map sterea ellada central greece

Central Greece

Mt. Parnassus or Par-na-sos National Park

Mt. Parnitha (see map above) lies in Sterea Ellada a.k.a. Central Greece a huge area, stretching from the Ionian Sea in the west, all the way to the Aegean off the east coast of the long island of Evia (Euboea) to the east of Attiki (Attica). Mt. Parnitha is very near Athens and great idea or a day trip. No organzied coach tours visit this location so Paul the Honest Greek Taxi driver or car rental are your two best bets. There is a Casino with hotel too!

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Mt. Parnassus National Park

Mt. Parnitha is near AthensThis is the earliest National Park to be established in Greece, from 1938, which covers about a third of the mountain area, though there is no way, in any case, to see where the park begins or ends.

Not only is this mountain very accessible (only about two hours from Athens via good road and with good roads almost to the top), but it is also one of the best in terms of its flora, bird life, and its general beauty.

Its highest peak is at 2457 meters (8059 feet) Its lower slopes are covered with typical limestone maquis, with Greek fir farther up, above 800 meters, though only on the western and northern sides, with fine flora.

lammergeierFrom early spring and onwards, there are spectacular numbers of crocuses, with blue predominating and a little yellow, and orange-yellow. As the snow melts, these flowers move upward on the mountain, so that one can see their grand display up until the beginning of June, and maybe later. There are many other wildflowers, including Greek hellebore, anemone, different irises and alpine squills among them. Other habitats are found higher up, where the forest ends, with flowers seen in May and June, and also on the high cliffs, flowering even later.

anemone purpleThere are at least 25 Greek endemics and 10 endemic only to Parnassus or nearby. Fine trees and flowers can also be seen along the dirt road to the Corycian Cave, including irises and tulips. The list of birds found on Parnassus is also quite long, and includes many also found in Delphi. There are also shore larks, which breed here on rocky slopes above 2000 meters, and rock partridges, four species of breeding woodpecker,, three kinds of eagles, griffon vulture, goshawk, honey buzzard, the lanner falcon, and occasionally, the lammergeier (right).

almond blossomsMammal populations are limited by lack of surface water, and by grazing and hunting impacts, though wild boar are found here, as well as beech marten and red squirrel in the forests. Butterflies are also limited, due to the grazing of the flowers they frequent.

A good base for exploring Parnassus is Arakhova, with a road running up to the mountain,on the south side,which connects with the road up to the ski station near the summit, which continues down the forested north side towards Polidhrossos. Paths also lead up from Delphi, which are wonderful, but demanding, as well as from Ano Tithorea (on the northeast). Dirt roads also run towards the west from the Livadhia plain.