Situated on the edges between Thessaly and Macedonia, at a distance of approximately 100 km from Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece, Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in the country boasting of 52 peaks. The highest among them, Mýtikas, which means “nose”, is of a height of 9,577 feet. It is also considered to be one of the greatest mountain peaks in all of Europe as far as topographic prominence is concerned. Well-known for its very rich collection of vegetation, Mount Olympus is home to several common species. Mythologically believed to be the holy abode of the gods, particularly of the Twelve Olympians, – main twelve gods of the Classical Greek and Hellenistic culture, Mount Plympus is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world.
Mount Olympus History
Mount Olympus is thought of as the abode of Greek gods and goddesses. Zeus, the king of the gods, who resided with his wife Hera in Mount Olympus in Greece lived along with his brothers Poseidon and Hades, sisters Demeter and Hestia, and offspring Apollo, Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, Ares, Hermes and Hephaestus. In the pre-Christian era various monks and saints spent several days and nights in Mount Olympus in expectation of viewing the revered goddesses and gods.
Besides having the connotation of being an abode of gods, Mount Olympus is famously the site for lighting the Olympic torch every four years. Every year the Olympic torch relay section, which first started at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, gets underway at the Temple of Hera in Olympia. White gown priestesses light the flames of the Olympic torch with the help of the reflection that takes place because of the sun rays falling on a parabolic mirror. Thereafter the torch is passed on through all the participating nations before arriving at the host city in the end. All through the Olympic Games, till the very last day, this flame is kept burning.
Situated between Thessaly and Salonika close to Gulf of Salonika, Mount Olympus has an altitude of more than 2000 meters with the uppermost peak Mytikas being 2917 meters or 9570 feet. The pleasant summers and cool winters of the Mediterranean climate here tempt you to visit this site in Greece more often and all through the year. Before scaling the Olympus mount take time to visit the Dion Museum as well as the Archeological Park at the base of this mountain. Folklore says that this is the spot where Alexander the Great made sacrifices before embarking on his conquests.
It takes almost two days to fully scale Mytikas peak. This is an easy climb without the requirement of any kind of special training or equipment. Apart from this option there are several trails for hiking which are equally attractive. On your way you can come face to face with many of the variety of 102 bird species, 32 mammal species and 23 plant species in Mount Olympus. It is an amazing everlasting experience to taste the traditional Greek fare and wine while you hike through the forested villages. Enjoy the spectacular views of azure Aegean Sea from the summit of the peak.
Tourist activities at Mount Olympus
Apart from bearing tremendous historical and mythological importance the prime attraction of Mount Olympus lies in hiking. Rather an easy hike, Mount Olympus can be scaled without much of training except for the last 30 minutes from Skala summit to Mytikas peak, which is actually YDS class 3 rock scramble. Surveys point out that almost 10,000 people scale Mount Olympus every year; however most climbers manage to reach only the Skolio summit, which is free of rock scramble. On Mount Olympus most climbs begin from the Litochoro town and take the road to Prionia, where the actual hike begins at the foot of the mountain.
How to reach Mount Olympus
You can reach Lithochoro at the bottom of Mount Olympus by road from Thessaloniki and then trek.
The nearest Railway Station to Mount Olympus is Thessaloniki Railway Station.
The nearest International Airport to Mount Olympus is Thessaloniki Airport.