- 7 September 2020
Mount Olympus: Visiting Zeus’ home
The idea of reliving the past of Greek mythology and “meeting” gods, among whom Zeus is the most famous, may deserve a visit to Mount Olympus. Situated in the northern part of the country, it is 2.917 metres tall and it is the most majestic mountain of Greece. The highest peak’s name is Mytikas: this is here where Zeus sat to control everybody from above. Nevertheless, to get there you need a lot of training!
In this post, I will stop much earlier for a simple visit to mount Olympus in a day by car and a few short walks on the most easily accessible paths.
Mount Olympus Mythology
Foreword: Mount Olympus is known to have been the house of 12 gods, but if you expect to find some rock paintings that refer to gods or any other sign that reminds you of the past of Greek mythology, you will be disappointed. To date, no detail points to the past except for the peak of the mountain, that has the shape of a chair and for all, it is there where Zeus sat to control.
In any case, it is also nice to live by imagination. If your fantasy makes you feel in the magical and sacred place of the gods, then, observing the surrounding landscape, made up of waterfalls, paths, and variegated vegetation, is the only way you can truly feel in the house of the Gods and you can say “I met them ”! Moreover, in winter, snow covers the mountains, and this makes the landscape completely different and in some points inaccessible, gifting a mystic panorama and the idea of a sacred palace.
One-day mountain itinerary
Certainly, the village of Litochoro is the starting point; it is located at the mountain’s slopes. If you want to walk, the first paths start from this village; which allow you to reach the peak (I strongly advise against doing it in the same day; you need to sleep in at least one of the various refuges).
Otherwise, by car, you can continue to Prionia, the highest point before the road completely ends. Arriving in Prionia, you will have already entered the Mount Olympus National Park and can truly taste the landscape full of vegetation. Besides, coming up on the only principal road, there are plenty of panoramic points, where you can admire the entire coast of the Pieria region.
Mount Olympus localities you can reach by car or camper
Agios Dionisios Monastery
It is the first monastery that you encounter up the road that leads to Prionia. A few minutes’ drive from Litochoro and you are already there. This place gives the idea of a religious place surrounded by green. It is worth making a small stop (30 minutes are more than enough) to immerse yourself in the Orthodox culture.
It is the first refuge that is easily reachable after a 20 minutes drive from Litochoro. Here you can stop for a coffee break and take the first panoramic pictures of the coast. Alternatively, returning from Prionia, you can stop for lunch: I recommend the "beans", which is a bean soup cooked by them and also known as the greek national food. Surprisingly, it is not the pork skewer!
It is the final point, which you can reach by car. From this point on, you just have to continue on foot. Apart from reaching the summit, from the small terminal parking lot some paths branch off that lead to enchanting corners that you can easily reach on foot, even with children. For example, you can visit the sacred cave of Saint Dionisios, which is nothing more than a small cave inside which a little church has been carved. Alternatively, you can reach the old monastery of Saint Dionisios, which was the ancient monastery and which was partly shot down during World War II and therefore no longer used (that is why there is the above-mentioned Agios Dionisios Monastery). Other routes include paths alongside streams and very suggestive waterfalls. It is the Mount Olympus National Park and gods are watching you! Finally, in Prionia, in addition to the only bar-restaurant, you will also find all the indications of the “in the area” trails without going too far.
To end the day with Zeus
If you want to climb up the various refuges of Mount Olympus, sleep in them, walk for hours or climb the mountain to the peaks, there are various alternatives of routes and things to do. Keep in mind that there are seven refuges and other logistical support points. However, most of these are open during spring and summer (consult the timetables and especially book before embarking on a climb).
Undoubtedly, seeing the constellation or the red moon from the house of the gods will leave you speechless.
Back to our day “by car”, you can end it in the late afternoon with a tour of the village of Litochoro or you can visit the ancient Theater of Dion which is about 10 km away.
In Litochoro, you find the main avenue with various taverns and bars, a small naval museum and a very suggestive square. Moreover, always within a brief walking distance, you can go down to a river (usually dry during the summer months) where there are very typical bars made with brick houses in the middle of the trees and above all you can cool off a bit during the hottest days. In some summer evenings, you might get to enjoy concerts with live music. My advice is to make a short stop right here to end the day amid nature, with Zeus.
Travel blogger by passion. I am putting out my authentic experiences in travelling.