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Villages on Mt Olympus

The mountain of the Ancient Greek Gods, hides numerous small and pristine villages, snuggled in its lush green hills where trails cross and hikers meet.
Let us introduce you to the most significant villages on the eastern side of Mt. Olympus.

 


Dion


Dion is Macedonia’s ancient holy city, which is located on the foot of Mt Olympus at a 5km distance from the shores of Pieria. It was the most significant worship spot in antiquity where sacrifices to the Olympian Gods used to take place. This is where King Philip won battles and Alexander the Great offered sacrifices before his expedition to the Persian territory. The area is renowned and much visited for its archaeological site. A large fortified ancient city, temples, theatres, a stadium and cemeteries were unearthed and they serve as evidence that the area was inhabited for more than 1,000 years (5th c. BC up to 5th c. AD). The Dion thermae were built around 200 AD and are most impressive.

 


Don’t miss out on the unique exhibition which you can visit in the basement of the Archaeological Museum.
Take some time to enjoy the natural surroundings; the ancient river Elikon runs through Ourlia gorge creating a fairytale landscape with waterfalls and ponds.


Litochoro


Litochoro is an ideal travel destination year-round. Although it is built on one of the highest peaks of Mt. Olympus (Mytikas elev. 2,918 m.) it is just a few kilometres away from the shores of Pieria. This significant picturesque town is an awesome starting point for hiking excursions on the “Mountain of the gods”.
Explore the old traditional village with its narrow streets and houses built according to the macedonian architecture. Pass by the lush green Katounia Park where you should make a stop by the Maritime Museum.
From Myloi, at the outskirts, follow the trail that crosses Enipeas ravine. Along the way you will be flanked by rocky masses, as if the mountain was split in two.

 


The Olympus National Park has wonderful hiking routes you can follow within natural settings of great beauty. This is Greece’s first National Park (declared so in 1938). It covers a 45,000 km2 area, and it is home to alpine vegetation, black pine, oak, rompolο (a type of white pine), beech and 1,700 plant species (23 of which are endemic). In 1981 Mt. Olympus was designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. You’ll come across various lodges on the mountain: “D. Bountolas” (930m alt.), “Sp. Agapitos” (2,100m alt.), “Chr. Kakalos” (2,650m alt.) and “G. Apostolidis” (2,100m alt.).
There are numerous mountain trails you can explore, the most popular one being the Litochoro - Prionia hiking route that travels through the Enipeas gorge (E4 path). If you want to extend your excursion, before reaching Prionia you can follow the trail to Mouson Plateau (2,600m alt.) from Gortsia location and head to higher peaks from there on.


Ano Skotina [Upper Skotina]


This traditional Macedonian mountainous village is now a deserted place as villagers have relocated to Skotina, a seaside village. However, Ano Skotina is surrounded by a pristine lush green fir and beech tree area that is worth your visit. Examine the few stone built houses dating back to the 17th and 18th c., Agios Athanasios Church (14th c.) with its remarkable wood-carved iconostasis, and Koimisis of Theotokos Church [Dormition of the Mother of God] dating to 1862, located in the village square. This is a great place to start your hiking excursions, mountain biking or off-road leisure drives.


Palaios Panteleimonas


Visit this town for its impressive local architectural style; the place has a history that dates back to the 14th c. You will find folk art shops, traditional guest houses, picturesque cafes and tavernas. Park your car and enter the town on foot, walk the narrow alleys down to the central square where the church of Agios Panteleimonas stands, surrounded by century-old plane trees. This is the perfect spot for you to enjoy the breathtaking view of the snow capped peaks of Mt. Olympus.

 


Don’t miss out on a visit to Profiti Ilia Church located higher up the mountain past the village. This is the spot where paragliders meet. So, ride your glider and enjoy the flight all the way down to the shores of Neos Panteleimonas. Other activities you can enjoy in the area are hiking, mountaineering and mountain biking.


Palaioi Poroi


From Platamonas take the road towards Palaioi Poroi (pronounced Palei Pori). On your way to this stone built 17th - 18th c. village, you will travel through a landscape of lush green trees. Breathe in the fresh mountainous air, listen to the babbling streams and follow the narrow alleys on your way to the village square with its big plane tree and byzantine church of Agios Georgios. This is also a place from where you can go hiking and explore the chapels of Agion Apostolon and Zoodochou Pigis as well as the paths between Palaoi Poroi and Palaios Panteleimonas.

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