• Greece Hiking to Mount Olympus

    A unique summit to the home of the gods

    Travel back in time to experience the Greece of the ancient Gods. This hiking-intensive trip will have you strolling through the temples and gazing down from the summits where Athena, Zeus, and the Twelve Olympians of myth were thought to reside.

    best times to go: June, September - October

    departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.

    pricing: from $4,795 see detailed pricing

    The Mediterranean

    Strenuous
Also great as a private trip. Call for details

A unique summit to the home of the gods

Step back in time to Ancient Greece, the cradle of Western civilization and the land of the gods! TYou’ll walk through temples, ruins, remote mountain villages, and hike along steep, rocky trails up the craggy peaks towards the home of the mythic Olympians. Not only do you get to enjoy a gods’-eye view of the land you journeyed below, but you get to walk away feeling justifiably heroic. MTS may not be the only company to offer a trip here, but we are the only company to actually reach the summit. You’ll kick off your adventure on the right foot with in-depth cultural tours of Athens, hike into Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world, and visit the cliff monasteries of Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With 4-star accommodations and private use of a mountain refuge at the foot of Mytikas (9,593’)—the highest of Mount Olympus’ six summits—you’ll have plenty of rest and relaxation on the road to becoming your own hero.
 

Activities

6 days moderate to strenuous hiking (max. elev. 9,568'), easy touring

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kick off your adventure on the right foot with in-depth cultural tours of Athens
  • Hike into Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world
  • Visit the cliff monasteries of Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Enjoy 4-star accommodations and private use of a mountain refuge at the foot of Mytikas (9,593’)—the highest of Mount Olympus’ six summits

Duration: 11 days Start Location: Athens End Location: Athens

Download Detailed Itinerary
Itinerary
  • Day 1 : Arrive in Athens

    Arrive in Athens, Greece. Transfer on your own to the hotel. Meet with the group and the trip leader at 6:00 p.m.in the lobby. We’ll enjoy a “welcome” dinner and trip orientation in a taverna in the colorful Plaka district, located below the Acropolis, a walker’s haven where no cars are allowed.

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    Day 2 : Athens

    Today we’ll have an in-depth visit to Athens, one of the oldest cities in the world (its recorded history goes back at least 3,000 years). In ancient times it was a powerful city-state and center for the arts, learning, and philosophy. Its illustrious heritage is still widely evident, with the remains of many great monuments still standing, including the famous Parthenon, perched atop the Acropolis and built by Pericles in the 5th century BC. We’ll visit this all-time great archaeological site as well as many other monuments of the ancient city.

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    Day 3 : Mikro Papingo

    Transfer to the airport and fly to Ioannina in northeastern Greece (a one-hour flight). Upon arrival, we’ll drive 1½ hours across the Pindos Mountains to the charming hillside village of Mikro Papingo in the spectacular, mountainous Zagoria region (from the Slavic word meaning “behind the mountains”). Zagoria’s friendly and hospitable inhabitants still often wear traditional dress and some of their stone villages have been declared national historical monuments. Mikro Papingo lies at the entrance of the great Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world. We’ll enjoy an afternoon walk in the village along its narrow stone roads and pathways through picturesque gray stone houses. (2 hours walking on easy terrain)

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    Day 4 : Dragon Lakes

    Today we take a roundtrip hike through lush, forested terrain and alpine pastureland to a beautifully situated refugio located on the saddle above Mikro Papingo. Here we will enjoy spectacular views of the Vikos Gorge and the starkly beautiful Dragon Lakes (6,930'). En route we’ll have great views of Aoos, Mount Smolikas (8,650'), and the impressive serrated crest of Gamila (the camel) peak. (6 hours hiking round trip; 3,300' ascent/3,300' descent)

    From the refugio, there is an optional hike to the Dragon Lakes themselves. These picturesque remote lakes are the perfect spot to rest your legs and have a snack. (With optional hike to Dragon Lakes, 8 hours hiking round trip; 4,500' ascent/4,500' descent)

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    Day 5 : Vikos Gorge

    The 10-mile-long Vikos Gorge slices through the heart of Zagoria, once a region of wealthy and cultured traders and artisans. From Mikro Papingo we descend 1,800 feet into the gorge, with its dramatic cliffs that carve into the landscape. We then cross the canyon floor to the Voidomatis River, which springs from underground channels into the dry riverbed (the Voidomatis reportedly has the cleanest water in Europe and is also known for its trout). We’ll hike along the river, exploring this magnificent canyon for 10 beautiful miles, losing another gradual 200 feet in elevation. After a picnic lunch, we’ll ascend almost 1,700 feet up by limestone steps to the beautiful village of Monodendri. (8 hours hiking; approximately 1,700'ascent/2,000'descent.)

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    Day 6 : Arrival in Meteora

    Today we transfer three hours to Kalambaka in the province of Thessaly where the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Meteora is located. But we’ll break up our drive by stopping along the way to visit the Bridges of Zagoria, have coffee in the scenic town of Kipi, and enjoy a nice lunch in Metsovo.

    Meteora’s vertiginous rock towers are adorned with numerous stone monasteries built into the cliff faces like ornaments, and has been a place of monasticism since the 11th century. The word Meteora literally means 'hovering in the air,' and of course brings to mind the word meteor. We’ll arrive with enough time to check into our hotel before setting out on a relaxed evening hike to the Agia Triada Monastery (The Holy Spirit Monastery). We will not see the inside of the monastery (it is closed!), but we will explore its beautiful exterior, and learn more about its fascinating history.

    The Agia Triada Monastery was founded by the monk Dometius in the 15th century and was the monastery used for the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. To reach the monastery, we’ll take 140 steps cut into the rock, past the church of Saint John the Baptist with wall paintings from 1682. On our way back to the hotel, we’ll stop for a sumptuous dinner at a nice restaurant in Kalambaka. (2 hours easy hiking; approximately 600’ ascent/600’ descent.)

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    Day 7 : Meteora

    Today we will hike to the rock towers of Meteora to visit the Megalo Meteoro Monastery, built by the monks in the 13th-15th centuries. This is the best known of the monasteries, and is built upon the highest rock in Meteora. The monastery was founded by Athanasios the Meteorite, one of the most well-known figures in Orthodox monasticism. Eventually it became the richest and most powerful of all the monasteries, and today it contains some of the most beautiful wall paintings and post-Byzantine mural art that can be found in Greece, as well as an impressive museum collection. On our way to the monastery, we’ll learn more about this unique region and have a glimpse into the lives of the hermits who used to live on these rocks, when rock climbing was a deeply spiritual experience (of course, for some of us, it still is).

    After our visit to the monastery, we’ll take a short bus ride down into the village of Kastraki, where we’ll enjoy a traditional lunch in a local taverna. The afternoon is yours to rest and enjoy your hotel (and take a swim in the pool!), or you can opt to return to the monasteries by bus and explore them further. We’ll meet again in the evening for dinner. (4 hours hiking; approximately 1,200'ascent.)

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    Day 8 : Litochoro

    We begin our day by driving three hours to the village of Litochoro at the foot of Mount Olympus. After lunch in a local taverna, the afternoon is free to enjoy the town: there are a number of stores for some shopping, or you may choose to relax at the hotel (where you can take advantage of its spa facilities) or take a swim. For those who wish to stay on the move, we’ll offer an optional easy hike above the town. Dinner is on your own tonight.

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    Day 9 : Hiking Mount Olympus

    After a 20-minute transfer to Panonia in Mount Olympus National Park, we’ll begin our ascent to the Kakalos Refuge on the Plateau of the Muses. This is a long, challenging day, with a steep 5,200-foot ascent along a wide, well-maintained trail. You’ll carry a daypack with your overnight belongings as we’ll spend the night in this private but basic refuge (bunk beds, very basic toilet facilities, no showers, but nice and clean). We’ll be the only group here tonight. (7 hours hiking; 5,200’ ascent.)

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    Day 10 : Summit of Mount Olympus

    We’ll get an early start for our optional hike to the summit of Mytikas, the true summit and highest peak on Olympus. (The mountain’s massif has a series of six summits—the highest is Mytikas at 9,593'.) We’ll ascend about 2½ hours to the very top of the “Throne of the Gods,” with the possible use of ropes and helmets for the last 100 feet. Those who don’t wish to summit can continue with the assistant guide to the Agios Dionisios Refuge to wait for the rest of the group. After both groups reunite, we’ll have lunch at the refuge, then descend to Panonia where our bus will pick us up and transfer us back to Litochoro for a festive farewell dinner. This will be a long day of hiking, with some rough terrain and exposure for about an hour (summit hike). (9.5 hours hiking; 100’ of steep scrambling; approximately 1,000'ascent/6,173'descent.)

  • Day 11 : Depart

    After breakfast, transfer by vehicle to Athens International Airport, arriving by 1:00 p.m. Please schedule your international flights no earlier than 3:00 p.m. (5 hours driving.)

Download Detailed Itinerary

DATES: Best time to go: June, September - October Departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.

PRICING:


2014 Prices
$4,795 (6-16 members)
$300 internal airfare
$1,200 single supplement

  • Divani Palace Acropolis
    Athens

    With courteous service and superior amenities a given, Divani Palace's prime draw remains the stunning views of the Acropolis from the hotel's 7 stories' worth of luxury rooms. The hotel is is walking distance to many of Athens's premier attractions.

  • Mikro Papingo 1700
    Mikro Papingo

    This luxury boutique hotel is named 1700 for the year the oldest building in town - the hotel's restored historic building - was built. Impeccably restored to a classy "eco-chalet," Mikro Papingo 1700 provides a serene haven for guests. Primely situated at the top of Papingo for the best view to the Timfi mountains, the Vikos gorge, and the small and large Papingo settlements below.

  • Arturos/Zarkadas Guest House
    Monodendri

    The Zarkada family built this guesthouse in the Zagori tradition and the style of Epirotic architecture, providing guests with the hospitality of a traditional guesthouse within the comfortable setting of a modern hotel. The guesthouse is on par the old manor houses and natural beauty of Monodentri, with rooms that look onto the Vikos gorge.

  • Divani Hotel Meteora
    Kalambaka

    A deluxe hotel in Kalambaka village, surrounded by the towering Meteora rocks. The subdued textiles of designer Andre Warwick adorn the rooms, where oak furniture and luminous wood floors shape spacious sitting areas and terraces.

  • Hotel Olympus Mediterranean
    Litochoro

    This romantic little hotel, situated on a quiet street near the center of Litochoro, is a sophisticated favorite for local travelers. Each of the elegant rooms features a fireplace, and balconies with a view over the town's red roofs, the towering mountains, and the Aegean sea in the distance.

Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.

Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.

photo credits: ©Erik Perez



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Activity Ratings

Easy

Many activities are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding sea kayaking and river rafting trips with Class I-II rapids.

Moderate

More active trips involving hiking over moderate terrain, usually - but not always - with vehicle support and at elevations less than 10,000 feet, or trips with long hiking days, multiple sea kayaking days, wilderness camping, or other invigorating activity. On many trips, you can elect to skip a day's activity, depending on logistics. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips and river rafting trips with Class III rapids.

Strenuous

Hiking and trekking over steeper or more rugged terrain or where elevations may exceed 10,000 feet - often several days in a row. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips (4-5 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

Ultimate Challenge!

Our most demanding trips: trekking over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations (no vehicle support) or with substantial altitude gains and losses; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips. Includes our most demanding sea kayaking (5-7 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

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