On the national Athens – Thessaloniki highway, right after the valley of Tempi, we come to a sign in front of the railway station building that reads Rapsani. The road snakes up and meets Rapsani at an altitude of 640m.
The village is built on the south-eastern slopes of kato Olympus, at a location bathed in sunlight throughout the day. The village’s unique position, its clear and digestive waters and cool climate have made it a very popular summer resort. The paved square of Rapsani with its plane trees, mulberries and linden trees offers a view of Tempi is filled with small traditional cafes and shops selling tsipouro and, of course, the famous Rapsani wine.
Olympus Ski Center (Vrysopoules)
The Vrysopoules Ski Center (Vrysopoules) belongs to the Greek army and is the only ski resort on Olympus. It was established in 1934 and has been used for training Greek army officers since 1960, at an altitude of 1.805 m, over the “Mavratza” gorge on the southern side of Olympus, we come across the Vrysopoules refuge. It’s located on the installations of the Military Alpine Combat and Ski Training Center (KEOAX). Visitors must show a valid identification form in order to enter, while overnight stays require special permission from the Special Forces Directorate. With a hosting capacity of up to 30 persons, the Vrysopoules refuge features a restaurant and is accessible by car, albeit all vehicles must be parked outside the military base. The Olympus Ski Center is still in operation on the premises of KEOAX. It features three slopes (red) with three lifts (two T-bar single seat lifts and one baby lift) whose use is provided free of charge to the public.
Cave of Agios Dionysios
Following Ε4 and leaving behind Palaia Moni, the monastery of Agios Dionysios, we reach Holly Cave, the saint’s hermitage, visited by many pilgrims within a year.
Ithakisios grotto. In this rock cavity, at a height of 1,680 metres lived before the war for 20 summers, the painter Vasilis Ithakisios who died in 1977 in a nursing home in Athens. He lived from the paintings of the landscapes of the worshiped mountain which he sold to the mountaineers.
One of the routes towards the Megala Kazania sets off from Kokkinoplos, one of the highest in altitude villages of Mt. Olympus (1.150 meters). Once there, one can follow the dirt road towards Xerolaki which leads to the Naoum caves. These are pit-caves formed on the mountain’s slopes, which can be used as emergency shelters during severe weather.
Stefani. Its top is only 8-m under the one of Mytikas (2,909-m. altitude).