Hiking in Olympus, the mountain of Gods

Hiking in Olympus, the mountain of Gods

          In the beginning of August under the full moon .., SAS organize hiking and .. climbing for all members, independently of their trekking skills ! Olympus, is the most imposing and challenging mountain in Greece, with a variety of hiking, climbing and mountaineering routes but of course not walking ones … ! Standing on the boarders of Thessaly and Macedonia is one of the most interesting botanical places of the Balkans with rich flora and fauna. In 1938 it became the first National Park in Greece and in 1981 a site of World Natural Heritage.

The group of hikers who will participate will be divided in three categories :

Group A is for the trekkers with simple hiking abilities. They will stop at the first Refuge at an altitude of 1940 meters.

Group B is for the trekkers that will reach the second Refuge, the highest in Greece and also in Balkans at an altitude of 2697 m which is located on the famous ‘‘ Muses Plateau ’’.

Group C is for the mountaineers ! They must be experienced as special climbing skills are required to reach the highest peak of the mountain, at 2918 m. called ‘‘ Mitikas’’. They will follow the most difficult trail ‘‘The Louki ’’ … ! and as they have managed to conquer the top of Greece, of course from those who are still alive and we are not joking … this time, they will enjoy a breathtaking view over the surrounding lands, islands even up to Parnitha Mountain !! … in a clear weather.

Difficulty grade, according to the SAS scale is for :
Group A :   medium hike
Group B :   hard hike
Group C :   out of limits .. !

Schedule will be as follow :

Saturday 5th August : Will depart at 10:30 from north suburbs of Athens. Meeting point is at Café ‘‘ Everest ’’ on Tatoiou street, from Kifissia to National Road No.1, some 100 meters just before Varibopi junction, at the right side. Optional stop at SEA Almyros Rest Area on the 270th km after 2,5 hours driving where a ‘‘ Flocafe ’’ exists and estimated arrival time 16:00 at Dion, a town-village at the foot of Olympus where we could stay overnight. Optional … dinner in the picturesque Litohoro village at a tavern overlooking the Enipeas Gorge !

Sunday 6th August : Group A will depart at 10:30 by … taxi on a dirt road or by locals’ cars who will serve us if we stay overnight at their rooms to let … ! in order to reach the now … closed ‘‘ Koromilia ’’ refuge at an altitude of 1000 m. Here is the starting point for the trail to ‘‘Petrostrouga ’’ which is at an altitude of 1940 m. Duration of this hiking is 4,5 h approximately. Overnight at the ‘‘ Petrostrouga ’’refuge. ‘‘Koromilia ’’ place is also the meeting point with the Group B, hikers of which will depart on foot at 08:30 from Dion at St. Constadinos and Eleni church starting point, 280 m altitude, following the trail that passes from ‘‘ Orlias ’’ waterfall and then together with Group A will hike up to ‘‘Petrostrouga ’’ where overnight. Height difference that Group B must cover is 1660 m. and duration 8 hours approximately including sufficient stops.

Monday 7th August : Group A remain at the ‘‘ Petrostrouga ’’ refuge for the whole day, relaxing and enjoying from its balcony the superb view over Thermaikos Gulf and Chalkidiki peninsula at the far east .. ! Some easy walks at the nearby places and paths like ‘‘ Ithakisios ’’cave ( 1 h return ) or ‘‘ Skourta – Lemos ’’ ( 3,5 h return ) could be done.
Group B will depart at 09:30 for a 4,5 h hike, up to ‘‘ Muses ’’ Plateau where ‘‘ Giosos Apostolidis ’’refuge exists at an altitude of 2697 m for overnight staying. Height difference that must be covered is 760 m. In the afternoon some easy hikes to the nearby peaks of ‘‘ Profitis Ilias ’’ 2788 m. ( 45΄return ) or ‘‘ Touba ’’ 2800 m could be done while Group C will … try to the highest peak of Olympus, ‘‘ Mitikas ’’ at 2918 m ( 2,5 h return ).

Tuesday 8th August : Group A will depart from ‘‘ Petrostrouga ’’ at 11:00 for the 5,5 h descent to Dion while Group B will depart from ‘‘Giosos Apostolidis ’’ at 08:30 for the 8 h long distance descent to Dion passing from ‘‘ Petrostrouga ’’ and reunited with Group A. Estimated arrival time 16:30.

On the way back to Athens there is an option. After having dinner at the traditionally preserved village of ‘‘ Paleos Agios Panteleimon ’’ overnight at majestic … Pilio ! at the picturesque Zagora village ( 2,5 h driving ). Swimming at the nearby laid-back ‘‘ Horefto beach ’’ next day on 9th August and then back to Athens.

Transportation will take place by our cars and pool system will be arranged between us, if necessary. Anybody who intends to use his car and likes to serve other hikers, please declare it ( number of seats available ). Also declare please about the option of Zagora ( Pilio ). Estimated cost for fuel and tolls to Olympus vice versa per car 180 € approximately.
Everyone of us will book by his own, rooms to let or hotel at Dion for Saturday the 5th of August as well as at the refuges of Petrostrouga (Group A two nights 6th and 7th, Group B only 6th ) and Giosos Apostolidis ( Group B 7th of August ). It is obvious that anyone who doesn’t follow the option ‘‘ Pilio ’’could overnight again at Dion on 8th August or return to Athens the same day.
It is essential that appropriate equipment is required for the whole trek, even … fleece for evening hours and especially for those in Group C they must be equipped simply … with helmet !!

Contacts :
Rooms to let at Dion : information coming soon
Refuge Petrostrouga : Mr. Nektarios tel.6977 246350, 2310 310649, e-mail : inform@hrt.org.gr
Refuge Giosos Apostolidis : Mr. Nikos Tsavdaris tel.23510 82840, 6939 777064, e-mail : info@apostolidisrefuge.gr
Rooms to let at Zagora Pilio : information coming soon

If you are interested in participating, please declare up to 21st of July together with your intention to follow Group A, B or C, but o.k. : anyone who likes to change his mind and likes to jump between groups last time or even…during the hike, is welcome to do that .. !
Please also declare your mobile phone number.
Leader will be Georgos Foteinos, e-mail geoplanf@otenet.gr Emergency phone 6945 386255.

Important notice : Keep in mind that if you participate in an Athens Strollers and Hikers walk or hike, you do so for your fun and your pleasure at one hand but entirely at your own risk at the other. The Athens Strollers and Hikers is an internet social club and neither the organizers nor the leader are responsible for the safety of those taking part. For more information about that please refer to the ‘ Declaration of Tyrol ’.

Difficulty grades
Easy walks :        1,5– 2 hrs             and height differences up to 100 m
Medium walks :    2 – 3 hrs               and height differences up to 200 m
Hard walks :         3 – 4 hrs               and height differences up to 400 m
Easy hikes :         3 – 5 hrs               and height differences up to 500 m
Medium hikes :     5 – 7 hrs              and height differences up to 750 m
Hard hikes :          7 hrs and up        and height differences 750 m and up

Invitation : Anyone who likes to lead a future walk or hike please announce to us by e-mail referring to the place and the time he intends to take over this activity.

Deletion : Anybody who doesn’t like to receive anymore the invitations about our activities for any reason, please declare us his desire !!

Wish you a nice hiking excursion !

Georgos and Anna