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Litochoro

Macedonian colour against Mt Olympus

It stretches up the mountainside of Olympus’ highest peak (Mytikas, 2,918 m.), yet Litochoro is only a few kilometres away from the sea and that makes it the perfect tourist destination any time of the year! This picturesque town was built following the traditional architecture of Macedonia and the variations of lush vegetation surrounding it enhance the area’s aesthetic harmony. It is a well-structured tourist resort with quality hotel facilities and services and the favourite point of departure for mountaineering trips up the abode of the Olympian gods. The settlement dates back to the 14th century. Following descriptions by foreign and Greek travellers at that time, the majority of residents were mariners and there were also a good many textile workshops in town.

Must See:

Start your tour at the old traditional quarter of the town, along narrow lanes and past houses built in the typical macedonian style. You will see small squares called bairia in between old houses. Take a walk through the pine-covered Katounia park (at the town entrance) and visit the sports and cultural centre, as well as the Maritime and Folk Art Museum which showcases the area’s rich maritime tradition.

There are remarkable religious monuments and pilgrimage places worth visiting in the area. You will see the picturesque Agia Paraskevi’s country chapel nestled between the last houses, in the west edge of town. In Agioi Apostoloi grove you will quench your thirst with Mt Olympus’ ice cold waters at the fountain next to Agioi Apostoloi church. Further up the mountainside, at the highest point of that course you will reach Profitis Ilias country chapel; you will be rewarded with a lovely panoramic view. 

Make a point of visiting Agios Dionysios’ new monastery located in Skala. This is the location of the ancient Pimpleia town, according to ancient historians. The monastery was moved to its present-day location after the Germans destroyed the 16th century impressive old fortified monastery, in 1943. Within the grounds you can visit the Ecclesiastical Byzantine Museum where there are historic manuscripts on display as well as rare church vessels and vestments. There is also a small church under the huge plane tree, dedicated to Agios [Saint] Kosmas Aitolos who preached under the shade of this tree in the times of the Ottoman Occupation.



Litochoro has always been connected with outings to Mt Olympus, the mountain of ancient Greek myth. A scenic route begins at Myloi location, in the town borders, and goes through the ravine of Enipeas river. The Olympus National Park encompasses areas of breathtaking beauty. It was the first National Park of Greece to be named so in 1938 and it covers an area of 45 km2 of oak, black pine, beech, white pine, alpine vegetation, an overall 1,700 species of flora (23 of which are endemic). The recorded fauna includes 32 mammal species, 108 species of birds among which are rare vultures, many reptiles, insects and butterflies. Mt Olympus was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1981.

In local restaurants, tavernas and ouzo bars you will taste the macedonian cuisine which is mostly about meat, cheese products and pies. Enjoy yourselves in the local cafés and bars.

Activities:

- Trekking, mountain climbing and other sports on Mt Olympus. There are nine climbing routes and the most popular is the one leading from Litochoro to Prionia via Enipeas ravine (mountain path E4). Near Prionia, the river waters form small natural ponds. If you feel like going on with your climbing, a few kilometres before reaching Prionia (Gortsia location), another route starts towards Mousses Plateau (elevation: 2,600 m.) and from there you will take to Olympus’ highest peaks. Other mountain trails begin at Dion and Petra. Get some rest in the shelters D. Bountolas (930 m.) Sp. Agapitos (2,100 m.), Chr. Kakalos (2,650 m.), and G. Apostolidis (2,760 m.). You will find details on the routes and maps in the site of the Municipality of Dion-Olympus. 

- Other activities you can take part in is canyoning, off-roading or dirt bike riding, mountain biking as well as climbing the Olympus mountainsides or the artificial climbing walls of the Litochoro Sports Centre.

- Another option is to go swimming in the beaches at Variko, Gritsa and Plaka (Litochoro’s haven); you will find accommodation in nearby camping sites.

How to get there:

Litochoro lies approximately 415 km north of Athens and 92 km south of Thessaloniki. Take the Athens – Thessaloniki National Highway and turn at the exit towards Olympus – Litochoro.

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