Five Mythical and Ancient Reasons to Climb Mount Olympus

Home to gods, legends and ancient history, Mount Olympus — the highest place in Greece — is well worth exploring and climbing Mount Olympus. Over 10,000 mountain walking enthusiasts climb Mount Olympus each year, in search of stunning views and perhaps a glimpse of Zeus himself. A unique and special location, every visitor has their own reason for climbing Mount Olympus, and here are ours:

In his palace on Mount Olympus, Zeus sits atop his throne
In his palace on Mount Olympus, Zeus sits atop his throne: Image by Varges

Climbing Mount Olympus in Greece

Discover a Place of Myth and Legend

Much of the fame that surrounds the legendary Mount Olympus stems from its mythological roots.

The Ancient Greeks believed it to be the home of the 12 Olympians, the gods of Ancient Greece. The highest peak was known to the Greeks as the Pantheon, there the gods would meet in a golden kingdom to discuss their will for the mortals below. Each had their own palace atop Mount Olympus too, with Zeus’ said to be found on the second-highest peak, Stefani.

Below Stefani, mountain walkers will find the Plateau of the Muses. The Muses were Zeus’ daughters and patrons of the arts. Zeus would watch over his children, as well as the Greeks beyond, from his throne on Stefani, doling out thunderbolts whenever anger struck him.

It is believed that no Ancient Greek ever attempted climbing Mount Olympus and visiting the Pantheon or Zeus’ palace atop Stefani. These were sacred places not to be disturbed by man.

Climbing Mount Olympus in Greece: Moss covered tree near stream in autumn
Moss covered tree near stream in autumn on Mount Olympus, Greece

Wander Ancient Forests

Autumn in the Ancient Woods of Olympus National Park

Climbs up Mount Olympus start here, in the ancient forests of Olympus National Park. Most people, however, have no idea what exactly they are walking through.

Let me explain.

These forests are known to date back tens of thousands of years, long before the Ancient Greeks ever entered them.

They are a protected heritage area, famous for their high levels of biodiversity. This is because the forests that lie in the shadow of Mount Olympus acted as a sanctuary and shelter for animals and plant life alike during the last ice age. Kept rich by the Mediterranean climate in which it sits, yet protected by the alpine terrain that surrounds it, the ancient forests of Mount Olympus became a paradise during harsher times.

Today, this heritage means the forests offer a touch of magic and wonder that few other locations in the world possess.

Climbing Mount Olympus in Greece: A stunning view across the legendary Plateau of the Muses
A stunning view across the legendary Plateau of the Muses

Marvel at the Plateau of the Muses

Not long after leaving the ancient woodlands, you’ll find yourself in the jaw-dropping Plateau of the Muses. A wide, sweeping landscape set beneath Stefani Peak, the plateau is one of the highlights of the trip.

This quiet mountain hideaway seems almost otherworldly. A place you’ll not soon forget.

After a long day’s mountain walking in Mount Olympus, it’s time to relax, enjoy the views and rest in this popular camping spot situated just below Stefani. But be sure to rest well, because in the morning you go for the peak of Mount Olympus in search of the Palace of the Olympians.

Climbing Mount Olympus in Greece: Can you see my house from up here? Zeus’ view from atop Mount Olympus
Can you see my house from up here? Zeus’ view from atop Mount Olympus

Climb Mount Olympus and Conquer the Highest Mountain in Greece

The Greeks may have called it the Pantheon and swore never to climb it, but today the highest peak on Mount Olympus is known as Mytikas and you’re welcome to go searching for gods up there.

Getting to Mytikas is challenging, but oh so worth it. It requires stamina, determination and a bit of hiking experience. To reach the top you must scramble, using your arms to support you as you climb. This is low-grade scrambling, most climbers can easily accomplish climbing Mount Olympus with a little practice.

Climbing Mount Olympus Peak Greece: Skolio Peak
Skolio Peak in Mount Olympus National Park

At 2,918 metres, this mammoth-sized mountain towers over the surrounding landscape, offering staggering panoramic views of the world below. Peer across the rolling ridges of Olympus National Park or marvel at the glittering Mediterranean that seems so close, yet is actually so far away.

Up here, in the realm of the gods, hikers can take a moment to stop and just take it all in. But don’t get too comfortable, the journey isn’t over yet!

Climbing Mount Olympus in Greece: Waterfall at Olympus National Park
A picturesque waterfall scene on the western edges of Olympus National Park

Descend into a World of Extraordinary Beauty

The magic of climbing Mount Olympus doesn’t simply fade once you leave its mighty peak.

While you could descend back through the Plateau, why not head west and explore more of Olympus National Park? On the walk down, you’ll find a beautiful caldera — a mountain pool — that lays in the shadow of Mytikas’ striking ridges and a nearby hut for camping.

Beyond that, you’ll soon come to the absolutely breathtaking Enipeas Gorge Here, in this lush Greek paradise, you can relax and unwind after a long day’s walking.

About Jane Livingstone


Jane Livingstone is an expert mountain walker and experienced guest blogger. She spends her time wandering some of the world's most exciting mountain trails with her tour company:

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    1. How to Spend 2 Days in Olympic National Park, Washington

      […] easy to visit. For one, there are no roads that run through its interior, which is dominated by Mount Olympus. The only main access road is Highway 101. This scenic road loops around the park’s edges, while […]


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