Climbing Mount Olympus

If you plan to climb Olympus, check first with the EOS and get the excellent Road Edition map of Olympus (no. 31; 7€). If you can, also get a copy of Marc Dubin's Trekking in Greece. You should not attempt the climb alone; weather here can change in an instant from pleasant to life-threatening. Forest fires are common in summer -- when there can also be heavy snows.

Purists will want to begin the ascent at the increasingly developed ski resort of Litochoro, while others may prefer to drive from Litochoro as far as Prionia (18km/11 miles) and begin the climb there. On foot, the journey from Litochoro to Prionia takes about 4 hours; by car, it's about an hour but seems longer on the twisting road. Reward yourself with a meal or even a stiff drink at the small cafe in Priona.

From Priona, it's at least a 3-hour climb, much of it over slippery schist slopes and knobby limestone outcroppings, to the shelter at Spilios Agapitos. Most climbers begin the final 3-hour ascent at dawn and then do the entire descent, arriving back in Litochoro before dusk. The Monastery of Ayios Dionysos, not far from Spilios Agapitos, is a good place to break your downward trek and enjoy the views. In short, your climb will take at least a day and you will probably want to stay overnight at one of the shelters.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.