Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and a legendary place in Greek mythology. It is said to be the home of the Greek gods and goddesses, who ruled over the world from their throne on the peak of Mytikas. But Mount Olympus is not only a place of myths and legends, it is also a place of natural beauty, biodiversity and adventure. Here are some of the activities and attractions that you can enjoy near Mount Olympus.
Hiking and climbing
Mount Olympus is a paradise for hikers and climbers, who can explore its 52 peaks and deep gorges, admire its rich flora and fauna, and enjoy stunning views of the Aegean Sea and the surrounding landscapes. There are many trails and routes for different levels of difficulty and experience, ranging from easy walks to challenging ascents. Some of the most popular trails are:
- The E4 European long distance path, which crosses Mount Olympus from Litochoro to Kokkinopilos, passing by the famous Enipeas gorge, the Prionia refuge, the Spilios Agapitos refuge and the Skala peak.
- The O2 Olympus trail, which circles around Mount Olympus, connecting 10 refuges and covering a distance of 78 km.
- The O3 Olympus summit trail, which leads to the highest peak of Mytikas (2,917 m), starting from the Giosos Apostolidis refuge and passing by the Stefani peak, also known as the Throne of Zeus.
There are also several climbing routes on Mount Olympus, especially on the rocky faces of Mytikas, Stefani and Skolio. The most famous one is the Kakalos route, named after Christos Kakalos, the first person to reach the summit of Mytikas in 1913, along with two Swiss climbers, Frederic Boissonnas and Daniel Baud-Bovy.
Visiting archaeological sites
Mount Olympus is not only a natural wonder, but also a cultural heritage site. Near its foothills, there are several archaeological sites that reveal the ancient history and civilization of Greece. Some of the most notable ones are:
- The ancient city of Dion, which was a sacred place for the Macedonians and a major religious center dedicated to Zeus and the Olympian gods. Here you can see the remains of temples, sanctuaries, theaters, baths, villas and mosaics dating back to the 4th century BC.
- The ancient city of Pydna, which was an important military base and port for the Macedonians and later for the Romans. Here you can see the ruins of walls, towers, gates and cemeteries dating back to the 5th century BC.
- The ancient city of Leivithra, which was a prosperous town in the Hellenistic period and a place where Orpheus, the legendary musician and poet, was buried. Here you can see the remains of walls, houses, tombs and inscriptions dating back to the 4th century BC.
Exploring nearby villages
Mount Olympus is surrounded by charming villages that offer a glimpse into the local culture and lifestyle. You can visit these villages to enjoy their traditional architecture, cuisine and hospitality. Some of the most picturesque ones are:
- Litochoro, which is the main gateway to Mount Olympus and a popular tourist destination. It is located on the eastern slopes of the mountain, at an altitude of 300 m. It has a lively center with shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels, as well as a beautiful waterfront promenade.
- Karya, which is a traditional village on the southwestern foothills of Mount Olympus, at an altitude of 900 m. It has a stone-built square with a fountain and a church, as well as several taverns that serve local specialties such as lamb cooked in parchment paper.
- Kokkinopilos, which is an Aromanian village on the northwestern side of Mount Olympus, at an altitude of 1,100 m. It has a unique culture and language that reflect its origins from nomadic shepherds who migrated from the Balkans. It also has a museum that showcases its history and traditions.
Enjoying nature activities
Mount Olympus is not only a place for hiking and climbing, but also for other nature activities that can make your visit more fun and memorable. You can enjoy:
- Paragliding, which is a thrilling way to see Mount Olympus from above. You can take off from various locations on the mountain, such as Ziliana, Profitis Ilias or Skotina, and fly over the peaks, valleys and forests of the mountain.
- Mountain biking, which is a great way to explore the trails and paths of Mount Olympus. You can rent a bike from Litochoro or Karya and follow the marked routes that lead to different parts of the mountain, such as Prionia, Petrostrouga or Muses Plateau.
- Rafting, which is an exciting way to experience the rivers and streams that flow from Mount Olympus. You can join a rafting tour on the Enipeas river, which runs through the Enipeas gorge, or on the Pinios river, which runs through the Tempi valley.
Mount Olympus is a place that offers something for everyone. Whether you are interested in mythology, history, culture or nature, you will find plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy near this majestic mountain. So don’t hesitate to visit Mount Olympus and discover its beauty and secrets for yourself.