Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Climbing Mount Olympus

This is an instruction guide for anyone who might be interested in visiting Mount Olympus on a student budget. I thought I should write this down as I had unusual difficulty getting details and will probably be back here again sometime. After arriving in Thessaloniki, I got instructions, searched the internet and otherwise asked around for how to climb Mount Olympus:

Getting to Litohoro from Thessaloniki
  1. From Thessaloniki airport, take the 78 bus into the city (it goes along Tsimiski street), buy the two ride ticket which costs 1 euro (allows two trips within 90 minutes if I read the instructions correctly)
  2. From Thessaloniki, take the 31 bus from Egnatias street (one major street north of Tsimiski)
  3. Take the 31 bus to the end of the line to Makedonia bus station
  4. Go to the booth for KTEL (Greece public transit, similar to Greyhound) Platform 4 – Litohoro (or Litochoro, multiple spellings)
  5. Buy a ticket (student fair is for Greek students only), one way was 8 euro, return was 14
  6. Go to Platform 4 and take the bus (it is quite frequent, between one or two hours per bus)
  7. The bus stops at Katerini (Don’t get off)
  8. The ride to Litohoro is about an hour and drops you off in the city center
Note: There is a KTEL bus from Athens to Litohoro too. I don’t know where it leaves from, but I’ll find out tomorrow when I go to Athens from Litohoro.


The entire climb is along the E4 International Walking trail. Here you have two choices:

Choice 1: Scenic climb From Litohoro to Prionia

From the city center (the water fountain where the KTEL bus drops you off), walk straight past the Hotel Aphrodite and go right, past the residential housing, school and cemetery and past the power / utility plant (There are some dual language signs pointing the way to Olympus National Park).

You will reach the first gate which has signs saying “Olympus National Park”. The climb from Litohoro to Prionia is through the gorge of Olympus, and takes between 4.5 to 5 hours (or more if you take your time, relax and take photos) to go up. There are beautiful cliff faces and crystal clear waterfalls.


Choice 2: Skip with Taxi to Prionia (cost 25 to 30 euro one way, 20 minute drive)

If you come to Litohoro in the off season (season this year starts May 13th), then the refuges will be closed and your best bet is to climb the gorge. It is absolutely beautiful and mildly challenging. I promise you will enjoy it's undulating terrain. However, many people "cheat", take a taxi to the top and climb down or climb up and hitchhike down. It is a 5 hour hike one way afterall.

Above: Like Mount Kinabalu in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia (which I plan on doing again with a friend of mine this summer), you can expect to see a lot of this on your way up.

If you come to Litohoro when the refuges are open, then take the taxi to Prionia as it will be taxing enough just to make it to the refuge which is the midpoint from Prionia to the peaks of Mt. Olympus.

People often give advice to “book in advance”, but I was unable to find any good websites or information on ANYTHING, transport to Litohoro from Thessaloniki, accommodation etc.

I’m currently staying in the Hotel Mirtos in Litohoro which is charging me 30 euro a night (keep in mind this is the off season, I think I’m the only guest and they are currently under construction so I have no idea how much it costs when the tourists come in the on season). Tel 23520 81398.

Apparently, Refuge A (which from what I gather is the best one to be in) can be reached at 23520 81800. They spoke English when I called.

Good luck!


Jenn said...

Joshua - Awesome photos and I love your account of time in Europe.

Just found your blog and added it to our blogroll on MBA-social.com. Keep up the good work!

Joshua Wong said...

Thanks, Jenn! Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I looking on the photo with "white something" in the center, but excuse me i don't know what it is ? Someone know ?