The history of Pieria dates back to the beginning of the history of mankind. Olympus is the first land that emerged from the waters. It is the residence of the twelve Olympian Gods. In the eastern foothills of Mount Olympus in Pieria, the mythology placed the nine Muses, patron of Fine Arts, daughters of Zeus. Olympus is the first National Park in Greece since 1938.
Nature lovers from all over the world visit Olympus to admire the beauty of its nature and enjoy browsing the slopes and conquer the peaks. The roads and trails that cross the mountains, give the opportunity to the hiker and the visitor who has no special mountaineering interests or knowledge, to know closely Olympus the varieties of flora and fauna and its natural beauty. The main route is the European E4 moving west from Litochoro to the peaks, through the canyon of Enipeas.
Pieria is the land of myths, the gods and of the Muses. It is the ark of spirit with a rich cultural past. It is the land of abundance, a blessed place with breathtaking nature and historical heritage. In Pieria senses come alive by the magic of the landscape and the integrity of nature. Mountains and sea, green and blue, myth and life found in wonderful harmony.
Palaios Panteleimonas is a restored and traditional village located at an altitude of 700m. It has a breathtaking view of Thermaikos Gulf and the coasts of southern Pieria. It has four centuries of life and was built by craftsmen from Epirus. The name of the village comes from the impressive church in the central square of the village.
After Palaios Panteleimonas we are going to Litochoro. Litochoro is the Gate of Olympus. The village combines the past with the present. The square with the big fountain, the church of St. Nicholas and the traditional buildings, are worthy to see. Enjoy the view of Olympus from the local taverns and coffee shops.
From Litochoro you can visit on foot or by car the magnificent fir forest of Agios Ioannis and hiking from the Mills the Enipea gorge, one of the most beautiful natural sites in Greece. The gorge has a length of 10 kilometers, starts from the position Prionia at an altitude of 1,100 meters, where are the sources of the river, passes north of Litochoro and ends at the sea.
The waters of Enipea River are descending from Olympus, forming small lakes which suddenly are disappearing in underground sinkholes. After a lot of walking you will find the old historic monastery of Agios Dionisios.
Alternative you may hike as much as you want to Olympus and afterwards you can enjoy the beach of Plaka near to Litochoro.
Near to Litochoro is Dion. The village owes its name to the important sanctuary dedicated to Zeus (Dias, “of Zeus”), leader of the gods who dwelt on Mount Olympus; as recorded by Hesiod’s Catalogue of Women, Thyia, daughter of Deucalion, bore Zeus two sons, Magnes and Makednos, eponym of Macedonians, who dwelt in Pieria at the foot of Mount Olympus.
The ruins of the ancient city lie within the modern city’s boundaries. Dion was the “sacred place” of the Ancient Macedonians. From very ancient times, a large altar had been set up for the worship of Olympian Zeus and his daughters, the Muses, in a unique environment characterized by rich vegetation, towering trees, countless springs and a navigable river.
In the 5th century BC, when the Macedonian state acquired great power and emerged onto the stage of history, brilliant athletic and theatrical contests, the “Olympian Games of Dion”, were organized there. Their organization was overseen by the Macedonian kings themselves, who used the sanctuary of Zeus as a religious center for all Macedonians.
A city was built adjacent to the sacred sites that acquired monumental form during the reigns of Alexander the Great’s successors, and which experienced its second heyday during the reigns of 2nd- and 3rd-century AD Roman emperors who were fond of Alexander the Great. Dion’s final important period was in the 4th and 5th centuries AD. It became extinct following major earthquake destructions.
The museum of Dion was established in 1983 to display excavations unearthed in the area from a fortified city that once stood in its place from the 6th century BC to the 5th century AD. The artifacts of the museum were also discovered in Olympus and the wider Pieria regional unit. Excavation of the archaeological site began in 1973 and is still far from complete.
The museum contains many items from when the Romans lived in the area, including statues, architectural members, votive and grave monuments, coins, and many other objects found in the necropolis and the sanctuaries and baths of the ancient city on site. The water organ, the Statue of Dionysos, Isis and Aphrodite Hypolympia and the Asklepios Daughters are displays of particular note.
After the visit to Dion Archaeological Site and Museum, we will take the way back to Athens.
Alternative Tour Options:
There are so many other things to see in this area. Keep in mind that your driver is at your disposal, so if you would like to adjust the proposed itinerary at all, just let him know!