Days on Trails

The Olympus Traverse - Home of the Gods

Greece – 5 days or 8 days – Mount Olympus

Quick overview

What?
  • Summit the highest and most mythical mountain in Greece in a 5 day long weekend or an 8 day journey.
  • Explore the plateaus, ridges, forests and peaks of Mount Olympus with qualified International Mountain Leaders and a small group of fellow adventurers.
  • Admire the changing landscape, from secluded gorges, wide open plateaus, and of course the main summit itself, home to Zeus.
  • Stay in mountain refuges where all our food and bedding is provided, meaning light packs, where for a few nights we’ll be the highest people in Greece.
  • Finish with a descent down Olympus’ spectacular gorges, and a final night in a hotel by the sea, where you can relax in the waves and look back up at the peaks.

Towering above the Aegean Sea stands one of the most famous mountains on Earth. Home to the Gods of the old world, visible for miles around as the highest peak in Greece, and now protected for its special wildlife and geology, Olympus is a mountain that has held the attention of mankind for thousands of years.

Dotted with welcoming mountain refuges and with dozens of summits accessible to walkers, including the highest point Mitikas at nearly 3000m, the Mount Olympus massif is far more than just the main summit. It’s a mountain range that deserves your time.

On the short 5-day adventure we traverse the Olympus massif over three ‘and a bit’ days of walking, staying at three different mountain refuges and exploring everything from high peaks, to impressive ridges, to lush forested canyons with pools to bathe in sparkling streams. All this with the myths and legends of the ancient world all around. On the 8-day adventure we take more time and explore a wider range of the area.

5 Days

When and how much?!

Sept 25 – Sept 29 2019 / Min 4 - Max 12 participants
EUR 690 / USD 775 / CAD 1050
Included
  • UIMLA International Mountain Leader who will be with you for the whole adventure.
  • All in-country transport (excluding local buses in Thessaloniki).
  • Food in mountain huts.
    • Dinner on day 1
    • Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner for day 2 and day 3.
    • Breakfast and packed lunch on day 4
    • Breakfast on day 5
  • Accommodation (three nights in mountain huts and one night in a hotel)
  • Office support from the Days on Trails team to deal with any questions and give you advice and support.
Not included
  • Travel to Thessaloniki. (Our partner can help you with booking flights or other international transport if you wish so.)
  • Food when not in mountain huts (lunch on day 1, snacks for the trek, evening meal on day 4).
  • Extra mountain hut food (we provide an evening meal and drink, plus breakfast and a packed lunch – if you want any extra food, for example at the evening meal, you may want to bring some cash (euros) to cover this)
  • Personal walking equipment
  • Entry into historical sites

8 Days

When and how much?!

June 6 – June 14 2020 / Min 5 - Max 12 participants
EUR 1150 / USD 1300 / CAD 1700
What’s Included
  • UIMLA International Mountain Leaders who will be with you for the whole adventure.
  • All in-country transport (excluding local buses in Thessaloniki).
  • Food in mountain huts.
    • Dinner on day 3
    • Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner for days 4,5,6.
    • Breakfast and packed lunch on day 7.
    • Breakfast on day 8.
  • Accommodation (three nights in hotels and four nights in mountain huts)
  • Office support from the Days on Trails team to deal with any questions and give you advice and support.
What’s not Included
  • Travel to Thessaloniki. (Our partner can help you with booking flights or other international transport if you wish so.)
  • Food when not in mountain huts (lunch on days 1 and 2, snacks for the trek, evening meal on days 1,2,7).
  • Extra mountain hut food (we provide an evening meal and drink, plus breakfast and a packed lunch – if you want any extra food, for example at the evening meal, you may want to bring some cash (euros) to cover this)
  • Personal walking equipment
  • Entry into historical sites

Book this trip!

To book, simply email us your interest (info@daysontrails.com) and we will respond with detailed information. As with all of our trips, this trip is available for custom departures. Like the idea but the dates don’t work for you? Simply contact us and we can tailor dates and itinerary to suit your group’s needs.

Feel free to mail/call us with any questions you might have!

Detailed information and frequently asked questions

Note: Ground conditions, weather & group factors may lead to changes in the program by the guide(s). The goal is always to offer the best possible experience, but safety & wellbeing are always the priority and basis of all decisions made. 

Day 1

After arrival at Thessaloniki, we transfer to Litochoro in time for a late lunch and a briefing about the journey to come. Then it’s a short walk of a few hours’ to our accommodation for the night in our first mountain hut.

Day 2 & 3

On these days we climb higher on the mountain and take a variety of paths, which your leader will choose depending on the weather, choosing a good weather window for the ascent of the main peak, which does require a short scramble. While we will be walking all day (6-8 hours), the emphasis is on enjoying our surroundings, hearing about the ancient Greek myths, looking out for wildlife, and admiring the fantastic views. As well as the main summit at just under 3000m, there are other peaks of the massif we can aim to summit as well.

Day 4

Leaving our final mountain hut, we spend the day descending, seeing the landscape change from rocky mountainside to scrub and finally beautiful beech forest. Sparkling pools and ancient stone bridges become our territory, and there’ll most likely be a swimming opportunity. Arriving back in Litochoro, we transfer to the coast and check into our hotel by the sea, before our final meal.

Day 5

Transfer back to Thessaloniki airport. Today we’ll make sure we have time in Thessaloniki to go round some of the ancient sites you can readily find all over the city centre. It’s time to thank the Gods for letting us up their mountain.

Note: Ground conditions, weather & group factors may lead to changes in the program by the guide(s). The goal is always to offer the best possible experience, but safety & wellbeing are always the priority and basis of all decisions made. 

Day 1

Arriving in Greece’s northern city, Thessaloniki, we immediately head out into the city to see some of the ancient Greek sites that stand right next to the modern buildings. In the late afternoon we’ll head to the hotel, right on the sea! During the evening we’ll brief you about the week ahead and our attempt on the highest summit in Greece, Mount Olympus.

Day 2

Day walk on Mount Chortiatis, where we’ll start to see the nature of Greece up close while enjoying an excellent walk up the slopes and through the forest of this popular mountain, just on the outskirts of Thessaloniki.

Day 3

Leaving Thessaloniki, we drive approximately 2 hours to Litochoro, the town beneath Olympus. After lunch we walk to our first mountain refuge at Petrostrouga – 6km and 800m of ascent

Day 4

A day of traversing the slopes of the mountain through lush beech forest, we actually descend quite a way, making our way round to the northern flanks of the mountain. Petrostrouga to Krevatia – 15km and 200m of ascent (1000m descent).

Day 5

A major day of ascent, we make our way up the spectacular Barbalas ridge to the Plateau of the Muses, to stay at one of the highest buildings in Greece. The views during this day are outstanding. Krevatia to Ref Seo – 12km and 1800m of ascent.

Day 6

The summit day! Only a short distance from our accommodation lies the summit of Mount Olympus, known as Mitikas. The final section to the very top does require some use of your hands, all witb the support of your leaders. We allow plenty of time to enjoy being on the roof of Greece before a pleasant saunter down to our hut for the last night on the mountain. Ref Seo – Ref A – 7km and 500m ascent.

Day 7

This is a day of descent, down through the pine forest and then following the jaw-dropping Prionia gorge back to Litochoro. There are lots of beautiful pools on the way down if anyone fancies a dip! From Litochoro we take a taxi the short distance to the seaside and our hotel on the Aegean. Ref A – Litochoro – 16km and 1600m descent.

Day 8

Today we depart Greece, but on the way back to the airport there’s the chance to see other ancient sites you’ll definitely not want to miss, such as Pella, Alexander the Great’s capital.

On day 1 we pick-up from Thessaloniki airport at midday. If you would like help in booking flights or other international travel, our partners can help you determine the best travel route and book tickets.

On day 5/8 we return to Thessaloniki for 1pm, but we do not recommend booking your flights before 7pm so that you have time to enjoy the ancient sites in the city with us. If your flight is between these times your leader will be able to advise on the day when and where to get the bus to the airport from the city centre.

A typical day on the Mount Olympus trek is around 10-15 km and includes 1000-1200m of ascent, with a pack slightly bigger than a normal walking day bag (8-10kg). We will be walking for between 6-8 hours per day. The paths are mostly good, though rocky. The main summit does have some exposed scrambling (you’ll need to use your hands), but no specialist climbing equipment is needed. At under 3000m, the summits we head to are in the region where you might experience some effects of altitude. Your guide is there to ensure the pace is manageable for everyone and to ensure the best route choice.

For three nights we’ll be staying in Mountain Refuges. In these we’ll be in mixed dormitories, where a mattress and pillow is provided. For this reason you’ll need to bring a sheet sleeping bag liner, toiletries, slippers a towel and some ear plugs. The refuges also contain wash rooms, often a restaurant, and communal seating/social area. Due to their rudimentary nature, electricity (outlets) and more than cold running tap water are not to be expected.

Food choice is limited due to the remote setting of the huts, but will often include some choice. A meal might consist of potatoes or rice with tomatoes, veal or meatballs, and sides such as cheese and eggs. Sometimes there is a menu and we have a choice – sometimes we all eat the same meal. This is why it is important for you to inform us of any dietary requirements before the trip so we can check with the huts.

The hotel rooms for the last night are planned around 2 people sharing. If you wish to have a single room for this night please contact us in advance and we will see if this is possible, and what supplement needs to be paid.

For a breakdown of the walking equipment you’ll need for this trip please see the summer hut trip kit list.

Because the accommodation provides bedding, we won’t need to carry much overnight kit. We would recommend just taking a sleeping bag liner (cotton or silk), a wash kit, and some travel-wash (and string for a washing line) so that you can wash your clothes.   

As with any product or service, you will find seemingly similar offers at different price ranges. Offering something “cheap” usually means selling something in high volumes or compromising on quality. As a small dedicated team, we do neither. We are not a large operator that (re)sells bulk trips, to which we assign volunteers as leaders. Instead we do nearly all trip development “in-house” and assign only experienced and qualified leaders. This comes at a cost both for us and our guests. Compromise often comes at the expense of the guest. Remember, this might be your main holiday this year!

Going into remote and mountainous areas – just as any other activity in life – contains an element of risk. The biggest factor we are always dealing with is weather. As guides, the core of our job is risk reduction and risk management. We do this by careful planning and constantly re-evaluating everything while we are out on the trip. On the average day, you’re safer than you are in traffic back home. In order to deal with hazards caused by environmental conditions, we ask you to follow our gear & clothing advice as well as possible, to trust our decisions in the field and to accept there’s always a small amount of risk left. Still not convinced? Look at it like this… We make our living providing experiences. We wouldn’t have been doing it for this long if we were traumatizing and hurting people! In rare cases, extreme weather conditions can be reason for cancellation. Due to the realities of weather prediction, we can only make big decisions like this last minute.

We chose to go when the weather is usually mild (15 – 25°C) and stable. We should have enjoyable mild summer conditions, but can’t guarantee there won’t be any rain. On hotter days, we can expect afternoon thunderstorms.

As much as we intend to avoid setbacks, they can be expensive. It is compulsory to prove that you have travel insurance covering search & rescue and repatriation. We strongly advise you to get cancellation insurance so you don’t lose any non-refundable deposits in case you can’t make it to a trip because of circumstances or due to unsafe weather conditions or natural disasters. For Canadians, travel insurance may be purchased through Georgia Hardy Tours Inc. at the time of registration. GHT and its insurance partner, T.I.P.S, offer a wide range of travel insurance plans, including but not limited to: Ultimate, All-Inclusive, Emergency Medical, Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption. People from Europe have multiple options available from insurance providers and can be purchased online. Feel free to contact us for advice.

Greece is part of Schengen and EU citizens can travel freely. US and Canadian citizens are allowed to travel to Greece and to all other members of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa, as long as your passport is valid for at least 3 months after your planned return to the United States!

It is important that you let us know about any pre-existing medical conditions you have so that we can make sure we can support you fully throughout the trip. If you are concerned that a medical condition will prevent you from completing the activity, it is essential that you see your doctor and show them the itinerary. Please remember that failing to declare a medical condition could invalidate your insurance, and if there is an incident, put yourself, our guides and other members of the group at risk.