Gods, mythology, national park, flora, fauna, climbing, heliski… These are just some of the many associations that bind us to the centuries-long history of this grand mountain!
Mount Olympus is located on the border of Macedonia and Thessaly between the prefectures of Pieria and Larissa. Olympus is highest mountain in Greece and the second highest mountain in the Balkans. The highest point of Mount Olympus, Mytikas (2,917 m), is located 78 km from Thessaloniki, 18 km from the coast of Pieria and 24 km from Katerini.
Olympus expands over approximately 500 km2 and covers an essentially circular area with a width of approximately 25 km and a circumference of 80 km.
In 1938, Olympus, the highest Greek mountain, the residence of the twelve ancient gods, was the first area which was declared as a National Park. More than 1,700 plants are found on Mount Olympus—representing 25 percent of all Greek flora. Diversity is high here because of the mountain’s different elevation zones and its proximity to the sea. More than a hundred bird species live in Olympus National Park, including rare and threatened woodpeckers and golden eagles. The park is also famed for the colorful array of butterflies found here. The importance of the National Park has been recognized not only in Greece and Europe but all over the world. In 1981 UNESCO declared Olympus “A Biosphere Reserve”.
Hiking and climbing are very popular on the mountain and there are routes for all levels of ability and enthusiasm. There are nine refuges for overnight stays; each one sleeps dozens of people and many have kitchens or even restaurants. Some refuges are seasonal so plan any visits accordingly. . For approximately seven months of the year it is covered in snow (from November to May). This attracted for the first time in January of 2012 a new fashion of extreme sports – heliski.
In Greek mythology Olympus was regarded as the “home” of the Twelve Olympian Gods of the ancient Greek world. 12 Gods made up the council of twelve. They were the most powerful gods, the rulers of heaven and earth. Pantheon (today’s Mytikas) is their meeting place. Their tempestuous discussions are heard by the god of gods Zeus sitting on his imposing throne (today’s Stefani). From there he unlooses his thunders showing “his godly wrath”.
Walking through the history of this mountain is a unique life experience. So, take the opportunity to apply for this amazing excursion and see for yourself how gorgeous Olympus is.