The broader region of Mount Olympus

Photo in the Public Domain.

The broader region of Mount Olympus is part of the Tentative list of Greece in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Mount Olympus is the highest mountain range in Greece, with the highest peak being almost 3000 metres high. In Greek mythology, Mount Olympus is the seat of the twelve Olympian gods. Mount Olympus National Park is home to a high diversity of flora and fauna. Furthermore, the region also includes a rich cultural heritage from ancient times and the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods, including the Chapel of the Prophet Elijah at 2800 metres altitude. It is the highest-altitude chapel of Orthodox Christianity.

Map of The broader region of Mount Olympus

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

Community Reviews

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Austria - 29-Dec-23 -

The broader region of Mount Olympus (T) by Hubert

I would have loved to start this review with the words: I climbed the Seat of the Gods! But that wouldn’t be entirely true. The truth ist that I did not make it to Mytikas, the highest peak of Mount Olympus.

But first things first.
I arrived in Litochoro in the early afternoon and started my visit with the Olympus National Park Information Centre, located just outside the town. The exhibition there is relatively new and provides a good introduction to the park. The flora and fauna of the vegetation zones are presented on several levels, from the foothills to the highest peak.
I spent the night in Litochoro and started my two-day tour to Mount Olympus the next morning. It's about 20 kilometres from Litochoro to the Prionia car park, the highest point you can reach by car. The hiking trail up to the Spilios Agapitos Refuge leads through a beautiful forest of pine and beech trees. The hike takes about 3.5 hours, the refuge is located at 2060 metres above sea level (altitude difference from Prionia: 1000 metres).
After a lunch break, I left all the stuff I would only need for the night in the refuge and started my ascent to the Plateau of the Muses, my destination for the first day. The trail to the plateau is only another 2.5 kilometres, but with an altitude difference of another 600 metres. However, you will be rewarded for your efforts. As soon as you reach the plateau, you have a wonderful view of the Mount Olympus massif with its chain of peaks - one seat for each of the gods. There are two smaller refuges on the plateau, not a bad idea to spend the night there, the sunrise in this scenery must be amazing. I actually wanted to hike on to the Chapel of Prophet Elijah, but dark clouds were gathering and it started to rain, so I decided to go back to Spilios Agapitos where I stayed overnight.
The next morning I went up to the peaks of Mount Olympus. Matejicek wrote in his review that it is not far from the Spilios Agapitos Refuge to the highest peak. That is both true and false. The distance is only three kilometres, but has an altitude difference of more than 800 metres. The first part through the forest is nice, but after you have crossed the tree line, the trail leads over rocky terrain. Nevertheless, the Skala peak (2866 m) is quite easy to reach (my photo shows the view from Skala to Mytikas peak). At this point I had to decide to go to Mytikas or not. That would have meant a steep descent of 50 metres and an even steeper ascent of 100 metres. In the Alps, this would be a fixed slope route (via ferrata), and for sure a difficult one. But with a fixed rope and equipped with a climbing harness (I had mine with me) it would have been doable. But without any protection, I decided it was too risky. Especially as the wind was very strong and it had rained heavily the night before. Instead, I hiked to the summit of Skolio (2912 m, second highest peak), which is only 500 metres from Skala and easy to reach (to the left of the spot from which I took the photo). Then I went back to the refuge, picked up my stuff and hiked back to the car park. And that was actually the most strenuous part of my visit: hiking almost 2000 metres downhill in one stretch, very hard on my knees and joints.
If I had to choose between the two routes, I would go for the Plaeteau of the Muses. But it's probably better to go there in the morning when the sun is better for good views and good photos. However, both destinations are in a high mountain region, so appropriate shoes and clothing is necessary. The weather can change quickly up there.

The Spilios Agapitos Refuge is the largest and most popular refuge on Mount Olympus and can accommodate 110 guests. During my visit in September 2023, it was not overcrowded, there were only two of us in a room with eight beds. Nevertheless, I would recommend pre-booking, all information on the website. But be aware: it's a mountain refuge, no luxury. For example, there is only cold water (and cold here means ice-cold). However, the question did not arise as to whether I would be brave enough for an ice-cold shower in the morning. The showers were not available, water had to be saved in September.

The title of the TWHS is "The broader region of Mount Olympus". However, it is not clear how broad this "broader region" will be, the boundaries of the core and buffer zones have not yet been published. 
Mount Olympus is proposed as a mixed site, so it is likely that churches and monasteries at the foot of the mountain massif will also be part of the nomination. But only the Old Monastery of Agios Dionysios is specifically mentioned in the T-list entry on the WHC-Unesco website. This monastery is easy to reach by car, just 2 kilometres before Prionia a road branches off and leads directly to the monastery. Old Agios Dionysios was destroyed by the Germans in World War II and then rebuilt. Parts of the ruins of the original monastery still remain. It is only a 30-minute walk from the monastery to the Holy Cave of Agios Dionysos, where a small chapel has been built.
The website of the Unesco Biosphere Reserve Mount Olympus provides a long list of monasteries and churches at the foot of Mount Olympus, but it is not clear which of them will be part of the nomination. I have only visited the Old Monastery of Agios Dionysos, none of the other sites.

The nomination of Mount Olympus was submitted for decision in 2024, but the documents were incomplete. So it must be resubmitted, at the earliest for the WHC meeting in 2025.
I really enjoyed my visit to the ancient Greek gods and in my opinion Mount Olympus would be a worthy addition to the World Heritage list.


Czechia - 16-Feb-19 -

The broader region of Mount Olympus (T) by Matejicek

The area of the Mount Olympus National Park is accesible from tourist resorts of Olympus riviera. There are bus connections to village Litochoro that is considered as the gate to the Olympus area. From Litochoro, the most convenient is to take a cab (ca. 15 eur in 2006) to parking lot Prionia as we did. Then, we walked uphill to Spilios Agapitos Refuge, which is very convenient place to overnight and to explore the area. There are more Refuges in the area but this one is the biggest and most popular one. There is also marked trail from Litochoro uphill towards Olympus, but we decided to used it as a return-way.

When walking uphills, almost form the sea level, one can see the change of vegetation from bushes to pine forest to Alpine meadows to montaneous karst that is very impressive (photo). The highest peaks of Mount Olympus, with attitude slightly below 3000m, are located not far from Spolios Agapitos refuge, but the area of bare rocky mountains is larger, and it would require at least a couple of days to explore it properly. Anyway, the great abyss that surrounds the summits of Mytikas, Stefani and Skolio is really breath-taking. Unfortunatelly, I could not reach the top of Mytikas because of my vertigo... The entire area has prominent place in Greek mythology. Furthermore, in the broeder area of Olympus, there are also several monasteries and chapels from midle ages.

To concluded: besides the stuning natural beauty, the Mount Olympus with its cultural importance probably deserves to be inscribed as WHS.



Full Name
The broader region of Mount Olympus
Nominated for
Cultural Landscape - Associative Natural landscape - Mountain
2024 Incomplete - not examined

2014 Revision

Renomination on new Tentative List. Name change from "Olympos" to "Olympus"

2003 Added to Tentative List

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The broader region of Mount Olympus (T)
WHS 1997-2024