Parnon is central to a version of the myth about the upbringing of Dionysus. Ino, a Boeotian queen in exile, is said to have found the new-born god in an urn, next to his dead mother Semele, and raised him in the cave known today as "Dionysus' Cave". As it happens with other places chosen by myth as a god's cradle, Parnon is a haven of lush vegetation, deep ravines, cool plateaus and forested slopes, fully justifying the ancient narratives even thousands of years after they were originally created.
Parnon is part of the "Natura 2000" protection network. It is also listed as an Eco Park and subject to a special protection regime, while both the locals and the visitors constantly supporting any effort to respect its rare flora and fauna. To the north, the range starts in Arcadia, in central Peloponnese; from there, it crosses the entire region of Lacedaemon alongside Taygetus to a total length of 70 kilometres, before reaching the impressively wild and almost barren rocks of Cape Maleas. The highest peak of the range is "Megali Tourla", on Mount Parnon. Parnon hosts a wide variety of beautiful plateaus and mountainous fields, thanks to its smooth and accessible slopes and ridges, which make it very different from nearby Taygetus, though equally beautiful and worth-visiting.
Since the early antiquity, Parnon has been known for its dense forests of Greek firs, black pines, chestnut trees, foetid junipers, oaks, kermes, plane trees, and carob trees. If your path takes you as far as Malevi Monastery, you might as well go a little further and find an entire forest of Juniperus Drupacea, a rare listed natural monument the only one of its kind in the entire continent.
More than 600 species and sub-species have been recorded and classified in the range, including 113 recognised rare and protected plants, with the endemic alpine species being unique in Europe. There is also a significant number of wild mammals, such as foxes, badgers and rabbits, as well as the last remaining jackals of the Peloponnese, currently on the verge of permanent extinction. This canine species once a menace for rural populations all over the country have found an ideal habitat in the shrubs of the eastern slopes of the mountain. Many rare bird species nest in the snowy peaks and leafy forests, such as the golden eagle, the sparrow hawk, the tawny owl, the common blackbird, and the green woodpecker. The European E4 walking route runs along the region of Arcadia before crossing the western part of Parnon through Agios Petros, Karyes, Vresthena, and Theologos. The path then reaches Sparta and heads towards Taygetus. The village of Karyes also offers excellent cycling routes for mountain-biking enthusiasts. Finally, Parnon is listed among the ideal spots in Europe for sky observation.