Hikers and mountain climbers from around the world come to Mount Olympus in Greece to take a hike to the highest point of Greece, the summit Mytikas at an altitude of 2.918m (9,573ft). This article informs you about hiking Mount Olympus in Greece by following the E4 hiking trail that starts at Prionia, passes Refuge Spilios Agapitos and Skala and ends at Mytikas peak.

There are a couple of other trails leading to Mytikas. The trailheads of these routes are Grotsia, Krevatia, Kokkinoplo, Refuge Christaki and KEOAX military ski center. These hiking trails are not within the scope of this article.

Hiking in Greece to Mytikas on Mount Olympus
Hikers ascending Mytikas on Mount Olympus Greece by Ale30307 [CC BY-SA 4.0 ] Wikimedia Commons

Prior considerations before hiking to Mytikas

Even though this is supposed to be the easy route to Mytikas, this hike might not be a pleasant one for someone without prior experience. It involves some serious uphill walking and the trail is pretty rugged.

At the last part, from Skala to the summit Mytikas, you will be climbing and descending near vertically using your hands and feet to hold on to the sharp rocks. Rocks may fall down so wear a helmet at all times.

You will find plenty of people claiming that it can be done in one day and that prior experience isn’t necessary. Depending on your physical and mental condition and your experience as a hiker or mountain climber only you know what is sensible to do.

Even during the summer months people get caught up in a sudden change of weather, or fall victim to unforeseen accidents. This happens also to experienced mountain climbers! People underestimate the dangers of the mountains and plenty of fatal accidents happen every year.

Be sure you are fit enough for this mountain hike. Wear the proper clothes and shoes, be sure you have enough water with you, check and double check the weather conditions, don’t ascend the rocky steep trails during wet days, book a refuge affront if you plan to stay the night at the mountain and better, get advice from or hire an experienced mountain guide.

Litochoro, the base town at Mount Olympus

The Prionia trailhead is located at Mount Olympus at a height of 1.100m (3.608ft). It’s at a distance of approximately 18 km (11 miles) from Litochoro, the base town for climbing and hiking Mount Olympus in Greece.

To get there you first will have to get to Litochoro. From Thessaloniki, Litochoro can easily be reached by train or by bus. In Litochoro you can spend the night or head immediately to Prionia by taxi which will cost around 25 euros.

Trailhead Prionia

At Prionia there are some useful facilities. There is a parking lot, a taverna (phone: +30 693 248 4868) and bathrooms.

From Prionia to the first refuge is a walk of around three hours with only one water station about 40 minutes into your hike. You will need plenty of water especially during the summer heat. Not only so you will not dehydrate but it will keep you fit to take a sip now and then.

Refuge Spilios Agapitos or Refuge A

At Prionia you will follow the E4 path to Refuge Spilios Agapitos (Refuge A) which is at an altitude of 2.100m (6.890ft). The almost continuously uphill hike will take you from 1.5 to 6 hours, depending on your speed.

Because all refuges have difficult Greek names they are also referred to by letters of the alphabet. The refuge on this route, Refuge Spilios Agapitos, is referred to as Refuge A.

Refuge A has 110 beds and a restaurant. If you want to spend the night at this shelter make sure to book in advance and check the requirements on their site for overnight stays.

Skala

The same day, but better the next day you can continue your hike to Skala at an altitude of 2.866m (9.403ft). On average it will take you three hours to reach Skala, but again it depends on your speed. Beware that after leaving Refuge A, you will not find another refuge along the trail to Mytikas.

It’s advised to leave the refuge very early in the morning. Later in the morning it can get really crowded around Mytikas. Ascending with many people in front of you increases the danger of rocks falling down.

Mytikas Peak, summit of Mount Olympus Greece

At Skala you can decide if you want to climb further to Mytikas or to return. The path from Skala to Mytikas is considered pretty hard. It’s a distance of three kilometers (around two miles) with an altitude difference of 818 meters (2.684ft).

Paths become real steep and you will have to slide over rocks through a bare alpine landscape. It can get really difficult when a sunny day suddenly changes to thick fog and rain, making it impossible to continue. In that case you return to the refuge and try again the next day.

Some hikers complete this part of the trail in one hour, but to others it takes much more time. Again others start the climb but return as close to 100 meters (0, 06 mile) within reach of the summit. It doesn’t matter, as long as you stay safe.

The Greek flag will welcome you when you reach the Mytikas peak. You can admire some beautiful views and depending on the weather see as far as Albania, Bulgaria and the Greek peninsula of Chalkidiki. At Mytikas there is a visitors book you can sign.

Very detailed information with directions about the hiking trail from Refuge Spilios Agapitos (Refuge A) to Mytikas you can find here.

Hiking trail to Mytikas at Mount Olympus Greece
Hiker below kakoskala by Mary Papadopoulou

Alternative to second highest peak Skolio

If you have reached Skala but for some reason decide not to ascent Mytikas there is the alternative of going to the second peak of Mount Olympus, called Skolio at 2,912 meters (9,573ft). This route is said to be slightly more easy and is commonly taken by less experienced hikers.

Read more about day hikes on Mount Olympus: Enipeas Gorge, Red Rock Waterfall, Orlias Waterfalls.

In Ancient Greece, the Gods of Olympus resided on Mount Olympus according to Greek mythology.

In this article you can read where Mount Olympus exactly is located.

Feature images via  Flickr:  “Sign to Mytikas‘ by Amaury (CC BY-ND 2.0).

 

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