80% of Greece is made up of mountains when you picture Greece, you might think of the whitewashed buildings and blue domed churches of the cities on the Mediterranean, but the majority of Greece is actually mountains.
Greece is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe.
Greece is primarily a mountainous country with more than 300 larger or smaller mountains. The most significant mountain range is Pindus, which forms the “backbone” of Mainland Greece. This mountain chain extends down the Peloponnese and Crete. The highest mountain in the country is Mount Olympus, in Macedonia -known from Greek mythology as the home of the Gods- (Mytikas peak 2,917 m), while about 40 mountain ranges throughout the country exceed 2,000m height.
The Greek mountains have a rich diversity. Some forests are among the oldest natural wooded lands in Europe. Due to the unsurpassable rich flora and fauna, many are protected as National Parks. Last but not least, there is aplenty of mountain activities that you can enjoy either in winter, summer, spring or fall.
Greece’s national parks
National parks were established in Greece as long ago 1938 to protect places with special ecological, biological, geological and aesthetic value. Any activity that could endanger the ecosystem is strictly prohibited in each park while there is a zone around the perimeter where limited and controlled facilities, such as camping sites, logging, parking lots or breeding game are permitted. Currently, there are 10 national parks in Greece: Olympus, Parnitha, Parnassus, Enos on Kefalonia, Sounion, Oiti, Samaria, Valia Kalda, Prespes and Vikos-Aoos. You’ll be spellbound by their wild beauty.
Popular mountains in Greece
1. Olympus: The highest mountain in Greece. There’s a reason it was thought by the ancients to be the home of the gods and Zeus’s throne. A grand mountain rich in flora and fauna, its highest peak Mytikas at 2,917m can be reached with a six to seven-hour hike, which you will find unforgettable.
The great archaeological park of Dion is in the foothills of the mountain.
2. Parnassus: The Park encompasses the famous sanctuary of Apollo, the archaeological site of Delphi, as well as the popular mountain resort town of Arahova, which has excellent hotels and services for the skiers who head towards the ski centre on the mountain.
3. Taygetos: The tallest peak in the Peloponnese, looking down on Sparta and Kalamata on either side, is Profitis Ilias at 2,404m. The mountain’s nickname is Pentadaktylos (five fingers), due to its resemblance to a closed human hand. Dozens of kilometres of marked trails await you.
4. Pelion: This mountain is known as the kingdom of the half-human, half-horse centaurs in mythology. Pelion’s famous green slopes rise out of the sea.
It is known for its fertility, running water, vast network of paths and scores of stone villages whose architecture and vigour attract visitors from around the world.