Mountain Ranges in Greece: Names & Facts

Instructor: Laura Foist

Laura has a Masters of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition and has taught college Science.

Many of the mountains in Greece play a part in Grecian mythology. In this lesson, we will learn about the main mountain ranges in Greece and some of the physical and mythological facts about those ranges.

Home of the Gods

Mount Olympus, home of the Gods! For the ancient Grecians, this was the tallest mountain and thus the perfect spot for the home of the Gods. At 9,573 feet, it is the second-highest point in the Balkans, although it's only the twelfth-highest point in Europe. Olympus is part of the Olympus Mountain Range, and is on the border of Thessaly and Macedonia.

Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece
Olympus

There are over a dozen mountain ranges in Greece, many of them making up the dozens of islands along the coast of Greece. The two main mountain ranges are the Pindus Mountain Range and the Rhodope Mountain Range, because they cover the most area.

Rhodope Mountain Range

The Rhodope Mountains go through northeastern Greece, along the border of Greece and Bulgaria. Most of this range is in Bulgaria, and the portion that is in Greece includes lower-elevation mountains, the highest point being Delimposka Peak, at roughly 6,407 feet.

This range also holds a place in Greek mythology. According to the legend, the King and Queen of Thrace, Haemus and Rhodope, were changed into mountains after they offended Zeus by comparing themselves to Zeus and Hera. Queen Rhodope was changed into the Rhodope Mountains, and Haemus into the Balkan Mountains.

There are not many people living in the Rhodope Mountains in Greece, so it has become a great nature reserve where many rare plants and animals thrive. The cities that used to be there evacuated after World War II, and the Greek Civil War happened shortly thereafter; most residents didn't return after the wars.

Pindus Mountain Range

The Pindus Mountains run down the center of Greece, from northwest to southeast, and are known as the 'backbone of Greece'. They continue down to form several of the southern Greek islands, with the highest point being Mount Smolikas at 8,652 ft. The Pindus Mountains meet up with the Olympus Mountains along the northern border of Greece, separating Epirus from Thessalonia.

One of the deepest canyons in the world, the Vikos Gorge, can be found in the Pindus Range
vikos gorge

One of the largest gorges in Europe, the Vikos Gorge, can be found in the Pindus Mountain Range. This gorge has been recorded by some geologists as the deepest canyon in the world when looked at in proportion to its width. In fact, the Guinness World Records states the Vikos Gorge as the deepest gorge in the world.

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