Climbing Mount Olympus: From Hut to Hut to the Gods

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Climbing Mount Olympus: From Hut to Hut to the Gods
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There are very few mountains with such an air of mythicism as Mount Olympus. The bulk of this impressive mountain massif towers high above the lower hills of northern Greece and it’s easy to see why the people in ancient Greece thought this was the realm from where the Greek Gods ruled their world. Nowadays Mount Olympus is paradise for hikers and mountaineers. A vast network of hiking trails lead to the highest summits in the country, including Mytikas with 2918 metres the highest point in Greece. And the great thing is that you don’t have to carry camping equipment to do a multi-day trek. Each night you can stay in one of the cosy mountain huts, located in old-grown pine forests and on high-alpine mountain ridges. Opa!

Instead of going straight for the summit of Mount Olympus, you can hike a beautiful circular route from hut to hut. It’s the perfect way to take in the variety of landscapes and meet like-minded trekkers along the route. The trail itself is not very technical, unless you plan to climb Mytikas, which is an exposed scramble to the summit. In this blogpost we’ll tell you all about trekking on this legendary mountain. Are you keen to climb Mount Olympus? Check our guided and self-guided options here!

What Is Mount Olympus?

Mount Olympus is a mountain massif rather than a single mountain. It has no less than 52 peaks with Mytikas as the absolute highest in Greece at 2918 metres. The mountain rises up from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and boasts a variety of landscapes and climate zones. In 1938 Mount Olympus was declared the first national park in Greece. It is also a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve for its unique flora and fauna. This protected status ensures that vulnerable mammals like the Balkan Chamois, wildcat and beech marten can thrive. Raptors include vultures, golden eagles and peregrine falcons and 1500 plant species are recorded on the slopes of Mount Olympus.

One of the most spectacular geological features on the lower parts of the mountain is the Enipeas Gorge, which essentially splits the Olympus Range. The stretch from the village Litochoro, the jump off point for climbing the mountain, and the southern slopes of Mytikas peak is part of the European long-distance trail E4, that starts in Tarifa, Spain and terminates 10,000 km further on the Crete Trail.

Mount Olympus is steeped in history. In ancient Greece the summits of the mountain were thought to be the home of the 12 Olympian Gods. Zeus, Poseidon, Aphrodite and the rest of the gang were up there, deciding about the fate of the mortals down below. The name Olympus (or Oulumpos) was described in Homer’s Odyssey, in which he referred to Olympus as the Seat of the Gods. He didn't specify a mountain, but it’s obvious that the highest mountain in Greece took the title.

The first known ascent of the highest point on Mount Olympus, Mytikas, was in 1913, despite 25 attempts from previous expeditions. This was relatively late, knowing that Mont Blanc saw its first successful summit bid in 1786 and Matterhorn was scaled in 1865. Two Swiss nationals by the names of Frédéric Boissonnas and Daniel Baud-Bovy were accompanied by local hunter Christos Kakalos on their quest to find the highest point in the Olympus massif. On the 2nd of August 1913 they stood on the top of Greece’s highest point. Years later Kakalos became the first official mountain guide on the mountain and continued to climb Mount Olympus until the ripe age of 90.

What Is Mount Olympus?

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Do I Climb Mount Olympus Guided or Self-Guided?

Mount Olympus boasts a number of routes to the various peaks from the village of Litochoro. The well-worn pathways are easy to follow and doable for most fit hikers. The most popular trek is circular, with mountain huts in strategic spots. The route passes the highlights of this mountain massif, including the Plateau of Muses, Skolio Peak with views of the mighty Mytikas and the Epineas Gorge.

You may wonder whether you should climb Mount Olympus guided or self-guided. This depends on what you want to get out of this trek. The route itself is perfectly suitable for those who would like to do it independently. The trails are clear and the well-run refuges provide you with excellent meals and sleeping arrangements. However, you need to keep in mind that it is a multi-day trek. You need to organise your clothing and equipment yourself and make sure you bring enough trail food for when you’re hiking.

Some people may want to climb Mount Olympus’ highest peak, Mytikas. The route up this peak is a YDS (Yosemite Decimal System) Class III rock scramble, which means you have to use both hands and feet to do the ascent. The terrain is exposed and a fall could end badly. Experienced and confident trekkers may tackle this climb by themselves. If you feel more comfortable doing this climb with a trusted mountain guide, we can accommodate you as we are working with the best local outfitters in the country.

Do I Climb Mount Olympus Guided or Self-Guided?

Our Trekking Alternatives in Mount Olympus

Regardless whether you go for a guided or a self-guided trek, you will have to be prepared to carry clothes and equipment to spend 4 days on the mountain, with walking days up to 8 hours.

There are three options when you’re looking for a trekking adventure on Mount Olympus with us:

1. Self-guided, 4-day hut-to-hut trek: We have designed this 4-day hut-to-hut trek so that you can follow the trail of the Greek Gods.

2. 6-day hut-to-hut Mount Olympus: If you want us to find that cosy guesthouse for you, this package including accommodation before and after might be something for you.

3. Guided Olympus Ascent: If you’re keen to do a short, punchy, guided trek up Mount Olympus, our 3-day trek to the summit with one of our trusted local partners is the one you’re looking for.

Where Is Mount Olympus and How Do I Get There?

Mount Olympus is located in the province of Macedonia in the northern part of Greece. As it’s only 100 km from the city of Thessaloniki, it’s fairly easy to get to the base of the mountain, Litochoro. Most people would fly into Thessaloniki, from where you can rent a car and drive to Litochoro in 1.5 hours. There is a direct train connection between Thessaloniki and the seaside part of Litochoro and only takes one hour. From the train station it’s a short taxi ride to the mountain side of the village. Finally you can take the bus, which takes a little longer (2.5 hours) and involves a couple of changes.

From Athens to Litochoro is quite a long journey. The drive takes about 6 hours while a train journey takes around 5.

Where Is Mount Olympus and How Do I Get There?

Did you know that we can book all huts and refuges for the Mount Olympus for you? Check out all our options here.

When Is The Best time to Climb Mount Olympus and What Is The Weather Like?

When you’re at the foot of the mountain it’s easy to forget how different the weather can be on the higher grounds of the mountain. While holiday makers on the beach are basking in the sun, you may be battling cold strong winds on the summit. Temperatures in summer can be as low as 0 degrees Celsius. With the added windchill it can feel like it’s literally freezing. Having said that, there are plenty of great, sunny days on the mountain. You just have to be prepared. Check our packing list for what you should bring on this trek. Also, make sure you check the weather forecast with the hut wardens before you set out. You can check the weather forecast for Mount Olympus on Mountain Forecast.

The trekking season is fairly short and runs from the beginning of June until the end of September, very much like most hut-to-hut treks in the Alps. Outside these months Mount Olympus is covered in a blanket of snow, and the huts are closed.

Where Do You Sleep While Climbing Mount Olympus?

There are several mountain huts, or refuges, on Mount Olympus. We have selected the huts that are in great locations and serve as a strategic overnight point to make the trek manageable for everybody. They vary in size and style, but what they have in common is a cosy and warm atmosphere. You will be sharing common spaces, bathrooms and dormitories with bunk beds. Expect not to have the privacy and amenities of a hotel room. Most of the refuges will have blankets but no bed linen. You must bring a sleeping bag liner and a pillow cover.

Mount Olympus Map and Trail Navigation?

There are plenty of maps and guidebooks that can help you do the trek on Mount Olympus. Below is an interactive map with our 4-day hut-to-hut route.

At Bookatrekking.com, we not only book your huts, we also send you on your way with a comprehensive hiking guide with the most important information for your Mount Olympus, including interactive Komoot maps. Browse all our options here and turn your dreams into reality.

What Does a Climbing Trip on Mount Olympus Look Like?

Although you could hike to the summits of Mount Olympus in two days, it is worth taking your time and exploring this mountain massif a bit more extensively. A 4-day trek with a comfy guesthouse in Litochoro before and after the trek looks a little bit like this.

Day
1

Arrival in Litochoro

Nestled at the base of the mighty Mount Olympus, Litochoro serves as the ideal gateway for all expeditions to the summit. Divided into two parts, the town offers visitors the chance to explore the charming seaside area or venture into the Enipeas gorge that runs through the foothills of the mountain. The relaxed pace of life in Litochoro encourages travellers to take a leisurely stroll along its quiet streets and discover its tranquil beaches. Once settled in at your guesthouse, you can embark on an unforgettable adventure to witness the stunning rock formations of the Enipeas Gorge. Alternatively, you can visit the fascinating archaeological site of Dion, the ancient Macedonian Sanctuary of Zeus, and the adjacent museum. During the Hellenistic period, this site held great religious significance for the Macedonians, who revered Zeus and held Olympic games in his honour. In the evenings, indulge in a delicious meal at one of the lively local taverns and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of this charming town.

Mythic Valley (Litóchoron)

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Mythic Valley (Litóchoron)
Day
2

Litochoro - Refuge Koromilia

Duration: 05:16 h
Distance: 13.9 km
Ascent: 1410 m
Descent: 700 m

From Litochoro, begin your hike by following the trail that passes through the Enipeas Grotto, offering breathtaking views of the landscape. As you climb, you will pass through areas of lush vegetation, rocky terrain and several streams.

Continue along the path, which gradually ascends through dense forests and alpine meadows. At times you can see the imposing summit of Mount Olympus in the distance. As you gain altitude, the landscape becomes more rugged, with rocky slopes and impressive cliffs.

After several hours of trekking, you'll reach the Koromilia Hut, located in a picturesque alpine setting with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. That's all for today!

After several hours of trekking, you'll arrive at the Koromilia Hut.

Koromilia Refuge

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Koromilia Refuge
Day
3

Refuge Koromilia - Refuge "C" Kakalos

Duration: 06:40 h
Distance: 10.1 km
Ascent: 1650 m
Descent: 30 m

The trail from Koromilia to the Kakalos Refuge is an absolute must for anyone looking for a truly unforgettable experience! As you wind your way up to higher altitudes, you'll be treated to unparalleled views of Mount Olympus, with its towering peaks and deep valleys.

The trail winds through the northern slopes of the mountain, offering unique vantage points from which to admire its grandeur. Keep an eye out for the diverse flora and fauna that thrive in this alpine environment – it's a real treat for nature lovers! And then, at last, you'll arrive at the Kakalos Refuge, set amidst awe-inspiring scenery and offering a tranquil retreat for weary trekkers.

Refuge C Kakalos

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Refuge C Kakalos
Day
4

Refuge "C" Kakalos - Refuge "A" Spilios Agapitos

Duration: 03:50 h
Distance: 6.2 km
Ascent: 320 m
Descent: 880 m
Following a satisfying breakfast at the refuge, you have the chance to hike to Skolio peak, which stands at 2,911m and is the third highest peak on Mount Olympus. The path to Skolio is relatively easy, and from the top, you'll have stunning views of the mountain's highest peaks: Mytikas (2,918m) and Stefani (2,912m). Experienced climbers may choose to continue on to Mytikas peak via Skala or the steep gully of Mytikas, but these are considered Class III ascents with moderate exposure, so caution is advised. After taking a snack break at the summit of Skolio, you'll follow a scenic trail through an area known as Zonaria, where the barren rock formations of Mount Olympus are breathtakingly beautiful. After a 2-hour descent, you'll arrive at the Spilios Agapitos Refuge, a charming stone building situated at a lovely location that forms a natural balcony, with an elevation of 2,100m. This cozy refuge is an ideal spot for relaxing and unwinding. Later in the evening, dinner will be served.

Refuge A Spilios Agapitos

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Refuge A Spilios Agapitos
Day
5

Refuge "A" Spilios Agapitos - Litochoro

Duration: 08:10 h
Distance: 18.1 km
Ascent: 220 m
Descent: 1960 m
Today, you will begin your descent from Spilios Agapitos Refuge (2,100m) to Prionia (1,100m). This long but picturesque descent is the most popular hiking trail on Mount Olympus and forms part of the E4 European path. The trail is well-maintained, and the combination of thick pine, beech, and fir trees in the area adds a unique charm to the surroundings. There are several lookout points where you can stop and admire the stunning evergreen forest and landscapes. Once you arrive at Prionia, you can marvel at the Enipeas waterfalls and enjoy a light lunch at the only local cafe. From there, you will follow the Enipeas river all the way down to Litochoro Village. On your way, you will have the opportunity to visit the ancient Agios Dionysios monastery, which was constructed in 1542. It is a rare example of architectural and aesthetic beauty, built as a stone and wood fortress on a natural fortified plateau. The entire trek from Prionia to Litochoro Village takes about 5 hours, crossing the canyon seven times over beautiful wooden bridges. The route is quite challenging due to the numerous ascents and descents, but the diverse geological features, small lakes with crystal-clear water, and steep mountain slopes offer a unique beauty that makes the effort entirely worthwhile. Tonight, you will stay at a seaside guesthouse, having completed your descent from an altitude of 2,100m all the way down to sea level. To celebrate such an accomplishment, you can indulge in dinner at one of the fantastic seafood taverns in the area.

Mythic Valley (Litóchoron)

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Mythic Valley (Litóchoron)
Day
6

Departure

After a well deserved night in our comfy guesthouse, it's a delight to wake up by the sea. After a lovely Greek style breakfast and a refreshing dip in the Aegean Sea it's time to say goodbye to the Greek Gods of Mount Olympus.
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Packing List for the Mount Olympus

It doesn't matter where you are going trekking or for how long: Carrying the right equipment with you is paramount. For a hiking trip in the mountains, you will need, first and foremost, a good backpack. Its size will depend on how many days you will be spending in the mountains, the season, and the clothes you will be taking with you. We have prepared a packing list with some essential clothing that you should include and some extras that you may find useful:
  • Essentials

  • Extras

How Much Does a Climb on Mount Olympus Cost?

Planning a walking holiday in Greece? It’s a unique way to discover a country known to some only for all-inclusive beach holidays. Greece is much more than Chersonissos. The best way to discover authentic Greece is on foot and it doesn't have to cost a lot either. Your flight to Thessaloniki can be booked relatively low-cost with Easyjet or Aegean Airlines and from there it is only an hour and a half to Litochoro. Getting to Litochoro by public transport is easy and we can help you plan this journey.

Breakfast is ready for you every morning. You only have to put money aside for your lunch, dinner and drinks. A beer in Greece costs 3 to 4 euros and a meal you have for say 10 to 15 euros. And a trip at Bookatrekking.com? For less than 300 Euro per person, you can already be on the trail with a comprehensive offer from Bookatrekking.com.

Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the Mount Olympus with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

Where Can I Book the Mount Olympus?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book the self-guided Mount Olympus and many other treks. We take care of all the details for you, including arranging accommodations and providing you with relevant information well in advance of your trek. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is the Mount Olympus not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:

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