How to get to Mount Olympus from Athens and Thessaloniki
“Where is Mount Olympus?” is a commonly asked question by people interested in the largest mountain of Greece famous for the Twelve Olympian Gods. If you want to go hiking Mount Olympus, visit Mount Olympus National Park, explore its charming villages, or stroll around the historical sites at its slopes, here is information about how to get to this interesting mountain range.
It’s not hard to get from Thessaloniki or Athens to Mount Olympus, but when you don’t speak Greek the available information on the internet may be confusing.
Getting to Mount Olympus from Athens or Thessaloniki by public transport is possible, but only to the most popular entrance of the mountain, at the village of Litochoro. To get to the other entrances you either have to rent a car or join an organized tour to one of the areas you want to visit. Those areas are usually not populated enough to be served regularly by buses.
Mt. Olympus Location in Northern Greece
Mount Olympus is located in the north of Greece on the borders of Thessaly and Macedonia, between the districts Larissa and Pieria. The average distance from Thessaloniki to Mount Olympus is 90 kilometers (56 mi), while the distance from Athens to Mount Olympus is 420 kilometers (261 mi).
The southern part of the Greek Mount Olympus is separated from Mount Ossa by the historical Tempi Valley. At the coastal area above, the mountain range rises gradually from the Aegean Sea until it reaches its rocky summit Mytikas at 2917 m (9570 ft), west of Litochoro.
The northern region of Mount Olympus is separated from the Aegean Sea by the plain of Katerini and from the Pieria Mountains by the historical Petra Passage.
Mt. Olympus Entrance Points
Entrance Point at Eastern Side of Mount Olympus
The most popular entrance to Mt Olympus is at the village of Litochoro, on the eastern foothills. Litochoro is located at a distance of about 23 kilometers (14 mi ) from Katerini. Many hikers, walkers and mountaineers begin their journey in the beautiful Enipeas Gorge or ascend the mountain by car or taxi until they reach refuge Stavros at 950 m (3117 ft) or the Mount Olympus trailhead called Prionia at an altitude of 1100 m (3609 ft). From Prionia hiking trails start to other refuges and it’s also one of the starting points for climbing the peaks of Mount Olympus.
Entrance Points at Northeastern Olympus
Entrances at the northeastern side of Mount Olympus are: Agioi Apostoloi near the village of Vrontou, the village of Dion, and the village of Petra.
Agioi Apostoloi, Vrontou
At Agioi Apostoloi, Vrontou, several hiking trails run into the mountains, while there are also some historic sites you can visit like the Church of Agia Triada, the ruins of the old ghost village of Palio Vrontou, the Agios Nikolaos church, and the little chapel of Agia Kori. Another great place is the waterfall and lagoon of Agia Kori. There are more waterfalls and lagoons in this area, but they require pretty long hikes with a guide through the Agia Triada Gorge and this is not recommended for everyone. Agioi Apostoloi is located at a distance of approximately 20 kilometers (12 mi ) from Katerini.
On Mount Olympus above the village of Dion, at a distance of 21 kilometers (13 mi) from Katerini, is the gorgeous Orlias Gorge located. Here you can visit the Orlias lagoons and waterfalls or go for a hike to the Red Rock waterfall. There are many more hiking trails running to different heights and areas of Mount Olympus.
Near the village of Dion you will find the remains of the ancient city of Dion, which was a very important place during the reign of the Macedonian Kingdom. Nowadays it’s one of the most beautiful archaeological parks in Greece.
The small mountain village of Petra lies at a distance of 25 kilometers (16 mi) from the capital of Pieria, Katerini and is another entrance point to Mount Olympus. It can be reached by taking the road Katerini – Elassona that separates Mount Olympus from the Pieria Mountains and that runs through a beautiful forested area.
Entrance Points at Western and Southern Side of Mount Olympus
At the western side you can enter Mount Olympus at the village of Kokkinopilos, while at the southern part at the village of Karya.
Kokkinopilos & Karya
Kokkinopilos is pretty far from Katerini at a distance of about 51 kilometers (32 mi). It’s located off the road Katerini – Elassonas. It can also be reached from the southern coastal area of Mount Olympus. It’s distance from the Platamon Tunnel it’s about 90 kilometers.
Karya can be reached from the same coastal area. It’s distance from the Platamon Tunnel is approximately 44 kilometers (27 mi).
Thessaloniki to Mount Olympus
Litochoro can easily be reached by bus or train from Thessaloniki.
There is a train station below the village and you will have to take a taxi to the village itself. Usually, taxis are waiting outside of the trainstation. The only problem is that Litochoro is only served by two trains a day.
Almost every hour buses depart from Thessaloniki Intercity Bus Station “Macedonia” to Litochoro. Here you can find the bus schedule of KTEL Pierias. Beware that the last bus departs around 08.45 p.m.
Athens to Mount Olympus
There is no direct bus connection from Athens to Litochoro. First, you will have to travel from Athens to the town of Katerini in the district of Pieria. In Athens the bus departs from Liosia bus station. It’s best to find out about the exact departure times at the bus station itself. Phone: 210 8317059 (Liosia bus station).
From Katerini there is a bus connection to Litochoro. Phone: 23510 23313 (Katerini bus station).
Mount Olympus Trailhead Prionia
To get to the Prionia Trailhead above Litochoro, you have to take a taxi from Litochoro. Lately, there is a special summer bus line that serves Litochoro – Prionia twice a day at Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in July and August. Here you can find more information.