Within 4000 hectares lies the dwelling of the Twelve God’s of antiquity. They all resided within the gorges but the Pantheon was their meeting area. At the foot of these mountains is the small town of Litochoro.
I arrived into my hostel, just outside Litochoro at about 3pm but couldn’t check in until about 9pm as the owner was out. Luckily I still had access to Wifi and the facilities. After checking in I had a drink and then hit the hay.
On the Friday I had big plans to hike through the canyon, it was the easiest hike available, and it seemed perfect for me. I set off around 11am having been dropped off by the hostel owner and then made my way into the National Park. At first I thought it was pretty easy, everything was asphalt but then I reached a fork. I could either take the treacherous path up the mountainside or the smooth path. Looking at my map, the smooth one ended a few metres ahead; I took the treacherous one. I say treacherous, it was more just unstable; there were log steps and parts where I had to crawl just to get traction but after about an hour I found myself on top of the gorge and so I stopped for a break. Coming back down the gorge I started to hear running water and soon enough, I found myself in front of some lovely little waterfalls and streams. I filled up my water bottle, had a quick splash over my face and head and continued.
There were sets of bridges continually crossing the stream so I kept seeing these spectacular waterfalls flowing throughout the canyon. After another couple of hours, and walking through streams, I finally found the Old Spring of St Dionysus. I greeted a monk and his driver and then continued up the stairs towards the Monastery. Passing a Polish family on the way, they asked me how far away the spring was so I helped them along. About 20 minutes hike from the spring is the monastery. Unfortunately during Nazi occupation of Greece, the troops destroyed the building, believing it to be home to guerilla fighters, that was fake news.
After strolling around the monastery and church, I saw the Polish family again, and took off back the way I came. The journey was 8km and it only took me 4 hours to hike through the canyon but only 3 to get back the same distance. I thought I was really lucky as the last bus back to the hostel was at 6.15 and I made it there by ten past. I waited for about 20 minutes for the bus to show up and then considered that I might have missed it, so I started walking. I had only been walking for about 15 minutes when I saw a bus overtake me, obviously it was just running very late. Two hours after walking back from the town, I finally arrived at my hostel. And when I got back, everything hurt. Well I’d expect things to hurt from a 24km trek.
The next day I thought I’d live up to the name of the hostel, Summit Zero, and do nothing at all. I did do a spot of sunbathing and even took a swim in the ocean, but overall nothing too strenuous.
This hostel was Summit Zero. It’s in Gritsa, a tiny village just outside the town of Litochoro at the base of the Olympus National Park. Really good hostel, very friendly vibe with two adorable dogs.