Hiking Mt Olympus Greece
Litochoro – Enipeas Gorge – Prionia
The Greek Mount Olympus is a mountain range in Northern Greece, most famous since ancient times for the 12 Gods of Mount Olympus that were worshiped by the ancient Greeks. It is also the highest mountain of Greece, with its Mytikas peak at 2917 meters. Hiking Mt. Olympus Greece (not to be confused with other mountains in the world and in Greece named Olympus), is becoming more popular lately, as people have started to get breaks from their busy city lives to enjoy some nature and physical exercise. Greeks from the nearby city of Thessaloniki, but even from Athens, and foreign tourists take short trips to climb Mt Olympus or go for a short day hike or multi-day hike. A stunning hiking trail of moderate difficulty runs through the Enipeas Gorge, at the foothills of Mount Olympus.
Hiking Trail Litochoro – Prionia
Litochoro – Myloi
The well-marked hiking trail of Mount Olympus is part of the international E4 trail that starts in Litochoro in the area called Myloi, at 400 meters height. This place is one of the entrances to the Mount Olympus National Park, the first national park of Greece and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
At Myloi in Litochoro are the Baths of Zeus, some beautiful waterfalls and basins which you, unfortunately, can’t get close to, but are nice to look at. Most tourists visiting the Enipeas Gorge, only visit Myloi for these waterfalls and for a lunch at the little taverna at this spot.
Agios Dionysios Olympus & The Holy Cave
The hiking trail through the Enipeas Gorge has a length of about ten kilometers and ends in Prionia at 1100 meters height. You will start your hike left of the Enipeas River that runs through the Enipeas Gorge, but you will cross the river several times across little wooden bridges.
The Holy Cave
After a long hike, you will first reach the Holy Cave of Saint Dionysios. This is where the monk Dionysios lived some time as an ascetic. Next to the cave, there is an enchanting little white chapel built under a huge rock. Here you can take some rest, though don’t expect any facilities except for a little bench.
Agios Dionysios Olympus – The Old Monastery
As you continue your hike you will reach the old Monastery of Saint Dionysios after about 20 minutes. This impressive monastery was destroyed several times by Turks and later by Germans. At 820 meters height, it was pretty inaccessible and provided many times refuge to the people that had to flee from Litochoro. Take your time to visit the monastery while hiking Mt Olympus in Greece, because it’s definitely a unique building surrounded by stunning nature. You will also pass from some crystal clear lagoons where people swim in the summer. I even saw several people with their tent camped near the lagoons.
In this blog post you can read everything about the Holy Cave, the old Monastery and its history.
The last part of the hike leads to the waterfalls near Prionia. This will take about another ten minutes. At Prionia are facilities like a restaurant and toilets.
Beware that you have to return to Litochoro after your long hike. If you have enough energy, you can hike back. Otherwise, you can ask at the refuge at Prionia to call a taxi.
Hiking Trails Mount Olympus Greece
Another option is to do the hike backward, in other words, to descend the Enipeas Canyon starting at Prionia and to end in Litochoro. Many people do it like this. They take a cab from Litochoro to Prionia or take an organized tour that gets them there. There are many day trips from Thessaloniki to Mount Olympus.
When opting for descending the Enipeas Gorge from Prionia you will also pass from the old Monastery of Agios Dionysios and the Holy Chapel, but now you will visit them at the start of your hike.
Mount Olympus Trailhead
Prionia is a very well known place among mountain climbers and hikers of Mount Olympus. It’s is a hiking trailhead for many hikes and climbs into Mount Olympus, because of its favorable location. Mountaineers climbing Mt. Olympus to the Mytikas peak all start from Prionia. The distance Litochoro Prionia is about 18 km over a very well-paved road.
Hiking Mt Olympus Greece – Enipeas Gorge
The hike through the Enipeas Gorge is absolutely fabulous, but also tiring because of the many ascents and descents. The high temperatures can make it even more difficult, even though you will be walking mostly in the shade of the trees. This hike on Mount Olympus will take at least five hours and there is no refuge along the trail.
Hiking in Enipeas Gorge with Kids
Hiking Mt Olympus in Greece with kids is absolutely fabulous if you take the hiking trails suitable for kids. I know families with children going for a hike along the Enipeas hiking trail, but the adults are usually very experienced hikers. Unless you are a very experienced hiker, you shouldn’t take kids with you, unless you are being guided by an experienced guide.
I would also advise you to never ever go for a hike without an experienced local guide, to be in good physical condition, to wear the proper shoes, and to bring enough water and food with you.
If you want to be safe with your kids and avoid the ascents and descents through the Enipeas Gorge which hike takes five to six hours, you could just drive to the Old Monastery. Here you can park the car, visit the monastery and next go for the 20-minutes hike to the Holy Cave.
We did this short hike with a five year old and it was an absolutely gorgeous experience for the entire family. When we returned at the parking of the monastery, we drove up to Prionia for a lunch at the taverna and enjoyed the view of the waterfalls.
Where is Mount Olympus
The mountain range is located on the borders of the Greek provinces Thessaly and Macedonia, in the districts of Larissa and Pieria. The mountain range of Mount Olympus covers an area of 500 km2 (190 sq mi).
Thessaloniki to Litochoro
The distance Thessaloniki – Mount Olympus is about 80 km (50 mi). The distance Thessaloniki – Litochoro is a little longer, about 100 km (62 mi). The route is along the highway (national road) and has tolls at several places.
Athens to Mount Olympus Litochoro
The distance from Athens to Mount Olympus, Litochoro, is about 400 kilometers, which will take you 4 ½ hours by car along the national highway (national road) and has many tolls.
Ancient Mount Olympus
In Ancient Greece, Mount Olympus was the mythical seat of the Twelve Olympian Gods. Mount Olympus has the highest peak of all mountains at Greek territory, called Mytikas. This is where the ancient Greeks believed the 12 Olympian Gods met. The Stefani peak was believed to be the throne of god Zeus.
Ancient Greek Sites – Dion Greece
A few kilometers from Litochoro you can visit one of the country’s lesser-known ancient Greek sites, Dion, an ancient Greek city that prospered from the 5th century BC until the 5th century AD.
Dion was the sacred city of the Kingdom of Macedonia, dedicated to Zeus and the other Olympian Gods. The ruins of Dion are spread over a surface of 200 hectares and you can admire numerous statues, theaters, ancient roads, and remains of enormous Roman bathhouses that were built over the original Greek ones. This is an important place which Alexander the Great and his father King Philip II often visited.
For some beautiful pictures of Dion Archaeological Park and its monuments you can read this blog post.
Dion Park is also known for its magical natural beauty. The lush green park with many ponds, bridges, and wildflowers is definitely one of the most beautiful historic Greek sites I have visited in Greece.
At a little distance of the Dion archaeological site is the Archaeological Museum of Dion located. Here they keep findings from the excavations of the ancient city of Dion and it is really worth a visit.
Final thoughts on Hiking Mt Olympus Greece
If you are familiar with Greece you would know there are many mountains in Greece. About seventy percent of the country’s surface consists of mountains. Not every mountain though has well-kept and marked hiking trails. The Mount Olympus trail that runs through the Enipeas Gorge, just as other hiking trails on the highest mountain in Greece, are of good quality. This makes Mount Olympus one of the best places for hiking in Greece.
Another great thing is that the sea and beaches are very nearby, so you can head immediately for a plunge into the sea after your hike. When staying in Litochoro, the nearest beaches are Plaka Litochoro and Gritsa.
A beautiful place to stay is at the village of Old Panteleimonas, about 22 kilometers to the south of Litochoro. Old Panteleimonas is surrounded by chestnut trees and hence well-known for its chestnuts which have an impressive history. You can read more about this village in this blog post.
Places to visit near Litochoro
- Castle of Platamonas
- Archaeological site of Pydna
- Mt. Olympus village of Old Panteleimonas
- Vergina Royal Tombs and ancient city Aigai in Vergina
- Orlias Waterfall in Dion
- Waterfall of Agia Kori in Vrontou
- Red Rock Waterfall in Dion
- Information Centrum National Park Olympus in Litochoro