Welcome to Pieria, the homeland of the 12 ancient Greek Gods and Muses of mythology to offer a unique holiday experience with a plethora of archaeological sites and monuments, a long coastline with sandy beaches, the world known Mount Olympus, rare flora and fauna among, valleys, rivers, waterfalls as well as castles, churches and monasteries, the area offers a serene and delightful stay.
Visit the holy city of Ancient Dion to find out where Alexander the Great used to make his sacrifices, of the Byzantine Castle of Platamon as a snapshot of the million year history of Pieria. The Mount Olympus dominating the whole area is ideal for ski, nature and mountain lovers, to offer breathtaking experiences, while the Olympic Riviera situated right on the holy mountain's foot, is ideal for all shorts of vacation suitable for all age groups. Zeus Xenios, the god of hospitality is apparent in every corner of this mythical area with numerous luxury hotels with conference facilities, spa resorts and traditional hotels, offering a wide range of sports facilities along with ecotouristic excursions around the area.
Pieria is an ideal destination for all year round tourism, with a highly visited ski centre, scenic spots for mountain climbing, horse riding and outdoor activities along with wonderful beaches ideal for water sports. Ecotourism is at its best at this legendary mountain, established by UNESCO as a global biosphere monument, to host hundreds of rare species within its biodiversity. Pieria is also a destination for religious tourists to follow the steps of Apostle Pavlos or visit some of the countless Byzantine churches and monasteries. The wine roads of the area add to the countless options of Pieria to make the most unforgettable holidays.
Pieria and the capital city Katerini is easily connected with both Athens and Thessaloniki, by road, train or air. Within an hour's drive, one can reach the "Macedonia" International Airport of Thessaloniki that links the area with Athens and some European cities, offering low fare as well as regular flights daily, especially during the summer period. Intercity and local trains on the main railway line from Athens to Thessaloniki serve Katerini, while a comprehensive regional and national bus service provide access to several major towns. Finally the main motorway of Greece to connect Athens with northern Greece runs through Katerini to offer limitless options for exploration of the surrounding area, when renting a car.
When visiting Pieria, one cannon miss a walk around Mount Olympus, the national park of Greece, also verified by UNESCO and above all the birthplace of Greek mythology since being the 12 Gods residence. Being the highest peak of the country often surrounded with clouds, Olympus provides a legendary aegis over the coastline of the area. The flora and fauna are of exceptional interest as some species are inhabited only at this holy mountain. The microclimate of the area allows four successive zones of vegetation; first zone is abundant in evergreen trees, oak, chestnut and arbutus trees, second is a beech, fir and black pine forest, the third has coniferous trees while the fourth one extends to the crest and is covered in turf with many rare plants, including 23 species only found in Olympus. On the other hand, rare reptiles, birds and mammals find a hospitable home to this blessed piece of land where the scenery is constantly changing to also find rivers, caves and waterfalls such as falls of Enipeas as well as country chapels, monasteries and Byzantine churches, scattered throughout the area. Being easily accessed by the wonderful sandy beach, within a few minutes one can find himself in the heart of a forest accompanied only with the sounds of this holly mountain. Mount Olympus is a treasure for the whole world with repeating visitors year after year who do not seem to get enough of the mountain's unparalleled nature, going hand in hand with history and mythology.
The Olympic Riviera, a coastline of more than 70 km, offering a selection of cosmopolitan or virgin sandy beaches, is a top destination for the visitors of Pieria. The blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the golden sandy beaches along with the magnificent view of Mount Olympus crest is an experience to thrill and excite every visitor. The excellent tourist infrastructure provides a string of options and opportunities for a creative holiday. Leading hotels, luxury hotels, spa resorts, some of which with excellent conference facilities offering various sea or mountain related sports activities, satisfy fully every visitor to seek relaxing, family holidays or fun and entertainment for the youngsters.
SIGHTSEEING & MONUMENTS
Right on the foot of Mount Olympus, in a green area with swarming waters, just 5kms from the beach is the Holy City of Macedonia, Ancient Dion as an honor to the God of Olympus Zeus. This sacred place is where King Philip celebrated his great victories, while Alexander the Great sacrificed in the name of Zeus before embarking on his major campaign. Shrines of the gods, a Hellenic and a Roman theatre, a stadium, baths, a comprehensive water supply and drainage system as well as remains from a prosperous city, are all to be found and admired at Ancient Dion. Other than the archaeological site, the area hosts a museum to exhibit the findings of the area where an exhibition on the everyday life in ancient Dion is on display. During the summer period the Holy City becomes the cultural centre of the area to host the Olympus International Festival featuring prominent representatives of the Greek and international art scene, emphasising on the ancient Greek tragedy or comedy, to attract thousands of spectators that experience the revival of the Hellenic spirit.
The post-ancient glory of the area is reflected on the Byzantine castle of Platamon, one of the finest and best preserved castles in Greece. Strategically situated on the top of a seaside hill to control over the Valley of Tempi, the shortest "passage" between Macedonia and Thessaly, the castle was initially built by Byzantines. Its construction was supported by Frank occupants of the area, later to be conquered by Turks and Venetians to finally become part of the 1821 Greek revolution against Turks and Albanians till its abandonment an bombing during the World War II. Currently the castle which is standing proud for 10 centuries is open for public visits, housing a church from the Middle Byzantine period and one of the Early Christian period, along with walls finely constructed and the tower to dominate the area, offering magnificent views of Mount Olympus, Thermaikos gulf and Halkidiki.
Archaeological sites and monuments of significant importance are scattered around the area of Pieria. The Neolithic settlements of Markigialos, as one of the largest hamlets in Greece, the Ancient Town of Livithra with an acropolis, separating the bottom from upper Olympus is the hometown of legendary Orpheus, the Folk Museum and the mansion houses on Kisavos, Ancient Pina with its remains of a caste and the well preserved the byzantine bishopric of Kitros, as well as Byzantine and post-byzantine churches and monasteries are among the most notable monuments and archaeological sites of Pieria.
THINGS TO DO
Pieria combines one of the largest beaches of the country with its highest mountain in an excellent manner, to offer several activity options for sea, nature and mountain lovers. The ski centre of Elatohori with modern facilities and ski runs create the ideal background for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy a thrilling experience along the slopes of the mythical mountain. The vertical face of Mount Olympus is ideal for hiking, climbing, mountaineering, canoe kayak at Pinios River and mountain biking along the forest roods, while the most daring mountain lovers can practice paragliding and parapente. Fully equipped centres for horse riding are also available, while the sea lovers can choose from a wide selection of water sports at the beaches of Platamonas, Katerini, Korinos, Paralia and Olympiaki Akti. The wine roads of the area offer unique trips in outstanding tastes and flavours when visiting wine estates. Finally one can follow the steps of Apostle Pavlos in Methoni, or visit the ecological paradise at the aquatic bio-park of Alykes Kitrous, a unified ecosystem the delta of the river Aliakmonas, to house rare fauna of 170 species of birds.
The fertile grounds of Pieria, along with its diverse morphology are ideal for the cultivation of a range of products. Olives, oregano, basil, thyme, mint, nutmeg, cinnamon, carnation, tea, honey, kiwis, cherries, chestnut, watermelons, grapes, mussels, as well as fresh vegetables, seafood and local diary products are fresh ingredients to be used in order to assure a gastronomic triumph. Characteristic of the Pierian cuisine is the wide variety of pies and Bougatsas, small tapas and spoon sweets.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Pieria Railway Services: +30 23510 23709
Pieria Bus Services: +30 23510 23313
Katerini Police: +30 23510 46600
Katerini Tourist Police: +30 23510 46654
Katerini Hospital: +30 23510 21251
Elatohori Ski Center: +30 23510 82993-4