Tour overview

Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece, located in northern Greece comprising a natural boundary between the prefectures of Macedonia and Thessaly. Mount Olympus’ highest point is the summit of Mytikas at 2918m. Since ancient times, Mount Olympus has proved a difficult crossing point for numerous aspiring conquerors of the Greek territory. It is a place of divine beauty, notable in Greek mythology as home of the Greek Gods. Its proximity to the coastline overlooking the Aegean Sea offers breathtaking views and a characteristic silvery mist that creates a unique atmosphere. 1938 it was declared Greece’s first National Park due to its exceptional biodiversity and rich flora. A monumental natural landscape with thickly forested slopes and steep rocky and cloud-covered peaks, hosting more than 1.500 plant species, some of them rare and endemic, as well as wolves, jackals, deer, and some endangered bird and butterfly species. The mountain is uninhabited, however there are 4 organized mountain huts offering shelter and food to its visitors, that stream from all over the world to admire its beauties. It has an extensive network of trails, its total length exceeding 160klm.

NOTES:

  • Starting and finishing point of the tour is the village of Litochoro in the foothills of Mount Olympus.
  • Coming from abroad, the closest airport is in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, from where Litochoro is not more than a 1,5 hours’ drive (91,5klm/56miles). Coming from Athens, it is an approximate 5-6 hours’ drive (415klm/257miles) and thus it would be best to arrive a day in advance and spend the night in Litochoro. In case you need assistance with hotel bookings, or any other services required we would be pleased to be of assistance.
  • From Mid May to Mid June in case of heavy snowfall in the paths we offer an alternative route from Petrostrouga to Spilios Agapitos to the peaks and  back to Prionia.

Activities

Tour Summary

Duration

3 days

Period of Operation: End / Mid May to October

Price:

  • 250€/pp for 4 participants
  • 300€/pp for min 3 participants
  • 400€/pp for min 2 participants (for less or more participants please contact us)

Participation requirements

On this tour we walk for about 3-4 hours during the first day, 6-7 hours the next day and 8-9 hours on the third and last day, mostly following good forest trails. Above the tree line, the terrain varies from grassy uplands to rocky ridges, with some scrambling required for the peak ascents. A good level of fitness and experience is required to climb the peak and the guide reserves the right to make the final decision on whether to summit.

Tour Details

Tour inclusions
  • Accommodation in mountain huts (or camping tents)
  • Trekking Hellas English speaking guide
  • Transfer Litochoro – Prionia & Gortsia – Litochoro.
  • Safety Equipment for the ascend to Mytikas (helmet, harness, rope)
  • VAT
Tour exclusions
  • Personal expenses.
  • Snacks and beverages.
  • Meals
  • Optional gratuities to the leader, guides and local staff.
  • Transfer from Athens or other towns to/from Litochoro.

Itinerary

Estimated hiking Time: 3 – 4 hours.

Arrival in Litochoro main square (Trekking Hellas Base) to meet the guide and the rest of the hiking group. Transfer to Prionia, from where we begin our hike, at an altitude of 1,100 meters. The route from Prionia to Spilios Agapitos mountain hut is the most widely used hiking trail on Mount Olympus and part of the E4 European Path. Prionia is the highest point accessible by car. The biggest part of this hike goes through thick forests of pine, beech and fir trees, and is in good condition. We make our way up to an altitude of 2,100 meters and reach the mountain hut Spilios Agapitos.

Estimated hiking Time: 6 – 7 hours.
Setting off from the mountain hut, a meandering trail brings us just below the mountains’ main summits. From here we have 2 options, depending on the fitness level of our participants and local weather conditions at the time. Our first option is to climb to Skala at an altitude of 2,882 meters, cross a narrow ridge and then climb to the summit of Skolio at an altitude of 2,911 meters (4-5 hours hiking and/or scramble on narrow paths with an altitude gain of 800 meters). Our second option, provided weather allows and snow conditions are right, is to ascent the highest summit, Mytikas at an altitude of 2,917 meters, following a narrow gorge (this part requires around 1 km of scrambling).

After summitting we head back, descending by following the same route.  Along the way we cross the spectacular precipice under the summit of Stefani called the Throne of Zeus and reach the Plateau of the Muses. We spend the night in one of the two mountain huts (2-3 hours hiking).

Estimated hiking time: 5 – 6 hours.
Leaving the summit behind us, today is an easy-going day. Before starting our descend, we climb a small peak, named Profitis Ilias, just above our mountain hut. Profitis Ilias offers breathtaking views of Mount Olympus’ summits. Heading back, this time we take a different trail that leads us to the mountain hut of the Hellenic Rescue Team in Petrostrouga at an altitude of 1,940 meters. After our 2-hour hike to Petrostrouga we take a break and enjoy lunch. Our hiking destination for the day is Gortsia, another 2-3 hours away. From Gortsia we get a transfer back to Litochoro.

FAQ

Please try to travel as light as possible; keep in mind that you must carry everything you bring during the whole hike.
* Large, comfortable backpack (65-85 liters) with padded straps and waist belt, internal frame preferred; waterproof liner recommended keeping clothing, etc. dry inside.
* Sturdy, worn in trekking shoes.
* Good waterproof top with hood.
* Warm clothes, both for windy / cold daytime conditions and for the cool evenings (fleece tops or similar).
* Shorts and long trousers for walking, preferably quick-drying material (cotton or poly-cotton not denim).
* Sweatshirts or T-shirts for walking, at least one with long sleeves and collar (against sun-burn).
* Sheet sleeping bag or similar (e.g. duvet cover), for the overnights in the shelter, although blankets will be available.
* Sunglasses, towel, sun hat or cap, sun block.
* Penknife.
* Wash bag and simple first aid kit (plasters or blister kit, aspirin or similar, antiseptic).
* Photographers: bring your cameras.
* Torch (head torch if you have one).
* Walking sticks.

*Your own personal water bottle. As part of our environmental policy and action plan, we are committed to eliminating the use of plastic water bottles.

End of May – October

The climbing season runs between mid-June and late October. Sometimes, the climbing season can start even in mid-May, but this depends on the snow accumulation from winter months. The best time to climb Mount Olympus is beginning of July and beginning of September. Mid-July to late August is also a good period, however it may become too warm and the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms increases.

 

The weather conditions on Mount Olympus are generally unpredictable and temperatures can vary widely. Several factors influence local weather such as the impact of the sea and the rugged relief of the region. In lower areas, however (Litochoro and the foothills) the climate is typically Mediterranean, i.e. hot and dry in the summer, while humid and cold during the winter. On a higher altitude it is more humid and rougher, with more intense phenomena. The temperature varies in the winter from -10 °C to 10 °C and in the summer from 0 °C to 20 °C, while winds are an almost everyday occurrence. Generally, the temperature falls around 1 °C for every 200m of elevation. As the altitude increases, the phenomena become more intense, and the variations of temperature and humidity are often sudden. The coastal northeast slopes of Olympus receive more rain than the continental northwest, so, as a result, there is a clear difference in vegetation. In some places the winds accumulate snow, 8–10 meters thick, (‘anemosouria’ in Greek), while in some deep ravines snow remains all year round. However, during the climbing season (June to October) these snow patches do not affect hikers. Weather conditions on Mount Olympus may change several times during the day. During the summer, rainfalls are frequent and evening thunderstorms very common, many times accompanied by hail and strong winds.

Prionia-Spilios Agapitos :

  • Distance: 6,5 klm /4 miles
  • Ascend: from 1,040m to 2.060 = +1,020m /from 3,422 ft to 6,742 ft = +3,320 ft

Spilios Agapitos Mountain Hut – Mytikas – Kakalos Mountain Hut:

  • Distance: 6,8 klm /  4,2 miles
  • Ascend: from 2,060m to 2,918m = +858m  / 6742 ft  to 9,460ft= +2.718 ft
  • Descend: from 2,918m to 2,650m = – 268m    / from 9,460ft to 8,700ftm = – 760 ft

Kakalos Mountain Hut – Gortsia:

  • Distance: 10 klm / 6,6 miles
  • Descend: from 2,650m to 1,120m = -1,630m / from 8,700ft to 3,675ft = -5.025 ft

 

Except for the last 200m of vertical climb to the summit of Mytikas (2,919m), which is a UIAA level 3 technical scrambling/climbing route, the rest of the route is an easy hiking path of medium difficulty. Although ropes are not necessary, they are being used for extra safety. The second highest peak of Mount Olympus, Skolio, (2,911m) is only 8 meters lower, offers an equally amazing summit view, a summit logbook, and can be reached by an easy/medium difficulty hiking path, without any steep sections. Finally, on the way towards the summits, there are several impressive drops right next to the otherwise easy hiking path that could be scary for people with fear of heights. They don’t pose any significant danger, as the path is relatively safe.

Scrambling experience is required for ascending the summit of Mytikas. It is not a prerequisite (e.g. we don’t ask people before hand), but experience shows that people who don’t have the experience might not be able to reach the summit. Although ropes are not necessary, they are being used for added safety.

Each guide can have 3-5 people on the rope (depending on weather conditions and their level of experience). Ascending in “Via-Feratta” style is of course also possible.

Travelers must carry their equipment. There is no porter service available on the mountain. There is a mule caravan used to bring supplies to the mountain huts (Petrostrouga, Kakalos, G. Apostolidis), which can load luggage for an additional charge. The caravan has a specific timetable of arrival and departure from the mountain huts. It is possible for the mule caravan to adjust its program to our specific timetable, but for a much higher additional charge, as it will have to follow an extra, unplanned route. Certain parts of the mountain routes, like the Zonaria and Kofto routes, connecting the mountain huts Spilios Agapitos and Kakalos, may not be accessible to mules.

The difficulty level of the treks on Mount Olympus is rated with grade 2. The last part, the last climb to Mytikas summit is rated with grade 4. The alternative climb to Skolio Summit, is rated with grade 2.

There is mobile phone reception on about 60% of the route. In some areas you need to get to a specific location to have adequate reception. There is no phone signal inside the Enipeas Canyon, on the Plateau of the Muses nor on parts of the route between Gkortsia and Petrostruga.

There are communal rooms with bank beds in all mountain huts. Setting up camp outside the mountain hut, while using the mountain hut facilities is also possible.

  • Breakfast: bread, butter, marmalade, honey, cheese, coffee- tea- milk, chocolate spreads
  • Lunch: lunch box incl. sandwiches, fruits, eggs, energy snack, chocolate or lunch in the mountain hut. (See below menus)
  • Dinner in the mountain hut: sample menus: soup, pasta with sauce, salad, bread, cheese / lentils with rice, beef with pasta, rice or mashed potatoes, salad, bread, cheese / soup, sausage with pasta, rice or mashed potatoes, meat plate, salad, bread, cheese.

Water is not included in the price. Bottled water is however available in the mountain huts, rates 1-2€/bottle depending on the bottle size.

There is a mountain spring in Prionia and another spring (with less water supply) a 45 minutes hike past Prionia. There are no other mountain springs close to the hiking routes so buying a bottle of water is the safest option.

Mountain huts are heated, as they are equipped with fireplaces or petrol heaters, but they start operating only when temperature drops to around 10 degrees Celsius. There are no clothes/boots drying facilities. Warm blankets are provided in all mountain huts.

No, there is no possibility of a hot shower in the mountain huts. Mountain huts do have showers, but they are heavily dependent on the available water supply. Water for the showers comes from melted snow and is not heated.

The mountain huts are not connected to the electricity grid. Power is supplied by solar panels and generators and is available only for a few hours per day. Usually, electricity is available from dusk until about 10 or 11pm, and occasionally from dawn up to a few hours. Sockets are limited so it is preferable to have extra power banks especially if being part of a big group.

Beverages in mountain huts cost between 2€-5€. There is a big variety of hot beverages (tea, coffee etc.), soft drinks and of course beer and wine. Different snacks are also available.

Mountain guide tipping is optional and can vary depending on the traveler’s satisfaction of the service provided. A usual tip is about 50 euro per day.

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