Climbing Mount Olympus – Ascend The Throne Of The Gods

Updated: May 17, 2023
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To the ancient Greeks, Mount Olympus was the seat of powerful deities including Zeus, Hermes, and Aphrodite. This European mountain is very much real. Climbing Mount Olympus is an exciting prospect, whether you are a mythology buff or not.

Reaching the seat of the Gods is no walk in the park. If you want to make it to Olympus’s highest summit you will need to be physically fit. Not only that, you will need a level head when it comes to heights!

Here I break down everything you need to plan your trek to Mt Olympus. 

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Mount Olympus Hike, Greece

Where Is Mount Olympus?

Mount Olympus is located in northern Greece. It is the highest mountain in the country with 46 peaks. The tallest peak, Mytikas, reaches 2,917 meters (9,570 feet). The mountain is situated in the Olympus Range on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia regions.

Most people start the Mt Olympus climb from Litochoro. This small town is nestled at the base of the mountain with a bunch of accommodation options for trekkers. You can also start Mt Olympus hiking trails from Prionia, Gortsia, and Kokkinoplos.

How Difficult Is Climbing Mount Olympus?

Trail to Mytikas

Trail to Mytikas (Photo by Danail Nachev)

Climbing Mount Olympus is considered to be a challenging and strenuous hike. There are several routes to choose from and some of them are easier than others.

There are some technical sections on the ascents to Mytikas and Stefani. If you plan on hiking these summits unguided, you need real mountaineering experience. You will also need gear including ropes and harnesses. 

If you summit Mount Olympus with a guide, you do not need any prior mountaineering experience. If you want to avoid any actual climbing, many people choose to hike as far as the base of the peaks.

Regardless of the route, you will need to have a good level of fitness to hike mount Olympus. I recommend that you follow some sort of fitness program and do some other hikes in Greece in preparation.

When Is The Best Time To Climb Mount Olympus?

Mount Olympus Greece

Mount Olympus Greece (Photo by Claire Cox)

The best months to climb to any summit on Mount Olympus are from June to Mid August. This time of year is usually dry, and not as cold in the mountain tops.

Even during the summer months, the weather can change without any warning. It’s essential to be prepared with the appropriate clothing for all possible outcomes.

Some years snow covers the peaks from October all the way through to June. The trails are sometimes temporarily closed for safety reasons. Even if the routes are open, it’s not advisable to climb Olympus in these off-season months.

Before embarking on your hike up this beautiful mountain, it's always a good idea to check the trail conditions. Ask around in town. Local authorities and hikers who know the area well will be happy to give their advice.

What Equipment Do You Need To Climb Mount Olympus?

To hike Mount Olympus, you will need some basic equipment. Specialized gear will be necessary if you plan to do a more technical route to one of the peaks.

Here are some of the essential items you should consider bringing:

Basic Equipment:

  • A small backpack
  • Hiking boots with good ankle support 
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Sunscreen with a high SPF rating
  • Plenty of water (at least 2 liters per person)
  • High-energy snacks and food
  • A map and compass or GPS app on your phone
  • First aid kit

Specialized Climbing Gear;

If you book through a tour operator, the safety equipment above will be provided by your guide.

Note: Helmets are not compulsory but, if you are attempting either Mytikas or Stefani Peak (Zeus’s Throne) I’d wear one. Climbers above you often dislodge rocks and gravel.

How Much Does It Cost To Climb Mount Olympus?

A 2-day guided Mount Olympus Trek with a reputable company costs around $270- $300 (€250 - €280). Here's our recommended local operator.

If you are hiking without a tour, here are some of the costs you should budget for;

National Park Entrance Fee: The entrance fee for Mount Olympus National Park is 6 euros per person or €12 per car per day.

Equipment Rental: You may need to rent equipment such as hiking boots, trekking poles, and climbing gear. 

Guide: You can hire a local guide for your climb. Guides can range from €40 to €100 per day. It is worth hiring a guide, especially if you are hiking as a group and can split the cost.

Accommodation: If you plan to stay overnight on the mountain, you will need to factor in the cost of accommodation and meals. Expect to pay between €10 to €50 per night, depending on how fancy the refuge is.

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Mount Olympus Greece Climbing Route

There are multiple trails on Mount Olympus with different levels of difficulty. Below, I have outlined the most popular routes to Mount Olympus summits.

Prionia Trail (7- 10 hrs)

Climbing Mount Olympus

Trail Marker on Route To Skala (Phot by Amaury)

The trail from Prionia is the most popular route to Mt Olympus Mytikas summit. The trailhead is at Prionia parking lot, about 18km from Litochoro town.

Note: There used to be a bus to Prionia but, from what we hear, this is no longer running. You can currently only get here by walking or taking a taxi. 

In total, the hike to Mytikas and back down is 20km (12.5 miles). This seems short but there is an elevation gain of about 2,800 meters.

The trail is well-marked, but, from a safety perspective, I find that going with a guide gives you peace of mind.

From Prionia trailhead (1, 100m), you will walk 3 hours to Spilios Refuge (2,060m). I suggest you take a short rest here before continuing onward to Skala peak (2,866m). Up until Skala, it is only walking without any technical climbing.

The final stretch to Mount Olympus’s highest peak, Mytikas, is along a steep and narrow path. Reaching Mytikas requires scrambling and some rock climbing skills. You will only be going about 400m further but this section can take more than an hour.

Note: This climbing section is a class 3 rock scramble. This means; it is very exposed, you will need to use your hands and falls are potentially fatal.

If you are not prepared or experienced enough for the final climb, it’s better to end the hike at Skala. Alternatively, you could go to Skolio peak from Skala. The ascent to Skolio is a much easier scramble than that to Mytikas.

From either summit, you have the most amazing views. On a clear day, you can see the Aegean sea and all the way to Bulgaria and Albania!

E4 Trail From Litochoro

If you have more than one day to climb Mt. Olympus, you can walk to Prionia from Litochoro town. This will add 7.3 miles / 11.8km each way to your trek.

The trail starts near the Myloi restaurant in Litochoro. The first part of the hike will take you through the Enipeas Canyon past the Agios Dionysios Monastery.

If you hike all the way to Prionia, you will need to stay over at either Spilios Agapitos or Christakis Refuge (You may see these called Refuge A and Refuge B). In this case, you can continue the climb up Mytikas on day 2.

Kokkinopilos Trail To Skolio Peak

The  trail starts at the archaeological site of Dion, which is located at the foot of Mount Olympus. Dion can be reached by car or bus from the nearby town of Litochoro. The Kokkinopilos Trail is approximately 14 kilometers long (round trip) and takes about 9-10 hours to complete.

The Kokkinopilos Trail leads to the peak of Skolio, (2,911m) the second-highest peak on Mount Olympus.

Join a Mt Olympus Climb

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Mount Olympus Hike Greece: FAQs

Can You Climb Mount Olympus In A Day?

Mount Olympus can be climbed in a day. If you are exceptionally fit, you can make it to the summit and back in less than 8 hrs. 

Can A Beginner Climb Mount Olympus?

Mount Olympic hikes are usually not recommended for beginner hikers. Having said that, there are a lot of trails that do not make technical summits. You can also book a tour if you are inexperienced with more technical climbs.

When was Mount Olympus First Climbed?

Christos Kakalos and his team were the first people to climb Mount Olympus. This was in 1913.

Do I Need Travel Insurance To Hike Mount Olympus?

Any time you are planning adventure travel you should take out travel insurance. This is particularly important when you plan on doing hikes like Mt Olympus where there is increased risk on steep climbs. Don't skimp on a good travel insurance!

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About the author 

Alison Macallister

With a degree in Nature Conservation and experience working with wildlife including the Big 5, Alison used to work as a guide for a 5-star safari reserve in South Africa. Today she is a full time traveller and editor for Mountain IQ. She has travelled and hiked extensively in South America, including many solo hikes in Patagonia, the Cusco region of Peru, Ecuador and Chile.

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  1. Regarding: "The trail from Prionia is the most popular route to Mt Olympus Mytikas summit. The trailhead is at Prionia parking lot, about 18km from Litochoro town. You can get here by taking a bus." I understood that this bus line is no longer active. Only way up is either hiking or taking a taxi.

    1. Hi Marcel

      Thanks for the update, we appreciate it! I’ll make a change to show this in the article

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