MOUNT OLYMPUS AND METEORA WALKING HOLIDAY

Mount Olympus and Meteora walking holiday

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR MOUNT OLYMPUS AND METEORA WALKING HOLIDAY

Conquering Mt Olympus, the home of the ancient Greek Gods, featuring the highest peak of Greece…

Visiting the spiritual, magical, extraordinary, breathtaking gigantic rocks of Meteora…


KEY INFORMATION:

Tour Duration: 4 and 7 days (tailor made available)
Group Size: Small groups
Season: June, July and August
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
4-day Package: 479 Euro
7-day Package: 839 Euro (contact us for special offers!)

PICTURE THIS!

During our 7 day trek you will explore two of the most unique and breathtaking locations in Greece, Mount Olympus and Meteora!

Mount Olympus is undoubtedly one of the most famous mountains in the world. Being the home of the twelve ancient Greek Gods and featuring the highest peak of Greece (Mytikas at 2,917m), the mountain captivates the visitor at first site with its incomparable natural beauty and the wealth of its ancient history.

The Olympus mountain range has been declared the first Greek National Park since 1938 and it’s also characterised as a World’s Biosphere Reserve. Organized mountain refuges and numerous hiking routes are available for all levels. In total there are 52 peaks ranging from altitudes of 760m to 2,918m, which combined with the alpine fields, sheer ravines, deep gorges and thick forest create a unique landscape. Olympus mountain harbours more than 1,500 types of plants, dozens of animal species and many rare birds that we look forward to spot for you.

Our next stop is the gigantic rocks of Meteora… Tranquil, spiritual, other-worldly, remarkable, breathtaking, enormous, inspirational, magnificent are only some words to used to describe them! Unique enormous columns of rock rise vertically from the ground with an unusual form, demonstrating nature’s splendor and man’s ever lasting desire to connect with the divine. The gigantic rocks of Meteora are perched above the town of Kalambaka at a maximum height of 400m, with its most interesting summits decorated with historical monasteries dating back to the 14th century.

HIGHLIGHTS

Join our 7-day trek at Mount Olympus and Meteora and reward yourself with the experience of a lifetime:

green_bullet Explore the most famous mountain in Greece, home of the Greek Gods and ‘relive’ ancient myths and history,
green_bullet Experience the diversity of the Greek mountainous landscape,
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Enjoy unspoilt sceneries with breathtaking views of Mt Olympus’ summits and deep gorges,
green_bullet Hike part of the E4 European path and Enipeas gorge,
green_bullet Visit Meteora and learn all about this unique geological phenomenon of astounding beauty,
green_bullet Follow old trails used by monks to reach 14th century monasteries and absorb the most captivating views and serenity!
green_bullet Walk with locals and experience the original Greek culture,
green_bullet Spot unique wild life and endemic flora!

Here is an example of what you will experience during our Mount Olympus and Meteora walking holiday:

OUR ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVAL at THESSALONIKI & TRANSFER TO LITOCHORO

Meeting and transfer to Litochoro, the “basecamp” town for all expeditions on Mount Olympus. The town is divided in two parts, one lying next to the sea and the other one by the riverbed of Enipeas gorge, at the foothills of Mount Olympus. Litochoro offers a slow paced atmosphere inspiring visitors to stroll down its shady streets and wander around its solitary beaches. After accommodating yourself at our guesthouse, we’ll walk into Enipeas gorge to admire its amazing rock formations. We’ll discuss the week’s itinerary over a traditional drink and ‘meze’ by the river. You’ll enjoy a traditional meal at our favourite local tavern.

DAY 2: VISIT THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OF DION & ASCEND THE MOUNTAIN OF GODS

After breakfast we will visit the archaeological site of Dion, the ancient Macedonian Sanctuary of Zeus and its adjusted museum. During the Hellenistic period it was the religious center of Macedonia. Zeus was venerated here and Olympic games were held in his and the Muses honor.

You will then be transferred to the refuge of Koromilia (1,000m), stopping on the way to gaze the canyon of Orlias, one of the finest canyons in Greece. Lunch will be served at the refuge. Having had enough time to relax and breath the fresh air, you will start ascending towards our first stop on the mountain of the Gods, the refuge of Petrostrugka. The path traverses through thick pristine forest, gaining smoothly but steadily altitude, until it reaches the refuge after around three hours. The refuge is situated at an altitude of 1,940m, in a beautiful spot among age-old Bosnian pine trees, offering you panoramic views to the valley of Katerini, Mount Pelion and the Aegean Sea. You’ll enjoy a delicious warm dinner at the refuge.

(Distance: 5,5km. Technical difficulty: Moderate. Actual walking time: 3 hours.)

DAY 3: HIKE TO PLATEAU OF THE MUSES AND PROFITIS ILIAS PEAK
After breakfast we will start our ascent to the Plateau of the Muses, one of the most breathtaking places of Mt. Olympus. Our path will lead you to the Skourta peak (2,485m) where the alpine landscape dominates, offering outstanding 360-degree views. From this point a narrow ridge called Laimos (neck) begins which will lead you to the plateau. Walking through the ridge is an experience on its own, giving you the opportunity to admire the amazing geology of Mt. Olympus’ rock formations.

As you reach higher altitudes, you will have many opportunities to spot the endemic wild goat of Mt. Olympus, a rare and endangered specie looking more like a deer than a goat, inhabiting mostly Mt. Olympus’ alpine zone. The 4-hour walk will finish at the refuge of Kakalos, located at an elevation of 2,650m. It was named after Christos Kakalos, a local hunter who guided the Swiss climbers Fred Boissonnas and Daniel Baud Bovy to realize the first recorded ascent to Olympus’ highest peak, Mytikas, in 1913. After a small break and lunch at the refuge, we will wander around the magical alpine landscape of the plateau and reach Agios Profitis peak (2,830m) after an easy 40-min walk. An ascend to Profitis Ilias peak allows breathtaking views to the north slopes of Mt. Olympus and neighboring mountains, intensified by the colours of the sunset. Dinner will be served at the refuge.

(Distance: 6km. Technical difficulty: Easy to moderate. Actual walking time: 4 hours.)

Day 4: ΗΙΚe TO SCOLIO PEAK & descend to Spilios Agapitos REFUGE

After a warm, filling breakfast at the refuge we will aim at summiting Scolio peak at 2,904m. Scolio is the third highest peak of Mt. Olympus which you will reach through a relatively easy path. Scolio gives superb views to the highest peaks of the mountain, Mytikas (2,918m) and Stefani (2,912m). (It is possible for experienced climbers only to climb up to Mytikas peak at their own risk through Skala or the steep gully of Mytikas. They are considered Class III ascents and there’s moderate exposure.)

After enjoying a snack at the top of Scolio peak, you’ll follow a scenic path through an area called Zonaria where the barren rock landscapes of Mt. Olympus are overwhelmingly stunning. After a 2-hour descent you’ll reach Spilios Agapitos Refuge, a magnificent stone building at a beautiful location forming a natural balcony, at an altitude of 2,100m. This cozy refuge is an ideal spot for relaxing. Dinner will be served later in the evening.

(Distance: 6km. Technical difficulty: Moderate. Actual walking time: 4 hours.)

Day 5: HIKE THE E4 EUROPEAN PATH AND STROLL DOWN ENIPEAS GORGE

Today we will start our descend from Spilios Agapitos Refuge (2,100m) to the location of Prionia (1,100m). The long but scenic descent is the most frequented hiking path on Mount Olympus and makes up part of the E4 European path. The path is in very good condition and the combination of thick pine trees with beech and fir trees gives a unique charm to the area. There are several vantage points to stop and observe the surrounding evergreen forest and sceneries. Upon arriving at Prionia you will admire the Enipeas waterfalls and enjoy a light lunch at the only local cafe. We’ll then follow the Enipeas river all the way down to Litochoro Village.

On our way you will have the opportunity to visit the old monastery of Agios Dionysios that dates back to 1542. It is a monument of rare architectural and aesthetic beauty, built as a fortress from stone and wood on a natural fortified plateau. The total duration of the trek from Prionia to Litochoro takes about 5 hours, crossing the canyon seven times over beautiful wooden bridges. The route is quite tiring due to the ascents and descents, but the varied geological features, the small lakes with crystal waters and the sheer mountain slopes provide a rare beauty and entirely reward you for your effort.

Tonight you’ll sleep at a guesthouse by the sea, completing your descend from an altitude of 2,100m all the way down to sea level. To congratulate yourself for such an achievement you will enjoy dinner at the best fish tavern in the area.

(Distance: 15km. Technical difficulty: Moderate. Actual walking time: 8 hours.)

Day 6: REST & TRANSFER TO METEORA

In the morning you will enjoy the beachfront location of our guesthouse, have a swim or just rest by its beautiful surroundings. Early in the afternoon, we will hit the road again heading to the mysterious region of Meteora. Story has it that in the 9th century AD a group of monks moved into the area and lived in caves on top of the rock pillars, seeking complete solitude. During the 11th and 12th century AD a monastic state was created and by the 14th century there were already over 20 monasteries at Meteora. Today only 6 survive and are open to visitors.

After a light lunch at Kastraki town, at the foothills of Meteora, we will start our tour of the monasteries. During our relaxed exploration you will experience spectacular views from above, having Kastraki and the Thessalian plain at our feet, as well as unobstructed views to all surrounding mountains. Dazed by the scenery and amazed by the monks’ decision to climb the steep rocks of Meteora, we will have dinner at a local tavern.

Day 7: MeTeORA CIRCULAR WAlk WITH PANORAMIC VIeWS

Longing to start walking again after yesterday’s rest, we’ll start early for our circular 6-hour walk around the Meteora rocks. Starting from the village of Kastraki we’ll follow apparent paths and secret passes used by the monks in the old days. We’ll visit three of the six operating monasteries such as the “The Great Meteoro Monastery”. It was named “meteoro”, meaning “suspended in the air” because of the formation of the gigantic rock on top of which it was built. Founded in the 14th century AD by a monk from Mount Athos, it is the oldest, largest and tallest one (615m above sea level). Inside the church of Transfiguration there are fine icons and frescoes dating from the 14th to 16th centuries.

Our next stop will be the monastery of “The Holy Trinity”, widely known from the James Bond film “For your eyes only”. It was built in the 14th century and the access to the monastery until 1925 was only by rope ladders and the supplies were transferred by baskets. Last monastery to visit will be “The Varlaam monastery”, founded in 1350 by a monk named Varlaam, the only one to live on the rock. Rumor has it that it took the monks 20 years to gather all the materials on top by using ropes and baskets and only 20 days to finish the construction.

Passing from the roots of the giant boulders, moving in dense forest you’ll enjoy alternating sceneries of trees, small clearings, low vegetation, wild flowers, mushrooms and the majestic Meteora rocks. We’ll ascend to the most panoramic point to admire the Meteora cluster and have a small picnic. We will continue our hike through the old and not so obvious paths in a fairytale-like forest with streams and vegetation so thick that creates arches to pass underneath. At the end of the trek we will descend following an ancient stone-paved path (kalderimi) at one of the local taverns of Kastraki to celebrate the end of our adventurous week.

(Distance: 11km. Technical difficulty: Easy to moderate. Actual walking time: 5 hours.)

Day 8: Farewell breakfast and transfer back to Thessaloniki.

 

It is possible to extend your hiking adventure for a few days and explore the rest of Northern Greece… or combine it with a week at the Ionian islands of Lefkada or Ithaca. Please contact us for further information.

You are strongly advised to come prepared for a real trekking experience, this meaning good hiking shoes and hiking poles, a hiking backpack, waterproof shells, warm clothes and socks and a personal first aid kit. Full list and further information will be provided. Though previous experience is not necessary, a basic fitness level is required

While hiking in Mount Olympus, you will have to be prepared to carry clothes and gear to spend 3 days οn the mountain, hopping from refuge to refuge. Bottled water is available at all the refuges to purchase and there are a few springs with drinkable water on our route.

Temperatures can get pretty chilly even during the summer months, while rain is always a possibility. Bear in mind that the Plateau of the Muses lies at an attitude of 2,700m and attitude sickness symptoms might be present.

The above itinerary is subject to changes according to the weather conditions or other special events taking place during the week. The enjoyment of our guests and their safety are always our priorities. Flexible itineraries are available based on the needs of our guests. We can organise a more challenging or a more relaxed-pace itinerary offering you more time to relax and enjoy Mount Olympus and Meteora. 4- and 7-day itineraries are offered.

We look forward to welcome you at our Mount Olympus and Meteora walking holiday! This unique trekking holiday is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the Greek mountainous nature, history and culture off-the-beaten track and under the guidance of an experienced local mountain guide.

Solo travellers are welcome. It’s always more fun to walk with a group of like-minded travellers.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

We organise our Mount Olympus and Meteora walking holiday between June and September each year.

We have reserved for you lovely authentic family-run guesthouses and refuges at very picturesque locations.  The owners are very hospitable and helpful and are known to provide the most delicious breakfasts and meals. We’ll send you full details.

The combination of natural beauty and culture but also the hospitality of the residents will make this holiday unforgettable for you.

green_bullet Check our fees!

green_bullet How we walk towards nofootprint…

green_bullet Check photos from our walking holiday!