Pieria is a beautiful area located in central Macedonia in Northern Greece. I have passed through the area a few times in the past as I was visiting the city of Thessaloniki but never actually explored it. Last weekend the chamber of Pieria organized a trip for bloggers and journalists in order to show the world the beauties of the region. I was very happy to attend with my fellow bloggers from Travel Bloggers Greece.
Things to do and see in the region of Pieria
Visit the archaeological park of Dion and the archaeological museum
The archaeological park of Dion is located at the foot of mountain Olympus, the home of Olympian Gods. The excavations at the archaeological park brought to light an ancient city with fortified walls. Today the visitor can see the remains of public buildings, houses and shops.
One of the most important findings is the Dionysus Villa which contained a large Dionysus Mosaic that can be seen at the museum. Outside the walls, the excavation unearthed the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, the sanctuary of Isis and the sanctuary of Demeter among others. Other important findings include a Roman Theater.
Near the archaeological park is the archaeological museum of Dion that houses important findings from the excavations like the statue of Isis, the large Dionysus Mosaic and an ancient hydraulic organ.
Apart from the archaeological Park of Dion other important sites in Pieria include the Neolithic settlement of Makrigialos, Ancient Pydna and the castle of Platamonas.
Explore the many wineries of the area
I am a fan of wine and especially Greek wine that I find exceptional. I must confess that I haven’t heard of the wines of Pieria before but during my stay there not only did I visit the family-run winery of Kourtis but also had the chance to taste a lot of different local wines during the meals. So if you are in the area a visit to a winery and a wine tasting is a must.
Skiing in winter and swimming in the summer
The coastline of Pieria stretches for 70 km and includes a wide range of organized beaches, some with white sand and some with pebbles, perfect for every taste. There are a lot of beach resorts, hotels and rooms to rent along with tavernas, restaurants and cafes to cater your needs. A lot of beaches in Pieria have been also awarded a blue flag.
Moreover, the area is perfect for family holidays. Some of the most popular beaches are the beach of Katerini, the Olympic beach, Litochori beach, Leptokaria beach, Panteleimonas beach, Platamonas beach and Korinos beach to name a few. During the winter months, the ski centre of Elatohori operates in the area.
Hiking the Olympus mountain and the Pierian mountains
Mountain Olympos is the highest mountain in Greece. What makes it very unique is its close proximity to the sea. There are many routes around the mountain perfect for hiking and many hospitable refuges to spend the night. The terrain varies from thick forests, deep gorges and rocky peaks.
The visitor can see a wide range of flora and fauna along with beautiful landscapes, streams and waterfalls. Another beautiful location in the region great for hikers and nature lovers are the Pierian mountains. Covered with forests, the visitor can hike the numerous paths and visit the traditional villages.
Explore the traditional villages of Pieria
During my stay in Pieria I had the chance to visit some beautiful villages in the area and I highly advice you to do the same. One of my favorites was the village of Litochoro with its traditional Macedonian architecture located at the foothills of mount Olympus. There I visited the maritime museum of Litochoro and learned about the areas rich maritime tradition.
A lot of hiking trails start from there. Palios Panteleimonas is another charming village worth visiting. It was actually an abandoned village that was recently restored. It enjoys incredible views over the Thermaikos Gulf and the castle of Platamonas.
It has wooden-beamed houses, small little alleyways that you want to get lost into, little shops selling local products and a beautiful square with a wonderful church and many restaurants and cafes. Other traditional villages in the region are Elatochori, Palaioi Poroi and Palaia Skotina among others.
Visit the local monasteries
Visitors that are interested in religious monuments and pilgrimage places, will find some remarkable ones in the area. I recommend visiting the new monastery of Agios Dionysios located in Skala. This new monastery was moved to its current location after the Germans destroyed the old one in 1943. On-site there is an Ecclesiastical Byzantine Museum where one can admire the artefacts that survived the destruction.
During the summer months, the monastery has services in Russian as well. The church of Koimiseos Theotokou in the central square of Palaia Skotina village is worth visiting. The church has an impressive wooden roof that dates back from 1862 and was built at the site of an older church.
After spending 3 days in Pieria I came to the conclusion that is a blessed area. It has mile long sandy beaches, beautiful mountains and nature perfect for hiking and skiing in the winter, many archaeological sites and museums worth seeing, incredible food and nice local wines and lastly very hospitable people. The Olympian gods didn’t choose to stay here by chance right?
Have you ever been to Pieria?