Refuge 'A' or "Spilios Agapitos" is set into a small rocky outcrop, called "the Balcony", at an altitude of 2.060m. The refuge belongs to, and is governed by, the Greek Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (E.O.O.A.). Founded in 1930, it was the first Greek refuge (Refuge A). It was named "Spilios Agapitos" in honour of the first president of EOS (today E.O.O.A.), architect and engineer Spilios Agapitos who designed the first building of the shelter. The construction was completed in 1931 and could accommodate 25 people. Gradually the sanctuary was expanded and improved. Now has 110 sleeping positions divided into three wards: central, exterior and the new wing "Kostas Zolotas." For more history on the shelter read the history page; here.
Today, the refuge is the central location to many a visitors, who wishes to meet the challenge of climbing the mountain of the gods. In the height of summer it is a bustling respite for trekkers the world over. Coming as far a field as America and Japan, in order to enjoy the natural beauty that Mount Olympus has to offer. Refuge A also plays host to one of the way stations on the gruelling Olympus Marathon that is an great annual event and spectacle.
The refuge is managed by Maria Zolota and her husband Dionysios. They have been managers for over 13 years, and took the position after Maria's father retired from the work. Spilios Agapitos is manned by, on average, eight workers during the trekking season, and can cater to your every need. It has a fully equipped kitchen that can serve breakfast, lunch and evening dinner (with a tasty set menu), for a great deal of the day. The hostel is opened to any visitor who passes by, but residents are asked to consider some simple rules. These are explained as you check in, and are shown to your sleeping bunks.
The hostel itself comprises of the main reception area and staff quarters, connected to this are two large dinning/recreation areas, where people can rest and enjoy their food, and chat among the other trekkers. In the main building there are situated several dormitories, and a bathroom facility. At the rear of the main building is situated the second dormitory area and new wing. The new wing houses a bathroom area too, and there is a third in-between the main building and the second area. At altitude the nights, and even sometimes the days, get a little chilly, so the refuge has two fires burning on such occasions. For those who wish to wash themselves there are showers, though the showers are not heated and must be used at your own discretion. For more information check the facilities page; here.
The refuge is powered by a generator and newly installed solar panels, and therefore to conserve the resources used to power the hostel, lights in the building are switched off at 10pm and are opened again at 6am. It is advisable to carry a small travel torch with you at all times. Also, for your own comfort, it would be wise to bring a pair of soft soled indoor shoes. It is not permitted to wear boots in the facility, and you will be requested to leave your walking shoes at reception on arrival, and wear slippers provided (if you are unable to provide your own). It isn't guaranteed a size will be available for you, so is strongly advised you bring such a pair with you.
The refuge has two large communal areas for eating and resting, and on warmer days the refuge also has a magnificent patio area built on the balcony. This provides a most perfect vantage point for some of the most beautiful sunrises seen in Greece (check some of them out in the gallery section; here!). This spectacle happens early in the morning, and depending on the month, can be as early as 5am in the morning. Also, it should be noted that the weather is very changeable, due to the nature of the mountain and it's location. The temperature can drop very quickly between sun and shaded areas, so be cautious on such provisions when packing clothing.
The Spilios Agapitos refuge serves as a hostel to travellers on the E4 path. The facilities are there to provide the necessary rest and relaxation provisions needed for any weary traveller. It is governed by the regulations of E.O.O.A (Greek Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) and also would like patrons to abide by laws and regulations of the National Park in which it resides. For this reason, the refuge expects all who frequent to be polite and respectful to others and the mountain itself.