… the Twelve Olympian Gods to be more exact 🙂
I haven’t really got to meet any of them, but I’m sure they were there 😛
But even without actually meeting the Gods, I spent a great long summer weekend that had all the best ingredients: sun, sea, beach, cold beer, great seafood, mountains and islands 🙂
I went there with a hiking group from home. We went there by bus (a looong ride from Bucharest), so we got the first glimpse of the peak a bit before reaching our destination, Paralia Panteleimonas. The mountains are very close to the sea, which is a great advantage if you love both, since you get to swim and hike in the same day 🙂 You don’t have to choose between them.
Even though it’s not very tall (the highest peak, called Mytikas, is at 2918m), the ascent starts from a low altitude, making the climb a challenging one. It’s an even bigger altitude difference than what one usually hikes in a day when climbing Mont Blanc. My fitbit also agreed with this. And the trail is all only uphill and under the very hot Greek sun.
On the first day of the trip, in preparation for the full day of hiking that lay ahead of us, we chilled on the beach. Since we were not in high season, the resort and the beach were pretty empty. Our camping was conveniently placed right by the beach and there were also a couple of tavernas close to us that served an array of delicious seafood dishes 🙂 All in all, it was a great place to spend the day before the hike.
In the afternoon, we also went on top of the nearby hill to check out the ruins of the castle of Platamon. It takes around 15 minutes to get from the beach to the castle, which was unfortunately closed by the time we made our way up there 🙁 We did meet a few goats by the ruins … And got to enjoy the view from the castle to the neighbouring resorts 🙂
On the following day we woke up early and, after a quick breakfast, our bus took us to the start of the trail, near Litochoro.
We started our hike around 7 o’clock. The first part of the trail was through a forest. The trees were shading us from the sun that was already starting to make its presence felt. Also, this part of the trail is not steep, so we enjoyed a few hours walk through the cool forest. It took us around three hours to finish this first part of the trail, up to the refuge A.
We made a short stop there to get a bite to eat and re-hydrate ourselves and then started the long way upwards. By this time, we were also high enough that we could see the sea in the distance. And of course wonder who in their right minds would choose hiking under the hot sun instead of swimming :/
A short while after leaving the refuge, the vegetation gradually disappears, first the trees and then also the bushes and grass and all is replaced by rocks….lots and lots of rocks.
And dust of course. The sun is also not very friendly (that’s obviously an understatement), so make sure to wear lots of sunscreen and drink lots of water 🙂 A bit after noon we reached the first peak on our route, the Skala peak (2866 m high). From there we got the first glimpse of Mytikas.
If you look closely you can even see the people climbing it 🙂 The part between Skala and Mytikas takes about 45 minutes and it’s a cool scrambling part. It’s also the part I loved best of the whole hike!
The peak was a bit crowded, we were a big group and there were also some other people on it, some that used a different route. We took our turns taking pictures 🙂
We didn’t linger a lot on the peak, so we started our way down on the same route. First the scrambling part back to Skala peak.
On this part of the trail, as I made a short stop to decide on my next step, I also looked around to take in the view and that’s when I took the following pic …
… and noticed that I was looking right at a few of my very favourite things: the sea, awesome mountains and also some snow (only a few patches, but it was there! Or at least I thought it was 🙂 ). And that was the moment the following song popped into my head and followed me the whole way down.
Of course I don’t know the lyrics by heart, so I had to invent some new ones (I think the sun might have gotten to my head …). I didn’t write my lyrics down afterwards and they kept changing on the way down, but I do remember at some point there was something about two thousand mittens and raindrops on kittens!
In between looking at my feet and making sure my next step would not end up in me twisting something on those rocks, the view was amazing 🙂
And soon (ish) we got back by the trees and the cooler part of the hike. It was such a great feeling to get some shade again after spending a few hours under the unmerciful Greek sun! A few of us squeezed together in the shade of the first tree we found on the path and stood there for a few minutes, before continuing on our way and making way for others to cool in the shade. The mountains always make you appreciate the little things better 🙂
A little after that we passed through a small clearing where lots of cicadas were buzzing around. For some reason I really don’t like the sound they make and keep imagining they will attack me. But none of that happened and we safely reached the refuge A for another short break.
The hike from the refuge to the end did seem a looot longer than when we climbed up in the morning (as the road back always seems!), but we finally got back where the bus was waiting for us. And returned to our beach 🙂
We spent the next day on a cruise to Skiathos island and then our trip ended in the best way one could end: with guitar songs on the beach 🙂
Did you hike up Mount Olympus?
- we stayed at the Castle camping in Paralia Panteleimonas
- the hours for visiting the Platamon castle are 8 – 15 and the entrance fee is 2 euros
- the hike to the peak starts close to Litochoro
- the times it took us to hike were:
- we left at 7 and got to the A refuge at 10
- we left there at 10:30 and reached the Skala peak at 12:15
- we scrambled the part between the peaks from 12:30 to 13:15
- we were back at the A refuge at 16:40 and then at the parking lot at 18:40.
trip date: September 2015