After a spectacular five days trekking through the Pindus Mountains, Dyl and I were excited to climb Greece’s most iconic peak – Mount Olympus. Rising almost straight from the Aegean Sea to a height of 2,918m, it is the country’s tallest peak.
We made it to Litochoro in the early afternoon and found a camping store that rented sleeping bags. We grabbed a quick gyros for lunch, picked up a few snacks at the mini-market across the road and drove to the Gortsia trail head, setting off just before three. We’d read it could take 5-6 hours and with last orders for dinner at 9, we planned to walk with purpose!
Rather than being super steep, it was a steady climb and initially we we were walking through forest, which was lovely and shady from the blazing mid-afternoon sunshine. Once the trees thinned out we had wonderful views back over the ocean. It took us 1h45 to the halfway point, so at this point we knew we’d make dinner!
Eventually we emerged out of the forest above the tree line. We crossed a ridge, climbed up and rounded the corner for our first view of the summit. We could see a hut in the distance and were tempted to cut across the grass but thankfully we stayed high as it turned out that was a different refuge.
It had taken us just under 4 hours to the highest refuge in Greece at 2,640m – Giosis Apostolidis. We enjoyed a few games of cards with our Mamos beer, shared a customary Greek salad and were in bed not long after it got dark.
After speaking with Lazarus, a guide who works at the Refuge, we decided against summiting for sunrise, instead leaving at first light. Initially we skirted around the base of the peak before starting the scramble to the summit. Thankfully the route was well marked with blue and yellow markers and while the exposed climb definitely got the heart racing, it didn’t feel too scary as the rocks were sturdy and there were good footholds.
It was lovely and calm at the Mytikas summit and we enjoyed wonderfully clear 360 views that took in a number of surrounding peaks and the ocean.
We decided to take the longer, less direct Shaka Kakoskala route down, following the clear red markers down and around the mountain. Sadly the refuge had sold out of eggs by the time we made it back but we enjoyed a few pieces of toast with our cup of coffee for breakfast.
It took us just under 4 hours to get down the mountain: just over 2 hours to the Spillios Agapitos refuge where we enjoyed a cold frappe in the shade, and then a further 2 hours to the Prionia trailhead. The path was well marked and a constant descent with little respite for the knees!
Once back at the trailhead we enjoyed another cold frappe in the shade before catching a lift back to our car. We headed back to Litochoro to drop the sleeping bag and enjoyed a repeat of yesterday’s gyros for lunch before making our way to Meteora where a few sunset beers on our balcony awaited.
- Gortsia Trailhead (1,100m) to Refuge Giosis Apostolidis (2,640m) – 4 hours
- 1h15 to summit (2,918m) , 2 hrs back to the refuge
- Refuge to the Prionia Trailhead (1,100m) – 4 hours
Contact Number for the Refuge – +30 694 8043655
We rented our sleeping bags from 55 Peaks – https://m.facebook.com/55Peaks/