Greece is considering imposing an entrance fee for Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in the country, authorities revealed on Wednesday.
Thousands of people climb every year on Olympus, the mountain of the ancient Greek Gods. Mount Olympus is one of the great treasures of Greece. It is a famous not only because of Greek mythology but because of its great beauty and the challenging climbs it offers to adventurers.
The National Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA), an advisory body for the Greek government, confirmed that discussions are taking place to impose a fee.
In an announcement it says introducing a ticket to protected areas is “international best practice.”
It adds that is also a useful tool for “the protection and effective management of unique ecosystems.” It also points out the case of the Samaria National Park in Crete where an entrance fee is in place for more than 30 years.
NECCA says that the final decision is yet to be made and it would have to be approved by the Olympus management agency.
NECCA will continue to propose and support actions and projects for the protection and promotion of Greek Nature, such as the financing of the preparation of the application file of the wider area of Olympus in the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the announcement reads.
Entrance fee for Olympus
According to a leaked document, the initial proposal by NECCA includes:
- The imposition of an entrance fee for activities such as transit, visit, training, research, professional activity, visit by motor vehicle, mountaineering and amateur hunting.
- The daily individual ticket is 6 euros for each entrance. Excluded are those under 15 and over 67 and some other categories including priests and monks with duties within the protected area and visitors to the Holy Monastery of Agios Dionysios (located in the heart of the forest) and their vehicles.
- The daily ticket for a motorcycle is 10 euros, for a car 12 euros and for a tourist vehicle 70 euros.
Analysts point out that a major problem with the proposal is that a visit to the Olympus National Park is not something that can be done in one day. Many hikers and mountaineering groups usually organize multi-day visits, so the cost to visit the mountain area will skyrocket.
Mount Olympus has 52 peaks and deep gorges. The highest peak, Mytikas, meaning “nose”, rises to 2,917 meters (9,570 ft). It is one of the highest peaks in Europe in terms of topographic prominence.
Olympus is notable in Greek mythology as the home of the Greek gods, on Mytikas peak. It is also noted for its exceptional biodiversity and rich flora. It has been a National Park, the first in Greece, since 1938. It is also a World Biosphere Reserve.
The peak of Olympus was reached for the first time on August 2, 1913 by the Swiss climbing team of Frédéric Boissonnas and Daniel Baud-Bovy, who were assisted by a mountain guide called Christos Kakkalos.