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Climb Mount Olympus and hike in Zagoria

Pavlos, a local HMGA mountain guide, has created an outstanding 10 day itinerary in Greece that goes from climbing the iconic Mount Olympus to visiting historical sites around Zagoria.

Mountain RangeOlympus
Duration10 days
Offer periodJun, Aug
Skill LevelIntermediate
Fitness LevelFit
Type of tripGroup

Highlights

  • Spend 10 exploring Mount Olympus and its surroundings.

  • Discover the iconic peak from Greek mythology.

  • Enjoy hiking in the beautiful region of Zagoria.

Description

This 10-day traverse begins in Athens, the capital of Greece and one of the oldest cities in the world. Do you want to join me?

After a brief meeting, we’ll walk around Plaka, an ancient neighborhood at the foot of the Acropolis.

On our second day, we’ll start hiking towards Mount Olympus, a powerful peak in Greek Mythology, as it was the home of the Gods. It’s also the highest mountain in the country. It has 52 peaks. Mytikas is the most prominent, at a 2918 m height.

Mount Olympus is also well-known for its great biodiversity. In fact, it was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

During our climb, we’ll reach the summit of Skolio (2911 m), the second highest peak of this mountain. Depending on the group skills and the weather conditions, we’ll decide if we climb up to Mytikas, which is a more technical ascent.

Then, we’ll start moving towards Zagoria, a region in the northwestern part of the country. On our way, we’ll visit the archaeological site of Vergina, which was the capital of the kingdom of Macedonia. Besides, we’ll visit small villages like Monodendri and Mikro Papigo, and admire some impressive natural landscapes.

Finally, we’ll drive to the beautiful city of Ioannina, our last stop before returning to Athens.

You can find the complete itinerary below this description. It’s worth mentioning that you should be in good physical condition and don’t be afraid of heights.

Would you like to join me for this adventure in Greece? Check the next departure dates and send a request. It will be a wonderful experience! 

If you can’t stay for 10 days, you can also join me on this 3-day climb to Mount Olympus. Check it out!

Details

Accommodation

Philippos hotel (Athens); Refuge Spilios Agapitos (Mt Olympus); Refuge Kakkalos (Mt Olympus); To Palio Litochoro (Litochoro); Archontiko Zarkada (Monodendri); Dias Guesthouse (Mikro Papigo); Astraka refuge (Tymfi); Archontiko Zarkada (Monodendri); Athenian Callirhoe (Athens)

Disclaimer

The itinerary is subject to modification and change. I reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in my judgment, conditions warrant, or if it is necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants.

Meeting point

Athens

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Photos


Itinerary

Day 1: Athens

We’ll have a welcome briefing at 6 pm to discuss the trip, followed by a walk in Plaka, one of the oldest neighborhoods of the city, and a festive welcome dinner.

Overnight in Athens, Philippos (D)

Day 2: Athens / Litochoro / Spilios Agapitos

Today we’ll hike up to the most monumental of the Greek mountains – Mount Olympus. Known in Greek Mythology as the home to the Twelve Olympian gods, it is the highest mountain in Greece and owing to its specific microclimate, which is partly due to the short distance from the sea and the steep increase in height above sea level, it stands out for its great diversity in terrain, climate and vegetation.

After driving to Litochoro and having a light lunch, we will start the ascent from the trailhead of Prionia, towards one of its refuges Spilios Agapitos, a well-run hut with superb views perched on a ledge behind an outcrop, where are we going to spend the night.

Overnight in Mt Olympus, Refuge Spilios Agapitos (B,L,D)

Hiking distance: 4,5 km Hiking Duration: 3 hours
Driving distance:   

Athens to Litochoro 420km / 4h 30min
Litochoro to Prionia 18km / 30min

Day 3: Mt Olympus (summit)

We’ll reach the summit of Skolio, the second highest peak of Mt Olympus at 2911 m. On the way Balkan Chamois could be seen high up among the broken crags, and magnificent birds of prey circling on the thermals. When we reach the top we will be rewarded by an outstanding panorama as we crest the ridge and discover the 500 m cliffs of the Kazania chasm. Depending on the team skills and the weather conditions we can also climb Mytikas, a more technical summit at 2,918 m, and once the Gods’ meeting place.

We will conclude our hike at the beautiful Plateau of the Muses, a rolling grassland surrounded by cliffs above and below and dwarfed by the extraordinary formation of Stefani, the throne of Zeus.

Overnight in Mt Olympus, Refuge Kakkalos (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 11,5 km / Hiking Duration: 4 hours

Day 4: Plateau of the Muses / Prionia / Litochoro

We’ll hike the well-maintained path from the Plateau of the Muses back to Prionia through beautiful forests of pine and beech. From there we drive towards Litochoro, a cheerful town at the foot of the dramatic Enipeas Gorge in the base of the mountain.

In the afternoon we can go for a refreshing dip at the nearby beach of Plaka and in the evening our Mt Olympus adventure will culminate with a festive dinner in one of the traditional restaurants of the town.

Overnight in Litochoro, To Palio Litochoro (B,L,D)
Hiking distance:
 11 km / Hiking Duration: 4 hours
Driving distance: 
Prionia to Litochoro 18km / 25min

Day 5: Vergina / Monodendri

On our way to Zagoria we’ll stop at the awe-aspiring Macedonian tombs of Vergina. We visit the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C.

After lunch we will head towards Monodendri, one of the prettiest villages of Zagoria, which in Slav means a location behind and beyond the mountains. It is a complex of 46 picturesque traditional villages built in a magical setting amidst pine and fir trees with a unique traditional architecture, impressive stone mansions, water fountains and bridges.

Overnight in Monodendri, Archontiko Zarkada (B,L,D)

Driving distance:
Litochoro to Vergina 76km / 1h 30min
Vegina to Monodendri 232km / 3 hours

Day 6: Monodendri / Vikos gorge / Mikro Papigo

We’ll visit the impressive Vikos Gorge, surrounded by monasteries, small villages, rivers and past history.

Today we start from Monodendri and we will hike first to Voidomatis springs and from there to the village of Mikro Papigo, a stunning village perched on the mountainside where all the houses are made of stone and are topped with slate roofs.

Overnight in Mikro Papigo, Dias Guesthouse (B,L,D)

Hiking distance: 16 km / Hiking Duration: 7 hours

Day 7: Mikro Papigo / Dragon lake / Tymfi

In one of the most beautiful alpine areas of the country, on the edge of a plateau on the mountain of Tymfi, there is probably the most fascinating Dragonlake in Greece, created 10,000 years ago due to the melting of the glacier.

The hike to the lake starts from Mikro Papigo and after a steep ascent to Astraka refuge, we stop for lunch with stunning views to the surrounding mountains. From the hut we set off for a beautiful serene hike on a path that climbs steadily towards the Dragonlake. The lake itself sits at an altitude of 2,050m, and is a fantastic manifestation of geological history and current processes of nature.

Overnight in Tymfi, Astraka refuge (B,L,D)
Hiking distance: 12km / Hiking Duration: 6 hours

Day 8: Tymfi summit / Monodendri

We’ll hike from our mountain refuge to Tymfi summit at 2,497 m and from there to the village of Tsepelovo through alpine meadows filled with wild flowers.

Overnight in Monodendri, Archontiko Zarkada (B,L,D)
Hiking distance:
 14 km / Hiking Duration: 7 hours
Driving distance: 
Tsepelovo to Monodendri 27 km / 40 min

Day 9: Monodendri / Ioannina / Athens

Ioannina the beautiful capital of the prefecture, is a city where history and tradition blend together in a mysterious way.

Ioannina was under the Ottoman rule for almost 500 years, and Turkish influence has survived here more strongly than anywhere. Under the Turks the city flourished as a center of arts and crafts and no one had more impact on the town than the ruler Ali Pasha. In the morning, drive to Ioannina and discover the living history through a walking tour in the city’s old citadel. After lunch we will depart to Athens for the farewell dinner.

Overnight in Athens, Athenian Callirhoe (B,L,D)
Driving distance:
Megalo Papigo to Ioannina 57 km / 1 h 30 min
Ioannina to Athens 422 km / 4 h 30 min

Day 10: Athens

Breakfast is at your leisure at the hotel and following that, the trip ends.


About the guide

guide profile img

I am a mountain guide of the Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing (HFMC) and an IFMGA mountain guide. I live in Greece, a unique country with some of the least explored landscapes in Europe.

I discovered my passion for mountaineering when I was 17. What started as a hobby soon turned into an exciting profession that has taken me on many expeditions around the world over the last two decades. One of my biggest achievements was reaching the summit of Mt Everest in 2004, as the Deputy Leader of the first successful Greek expedition.

Besides, I studied Mass Media Communication and I'm a Film Director. Producing documentaries is another way of unfolding my love for nature and travel.

I really like designing new itineraries and taking clients off the beaten tracks, allowing them to enjoy authentic experiences in my country.


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