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One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things

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Exploring mountainous Pieria,Greece.

Mount Olympus-1000m

Old Panteleimonas Village

Old Panteleimonas Village

Pieria may be well known as one of North Greece’s top summer destinations as it has one of the country’s longest (70 km) and most interesting coastlines, but the state’s diverse terrain means there are many other outdoor activities on offer. Climbers,nature and history lovers,religious tourism enthusiasts will all find options to challenge and excite.
Pieria captivates with its pretty traditional stone villages,impressive religious monuments,natural parks and authentic cuisine.
Pieria Mountain Range,a zone of hills,canyons,giant pine trees,beech and oak forests along the province’s northwestern border with Kozani’s and Imathia’s regions constitutes an appealing natural and cultural landscape while the state’s diverse ecosystems and environments,especially the coastal wetlands are home to a wide variety of species (plants,fish,mammals) and the lagoons become a way station for migratory birds.

The region boasts great walks and scenic drives.


Highlights include: 

Olympus National Park.
Welcome to Greece’s highest mountain,worldwide known as the residence of the twelve Ancient Greek Gods and the country’s first National Park-and high protected area- since 1938.Located between Pieria’s and Larissa’s regions,Mount Olympus is a site of biological and ecological interest: for all intents and purposes a national park.
This is a verdant area of deep,scenic gorges,thick forests,alpine meadows and totally 52 rocky peaks with the highest one Mytikas at 2918m.In its highest reaches,snow falls regularly from November to May.
A startling array of species inhabits the mountain’s ecosystem.1700 species of plants,32 species of mammals and 116 bird species have been recorded.Among its rich variety of flora and fauna are several rare or endangered species including the chamois,golden eagle and woodpecker.In 1981 Mount Olympus was declared “A Biosphere Reserve” by Unesco.It is also included in the list of “The most important bird areas of the European Community”.
Mount Olympus offers beautiful trekking landscapes,from easy day walks to full-on challenging hikes.Ask at the park’s management agency for details of walking trails and where to spot wildlife.
Nicknamed the gate of Mount Olympus,Litochoro town lies entirely on its foothills and is a quite good place for lunch or dinner at one of the many traditional taverns.

Mount Olympus-1000m

Mount Olympus-1000m

St Dionysios Old and New Monasteries.
St Dionysios Old Monastery was founded by Saint Dionysios of Mount Olympus in the 16th century.An architectural miracle itself,a marvelous confection of stone and wood,it flourished in the late 17th century.
It was all but devoured by the 1943 Nazi bombings.Then a new monastery was built.Nowadays,it is one of Pieria’s gems.The Byzantine museum adjoining the monastery is packed with elegant sacred art,old manuscript and holy relics.Inside the museum is guarded part of the true cross.

St Dionysios New Monastery

St Dionysios New Monastery

St Dionysios New Monastery

St Dionysios New Monastery


Old (Palios) Panteleimonas.
Located among the hillsides of Mount Olympus,with its traditional stone houses and forests thick with beeches and chestnut trees,Old Panteleimonas is like a page torn from a fairytale.All streets in the pedestrianised village seem to lead to the gorgeous cobbled main square.
Highlights here are the St Panteleimonas Church and the old,now renovated school.With its perennial plane trees it’s a wonderful spot for coffee and local delicacies-tasting on one of the pavement terraces.It’s worth taking a stroll through the narrow pathways which are sprinkled with fascinating souvenir and deli shops.These eye-catching little stores tempt with homegrown delights and fresh local produce such as Mount Olympus sideritisscardica tea,herbs,organic wines,homemade liqueurs,traditional pasta,high quality honey and the sweetest marmalades and compotes. 
Old Panteleimonas has many exhilarating opportunities for mountain biking,4X4 racing,trekking and paragliding.
The heights of the village (700m) are a revelation of cool air and magnificent vistas over the Thermaic Gulf and South Pieria’s coastline.

The views


The village

Signs leading to different places

Strolling through the village

Strolling through the village

Strolling through the village

St Panteleimonas Church

Traditional restaurants

Outdoor terrace

Coffee time

Portokalopita-Greek orange pie

Souvenir shop

Homemade liqueurs 

Mount Olympus tea

Vintage 


Aiginio.
Located 32km north of the the region’s capital (City of Katerini),Aiginio is one of Pieria’s most attractive and underrated small towns.Its delightful cobbled square facing the recently renovated,extraordinary,post-Byzantine St Athanasios Church,tumultuous past and proud locals are reason alone to visit.There are not many attractions in town but there don’t need to be.
Soak up this place for a day:Visit St Athanasios Church and admire its finest altarpiece,amazing murals and remarkable wooden roof.Meet up with locals and learn about the area’s modern history.The stories of these elderly men and women about the Nazi Era are strongly emotional.Taste traditional flavours such as local pastrami and don't miss the outstanding red wine.Here producers aren’t professionals but they do a really great job!
One of Aiginio’s bigger attractions is its annual grand bazaar which is held in September from 11 to 18.Dating back to 1926 this trade fair is one of the best of its kind in the entire country.

St Athanasios Church

St Athanasios Church

Local produce

Kolindros.
Set on the north-east edge of Pieria Mountain Range,Kolindros is a charming small town built right on a medieval castle.Boasting well-maintained buildings,
a picturesque central plaza and several important,historic churches Kolindros is a delightful place to roam.
These days its inhabitants are extremely proud of the local traditions:
They have created a small but wonderful museum.Housed in a 19th century mansion it displays an interesting collection of local costumes and other impressive pieces such as traditional toys and everyday objects.
It’s worth coming to taste a slice of traditional Pieria,wander the beautiful streets and sample local cuisine.Here you can find restaurants offering top quality,home-style dishes.Among classics are grilled mushrooms,sausages and all kinds of Greek pies.


St George Church

Museum of Kolindros

Museum of Kolindros 

Traditional restaurant

Cabbage and carrot salad, grilled mushrooms

Spanakopita-Greek spinach pie

City of Katerini.
Food lovers and those who appreciate high quality local products and traditional culinary practices shouldn't go past even the City of Katerini,the region’s capital.Even though it’s bigger and undoubtedly more developed than its neighbouring villages,it offers many restaurants serving up a great selection of fish,meat dishes and local favourites.In this pleasantly quirky place,modern meets traditional very often.There is a central square with several wonderful cafes and shops around and a pedestrian area leading to a beautiful park,the city’s delightful retreat.

The Park

Cabbage rolls

Chicken patties

Pan fried chicken in saffron rice

All pictures belong to my personal collection.I used iPhone 6s plus.

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