Olympus Mountain – Petrostrouga refuge

This is another route in the mountain of the Gods, which we had previously done up to a certain point and are now returning to complete. It is part of the second most popular trail to the Muses plateau and the summit of Mytikas. It’s the path that leads you up to Petrostrouga refuge.

We ascend from Litochoro to Prionia, and at the 14 km mark, we encounter the sign that reads “Gortsia” and points right, to a small dirt uphill. From there, the trail begins its ascent to the mountain peaks.


Distance from Thessaloniki: 107 km

Toll: 3,60 €

Place to eat: Meze Meze Tavern 20 € per person

European Emergency Number: 112

Fire Brigade Dept: 199

Medical Emergency: 166 

Litochoro mountaineering club : 2352082444

Gortsia – Petrostrouga refuge (Alt. 1940m)

Route Information

Route Description: Trekking

Difficulty: Easy, average

Route Length: 4,8 km

Water in route: No

Duration: 3,5 Hours

The route took place at FEB 2024

Team members: 10 adults 3 children

ATTENTION: Time and length is for ascending only. To calculate total time and length you need to multiply x2

We ascend the small uphill dirt road and park at the small plateau. Be careful, if you come late, you may not find a parking spot because the plateau is small and there are many climbers. As we said, it’s the second most popular route to the summit. It is longer than the classic route from Prionia because it makes a loop, but in our opinion, it’s more beautiful because it moves outside the Enipeas Gorge and offers a panoramic view, from the peaks up to the Thermaikos Gulf. We arrived the same time with a group of French hikers who would also follow the same route with us but they would continue up to Mytikas Summit. The Introductions were made, we helped each other with taking photos, and we set off.

Ahead of us, the wide path with wooden railings marks the beginning of our journey. We start climbing, and the path begins to get narrow. The ascent is considerable but steady, and we quickly gain altitude. We walk on the natural steps formed by the roots of trees among the black pines and firs. The well-marked path continues like this for about 2 km until the location called “Barba” (Elevation: 1450 m), a characteristic clearing with a kiosk, where we make our first stop.

We continue uphill following the direction indicated by the small wooden sign that reads “Petrostrouga” and getting deeper into the forest.

The path continues with a gentle slope, looking more like a stroll on a hill than a climb on Mount Olympus. We walk through the forest and we begin to see the first Bosnian pines, while the fallen leaves are crunching beneath our steps. The slight descent that follows should not deceive you because afterward, the ascent that begins again becomes more demanding. We walk along the wide ravine in deep silence. Not even our footsteps can be heard because the humidity and the fallen leaves have created a thick carpet that absorbs even the slightest noise. We try to discern the trail markers as we ascend freely, since the path is barely visible. We continue like this for quite some time as the slope gradually increases until we reach the location called “Koka” with its stunning view of the mountain’s highest peaks.

It’s our second stop for rest and photos before starting the ascent once again, which is really difficult this time. The slope is now steep, and the fatigue from the hike so far is considerable. We ascend the snake-shaped path among Bosnian pines and firs, stepping on the snowy terrain, leftover from the last snowfall about a week ago.

The carpet of leaves has now turned into a carpet of snow, and the entire path is all white. Hiking in this scenery, after about 30 minutes, we reach “Stragos.” This is the name of the spot where a cement water tank stands, painted with a Greek flag. From the location of “Barba,” where we made our first stop, to here, we have walked about 2.2 km.

The path to the left of the tank (south direction) leads to the cave where the Olympus painter Vasilis Ithakisios used to spend his summers. If you have time, the 20-minute detour is worth it. We, however, continue on the right path (north direction), which passes in front of the tank and heads towards the refuge. We continue walking a little bit further on the snow. Gradually, the dense trees are starting to thin out as we have now reached the alpine zone and we are exiting the forest. The slope is now gentle, leading us towards the refuge among low vegetation and scattered centennial Bosnian pines, while the breathtaking view captivates us. At about 600 m, we see ahead the fast ones of the group who have already arrived and are waiting for us at the stone-built refuge. We are at Petrostrouga, a huge balcony on Mount Olympus with an indescribable view of the beaches of Pieria, Thessaloniki, and Chalkidiki.

For those who want to continue, the path turns westward and leads to the peak of Skourta and the Muses plateau, after about 6 hours and 14 km. Remember that , until the location of Barba , there is no water on the trail. There are two springs, higher up, for those who continue, one at Stragos and one in the ravine, but we need to deviate from the path for 10 to 15 minutes.

It’s late afternoon when we reach Gortsia again and take the road back to Litochoro. Dinner at one of the local taverns is the reward for our efforts. Gazing at the high peaks, we have already planned our next route on the mythical mountain.