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Friday October 20 , 2017
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The gods’ kingdom

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Trip profile: An 8 day / 7 night walking holiday. This program’s walks cover a wide range of hiking types, including the ascents on the summits of the two big mountains in the area, higher Olympus at 2918m and Ossa (Kissavos) at 1989m, two very characteristic gorge crossings in every mountain and a three day high ridge walking, crossing the north part of the higher Mt. Olympus. A definitely full walking program and a 'must" for every keen mountain walker.
 

Trip dossier:

Country: Greece.

Region: Mt. Olympus, Mt. Kissavos (Ossa), northeast Thessalia and southeast Makedonia.

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights.

Period: May to October.

Type: Adult individuals, groups, clubs & corporate with some previous mountain walking experience.

 

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Itinerary: 

Day 1. Arrival to your accommodation in the area of the north east foothills Mt. Ossa (Kissavos). You meet with your guides over the welcome meal. Time to adjust and relax prior to the program’s start.

Day 2. After breakfast we move to the eastern side of Mt. Ossa (Kissavos) and by forest dirt road we reach our hike’s starting point at 1000m. Our today’s destination is  3the highest summit of the mountain (1978m). The path unfolds in a rich birch and oak tree forest in the first half of the way and in alpine terrain in the second half, until we reach the Kanalos location and the local club’s mountain refuge at 1500m after 2.00’ to 2.30’ hours of walking. Here we have a good break for a light lunch and herbal tea and cookies. The summit dominates the area above our heads.

From this point onwards, we continue the walk to the summit. The first part of it is up the northwest slopes of the mountain and then, in a south west direction, we move with great views all the way up the eastern ridge, which leads us to the summit (1.00’ to 1.15’ hours). While on the summit, you are rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the region including the Aegean Sea, the Plain of Thessaly, Mount Olympus, Mount Pelion, the Pinios River delta and in clear weather – not very unlikely – the huge pyramid of Mt. Athos emerging out of the sea in the very distance to the east. We return by the same route back to Kanalos (45’ to 1.00’ hour) from where you are transferred by road back to your accommodation. But first we have a picnic lunch in the forest. Altitude covered, 978m. Approximate net walking time, 4.00’ to 4.30’ hours, easy / moderate.

Day 3. Today’s walk will follow a path, which years ago, was the secret path connecting the very historical Ambelakia village with the eastern end of the Tempi valley and the way to the north of the country, from Thessaly to Makedonia. We call it secret because it was really the secret connection for anyone who didn’t want to use the “official” Tempi valley passage from Makedonia to Thessaly and the south or the other way round. This path, apart from its wild natural beauty, holds memories and energy of endless historical scenes of the area's journey through time. Walking there, someone really feels it, so you will.

The walk starts at the entrance of the characteristic gorge which dominates the area of the eastern entrance / exit of the Tempi valley. The gorge is called Tranos Lakos (great gorge). The narrow path follows the right side of the gorge along a ledge with high rock faces above and great views bellow and the opposite side of the gorge. We start the walk at almost sea level and move along the western side of the canyon up to where it narrows distinctively at 500m. There, we steeply go up on the gorge’s right slope and through a well hidden pass we get to the top at 720m, where we have a picnic lunch at the yard of a picturesque chapel in the forest. After this, we go by road to the "castle of Orgia", to ejoy a dramatic panoramic view of the Tempi valley and the Pinios river long way down!! Then we head for the village of Ambelakia, not far away by road, where we get the opportunity to visit this very historical village, its cultural museum and the Schwartz” mansion– typical example of the local architecture, external and internal - and be introduced to the rich history of the place, as it is the place of the first recorded cooperative internationally. Your remaining time will be free to explore or, indeed, relax at the peaceful village square enjoying a drink along with the locals. Altitude covered, 720m. Approximate net walking time, 3.30’ to 4.00’ hours, moderate / challenging. 

site 1Day 4. Today we leave Mt. Kissavos and our accommodation there, to go to its famous neighbor Mt. Olympus, at the eastern feet of it, in the citadel of Litohoro. Our today’s walk will take us along the very impressive Enipeas gorge! Another gorge crossing, on Mt. Olympus this time! We start just outside Litochoro, at 300m. It is an amazingly beautiful place to cross, drowned in greenery, with Enipeas stream running alongside with us. On the way, we stop by one of the numerous crystal clear pools, where we have our light snack hot drink and cookies. Our guides will introduce you to the very interesting and unique in many cases flora of Mt. Olympus! We are at the very heart of the lower part of the mountain.  We end up at Prionia location at 1100m where we have our lunch at before we return by road to Litohoro and your accommodation there. The rest of the day free to explore Litohoro. For more about the gorge and the area, here. Altitude covered, 800m. Approximate net walking time, 5.00’ – 5.30’ hours, easy / moderate. 

Day 5. After an early breakfast, we move by road to the north side of the mountain and to the starting point of our today’s walk, at 300m. The path unfolds in very dense Mediterranean type forest on the left side of the Orlias canyon, with great view points of the canyon’s waterfalls. As we move higher and leave the Orlias canyon behind us, the Mediterranean type forest slowly becomes a pine tree forest. After 2.30’ hours of ascent we reach the mountain refuge of “Koromilia” at 1000m, where we have a light meal and a good rest. We continue to our today’s destination which is the “Petrostrouga” location and homonymous Mountain refuge at 1920m for another 3.00’ to 3.30’ hours. The views down the northern sides of the mountain, the Thermaikos gulf of Thessaloniki and Halkidiki in the far distance are stunning. We spend the night in the Petrostrouga mountain refuge. Altitude covered, 1620m. Approximate net walking time, 5.30’ – 6.00’ hours, moderate / challenging. 

Day 6. We have an early start to go to our today’s destination, the magnificent mouses’ plateau, via an equally magnificent route, especially from the time we come out to the alpine zone and move along the “Lemos” ridge with stunning views at both sides. Truly a great hike! We reach the plateau after a 2.30’ to 3.00’ walk. We are very close to the highest summits of the mountain. The “Throne of Zeus”, the third highest summit, dominates the whole area.

We will have all the time we need to relax, enjoy the place at one of the two mountain refuges there and for the ones who wish we can attempt the ascent to the highest summit Mytikas (2918m) and the other smaller summits around the plateau. We spend the night here. Altitude covered, 750m to the plateau and 850m to the smaller summits around it and 1000m for the ones who will climb the highest summit. Approximate net walking time about 5.30’ – 6.00’ hours to the plateau. To the highest summit and buck add another 3.00’ hours. The walk is classed as moderate to the plateau and challenging scramble to the highest summit.

Day 7. Sadly enough, we leave the plateau for our descent via another long ridge, the so called “Barbalas” ridge. This is another great ridge hike, with fantastic views all the way down, being by many characterized as the nicest and most atmospheric route up or down the mountain. From the 2700m at the plateau, we go down to 980m to the “Krevatia” location and the homonymous refuge where our support vehicle will be waiting for us to take us back to Litohoro and the hotel. But before we do that, we all seat round the table at Krevatia refuge for a farewell meal. Altitude covered, 1720m down. Approximate net walking time, 6.00’ to 7.00’ hours, moderate / challenging.

Day 8. Transfer to the airport for the return flight.

 

Price:

850.00p.p. (based on two sharing room).

830.00p.p. (based on three sharing room).

Single room supplement: 120.00€ p.p.

The single, two and three sharing room options concern only the accommodation of days 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7. The accommodation of days 5 & 6 is in mountain refuges on Mt. Olympous.

 

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General information about the program

Accommodation: Great care is taken in selecting appropriate accommodation for your holiday. On days 1, 2 & 3, your accommodation will be in the Kastania gi lodges in Paleos Pateleimon, or in the Hotel Vlassis in Stomio or other equivalenτ and on day 4 and day 7 in a well selected hotel or pension in Litohoro. While on Mt. Olympus on days 5 & 6 your accommodation will be in fully equipped mountain refuge, offering the facilities of a typical alpine refuge. 

Meals and meal plan: This trip is organized on a combination of half board and full board basis. On days 2, 3, & 4, the evening meals (not included in the price) can be taken in local restaurants or traditional Greek tavernas and this will give you the perfect opportunity to sample real Greek hospitality, delicious food and very fine wine, typical of the region. On days 5 & 6 (on Mt. Olympus), you can sample on your own, according to your preferences, the very good food at the mountain refuges (included in the price). Breakfast is included at your accommodation and on Mt. Olympus is provided by us (included in the price). The lunch pack for the day’s walk is also provided by us, taking of course under consideration your nutrition preferences, along with coffee or tea and cookies. On arrival day 1 as well as day 7, we all seat around the table for the welcome and farewell evening meals, which are included in the price as well.

Transport: Transfers will be in minibus, taking you from your accommodation to the starting point of the day’s walk and back. The travelling time ranges from 30’ to 40’ and 0.15’ on day 5. The minibus will be waiting for you at the end of every walk, for your support and to pick you up and transfer you to your accommodation. Some of your luggage (only what you don't need for your walks) will stay at the  accommodation of day 4 to wait for your return on day 7, prior to your departure. 

From the airport to your accommodation, in case you do not have your own or hired means of transport (rented vehicle), the best suggested way is the public transport (train or bus), as our area of activities and the accommodation establishments are very close to the main road and rail streams of transport on the eastern side of the country. The nearest airport is the Makedonia airport of Thessaloniki, 1.00’ hour by train or bus to N. Pori or Rapsani train stations, being very close to the activities area and the various accommodation establishments. The “Proastiakos” train runs almost every hour from Thessaloniki to the above destinations for 28.00€ return. From the airport you take the bus (number 78) to the main train or bus station in Thessaloniki. It takes 20’ to 30’ and costs €01.00. The buses also run in the same manner, although a bit more expensive than the train.They run from Thessaloniki central bus station and stop at the Rapsani train station on their way to the south. From either station you have arrived (Rapsani or N. Pori), we pick you up and take you to your accommodation, 15’ away by road.

If you land at “Eleftherios Venizelos” airport in Athens, the train seems to be again the best optiIon. Only the journey in this case takes 4.15’ to 5.00’ hours, depending up on the train you are using.  From the airport you take the metro or the Proastiakos train to the “Stathmos Larisis” (Larisa’s station) in Athens, from where you take the train to Larisa. We pick you up from the station in Larisa to transfer you to your accommodation, about 45 minutes by road.

Essential equipment: Apart from your seasonal clothing for the walks, you should bring with you the following: 

. A day back pack (50 to 70 lt.). 

. A pair of good walking boots. 

. Fleecy jacket and pullover. 

. Wind proof / water repellent breathable jacket. 

. Extra tee shirts, under wear and three pairs of good socks for walking. 

. While on Mt. Olympus, it is advisable to have a sheet or a very light sleeping bag for using it as a sheet, as the refuges provide only blankets.

. Water flask or simply a plastic water bottle. 

. Sun glasses. 

. Sun and head worming hat. 

. Sun protective cream. 

. Telescopic poles. 

. Head lamp. 

Group size and staff: Maximum group size is 16 people and minimum 4. This trip is led by Olympos Trek and supported by expert local guides. Guides are not provided for clients not taking part in the group’s walking program.

Responsible tourism: Tourism has an effect on any area. It is essential to minimize the negative impact that we may cause. We do not allow our clients and staff to damage the physical environment, living litter or rubbish lying around. Anything we take in to an area, we must take out again.

First aid: Our guides are qualified in first aid and curry a complete first aid kit at all times. We are also connected with the Greek mountain rescue and the National Center for Immediate Medical Help.

 

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