Mount Olympus & Meteora walking holiday

"Conquer Mt. Olympus, featuring the highest peak in Greece… Visit the spiritual, breathtaking gigantic rocks of Meteora…..."

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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 settling yourself in 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. From the sanctuary you can enjoy panoramic views of Olympus’ high peaks.

After a picnic by Orlias waterfal, you will be transferred to Gortsia point (1,200m), where you will start your hike to the refuge of Petrostouga. 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: 8km. Technical difficulty: Easy to moderate. Actual walking time: 5-7 hours.)
DAY 4: HIKE 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. Please contact us for further information.)

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: 4-5 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 the monastery of Agios Dionysios. It is a 1542 monument of rare architectural and aesthetic beauty, built as a fortress from stone and wood on a natural fortified plateau. On the way you’ll cross the canyon over beautiful wooden bridges and stop at a hidden waterfall for a well-deserved refreshing swim in its crystal clear waters!

Tonight you’ll sleep back at Litochoro at our 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: 10km. Technical difficulty: Moderate. Actual walking time: 5-6 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 “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.

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