Mount Olympus in Greece, where is it on the world map

Mount Olympus

Mount Olympus in Greece is associated with ancient myths, the attractive story of the mountain – heroes, gods and mere mortals.

Olympus is considered the abode of the gods of ancient Greece, with the mountain also being the highest point of the country. Why the history of Olympus attracts tourists and how to visit this unusual place?

Mount Olympus is first of all the abode of the 12 ancient Greek gods. The main representative and ruler of the gods is Zeus. In addition to him, two other gods – Hades and Poseidon – took leading roles. As you know, Hades was the ruler of the underworld, and Poseidon of the depths of the sea. It is noteworthy that the revered god of Greece, Hephaestus, was the builder of all the temples of the gods and forged the lightning and the aegis for Zeus. And yet only this god could be in the dominion of Zeus and Hades at the same time.

The Reality and Myths of Mount Olympus

According to the belief of the ancient Greeks, the gods could only permanently stay out of reach of ordinary mortals, and this prompted them to settle for an impregnable mountain of Mount Olympus. But the Greeks believed that the space above the clouds was engulfed by fire and the gods had to take a more favorable position on Mount Olympus. The mountain is actually considered the highest massif in the northeast. The massif is located on the borders of cities such as Thessaly and Macedonia. Less than 100 km from this place is quite popular among tourists city of Thessaloniki.

The origin of the name of Mount Olympus, according to various scientists, is reduced to two different words with very different origins. According to one version, the toponym comes from the Indo-European word “rotate” – “ulu”. This word refers to some possible past circle of the top. According to another opinion, the name came from the word shine. It is this name carries more truth, because the recesses in the tops, filled with snow, shine very brightly in the sun. Especially this phenomenon can be observed in clear and sunny weather, even many miles away from Mount Olympus itself.

The peaks – this is not a reservation, because the array has several high peaks filled with snow. Homer spoke of Mount Olympus as a multi-peaked and snow-soaked massif. The main peaks of Mount Olympus have their own name:

  • The highest peak of the massif is called Mytikas. Translated from the Greek language of antiquity, it means the unremarkable word nose. The height of this peak reaches almost three thousand meters, and to be exact – 2917 m.
  • Another less high peak is called Scolio. Translated from the ancient Greek, it means nothing other than “a small peak.” The height of the peak reaches 2912 m.
  • Stephanii – the name of the peak, according to the Greeks, means – Throne of Zeus. The height reaches 2905 m.
  • An unusual type of peak with a height of 2886 m was called the Rock, or in another way “the ladder”.
  • The next highest peak has the proud name of Agios Antonios. Its height is 2815m.
  • The last peak is also called Profitas Ilias, which is no less exquisite. Another name of the peak is Elijah the Prophet. The height of the peak is 2803 m.
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On all sides of the mountain peaks is surrounded by no less interesting terrain at a huge altitude – the Plateau of Muses (2550 m) and alpine meadows at an altitude of 2350 m. Mount Olympus is quite surrounded not only by myths, but also by mystical disputes and conversations. It has been noticed that sometimes clouds of rather bizarre shapes gather over the mountain peaks or hurricane winds rage for no particular reason.

As you know, mere mortals were not allowed to climb to the top of Mount Olympus, they were strictly guarded by mythical guards. In the role of guardians of the entrance to Mount Olympus were the gatekeepers of the oras. According to ancient legends they were goddesses of seasons and could control the mood of the weather. Despite the prohibitions and strong guards, people sought to get close to the gods, and directed to populate the approaches to Olympus. In ancient times at the eastern foot of the mountain arose an entire city of Dion. Dedicated to the construction of the city was the main god of Olympus Zeus. The first mention of the construction of the city dates back to 424 BC. According to legend, it was from Dion that Alexander of Macedon began his feats.

However, scientists only learned of the existence of the real city at the foot of Olympus in 1806.

Until then, the existence of the city was considered a myth. The truth was found out thanks to the English researcher of antiquity, Martin Leek. Today, on the site of Dion only ancient ruins remained, which are considered the property of history. Despite this near the place settled settlement, which lives in a large number of people.

In addition to Dion at the foot of the mountain has other no less interesting monuments. For example, the monuments of Orthodox culture, one of which is the Monastery of St. Dionysius, built back in the 14th century. It is noteworthy that the structure was built at an altitude of 820 meters. In these same places there is also a not less remarkable monastery of the Holy Trinity. In ancient times, this monastery was engaged in the education of the young population. Currently, the monasteries are actively restored and returned to their former activities.

Olympus itself is also a representative of national history. On the territory of the mountain is a park, whose purpose is to preserve the unique ecological system of these places. The large number of plants (over 1700 species) found in this place has to be carefully preserved, since 23 species of plants are found only in the area. The surrounding area has a very rich fauna. There is a large variety of reptiles and herbivorous insects.

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The Conquest of Olympus

The conquest of Olympus has interested people since ancient Greece. It is known that the conquest of Olympus have tried more than 25 times, since 1780. In the myths of ancient Greece, it is stated that the top of the mountain was guarded by ravenous eagles. For the first time to conquer the inaccessible peaks got the Swiss, who climbed Mytikas accompanied by a local shepherd. The event took place only in 1913, according to history two resourceful pioneers, climbing the peak, wrote a message, which they put in a bottle and hid there under one of the unknown boulders. The letter of the pioneers was found only 14 years after it was written. Today the message is in Kolonaki, in the local mountaineering museum.

Today, most hikers can conquer the impregnable peaks without much trouble. Climbers tend to classify such climbs as level 1B. This means that the top belongs to the second level of complexity. Such a hike is available to almost everyone. The ascent to small heights does not take much time and does not require any special equipment. When conquering Mitikas, you should think about additional equipment. The climbing skills of the past will not be superfluous.

Before conquering the desired peaks it is necessary to arrive at the foot of the mountain. In this case, the algorithm will directly depend on the point of departure. For example, from Thessaloniki you have to take the two routes E90 and E75. On the route E90 you need to go in a southwesterly direction.

Both routes are toll roads and the toll will be €1.20 (E90) and €2.40 (E75). The path will lie through Pieria to Litochoro, these points are the starting points for the route and are at an altitude of 1100 m above sea level. Almost all the way to the destination is smooth asphalt, but closer to the foot of the mountains there is no road.

In addition to rented or own transport you can get to the starting point of Katerini by public transport. You can use several modes of transport at once. Tourist services are available by train and bus. It is important to remember that when traveling by bus, you need to make a change in Katerini to another transport going to Litochoro, and from there already head to Prionia. Undoubtedly, there are many pros and cons to this route, which allows you to explore the beauties of these places.

Among the most popular routes is the path that takes place in two stages:

  • From Prionia to Spilos Agapitos Shelter (second name Shelter A). Here the altitude will already reach 2,100 meters above sea level.
  • From Spilos Agapitos to the first pass called Skala. Already from this point you can choose further direction. It can be Mitikas or Skolio.

As a rule, this route to the Skala mark does not take more than 5 hours. When traveling in the company of unprepared travelers or small children, this hike can be divided into two days. In this case it is very convenient to pass the stage in one day. It is important to remember that climbing is allowed with children over the age of 8 years. This option can also be used in the case of the start of the hike in the afternoon or evening hours, at this time on the tops are not marked by a large amount of wet fog.

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Hiking is best organized in the period from early May to late September. In winter on Mount Olympus are open ski slopes. The most popular ski resorts in Greece are Seli and Pilio, but they are quite far from Mount Olympus.

Regardless of the preparation to visit Mount Olympus is worth it just because of the unique nature of these places. For convenience, all wishing to participate in the tourist buses or individual trips to all the most interesting places. All trips vary in class and cost, as a rule, comfortable trips in small groups end up being more exciting and informative. The tour takes place throughout the day and promises to be as fulfilling as possible.

Before going directly to Mount Olympus you can seek the services of Russian-speaking guides. You can easily find a Russian-speaking guide in Thessaloniki. The places of interest of the tour are the unique observation platform, which is located at an altitude of over 900 meters. From the top of the observation deck you can see Halkidiki and Thessaloniki.

It is interesting to visit the unique monastery of St. Dionysios (the format of the clothes is important) and have lunch in the local small village, located in the mountains. Or you can go down to the sea, which is only 18 km from the foot of the mountain.

Tour guides will provide a fascinating ride in the famous gorge Tembi, which is the abode of a rock temple with holy springs. The castle of Platamonas, famous for its preserved vaults, is also worth a visit. During hiking, Mount Olympus offers everyone to walk along the trails and visit the refuge lodges, preserved since ancient times.

Mount Olympus in Greece lets you feel the power and might of the gods, enjoy the local scenery and see the world from above!

Mount Olympus in Greece

Mount Olympus in Greece

The famous Mount Olympus in Greece has always attracted travelers. Olympus is one of the central symbols of ancient Greek mythology. According to legends it is a sacred place where the gods themselves lived under the mighty Zeus. Officially Mount Olympus belongs to the region of Thessaly, but serves as a natural boundary of the region with Greek Macedonia. Its distance from the Aegean coast is about 20 km. The city of Dion, located on the northern slope of the mountain, is a sanctuary for the Macedonians and translates as the city of Zeus.

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Mount Olympus itself is an array of four major peaks, more than 1700 canyons, as well as a plateau on the border of Thessaly and Greek Macedonia. The highest of the Olympic peaks is Mount Mytikas (2,917 m), which is also the highest point of Greece. Slightly lower are the peaks of Skolio (2912 m) and Stephani (2905 m).

Mount Olympus in Greece

Stephani has another, no less beautiful name – the “Throne of Zeus. It is especially interesting to look at it from a distance. If you stand in relation to this peak at a certain angle, the mountain strikingly resembles the back of a huge throne or chair. In 1938 it was this part of the mountain range that was the first in Greece to receive the status of a “National Park”. Much later, in 1981, the whole Olympus was declared by UNESCO as part of the World Natural Heritage, and in 1985 it was included in the list of “Archaeological and Historical Heritage.

And this is not surprising, as Mount Olympus is a true preserve of flora, fauna and one of the most valuable ornithological sites in Europe. Climbing through this protected land, you can easily meet rare birds and animals, take incredible pictures, admire rare plants, and fill yourself with the energy and inspiration of this place. The national park delights with unique views from high altitude, and no matter what point you were able to reach, any route is interesting in its scenery and will leave an impression for years to come.

Mount Olympus in Greece

Climbing Mount Olympus

The town of Lithohoro (293m) is situated at the foot of the mountain and some travelers choose it as their starting point. Here you can find a tourist center where you will be provided with all the basic information you need for the climb. For those who did not have time to stock up on water and snacks on the way, experienced hikers recommend doing it in the town. Along the way you will come across natural springs to fill empty bottles and wash up, but the ascent is not the easiest and it is always better to have the most important things for it (especially water!) with you.

The next significant point of the ascent is Prionia, located at an altitude of 1100 meters. Those who choose to walk from Litochoro will cover the path on the hiking trail in no less than 4 hours, so many who are limited in time or save strength choose to reach Prionia by cab. It is the highest point that can be reached by transportation. Prionia has a good infrastructure for pausing en route: there are toilets, for those arriving by their own car – parking, you can have lunch in a restaurant or stay overnight in the monastery of St. Dionysius.

Mount Olympus in Greece

From here, the travelers take the course to Spilios-Agapitos (2100 m), where the next island of civilization and resting place is located.

It takes about 3.5 hours to get from Prionia to the Shelter, A (also called Spilios-Agapitos). After traveling this way, you will reach a cozy islet in the middle of a wooded area, which will shelter you from the elements, whether it is windy or scorching heat. The shelter is a small complex, built of stone, which has sleeping places for travelers, as well as all the amenities: reception, toilets and showers. You can choose to stay in a room (they are arranged here on the principle of the hostel – a common space with several beds) or break your own tent in a specially designated area. You can read more and book a place to sleep on the official website of the Spilios-Agapitos shelter. There is also a small local restaurant with a simple but hearty meal. The next morning you can continue your ascent to one of the peaks. From here it is possible to climb to the top of the Rock, and from there to take the course to Scolio and Miticas. It is important to know that climbing Mitikas is not an easy path, the old-timers do not recommend conquering this peak at night or in bad weather.

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What does the area of the Spilios-Agapitos refuge look like – Google Maps Panorama.

Where is Mount Olympus in Greece

Mount Olympus is located in the northwestern part of Olympus National Park (the name in the original is Εθνικού Δρυμού Ολύμπου).

The coordinates of its highest point are 40.088420, 22.358538.

How to get to Mount Olympus in Greece

The city of Thessaloniki is the closest to Mount Olympus. If you decide to drive from there, take the E75 highway and take the Litochoro exit. The length of the route is just under 100 km. On the way it is always useful to have a good navigation, which knows exactly all the small settlements and junctions leading to Mount Olympus. Then you can choose whether to leave the car in Litochoro or take it down the serpentine road to the next point, Prionia refuge, a mountain village at 1100 meters.

Mount Olympus in Greece

For those traveling without a car, there is also a convenient option to get to Litochoro by bus. There are daily connections from the bus stations of the two cities, Athens and Thessaloniki. From Athens there are only 3-4 connections per day but the Thessaloniki bus connects you every half hour. You can see and book tickets online at the website of Greek carrier KTEL.

Previously, to get to Litochoro, you had to change at Katerini, but now many buses go directly to the foot of Mount Olympus. We recommend that you leave early in the morning to be able to walk a piece of the route on the first day. There is also a train station in Litochoro, but it is located 6 km from the city in an open field, so the bus service remains a favorite for independent travelers. You can also use the services of a guide or go to Olympus as part of a tour group. Most of all such offers in the city of Thessaloniki.

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