While being in the capital of Greece, Athens, for business purposes, I did not want to put on hold my training sessions. Although Athens is a quite large city, not far away from the city centre, there is Mt. Parnitha.
Mt. Parnitha is located in Attiki province,25km N from the city of Athens.It is one of the 4 mountains(the others are Immitos, Penteli and Aigaleo) that surround the circular plain,in which the city of Athens is built. Mt Parnitha is the talllest and more impressive among the mountains that surround Athens.
Despite its proximity to Athens,it has a much different climate,with lots of heavy rain,many days of snowfall and annual average temperature 5-10degrees C lower than Athens depending on the altitude and the part of the mountain.
On this visit to Parnitha, I have decided to do the famous “stairs trail” towards Regency Mont Parnes. The trail starts from the parking lot of the cable car. At the beginning there is a dirt road toward the Metochi location. After a while the first stairs appear and this is all the way up to the highest point, which is Mavrovouni (1.060 m.).
- Starting point altitude: 490 meters
- Starting point altitude: 1.060 meters
- Altitude gain: +570
- Distance: 2.800 meters
Mt Parnitha, is the only mountain around Athens plain,that counts weeks,even months(depending on the elevation)of snow coverage.In the upper part of the mountain(above 1000m)the temperature even in summer afternoons,never exceeds 30 degrees C.In Winter,on the other hand we have lots of days of snowfall resulting even in 0,5-1m height of snow in some slopes and the temperature hardly exceeds 0 degrees C at the higher part of Parnitha. Most of the snowfall in Parnitha,happens January and February.Usually most of the snow melts until late March but in the northern slopes of the highest peaks,especially Karavola, it can be kept until mid to late April,depending on the winter.
The major and more distinctive peaks are:
- Karavola (1413m)
These 2 highest peaks are full of military installations and antennas so they are not reachable.
- Plati Vouno(1171m)
Among them the most impressive ravines are Chouni, Agias Triadas, Gkouras, Mavrorema and Charadros ravine.The upper half of the mountain is covered with snow for at least 2months,usually mid-January to mid March but in the northern slopes of Karavola peak remains of snow can be found even in late April.The snow is usually soft and never icy,so special equipment isn’t needed to ascent Parnitha in winter,apart from a solid trekking boot and a pair of gaiters.There is not a danger of an avalanche.
From were paths and routes start:
Usual starting points to ascent Mt Parnitha are:
The valley Makrichorafo(570m)
The town Afidnes(300m),if there isn’t a car to proceed to Makrichorafo
The town Thrakomakedones(400m)
The parking of the cable car(480m)
The town Fuli(250m)
The village Avlon(180m)
The village Sfendali(290m)
The town Varibobi(300m)