climb?

Tipping is expected in most places in Greece, but it is by no means mandatory. Of course, there is no set standard for how much to tip if you have good service. As for tipping the guide, a tip between 2 and 5 EUR per person per trekking day is a good indication.

 

 

An estimated 10.000 people a year ascend the mountain, but outside the holiday season, there are no crowds. Not all try to reach the ultimate summit of Mytikas. There are nice hikes along the slopes of the mountain, too. Most start at the village of LItochoro up the Prionia trailhead.

There are four refuges on the east side of the mountain and are referred to as refuge A, B, C. Refuge Agapitos, A, is the most popular and is on the Prionia trail.

It’s recommend to book in advance for the summer. The next morning you follow the trail above the treeline, and it takes another 2-3 hours to the Mytikas summit. The top of Mount Olympus has three summits, and the most challenging is Mytikas. On our ascent at the beginning of October, the summit was covered in clouds. It’s advised to sleep two nights on the mountain to cope with any weather incident if you want to reach the top.

reviewed by Stefan Bonne

 

Detailed Description of a Typical 7-Day Mt. Olympus Trek
Day 1: Transfer to Litochoro

Meeting in Thessaloniki and transfer to Litochoro, the “base camp” for all expeditions on Mount Olympus. The town is divided into two parts, one by the sea and the other by the riverbed of the Enipeas Gorge, at the foot of Mount Olympus. Litochoro offers a slow pace atmosphere that inspires visitors to stroll through the shady streets and wander around the secluded beaches. Visiting Enipeas Gorge to admire its amazing rock formations is a must.

Day 2: The Archaeological Site of Dion and Climb The Mountain of Gods
  • Distance: 5,5km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time: 3 hours

After breakfast, you visit the archaeological site of Dion, the ancient Macedonian sanctuary of Zeus, and its museum. During the Hellenistic period, it was the religious center of Macedonia. Zeus was worshipped here, and the Greeks held Olympic games.

You will then be taken to the refuge of Koromilia (1,000 m), stopping on the way to the canyon of Orlias, one of the most beautiful canyons in Greece. Lunch will be served at the refuge. After that, you will ascend to our first stop on the Mountain of the Gods, the sanctuary of Petrostrugka.

The trail passes through dense jungle, gently but steadily gaining altitude until it reaches the refuge after about three hours. The refuge is located at an altitude of 1,940 meters above sea level, in a beautiful place among ancient Bosnian pines. It offers a panoramic view of the valley of Katerini, Pelion, and the Aegean Sea. You will have a tasty dinner in the cottage.

Day 3: The Plateau of the Muses and Profitis Ilias
  • Distance: 6 km
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Time: 4 hours

After breakfast, you will start the ascent to the Plateau of the Muses, one of the most breathtaking places here. The path will lead you to the summit of Skourta (about 2,500 m), where the alpine landscape dominates and offers a striking 360-degree view. From here, a narrow path called Laimos (neck) will take you up to the plateau.

A hike through the ridge is a unique experience. It allows you to admire the fantastic geology of the rock formations of Mount Olympus. At higher elevations, you will have many opportunities to spot the endemic wild goat of Mount Olympus. This goat is a rare and endangered species that resembles a deer more than a goat and inhabits mainly the alpine zone of Mount Olympus.

The four-hour-long hike ends at the refuge of Kakalos, located at an altitude of 2,650 meters. It was named after Christos Kakalos, a local hunter who led the Swiss climbers Fred Boissonnas and Daniel Baud Bovy to the first recorded ascent of the highest peak of Mount Olympus, Mytikas, in 1913. After a short break and lunch at the hut, you hike through the enchanting mountain scenery of the plateau and reach the summit of Agios Profitis (at about 2,800 m) after an easy 40-minute walk.

A climb to the top of Profitis Ilias offers a breathtaking view of the northern slopes of Mount Olympus and the nearby mountains. You will enjoy a delicious dinner at the hut.

Day 4: Scolio Summit and Descent to Spilios Agapitos Refuge
  • Distance: 6 km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time: 4 hours

After a nice breakfast at the refuge, we are heading to Scolio summit at 2.904 m. Scolio is the third highest peak of Olympus, which you can reach on an easy path. Scolio offers a magnificent view of the mountain’s highest peaks, Mytikas (2,918 m) and Stefani (2,912 m).

Tip: Experienced climbers can climb the summit of Mytikas at their own risk via Skala or the steep gorge of Mytikas. They are considered class III ascents.

After enjoying a snack at the top of Scolio, you follow a scenic trail through an area called Zonaria. Here, the barren rocky landscapes of Mount Olympus are overwhelmingly breathtaking. After a two-hour descent, you’ll reach the Spilios Agapitos refuge. The refuge is a magnificent stone building in a beautiful location that forms a natural balcony at an altitude of 2,100 meters. This cozy hut/refuge is an ideal place to relax. Dinner will be served later in the evening.

Day 5: European Trail E4 and Enipeas Gorge
  • Distance: 15 km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time: 8 hours

On day five, you start the descent from Spilios Agapitos Hut (2,100 m) to the Prionia site (1,100 m). The long but picturesque descent is the most visited hiking trail on Mount Olympus and is part of the E4 European Trail. The trail is in excellent condition, and the combination of thick pines with other trees gives the area a unique charm.

There are several viewpoints to stop and give you the chance to observe the surrounding evergreen forests and landscapes. Once in Prionia, admire the waterfalls of Enipeas and enjoy a lunch in the local café. You will then follow the Enipeas River to the village of Litochoro.

You will get the opportunity to visit the ancient monastery of Agios Dionysios. It was built in 1542, and it is a monument of rare architectural and aesthetic beauty. Once a fortress of stone and wood on a naturally fortified plateau.

The hike from Prionia to Litochoro is about 5 hours, crossing the canyon seven times over beautiful wooden bridges. The route is pretty strenuous due to the ascents and descents, but the various geological features, the small lakes with crystal clear water, and the steep mountain slopes offer a rare beauty and reward you for your effort.

Tonight you’ll spend the night in a guesthouse by the sea and finish your descent from 2,100 meters to sea level. As a reward, you will enjoy dinner in the best fish tavern in the region.

Day 6: Recreation and Transfer to Meteora

In the morning, you will enjoy the beach location of a genuine guesthouse. Swim or simply relax in the beautiful surroundings. In the early afternoon, you will head to the mysterious region of Meteora.

History says that in the 9th century AD, a group of monks moved to the area and lived in caves on the rock pillars, seeking complete solitude. In the 11th and 12th centuries AD, a monastic state was established, and by the 14th century, there were over 20 monasteries here. Today only six survive and are open to visitors.

After lunch in Kastraki, at the foot of Meteora, you begin the tour of the monasteries. Experience a spectacular view from the top with Kastraki and the Thessalian plain below and an unobstructed view of all the nearby mountains. Impressed by the landscape and astonished by the monks’ ability to climb the steep cliffs of Meteora, you will enjoy your dinner at a local taverna more than ever.

Day 7: Meteora Circuit
  • Distance: 11 km
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Time: 5 hours

After a day without hiking, you leave early for the 6-hour circuit around the Meteora rocks. Starting from the village of Kastraki, you follow paths and secret passageways used by monks. You will visit three of the six monasteries like The Great Meteoro Monastery. It was named “Meteoro”, which means “floating in the air”, because of the rock formation of the massive rock on which it was built.

The next stop is the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, known from a James Bond movie. It was built in the 14th century, and until 1925 access to the monastery was only possible by rope ladders.

The last monastery you visit is The Varlaam Monastery. It was founded in 1350 by a monk named Varlaam, who lived on the rock. Rumor has it that it took the monks 20 years to gather all the materials with ropes and baskets and only 20 days to complete the construction.

Coming from the roots of the huge boulders, you move in the dense forest and enjoy the alternating landscapes with trees, small clearings, low vegetation, wild flowers, mushrooms and the majestic Meteora rocks. We climb to the most panoramic point to admire the Meteora cluster and have a small picnic. We continue our hike through the ancient and not so obvious paths in a fairytale forest with streams and vegetation so thick that arches appear running underneath. At the end of the hike, we go down an old path paved with stones (Kalderimi) in one of the local taverns of Kastraki to celebrate the end of our adventurous week.

On day eight, you get back to Thessaloniki.