Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and the second highest mountain in the Balkans. It is located in the Olympus Range, a natural space 80 km southwest away from Thessaloniki (Salonica) City. The Mount Olympus has 52 peaks, deep gorges, and a exceptional biodiversity. The highest peak Mytikas, meaning “nose”, rises to 2,918 metres and it is one of the highest peaks in Europe.
The Mount Olympus is also noted for its very rich flora with several species. It was declared a National Park in 1938, as well as a World’s Biosphere Reserve.
It was a very popular place within the Greek mythology, as it was believed as the home of the Greek Olympic Gods, since even before the time of Homer. According to authors, the mountain was created after the epic battle between the young gods, the Olympians, and the older gods, the Titans. This period was called the Titanomachy. As a result of the victory of the Olympian, they created their new majestic home, the Mount Olympus.
It was covered by clouds, which constantly obscured its peaks, human were looking at it with devotion and fear.The semi-legendary author Homer, writer of the Odyssey and the Iliad, lived any time between 800 and 1200 before Christ, and included this dramatic mountain in his stories of the gods and as the source of thunderbolts from Zeus.
Every year thousands of people visit Olympus to admire nature, its slopes, and reach its peaks. Organized Mountain Refuges and various mountaineering and climbing routes are available to visitors who want to explore it. The usual starting point is the town of Litochoro, on the eastern foothills of the mountain. This is also where the Olympus Marathon finishes every summer.