Giona is the fifth highest mountain in Greece (third entirely located in Greek territory). It is located in central Greece, in the middle of e very mountainous area, so rough that up until the 50's there were no roads, and the mules were the main means of transportation. It rises between Vardoussia
. The trail is moderate and only the last meters to the peaks are a bit rockier and steeper.
The only mountain refuge in the mountain (in Laka Karvouni) is maintained by POA
(Pezoporikos Omilos Athinon – Athens Hiking Club) and is one of the most isolated in Greece (which in my opinion is its greatest asset). Because of this Giona is never crowded.
The highest peaks are Pyramida (2507m/8225ft), Tragonoros (2456m/8057ft) and Platyvouna (2316m/7598ft). There are four rock climbing areas, Makri Tsimari, Pyramida, Lazorema & Plaka Sykias, with routes ranging from IV to VIII (UIAA), some of which are also climbed in the winter as mixed.
The three main trails leading to the peak (or the refuge) start from villages with rather infrequent public transportation so you will probably have to drive there yourself. They can be reached from the cities of Amfissa and Lamia through secondary roads of generally good condition. Sometimes markings can be inadequate so a road map is necessary.
From Athens take Highway E75 (N1) North towards Lamia (from the airport take ATTIKI ODOS get in E75 through exit E8). Get off the E75 at Bralos - Amfissa exit (202nd km) and follow the signs to Pavliani. Pass through the village and you will meet a junction to Kaloskopi
WARNING!!! In the winter this road can be very dangerous because of ice. Make sure you have snow chains and drive slow.
From the same junction you can head to Sykia. From there you can ascent through the Lazorema gorge Vathia Laka. From there the route is the same as from Kaloskopi. (View from Vardousia)
Passing Kaloskopi you can proceed to Viniani, from where you can follow the Reka gorge to the refuge (6-7hrs)
When To Climb
In the summer, Giona’s many springs make the hike pleasant (beware of shepherd dogs though). Winter trips require sufficient equipment and efficiency on movement on ice-snow. Spring and autumn are also great seasons but check the weather forecast because rains are frequent.
For ice-snow climbing January-March offer the best conditions (depends on how the weather was the previous months). For rock climbing July-September (it will be chilly even then).
Free camping (i.e. not in designated areas) is generally not allowed in Greece, but this law is clearly aimed against seaside camping and no one has ever enforced it on mountains (making a campfire would be pushing it though, so pack a stove). In the summer be prepared to be waken up by shepherd dogs growling outside your tent… Lots of drinkable water in the summer, lots of snow to melt in the winter.
There is no specific site for the weather in Giona, but given that Greece is a small country, a general weather forecast will be ok most of the time.
is very close, so conditions are similar most of the time.
National Observatory of Athens 72-hours Forecasts
General forecast. Check the forecast for Lamia, the nearest city.
Editions Map 2.3: "Giona, Oeta, Vardoussia
", Topo 50 series in 1:50.000 scale.
The map from the magazine Korfes in issues 63 & 140 can be obtained through E.O.S.Acharnon club
Maps of the Military Geographic Service might be difficult for foreigners to obtain.
- Pezoporikos Omilos Athinon
(Athens Hiking Club). The club that owns and maintains the refuge. The site is in Greek, so if you don't speak Greek you can contact them by mail
One of the best sites about Greek mountains. Greek / English / German texts
- Climbing routes on Greek mountains
Very good site about rock/ice/snow routes in Greece. Only in Greek, I'm afraid. I will ask the guys if they can get in the trouble of translating the texts. Untill then you can have a look at the topos and ask me to translate anything you find interesting.