Only its name describes it all. The highest mountain in Greece (Summit Mytikas -2.917 m) and the second highest in the Balkans, is known all over the world, mainly due to Greek mythology, since it was the home of the 12 “Olympian” gods. Its mountainous mass dominates the landscape between Macedonia and Thessaly and is the first national park in Greece (found in 1938). On its high peaks, as well as on its slopes and ravines, you will find many hikers, nature lovers, mountaineers, who come to admire and experience the greatness of the mountain.. The large network of well-preserved paths and organized mountain shelters offer to the visitors the joy of touring or the adventure of conquering their peaks.
Below you will find the first of our routes, a small and easy route.
Old Monastery of Agios Dionysios – Agios Dionysios Cave
The route is in the gorge of Enipeas river. The beginning of the gorge is at the city of Litochoro at the foot of Olympus and the end is at the place “Prionia” (1100m altitude) which is the starting point of the most impressive route for the peaks. The length of the gorge is 9 km and its crossing takes about 5 hours. We chose an easy route that is part of the overall route and goes from the old monastery of Saint Dionysios up to the cave of Saint. Dionysios and back again.
With the car, we drove from Litochoro to the old monastery and parked in the courtyard. To the left of the Monastery begins a downhill path that in a few minutes intersects with the central path (that of the gorge crossing). We can hear in the distance the hum of water, which, as we approach the river, comes closer to us. We arrive at the junction where the right direction leads to Prionia, while the left leads to the cave and Litochoro.
Now we are right in front of Enipeas river and we pass to the opposite bank from a small wooden bridge. We keep going downhill and having the river on our left. Its crystalline and cold waters form small waterfalls and lakes. Our route takes place in the forest, where the tall beech trees compete with the conifers and the oaks, while Enipeas is always beside us. The sound of the murmuring water accompanies the rustling of the leaves and the singing of the birds and the only thing that breaks this quietness is the gritting of our steps on the fallen leaves. The path continues, changing from uphill to downhill but without any difficulty, and brings us in about 30 minutes to the base of a giant rock where there is a large open cave and it is the place where the Saint became a monk. The little chapel complements the picture. Next to the chapel there is a spring with gurgling water that comes from the depth of the cave.
Because of the ease of the trail, the path is always full of people either climbers or pilgrims. We took a rest and afterwards we took the return road. The clean and preserved path (part of the European path E4) easily leads us to our destination, back to the old monastery. The Monastery (founded in the 16th century), although it is under renovation, it is open to visitors and is worth visiting, especially its main church with its magnificent frescoes.