Mt Olympus

Mt Olympus is a mountain range in Northern Greece, situated south of the city of Katerini, close to the coast of the Aegean Sea. The highest summits of Olymp are also the highest mountains of Greece with Mytikas reaching 2917m. From the airplane I had a beautiful view of the whole range, which towers above the mellow Mediterranean landscape.

aerial view

Mt Olympus is of course most famous as the mythical abode of the ancient Greek gods, but nowadays it is primarily a beautiful nature reserve with extraordinary flora and fauna. For example, I never had seen a fire salamander, which is supposedly to be found all over Europe, but at the beginning of my ascent through the Eneapas Gorge, I saw two of them within half an hour. The second one was so kind to wait until I had taken my camera out from my backpack. After the first ascend of about 1000m altitude I rested at Spilios Agapitos, the biggest of the refuges on the way to the various peaks of Olympus at 2000m. On the next morning I started early before sunrise and watched the sun crawl over the edge of the mountains. You can see the peninsula of Chalkidiki on the horizon with the distinct cone of Mt Athos, the famous mountain of the monks, sticking out clearly in a distance of 160km.
Above the tree line at about 2200m a barren highland unfolds before the hiker. Between the vast fields of limestone rock and gravel many small patches of grass are growing, providing enough nourishment for the chamois and a few other frugal animals to survive. From the numerous Olympian peaks stunning views are possible in favorable weather conditions. To the North, West and South the Olympos mountains are merging into the hilly Northern Greek grounds, while to the East the immaculate blue of the Aegean Sea sparkles from two and a half thousand meters below.