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Sofia Ps.
4 mins read

Hiking Mount Taygetus

I’m a newbie when it comes to serious hiking. There is no shame in that and no reason to deny it. However, I’m currently writing this post in my notebook, using a lamp, in a tent on the slopes of Mount Taygetus, after a very long day of hiking. How did this happen?

Woman hiking Mount Taygetus and admiring the view of the mountain
Wilderness is a necessity.


Well, it all started when some of my friends told me that they were going to climb the highest peak of Mount Taygetus, which is Profitis Ilias at 2404m. I really wanted to join them, but I was kind of reluctant to do so. I knew I wasn’t in my best shape, so I was kind of scared that I would keep the whole team behind. However, I decided to do it anyway and I was determined to try my best!

Ere break of day

We started from Athens very early in the morning, because the drive alone would be about 4 hours. After a brief stop in Sparta, we started driving towards the mountain.

We had a 4×4 vehicle, which proved to be an absolute necessity since we wanted to reach the area of the EOS shelter by car and the last part of the trip was a 22km long, very rough dirt road. Once we reached the shelter we started at once! We wanted to make the most of the day and have as much daylight as possible -it was a cloudy day.

The shelter is at 1550m, which meant that we would have to climb about 1000m to reach the top!


The path started through a wooded area and was easy to follow.

Hiking on a path of Mount Taygetu
Up, up we go!

There were trail markers to help the hikers, so we had to look for red paint on stones or wooden poles.

I started to feel the pain sooner than I thought. I’m not particularly fit, so going up a very steep mountain required all of my strength and focus. However, the more we walked the more exciting it became!

Hiker on Mount Taygetus
Following the path was easy for most of the way.

The scenery was absolutely captivating! You could see the forest, the town at the foot of the mountain and even the sea far away. It is an amazing thing to be at 2000m and still be able to see the sea! My heart was filled with excitement and joy

View of the sea from Mount Taygetus
How can you not love that view? Can you spot the sea in the distance?


The magnificence and stillness of the mountain filled me with peace. I couldn’t think of a better thing to do on a brilliant morning like this one. I was happy. Simple as that. Tired and sore, but happy. We tried to keep a steady pace and took a few breaks for water and a snack or two along the way. The scenery around us started to change from wooded and green into barren and rocky.

Hiking Mount Taygetus
It was hard. But it was worth it!


The temperature changed as well and it became quite windy- wearing layers really came in handy. The last part was indeed challenging. It was very steep, very slippery (I’m so grateful it wasn’t raining that day) and you really had to walk slowly and carefully.


When I finally reached the top, the feeling was amazing! Two of our group, who reached the top before us, were already making everybody Greek coffee. The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the air as we were going up and it was truly magical. The view was breathtaking and the little chapel of “Profitis Ilias” (Prophet Elijah), which gives the peak its name, made the whole experience really unique. We took a long break to eat, drink, and regain our strength before we started the way down.

"Profitis Ilias" chapel on the peak of Mount Taygetus
It was so misty when we made it to the top that we couldn't see anything around us... It was like the chapel was floating in the clouds! Surreal and enchanting at the same time!


The descent down the mountain was not that bad, but it felt longer than I expected.

Misty slope of Mount Taygetus
The mist cleared a little bit as we were walking down, but the first 30 minutes were challenging.

Some guys in our group had trekking poles, which was a very good idea. The poles proved quite useful in a terrain like this, providing very good stability. Next time, I’m definitely getting trekking poles as well!

Hikers with trekking poles on Mount Taygetus
I always find that going up is easier than going down? Do you agree?

So! My little adventure came to an end after about 7 hours! It took us a little more than 3 hours to reach the top, where we spent about an hour, and 3 hours to climb down (the descent would be faster but we had a shoe emergency ).


When we returned to the shelter, we made camp and stayed there for the night. It was chilly, but not too cold, and the view of the clear night sky from up there was spectacular! So, here I am, keeping notes and scribbling in my notebook in the silence of the night when everybody else is already fast asleep. Thinking about this amazing day and dreaming of mountain tops and adventures to come!

View of Mount Taygetus
Mountains can steal your heart if you're not careful.


All in all, the hiking experience was fun, exciting and truly enjoyable! But, there’s more to that! Taygetus is an amazing mountain, with fascinating nature and wildlife, as well as interesting history. Going up the mountain ancient Spartans would look at every day of their lives was actually a unique and memorable experience. If you haven’t been there, you should!

Are you a complete beginner like I am? Don’t be discouraged! You can do everything at your own pace, with a little training and a lot of determination. Here are some tips that helped me!

Fun fact: The name of the mountain is connected to a story from Greek mythology.

Taygete was a nymph and a companion of Artemis, goddess of the hunt. According to Pausanias, Zeus forced Taygete to sleep with him against her will and they had a child: Lacedaemon, the mythical founder of Sparta. Taygete, full of shame, remained hidden for the rest of her life in the mountain, which was named after her. To help her hide from Zeus, Artemis turned Taygete into a doe with golden horns.

Hiker admiring the view from up Mount Taygetus
Make sure you take time to relax and enjoy the view...!

How to get there:

  • 01.

    Distance from Athens: 272 km

  • 02.

    If you’re coming from Sparti (Sparta), take the road to Githio (Gytheion). After about 10km you turn right to the village Trapezanti and continue towards Paleopanagia. If you’re planning to walk the whole way, head for Toriza and then the Manganiari Spring (980m) to find the main mountain path. This route would take you about 4,5 hours to reach the peak of the mountain.

  • 03.

    If you can reach the shelter by car like we did, after Paleopanagia village turn left towards Xirokampi. The EOS shelter of Taygetos, called Katafigio (Varvara location) is at 1550m. From there you can start hiking toward the top of the mountain.

[Greek: Ταΰγετος ]

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