Greek mountain ranges and highest mountains of Greece

Greece is a mountainous country, covered by hundreds of mountains with thousands of peaks. Considering the hilly outcrops above 200 m altitude as belonging to the mountainous zone, the truly lowland areas suitable for cultivation do not exceed 25-30% of the Greek territory.
It should be noted that 35% of the land is between 200 m and 600 m altitude, while 31% is above 600 m.

Within such a mountainous outline, Greece has 413 mountains above 1000 m altitude. This exact number as well as when a mountain is considered autonomous, since especially in the region of Pindos the boundaries of the mountains are extremely indiscernible.

The mountains of Greece offer a unique blend of nature, history, and culture. From geological formations that narrate the earth’s evolutionary history to mythical peaks entwined with the legends of gods, and trails that offer both solace and challenge, the mountains of Greece are a profound testament to the natural beauty of Greece.

The geology of these mountains tells a story of the Earth’s ancient past, largely shaped by the tectonic forces from the collision between the African and Eurasian plates. Dominated by limestone and schist, these terrains carve out dramatic landscapes and fertile valleys across the country.

Among the vast array of mountain ranges in Greece, the Pindus range stands out. Extending from the north to the south across the mainland, it features some of the most extensive and rugged terrains in the country. Often referred to as the “spine of Greece,” the Pindus is dotted with deep gorges, towering peaks, and a rich diversity of flora and fauna, making it a critical area for biodiversity.

The small size of Greece allows the traveler to wander in a relatively short time to many of these mountains, to see the peculiarities of each one separately and to experience the beauties of the incomparable Greek mountain nature.

From Olympus whose peak is at 2918 meters, to Taygetus whose peak is at 2407 meters, in between on the list there are many Greek mountains worth mentioning such as: Smolikas (2637 m.) Kaimakstalan (2524 m.) ), Grammos (2520 m.), Giona (2510 m.), Tymfi (2497 m.), Vardousia (2495 m.), Parnassos (2457 m.), Psiloritis (2456 m.), the White Mountains (2454 m.) and Tzoumerka (2429 m.).

With names derived from Greek mythology and the popular sentiment of villagers who saw the great volumes from below, the 12 highest Greek mountains can excite not only demanding nature lovers but also ordinary travelers who wish to “escape” away from the cities and the seas and get lost in the magic of the mountains.

With the relief of the landscape varying from alpine to tundra and from scrub (as found at high altitudes in the mountains of the Peloponnese and Thessaly) to endless fir forests, with the small villages that exist scattered at the foothills and sometimes at higher altitudes of the mountains , the innumerable crystalline springs and the hospitable inhabitants-guides, the twelve highest Greek mountains give new meaning to mountain tourism.

Highest Mountains in Greece

Olympus 2918 m.

moynt-olympusOlympus is the highest mountain in Greece with Mytikas as its highest peak at 2918 m. and is known worldwide for its mythological context, since the 12 Gods lived there during Greek antiquity! I

t is located on the borders of Macedonia (Pieria) and Thessaly (Larissa) and really captivates with its wild beauty, since beyond its imposing peaks, deep ravines and steep vertical slopes, ravines and abundant running water steal the hearts of thousands of hikers every year, climbers and nature lovers!

Olympus is still the second highest mountain in the Balkans after Rila in Bulgaria, while it has also been declared since 1938 as the first National Park of Greece, while later the Greek Ministry of Culture also declared it an archaeological and historical site due to the scattered monuments of.

Smolikas 2637 m.

Smolikas is the second highest mountain in Greece after Olympus, with a maximum altitude at the top of Geros at 2637 m. It is located in the northern part of the prefecture of Ioannina and in the west of the prefecture of Grevena, while it is also part of the wider mountain range of Pindos that occupies the whole of western Greece.

The tributaries of Aliakmonas, Venetikos and Greveniotikos, originate from the mountain of Smolikas, while on its slopes there are many mountain villages, such as the well-known Samarina and Smixis.

In Smolika we also find the eponymous Drakolimni, which is known throughout the country and arouses the interest of thousands of hikers. We remind here that swimming is not allowed in its waters to protect the alpine newt.

Kaimaktsalan 2524 m.

Kaimaktsalan or Voras, which is the third highest mountain in the country, is located in the northern part of the prefecture of Pella, it extends to the borders of the prefecture of Florina, while it continues north and extends beyond the Greek borders. At its highest peak at 2524 m. there is also the church of Prophet Ilias, which is a monument to Serbian fallen of the First World War. A well-known ski center still operates in Kaimaktsalan, which offers great thrills to winter sports lovers.

Grammos 2520 m.

Grammos comes fourth in the series of the highest mountains in Greece with its highest peak being Tsouka Petsik at 2520 m. It stretches along the Greek-Albanian border and occupies the northeastern part of the prefecture of Ioannina, the southwestern part of the prefecture of Kastoria and a part of southeastern Albania, also constituting part of the wider Pindos mountain range. Many water streams start from it, the most important of which is the Aliakmons, which is also the longest river in Greece. The National Reconciliation Park is also located in Grammos, which aims to explain the past but at the same time to highlight the environmental wealth of the mountain mass.

Giona 2510 m.

It is the fifth highest mountain in the country, but the highest in Central Greece. It spreads in Fokida between the mountains of Parnassos and Vardousia, forming part of the southern end of the mountain range of Pindos. Its highest peak is the Pyramid at 2510 m, while it has the largest vertical slope of the Balkans, Plaka tis Sykia, with an altitude difference of about 1100 m. In ancient times, Giona was known as Aselenos Oros.

Tymfi or Gamila 2497 m.

Tymfi, which comes sixth in the series of highest mountains in Greece, is a mountain of Epirus in Zagori. It stands between the river Aoos and the tributary of Voidomatis with the highest peak of Gamila at 2497 m. On the plateaus of Tymfi there are picturesque alpine lakes with rich legends following them. Better known is Drakolimni, which with its rare beauty is a pole of attraction for thousands of hikers. We remind you again that swimming is not allowed in its waters to protect the alpine newt here as well. The southwestern slopes of the Tymfi massif reach the famous Vikos Gorge.

Vardousia mountains 2495 m.

Vardousia is located in the northwest of Fokida, with a small part of the mountain extending to Fthiotida. It is a mountain complex that includes the southernmost tip of Pindos in Central Greece. It is the seventh highest mountain in the country and the second highest in Roumeli after Giona. Vardousia consists of three groups of peaks, the northern, the western and the southern, where the northern is characterized by smooth peaks, the western presents many steep and independent peaks, while the southern, which is the highest, forms a vertical and large in length ridge. The highest peak of Korokas reaches 2495 m.

Parnassos 2457 m.

Parnassos is a mountain in Central Greece, which is eighth in the list of the highest mountains in the country, with its highest peak, Liakoura, reaching 2457 m. It spreads over the prefectures of Boeotia, Fthiotida and Phocis, while its name comes from the mythical hero Parnassus, son of Poseidon and the nymph Cleodora, whohad built a city on the mountain. According to Greek history and mythology, the best-known oracle of Ancient Greece, the Oracle of Delphi, was located at the foot of the mountain, and until today Delphi, the “navel of the earth”, arouses the interest of thousands of tourists from all over the world.

Psiloritis Crete 2456 m.

Psiloritis is the highest mountain in Crete with its highest peak at 2456 m, which brings it ninth in the list of the highest mountains in Greece, while it has four other peaks above 2000 m. Access to the peaks is relatively easy and is carried out by several trails, with the most well-known route being via the E4 from the Nida plateau at an altitude of about 1400 m. In Psiloritis is also the Ideo cave at an altitude of 1495 m., which is an archaeological site and cave and according to Greek mythology is the place where Zeus was raised by the Kurites and the nymph Amalthea. While at an altitude of 1187 m. there is also the archaeological site of Zominthos, where there is an installation from the Minoan era.

Lefka Ori White mountains Crete 2454 m.

The Lefka Ori or otherwise Madares mountain range is located in western Crete, extending mainly in the prefecture of Chania and comes to complete the ten highest mountains of the country. Its highest peak is called Pachnes and it reaches 2454 m., just 1-2 meters below the peak of Psiloritis. Above 2000 m, however, the mountain has more than 50 bare peaks with their main feature being an internal plateau that stretches between them at around 1900 m. There are several routes to reach the peaks of the mountain, however the White Mountains are a special and challenging massif that is worth exploring from one end to the other.

Athamanika Mountains 2429 m.

The Tzoumerka or Athamani Mountains are a large mountain range in western Greece, which is also part of the wider Pindos mountain range. They occupy part of the prefectures of Ioannina, Arta and Trikala and come eleventh in the series of the highest mountains in Greece with their highest peak being Kakarditsa at an altitude of 2429 m., which is located between the villages of Melissourgioi, Matsouki and Athamania in the northernmost part of the mountain range. The range is generally divided into two sub-sections. The northernmost part, where Kakarditsa dominates and the southernmost part which mainly belongs to the prefecture of Arta with its highest peak is Katafidi at an altitude of 2393 m. A wild and imposing place, Tzoumerka is home to some of the most picturesque villages and settlements, such as Pramanta, Sirrako and the Kalarrites.

Taygetos 2407 m.

Taygetos, ισ the highest mountain range of the Peloponnese. Its characteristic pyramid-shaped peak is 2407 m high and is called Prophet Ilias after the homonymous church that was built there. T

he name Taygetos comes from Taygetes, according to Pausanias and mythology, one of the Atlanteans, who, shamed by her involuntary mating with Zeus, ended her life by falling off a mountain cliff. Majestic and imposing, Taygetos, which in the years of the Revolution of 1821 was also called Agiolias the Longest, is characterized as the Troulos of Morea.

Mount Athos

Mount Athos (Agion Oros or Holly mountain in Greek) is one of the most gorgeous districts of Greece. With a Very varied magnificence of scenery, it ranges from tiny valeys to steep gorges, wooded mountains, nakec cliffs and inviting beaches. The mountainous landscape on the one hand and the sea on the other have created the indispensable frame for the insulation of a remote world within which its asceticpopulation chose to build their state and live. This monastic state has existed for over 1000 years according to the spirit and religion of the Byzantines.

Activities and sports in the Greek mountains

The Greek mountains serve as an all-season playground for a wide range of outdoor activities and sports. Whether seeking adventure, relaxation, or a connection with nature and history, these mountains offer experiences that are as diverse as the landscapes themselves, embodying the spirit of exploration and the richness of Greek natural heritage.

The mountains of Greece offer a plethora of activities and sports, appealing to adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike, thanks to their diverse landscapes and rich natural beauty. From the snow-capped peaks of Mount Parnassus to the mythological slopes of Mount Olympus and the rugged terrain of the Peloponnese, each mountain range presents unique opportunities for outdoor activities and adventure sports.

Hiking is perhaps the most popular activity, with countless trails winding through scenic landscapes, ancient ruins, and lush forests. These trails range from easy walks suitable for beginners and families to challenging treks that lead to the summits of Greece’s tallest mountains, such as the ascent to Mytikas peak on Mount Olympus. The varied terrain across the country ensures that every hike offers a new experience, from the alpine meadows of the Pindus range to the dramatic gorges of Crete.

Mountaineering and rock climbing attract thrill-seekers to Greece’s mountains, where challenging climbs offer not just physical tests but also breathtaking views. The Meteora rock formations, with their historic monasteries perched atop, provide a unique climbing experience, blending natural beauty with cultural heritage. Similarly, the cliffs and crags of Mount Parnassus and the rugged landscapes of the Peloponnese offer routes for climbers of all skill levels.

In winter, the Greek mountains transform into a paradise for snow sports. Skiing and snowboarding are popular in resorts like Arachova near Mount Parnassus and the slopes of Mount Pelion, where the sea views add a dramatic backdrop to the snowy runs. These resorts cater to all levels, from beginners to experienced skiers, and often include amenities such as ski schools, equipment rentals, and cosy mountain lodges.

Mountain biking is another way to explore the diverse landscapes of the Greek mountains. Many regions offer designated biking trails that traverse through forests, past ancient monuments, and along coastal paths, providing both physical challenges and scenic delights. The varied terrain ensures that both novice riders and experienced mountain bikers can find trails that suit their abilities and interests.

For those interested in experiencing the Greek mountains at a slower pace, bird watching and wildlife photography are rewarding activities. The rich biodiversity, especially in protected areas like the Olympus National Park or the Vikos–Aoös National Park, offers chances to observe rare species of flora and fauna in their natural habitats. The changing seasons bring different species to the fore, making every visit unique.

Adventure sports such as paragliding and hang gliding take advantage of the mountainous terrain and favourable wind conditions, offering adrenaline-pumping experiences with panoramic views of the landscape below. The mountains near the coast, such as those in the Pelion peninsula, are particularly popular for these sports, providing thrilling flights with views of the Aegean Sea.

Beyond the adrenaline and physical exertion, the Greek mountains are also a place for relaxation and rejuvenation. Many mountain villages offer thermal springs, spa facilities, and wellness retreats, where visitors can unwind in natural settings, enjoying the tranquillity and healing properties of the mountain environment.

Greek Mountain Flora and Fauna

The Greek mountains are biodiversity hotspots, hosting a wide array of flora and fauna that underscore the ecological significance of these landscapes. The varied climates and altitudes across the country’s mountainous regions have created unique habitats for a diverse range of species, many of which are endemic or rare.


The Greek mountains have about 1,700 species and subspecies, which correspond to about 25% of the Greek flora. Of these, 187 are characterized as important, 56 are Greek endemics of which 23 are locally endemic and 16 are rare in Greece or show the extreme limits of their spread in Northern Greece. Most of those found at low altitude are the usual Mediterranean and Central European species. The species Jankaea heldreichii, a plant relic from the Ice Age, is of particular interest to scientists.

The intense diversity of the relief, the different orientation of the slopes and their position in relation to the sea affect the climate of the mountains in some places, resulting in local microclimate conditions that, in combination with the geological background and soil, favor the development of particular types vegetation and habitat characteristics respectively.

The broadleaf evergreen zone is gradually replaced by black pine (Pinus nigra var. pallasiana) ecosystems that form solid stands and it is characteristic that the intermediate zone of deciduous oaks is completely missing, although individuals of these species are sporadically found in black pine stands .

Low Elevations: The lower slopes of the mountains are often covered in maquis (Mediterranean shrubland), featuring hardy bushes like myrtle, laurel, and thyme, which are adapted to the dry summers and mild winters. Olive groves and vineyards also thrive here, benefiting from the fertile soils and favourable climate.

Mid Elevations: Moving higher, deciduous forests appear, dominated by oaks, chestnuts, and beeches. These areas are rich in biodiversity, supporting a variety of understorey plants and a wealth of wildflowers in spring and early summer.

High Elevations: At higher altitudes, the landscape shifts to coniferous forests, with species such as black pine and fir trees prevailing. Alpine meadows burst into colour in the summer, showcasing a range of endemic flowers, including various species of wild orchids, crocuses, and the iconic Edelweiss.


The fauna of the Greek mountains includes significant variety and is characterized by the presence of important, rare and endangered species. The large mammals that once lived in the area, such as the deer, have now disappeared from Mount Olympus. In antiquity there were lions (Pausanias) while at least until the 16th century there were bears (Life of Agios Dionysios the Younger).

32 mammal species have been recorded, including the wild goat (Ryricapra rupicapra), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), wild cat (Felis sylvestris), marten (Martes foina), fox (Vulpes vulpes) , the squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) etc. 108 species of birds have also been identified (such as White-tailed Godwit, Black Vulture, Partridge, White Stork, Wood Pigeon, Red-necked Dove, Golden Hornbill, Petrel, Woodpecker, Golden Eagle, Serpent’s Eagle, Osprey, Red-tailed Eagle) many of which, especially the raptors, are rare and strictly protected by international contracts.

There are still the usual reptiles of the Greek area (22 species such as snakes, turtles, lizards, etc.) and some amphibians (8 species) in the streams and seasonal lakes, as well as a wide variety of insects, mainly butterflies.

Mammals: Larger mammals include the brown bear, wolf, and wildcat, which roam the more remote and dense forested areas. The mountains are also home to the chamois and the wild goat, or kri-kri, which is endemic to Crete. Smaller mammals, such as the Eurasian badger, pine marten, and various species of bats, contribute to the ecosystem’s complexity.

Birds: The avian population is rich and includes significant numbers of raptors, such as the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon, and the Eurasian sparrowhawk. Forested areas provide habitat for woodpeckers, owls, and a variety of songbirds, while the alpine zones are visited by species adapted to life at high elevations, including the Alpine chough and the wallcreeper.

Reptiles and Amphibians: The diverse habitats support numerous reptiles, including tortoises, lizards, and snakes like the European adder. Amphibians, such as frogs and salamanders, are common in moist environments and near water bodies.

Invertebrates: A staggering variety of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates inhabit the Greek mountains, playing crucial roles in the ecosystem as pollinators, decomposers, and prey for larger animals. Butterfly and moth species are particularly notable for their diversity and beauty.

The Greek mountains’ rich biodiversity is not only of ecological and scientific importance but also contributes to the cultural and natural heritage of the country. Conservation efforts are critical to preserving these habitats, ensuring that the flora and fauna continue to thrive for future generations to marvel at and study.