Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece

Mount Elikonas: Hiking from Agia Anna to the summit of Paliovouna (1.748 meters)

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Elikonas or Mount Helicon is a mountain in Boeotia in Central Greece. It sits roughly halfway between Mount Kitharonas and Mount Parnassus and towards the south, it overlooks the Gulf of Corinth.

It played an important role in Greek mythology as the home to the Muses and was considered a source of poetic inspiration in antiquity. Today, it mainly serves as a source of the so-called green energy with its lovely wooded slopes scared by dirt tracks and rows of wind turbines.

It is still worth a visit in my opinion. On our recent trip, we very much enjoyed hiking through Elikonas’ beautiful fir forest to its highest peak, Paliovouna (1.748 meters). At the beginning of March, most of the mountain was covered by a fresh layer of snow, making the scenery utterly charming.

How to get there

We started our hike in a village called Agia Anna at the foot of Paliovouna. It took us less than two hours to reach the village by car and the drive was fairly straightforward.

From Athens, we followed the highway to Thessaloniki leaving it in Thiva. From Thiva, we continued towards Livadia until we encountered signs for Agia Trianta and later Agia Anna.

At Agia Anna, we drove through the village to its upper end where we parked our car. There is a sign pointing towards the summit of Mount Elikonas at the center of the village. Or follow the directions on Google Maps HERE.

Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece

Maps, signposting & difficulty

The trail from Again Anna to Paliovouna is part of the European long-distance trail number 22. It is marked by red paint and signs with the no. 22 pinned to the trees. It was well marked and easy to follow through the forest, even when covered by snow.

The final section of our climb was not marked at all nor did we find any trail. Therefore, we walked straight up towards the summit across the steep rocky slopes.

This proved to be quite challenging, especially on the descent. Apparently, the combination of scree, rocks, grass, and snow is not the most comfortable surface to walk on. But during snowless seasons it shouldn’t be too hard and you may even find the trail!

With 11 kilometers in length, over 1000 meters of elevation gain, and a fresh layer of snow this hike was definitely challenging. It took us around 7 hours to complete with just the necessary amount of breaks. You can find our recording of the hike on Wikiloc HERE.

Hiking from Agia Anna to Paliovouna

We parked our car at the upper end of the village and continued on foot towards the mountain. Soon we entered a beautiful fir forest and found the first red signs.

At first, we followed a forest road winding up among the moss-covered trees but after a while, we encountered a trail diving deeper into the forest. It was quite comfortable at the beginning but become steeper and steeper as we progressed.

Eventually, we started catching first glimpses of the surrounding mountains and the villages of Agia Anna and Agia Trianta nested deep down in the valley.

The otherwise beautiful scenery was partially spoiled by a forest of wind turbines and ugly dirt tracks scarring the mountain slopes and we couldn’t help but wonder if the same grim fate awaits the rest of Mount Elikonas as well.

The fir forest of Mount Elikonas, Greece
The fir forest of Mount Elikonas, Greece
The fir forest of Mount Elikonas, Greece
Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece
The fir forest of Mount Elikonas, Greece
The fir forest of Mount Elikonas, Greece
The fir forest of Mount Elikonas, Greece
View of Agia Anna from Mount Elikonas, Greece
Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece

After about three kilometers of steady climb, we reached the bottom of a rocky ridge and got a first good view of the summit. From here, our path traversed at the bottom of the cliffs towards the summit cone.

There was a lot of snow at this part of the mountain and we kept staggering and falling over as we advanced. However, we later agreed that this was our favorite section of the trail thanks to the dramatic scenery and beautiful views.

At around 1500 meters of elevation, we finally left the forest and arrived at an old abandoned mine at the foot of the summit cone of Paliovouna. There was a cluster of dirt roads here, too, climbing the slopes of the mountain in multiple directions.

At this point, we lost our trail and markings and continued straight up towards the summit. We climbered through a mix of grass, loose scree, rocks, and snow, stopping from time to time to catch our breath and to admire the beautiful views opening up all around us.

The higher we climbed the more we could see from the Gulf of Corinth glistening in the distance, the tiny Alkyonides Islands, and the northern coast of Perachora Peninsula. But right before we reached the top we entered a cloud and the conditions changed dramatically.

Suddenly, we were whipped by gusts of cold wind and enveloped in whiteness. We took a few obligatory summit photos, waited for the clouds to part for a couple of minutes, and when they didn’t we decided to retreat. We return back to Agia Anna the same way.

Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece
Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece
Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece
Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece
Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece
Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece
Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece
Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece
Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece
Winter ascent of Mount Elikonas, Greece

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