Everyone has heard of Mount Olympus. Perhaps you remember it from when you were small, tucked in bed at your parents' apartment, listening to them read you stories of the ancient gods. Or perhaps you're familiar with it from a unit on Greek mythology you did in school. Regardless, though you know Mount Olympus was the mythical home of the gods, did you also know that it's a real place - the highest mountain in Greece? You may not be able to look outside your windows and doors to see Mount Olympus but you can read on find out more.
At 9,570 feet (which is more than 7,000 feet above the surrounding countryside) it is easy to see why Mount Olympus inspired such awe in the ancient Greeks. It is located in the Olympus Range, on the border between the Greek province of Thessaly and the Balkan country of Macedonia. The mountain has 52 peaks, which means it would make a very nice piece of art for your wall if you can find a print of it to commemorate your trip to Greece.
While many mountain peaks are made of barren rock and snow, Mount Olympus is known for the rich variety of plants that make their homes there. There are over 1700 different species, some of which are very rare, attracting scientists and nature lovers with an interest in botany. As such it is a Greek National Park and also a UN World Biosphere Reserve. Luckily the green movement around the world has helped preserve these sacred sites and scenic areas.
If you would like to visit Mount Olympus, getting there can be a bit of a challenge, as its location is quite remote from the main tourist areas of the country - the mountain is about a 100 km drive or train ride from Thessalonica, the second largest city in Greece. The village near the base of the mountain is a resort area, so there are plenty of hotels (expensive and inexpensive) as well as campsites and restaurants.
Getting to the summit is fairly easy, though only about 10,000 people per year make the trek. Most of the journey is a non-technical hike that takes about two days, but if you want to reach Mytikas, the highest peak, you will have to rock scramble, which is an ability below rock climbing which does not require ropes. There are refuges on the mountain to stay overnight. Caution is still needed, however, as it can be cold and accidents can happen.