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Mountaineering in Taygetos

Meet the challenge to climb the forested slopes of Mt. Taýgetos!

There are many trails and climbing routes leading to the mountain peaks, but also trekking routes along old pack animal trails starting at the lowland villages and reaching other villages high in the mountains. Trekkers can follow the European trail E4, or combine an ascent up the eastern slopes of Taýgetos with a descent through the large ravines on the western slopes (“Vyrós”, “Ridomo”, “Rema Vidoli” and “Koskárakas” ravine). It takes two or three days to reach the peak.

Most mountaineers usually choose to ascend on the eastern slopes.
To get there, first you go to Spárti and then take the road that leads to Gýtheion. About 7 kilometers from Spárti, you pass a village called Léfki and soon after you turn right off the main road in the direction of the villages Anógeia and then Paliopanagiá, where you find the road to an outlying settlement called Tóriza. At the very end of the paved road is a spring called Magganiári, at an altitude of 980 meters - 3,215 feet. The main mountain path starts here. A three-hour walk will take you to the mountain refuge building, in a location called Varvára (1,550 meters - 5,100 feet), where you can spend the night. The path is well marked, passing through a mountain forest whose shade makes it perfect for summer hikes. Along the way, the path meets twice with the forest road that links the spring Magganiari with Pentavli.

The path continues through the forest without getting too steep, and eventually leads to the Tripodas spring, a name that also applies to the entire mountainside. From here on, the path becomes steeper and eventually intersects the Katafýgio-Lakkómata segment of the European E4 path. Then the path takes us past the Varvára spring, last source before the refuge building. In summer, this spring is usually dry. At some point, the path joins a dirt road leading to the refuge.
The climb from Magganiári spring to the refuge spans an altitude difference of 570 meters – about 1,900 feet – and takes one and a half hours. The climb from the refuge to the Profitis Ilias peak (2,407 meters - about 7,900 feet) takes about two and a half hours on a marked path.

There are several trails leading to the peak of Taýgetos, starting from other villages on both the Laconia and the Messinia sides of the mountain. Including European trail E4, there are three trails starting from the village Anavryti, taking the hikers to the heart of Taýgetos magic. Starting from Anavryti, mountaineers can trek within the gorge of Anavryti (1 to 1 ½ hour), or take the trail to the Byzantine citadel Mystrás, or even scramble to the mountain refuge building in Varvára.

Accommodation
The refuge building at Varvára was built in 1962. Today, it is equipped with heating, bunk beds, blankets and a kitchen, accommodating up to 26 persons. In order to lodge there, you need to make prior arrangement with the Mountaineering Club of Spárti (tel. 003027310-22574).

You can leave your car at a large parking lot created by the Sparta Forest Service near Magganiári spring.

Useful links
Info on weather: www.hnms.gr
Google Maps location: http://goo.gl/maps/TW9v
General info on mountaineering on Taygetos: www.eoskal.gr

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