Who of us, when reading the Greek myths, would not dream to see the mountain awing the ancient Greeks? Even these days Mytikas’s (Mount Olympus’s modern name) peak can be rarely seen as it is almost always hidden behind the dense clouds. Due to this reason, the ancient people believed Mount Olympus to be the place of residence of Gods, unreachable and invisible to human. Mytikas means "nose" and takes the name from its shape reminding of a human’s nose. Every proud-hearted Greek should at least once ascend the mountain; it is almost a duty, an unwritten rule, so to say, and numerous Greeks, sometimes in big groups, often ascend the mountains without wearing any special shoes or helmets.
Mytikas rises to 2,918 meters, but the height is changing due to the geophysical fault properties. It offers to visitors many trekking and climbing routs. There are two main pathways leading to the cozy refuge. The first path can be characterized as steep but it will lead you to the destination within 3 hours of trekking. The second path includes numerous breathtaking views. Following the second path, however, takes more time. One might storm the hill early in the morning when there is no swarm of Greeks trying to summit the peak wearing sandals. Storming the peak from the refuge basically involves climbing rocks. The cliffs are not challenging and one will cope with ascending even without any climbing experience behind the shoulders.
For safety reasons, it is advisable to ascend in pairs or small groups using safety equipment, however, if you have some previous climbing experience, only a helmet is required. There is a full range of equipment for rent available right in the refuge. The cliff route is marked and well- signed, any deviation from the pathway might carry risk. As you reach the peak and behold the whole eastern shore of the Balkan Peninsula, you will understand that it all was worth it!
Best of luck conquering Mount Olympus!
Loukia Leonidou- Greek tour agent on Greek open-air sports, amazing food, and 33 years of leading business in a home-introducing way.