Divine mountains

Central Macedonia - Divine mountains
Divine mountains

The awe felt with the view from the highest summit in Greece explains why ancient Greeks considered Mt. Olympus the Throne of Zeus and Hera, Hermes and Aphrodite, Artemis and the other gods.

Thousands of years later, with those deities lost in the distant past, climbing Mt. Olympus or other mountains in Central Macedonia is still a unique experience. Try paragliding, skiing down the snow-covered slopes, trek along the footpaths, drink an aromatic herbal tea from local plants at the beautiful villages, enjoy the Mediterranean way of life – people here commune with nature, and enjoy the mountains and the sea whatever the season of the year.

From the Seashore to the Mountain of the Gods
  • From the Seashore to the Mountain of the Gods
    From the Seashore to the Mountain of the Gods

Follow the European Long Distance Path Ε4, and gauge you strength; Choose one of the nine shelters on Mt. Olympus to set off from, and attempt to conquer Mytikas Summit, at an altitude of 2,917m. The dense forests, deep ravines, alpine meadows and thrilling view of the sea, the snow-covered steep tops make Mt. Olympus one of the most beautiful in the world.

This is what enchanted the Greeks and made them place the seat of the Dodecatheon, their 12 main deities, on Mt. Olympus and found Dion, a city dedicated to Zeus (or Dias), king of their gods, at the foot of the Mountain. Today, Dion is one of the best preserved archaeological sites.

If you climb during winter, you will need an experienced guide and sound equipment. In the springtime, the waters of the Enipeus River and the colours of nature seem miraculous – one can spot truly rare wild flowers endemic to Mt. Olympus, such as Haller’s Anemone [Anemone halleri] with its wonderful violet petals and yellow centred flowers. In March you can participate or watch the International Ski Mountaineering Competition and in June the Mountain Marathon Race.

In the summer and autumn Mt. Olympus teems with life; Climbs are easier and all shelters in operation. But beware – the divine mountain is never as easy as a dip in the shores of Pieria.

Walk, cycle or …fly!
  • Central Macedonia - Walk, cycle or …fly!
    Central Macedonia - Walk, cycle or …fly!

‘Take off’ from Palaios Panteleimon village, on the east slopes of Mt. Olympus, paragliding and enjoying the breathtaking view, before landing on the local beach for ouzo and tasty mezedes (titbits). The Pieria Mountain Range is ideal for 4x4 courses and mountain cycling routes, which lead to Sarakatsana and Flambouro. It is worth crossing the Aliacmon River Valley at the foot of Mt. Vermion.
Further north, you can organise a Hang Gliding morning, setting out from the village of Panagitsa, at the foot of Mt. Voras and tour around the impressive waterfalls of Edessa. Near Mt. Paikon you can find the ‘Sapphire Lake’ of Skra, while at the Kroussia Mountain Range you can visit the Balkan Botanical Gardens of the same name presenting the most important aromatic herbs and medicinal plants of the area.
The Roupel Fort is located between Mt. Beles and Angistron; visitors can explore the subterranean complex of military works where the Greeks heroically resisted Nazi attacks during WWII.
If you want to enjoy a ride on horseback and a good meal, visit the small village of Ano Poroia and Lake Kerkini. Further to the East you can find Alistrati Cave with its white and purple stalactites.

Let’s go skiing
  • Central Macedonia - Let’s go skiing
    Central Macedonia - Let’s go skiing

If you are a ski lover, Central Macedonia has numerous pistes for you, whatever the level of difficulty you prefer may be. If you are an experienced skier, you can enjoy the 2-kilometre Philippou run, one of the top Greek ‘black’ ski pistes, at 3-5 Pigadia, Naoussa. For less-experienced skiers, there are always easy routes through wonderful landscapes. Come at Christmas to Mt. Voras Skiing Centre (at 2,024 m), near Edessa, to watch the skiers come down the mountain at night with lit torches. Hire a snow-mobile and visit the top of the mountain, at the border point between three countries, where there is the small chapel of St. Elijah. At Seli, near Veroia, you will find endurance Langlauf runs and in Elatochori a beautiful snowboard piste. You can also find a wonderful fir forest and skiing centre at Mt. Lailias near Serres.