Mt Olympus was home of the ancient Greek gods, and while the World Travel Fiend is indeed so chiselled & ripped that he resembles a Greek deity, there was no sign of Zeus, Hera & the rest of the gang when I was up there.  Still, it’s a hell of trip up to the summit of Greece’s highest peak, and climbing Mount Olympus should be achievable for anyone of moderate fitness.  No special climbing skills are required, but it’s a pretty steep slog up to the top, so if you’re an out of shape bitch with proportions akin to the Michelin Man then get training now fatty as this is one adventure you will not want to miss.

The traditional starting point for climbing Mount Olympus is a little place called Prionia, which is basically just a carpark with a restaurant – you can catch a cab here from Littochoro, which is the closest sizeable settlement to the mountain and is where you’ll probably be staying, for around 25 euro.  But, here’s a little tip for ya, instead of getting a ride to Prionia you can hike from Littochoro to Prionia through the Enypeas Canyon.  Not only will this save you some cash, but the hike through the canyon is bloody beautiful, plus it will get you all warmed up for the main event.  This hike should take you around 3-4 hours, through beautiful forest, with several little bridges zigzagging across the river.  Btw, while the river & the little water pools that form off it are beautiful & clear, and you’ll no doubt be sweating your ass off during the hike, the river provides the majority of Littochoro’s water supply, so stay the fuck out.  Swimming, frolicking, and engaging in intimate relations in the water would be considered poor form, and you know the citizens of Littochoro won’t appreciate it when their drinking water starts tasting a bit saltier than usual.

Climbing Mount Olympus

Don’t taxi to Prionia, hike through this gorge – the scenery is… gorge-ous
* Tumbleweeds *

From Prionia the climb up Mt Olympus starts, and it should take you about 2-3 hours to reach Refuge A.  By the way, there are a bunch of other refuges up on the mountain too, called “Refuge B”, Refuge C” etc (where the fuck do the Greeks come up with these zany names?), so you can put together a longer, less direct route up the mountain if you desire.  But if you are heading straight up, you can see that hiking from Littochoro to Prionia, then on up to Refuge A is easily doable in a day, so don’t be a lazy douchebag, start from Littochoro for the full experience.

Climbing Mount Olympus

Helpful hint - if you & a friend get lost on Mt Olympus & then night falls & you're stuck out here in the freezing temperatures, you can slice one of these things open with a light-sabre & stick your friend inside to keep him warm, and then you can hook up with his sister at some stage maybe.

Refuge A is actually pretty sweet – it’s got a big dining room with an open fire to warm up by, hot meals & snacks are served, and you can have a well-deserved beer or wine too, but moderation is key as no one wants to be climbing a mountain the next day with a raging hangover.  Some people were commenting that the food is overpriced, and while this is true they have had to haul it all the way up to the refuge & there aren’t exactly any other options up there, so either bring your own food or quit your bitchin’.  One note on the sleeping situation at the refuge – the dormitories do not have standard bunk beds, instead there are just long lines of mattresses laid down side by side, and they squeeze quite a few people in there.  So, be prepared for awkward closeness & possible spooning with someone of the same sex – this could either be considered a bad thing or a good thing depending on your preferences.
 
The next morning after you’ve disentangled yourself from the loving embrace of a 46 year old Swedish man called Gustav, you can have breakfast at the refuge & start your ascent up to the summit of Mt Olympus.  Make sure you’ve got enough water & food, cos this is where shit starts to get real son.  Actually the path up to the Skala Summit (one of the lesser-summits, not the highest point) is pretty well maintained, but it is also pretty damn steep & will likely have you hating life for a fair chunk of it.  The scenery up here is impressive as hell though, and once you get above the tree line it’s all barren & rugged & you can almost imagine Zeus chilling out up here throwing a few thunderbolts down at the mortals below before shooting off to plunder some sweet young Greek poontang (or young boys, that dodgy motherfucker). 
Climbing Mount Olympus

Keep your eye on the prize - the summit of Mt Olympus is right there, so close & yet so far.

A lot of people actually turn back at the Scala summit, but come on you soft piece of shit, you didn’t come all this way just to not reach the highest point did you?  That’s like almost bringing a woman to orgasm & then rolling off & turning on the TV cos you’re too tired – harden the fuck up.  I’ve  read a lot of hysterical shit online about how the assent to Mykitas is incredibly hard & downright dangerous, and I can say that, at least if you’re approaching from Skala, this is straight BS.  Yeah you gotta be careful & keep your concentration, yeah if you slipped you’d probably hurt yourself pretty bad, but I met a bunch of people on the summit including a 15 year old girl, & a guy who looked like he was in his late 60’s, so if they can do it you can do it, pansy.

Climbing Mount Olympus

This is the second highest point on Mt Olympus, Skolio, not to be confused with Scoliosis which is a medical condition involving an unnaturally curved spine. But if you climb to Skolio while suffering from Scoliosis then you are pretty bad-ass & I would totally buy you a beer.

For the duration of climbing Mount Olympus the final ascent from Skala to Mykitas is the only section where there is no path, it’s a steep scramble across jagged & sometimes loose rocks.  There are markers to show you the way though, and it’s not like it’s a sheer cliff or anything, if you lost your grip you would not plunge to your death.  But, you could certainly get hurt if you’re not careful, so take your time, stay focused, and soon you will be on the summit, enjoying a massive sense of achievement, awkwardly high-fiving strangers, and taking in the incredible vista.

Climbing Mount Olympus

The final section from Skala to Mykitas should only take 45 minutes or so.  Once you’ve had your fill of standing on the summit of Mt Olympus feeling like a badass you can start the descent – needless to say this is easier, but loose rocks combined with total-body fatigue will no doubt have you falling on your ass & looking like a clumsy doofus.  Allow 3 hours or so back down to Prionia, where it’s easy to catch a lift with other people heading back to Littochoro.  No matter how many times you fell on your behind on your way down the mountain, avoid telling the people you’re sharing the car with that your ass has been taking a pounding all day – they will think you are weird.

Climbing Mount Olympus

Chillin’ on the summit of Mt Olympus like a boss.

So in summation – is climbing Mount Olympus doable for your average world traveller?  Yes.  Is it easy?  No.  Will you get painful chafing of your inner butt cheeks from the extended hiking & sweating?  Possibly.   But despite all that is it worth doing, and more importantly - will it make you feel like a badass?  Fuck yeah.

Climbing Mount Olympus

This is a panorama - give it a wee click for a better look.

And therein lies the conclusion of the experience that is climbing Mount Olympus, Greece's highest peak.  If you're keen to try the climb yourself, check out the how-to guide for all the key info you need to know.

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