Mount Parnassus is best known for its snow resort and surrounding villages, which are stormed by thousands of skiers and visitors during the winter months. Still, the ski center is only on side of the coin, since the mountain boasts a great number of mountain paths and scenic landscapes that may be cherished in peace, away from the crowds. Routes beginning from nearby villages cross the mountain’s main mass, enabling hikers to explore the rich fauna and flora and offering panoramic views of Korinthiakos bay and the northern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.
In the winter, the snow blends with the sea in the horizon, creating a sight that will inspire photography lovers. The only cacophony is created by the hundreds of holiday houses that have been constructed around Livadi village, spoiling the scenery and pushing the area’s wildlife away.
172 km from Athens
375 km from Thessaloniki
Sarantari: tel. +30 22370 22940
One of the most demanding routes through the mountain is the one starting from Tithorea village. Red signs mark the path all the way up to Liakoura peak. From here, you can continue until you find the European route E4 that leads down to Arachova town and then drive back to Tithorea. Alternatively, you may take go back the same way, this time taking the path that intersects with the trail you followed on your way up, at Tsares spring. In any case, the route will take you two days and there is no shelter nearby. Bear in mind that the altitude difference is considerable and the weight of the equipment carried may slow you down.
For a shorter hike to the mountain peaks , you may begin your hike at the snow center’s car park. From here it is possible to traverse to the right until you find path 22 and then ascend to Gerodovrahos ridge, thereby avoiding the snow pistes. Most peaks are relatively easy to reach from Gerodovrahos; exploring the whole bunch of them will take you a whole day and for the most part you will remain at an elevation of over 2.000 meters.
According to an ancient myth, Mount Parnassus was where Deukalionas, the son of Promitheus, ended up with his ark after nine days and nights of heavy rainfall that flooded the world, destroying all of its inhabitants. Deukalionas’ ark carried his family and a couple of each of the worlds animal and plant species. Having reach Parnassus, Deukalionas and his wife, Pyrra, sacrifized to Zeus and begged that humanity should be brought back to life.
A must-see are the remains of ancient Delphi, which used to be a panhellenic sanctuary since 586 BC, a place of worship dedicated to Apollo as well as the site of the Pythian Games. This was also were the famous Delphi oracle- the Pythia- resided and gave her vague prophesies to those who came seeking counsel. Ancient findings from the site are exhibited in the nearby archaeological museum.
The local ski center is divided in three sections: Kelaria, Fterolaka and Gerodovrahos. Most people visit Kelaria, which extend up to 2,250 meters. From here it is possible to access Fterolakka and ride back on the connecting lift. The ski center’s opening time depends upon the snow and weather conditions. Normally it is open from early January until late April. You may rent skiing and snowboarding equipment on your way to the mountain.
author – photographer: Panos Bampaloukas