By Soren Rivero
Over 70% of Greece’s land mass is composed of mountainous terrain. That’s a great deal of mountains, huh? One might even say Greece is peaking with opportunities to explore the great outdoors…
Jokes aside, Greece is an excellent place to visit if you’re one who likes to climb or hike mountains. Not sure where to start? Here are five noteworthy mountains to climb in Greece for your next trip.
Mount Olympus — Thessaly, Greece
Why not start off with the biggest and baddest of them all?
Mt. Olympus is a colossal giant when it comes to mountains, even for Greece’s standards. It's the highest mountain in Greece sitting in the Olympus Range between Thessaly and Macedonia. Mount Olympus is not only known for its incredible height but also its deep roots in Greek mythology. Mount Olympus is supposedly the place where Zeus and the other Greek Gods lived before the age of Homer. Mount Olympus also makes sightings in the legendary tales of the Odyssey and the Iliad.
A beginner hiker can take paths along the summits to see stunning views of gorges and other natural beauties. These trails also make it easy to take pictures of the tall mountains!
Please note that only very experienced mountaineers should attempt the full climb. It takes around 2-3 days to complete and requires experience with maneuvering through ice, balancing, and demands plenty of strength and stamina. The best path to take is to start from the town of Litochoro. The final climb starts from the summit of Skala Peak (9455ft.) and finishes at the peak of Mytikas at around 9573ft high.
Mount Parnassus — Viotia, Greece
This mountain is most well-known among locals and adventurous tourists as ‘the best to go for snow’, as the snow resorts and villages are a beauty to behold. Parnassus sits on the southern end of Greece just a few miles away from Athens.
Hiking and mountain climbing are great activities to do in Parnassus. There are a few different paths you can take and trails you can hike, with each of them ranging in difficulty. Some trails from the public parking area are more forgiving, whereas if you start from Tithorea village, you’re in for a real challenge. The full climb takes two days and there is little to no shelter. Be prepared! If hiking isn’t your thing, there is also a ski resort and a section of the mountains that serves as a national park!
Hiking the Corinthian trail is also a great alternative if you want to see absolutely gorgeous views of the mountain peak and an enormous cave without having to rock climb. It’s easy to get to via the modern town of Delphi, and the trail consists mostly of stairs.
Mount Taygetos — Peloponnese, Greece,
Heading down to the very southern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula is the mountain range of Taygetos. This is the highest mountain range in the area and is especially great if you enjoy hiking without the cold weather — just be cautious in the winter season as there can still be heaps of snow. The trails are rather rugged but some more manageable ones only take about 90-140 minutes to complete. Traveling through the entire mountain range takes two-three days.
People especially love Mount Taygetos for the phenomenal views of the coast that it provides when you reach the highest peaks. Taygetos’ summit is one of the largest natural pyramids in the world, named Profitis Ilias (or Prophet Elias). The entire range is divided into north, middle, and south regions. If you wish to see Profitis Illias, you’ll want to climb to the highest peak in the middle region (can be accessed through nearly every trail in the zone). Accessing any of the trails and summits in the Southern region is easiest from Sparti which you can get to via Athens.
Image Credits: IreneVo on Wikimedia (Creative Commons License)
Mount Tzena — Pella, Greece,
If luscious greenery and tall pine trees sound like your kind of thing, you’re definitely going to want to visit Mount Tzena. This mountain range is completely covered in fields of emerald green grass, from one corner to the other. Rock formations, tall pine trees, and colorful flowers make the area even prettier.
What makes this mountain a must-see destination in Greece is its very forgiving hiking trails, great for beginner hikers. Climbing up high presents you with beautiful views of gorges and rivers. However, just be aware that the paths can be complex and confusing despite not being dangerous. The best path initiates from the village of Notia towards Archangellos. There are signs directing traffic, though some noteworthy spots (such as the trail near Big Tzena) are easy to miss, so be on the lookout!
Mount Oeta — Phthiotis, Greece,
Closing off this list is a vast mountain range that is also known as one of Greece’s ecological and geological natural wonders. The mountain itself is an extension of the Pindus mountain range, located on the northeast side of Vardousia. There are quite a few things that make this mountain exceptionally popular. One, you can’t deny the absolute raw beauty that characterizes this mountain. With incredible deep gorges, thousands of tall trees, large rivers, and some of Greece’s biggest waterfalls, Mount Oeta is a supernatural beauty. Mount Oeta also serves as a national park much like other mountains in Greece. This is also the famous site of Hercules’ death and his funeral pyre in Greek Mythology.
There are multiple hiking trails that all offer different scenes and challenges. To see the site of Hercules’ death, take the 9 mile Pavliani Trail from the village of Pavliani. A shorter path can be taken from the same village, that of Railway Station Asopos trail, which will take you to see some of the gorgeous wetlands inside of the mountain range. Mountain climbers can take the 1 mile climb up Aetos Peak and Pathena Col to see stunning views of vast gorges covered in shrouds of green trees.