Helicon (Elikonas) in Boeotia prefecture along with Dirfis is one of the favorite and closest destinations for Athenians climbers. It has a rich flora, with the firs (Abies cephalonica) to occupy most of the mountain. Near the top the landscape becomes alpine. It has five peaks above 1500m. with most prominently being Paliovouna (1.747m.). It is adjacent to the mountains Kithaironas and Kirfis and from the top we have a unique view of the mountains of the Peloponnese and Central Greece. It has many signposted trails that cross the most of the mountain.
Over the last years the mountain has deteriorated aesthetically and environmantally due to the construction of wind turbines. The dirt roads opened to construct the turbines and the old quarries and mines that used to operate even near the summit leave their wounds on the mountain. Nevertheless the area is the habitat for many animals like the hares and the foxes. Another characteristic about Helikon is its geographical position. One can walk on its snow covered slopes and have a fantastic view to the sea. Additionally it is a very good option for those who want to try the winter camping since it is very easy to escape to lower altitude in case something unpredicted happens.
137km from Athens
400km from Thessaloniki
There are no shelters on the mountain
Agia Anna – Summit
The route starts for the village of Agia Anna. From the center of the village we move towards the high peak and the last houses. We follow the forest road. There are also mountaineering signs. After a while we find the trail. The first part of the route is through a dense fir forest. The trail ascends until we reach a glade where we keep straight following the creek on our left. Next we arrive at a second plateau where the slope becomes steeper. We keep ascending and to the right we can see some characteristic rocks. The view is very nice and we can see some of the peaks of the mountain.
We continue along the steep trail and we gain altitude. If there is snow we need to pay attention at this point. We traverse the slope and pass under a characteristic rock with a tree and we reach at a plateau. At the area we can see the old quarries and mines. When we finish the traverse we trail reaches a forest road that will take us to the ridge. The summit is on our right. To the left we can see the gulf of Domvraina and the nothern mountains of Peloponese. The way to the summit is quite obvious. For there we can see Parnassus, Giona and many other mountains. The route is quite easy and is proposed for unexperienced climbers. It takes about 5 hours with return.
Some of the most famous villages is Agia Anna and Kyriaki. There are taverns and hotels. Of course, within walking distance is the town of Livadia. The most beautiful part of town is is Krya where there are cafes and tavernas. It is worth to walk to the old mill and along the river Erkyna up to its source.
Ploutarchos mentions Helicon as the brother of Kithairon. Helicon was a gentle and cared for his family. Unlike the Kitheron was bad and greedy. They both died after their fight next to cliff. Gods transformed them to mountains. Also on the mountain there were two sources dedicated to the Muses Aganippi and Hippocrene. Thus Helicon became a place of residence of the Muses.
There are no ski resorts.
author – photographer: Panos Bampaloukas