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On the slopes of Mount Olympus between waterfalls, Dion e Palaios Panteleimonas

The weekend between the Orlias waterfalls, the archaeological park of Dion, and the fabulous village of Palaios Panteleimonas.

This time we went 2 days with our friends outside Thessaloniki with our Fiat Panda, whose name we discovered means "always" in Greek.

First step

Orlias Stream: 3 waterfalls with very green waters

We start our tour with some nature to completely disconnect the brain from work and the city. Orlias Canyon is a beautiful 2km long wooded gorge with about twenty-five cascades or cascades and natural pools with crystal clear waters.

The Orlias River (in Greek means "to make a lot of noise") flows through the imposing canyon and in ancient times it was a precious resource for the village of Dion; the ancients had in fact built an aqueduct and channeled its waters to irrigate and supply water to the population. The trail starts from the road and branches off in two directions:

  • a path starts at the side of the road curve and allows you to admire two of the most beautiful waterfalls within a 10-minute walk (one can be found by turning right halfway through the path and the second at the end of the path). In the summer you can also swim!

  • for the other path, you have to go up the wooden stairs and continue for about half an hour to the first waterfall. This is less scenic than the first two but the route is very beautiful (uphill but easy); among the beauties, we have seen the dense grove of plants in symbiosis with tall moss bushes intrigued us. Unfortunately, as there was still snow on Mount Olympus, it was impossible to continue, but we want to go back in the summer to continue the path and get to the other waterfalls.

Second step

Park and Archaeological Museum of Dion

Downstream of the falls there is the ancient city of Dion, famous in ancient times for being the sacred city of the Macedonians. Here Zeus was venerated and the Olympic Games were held in the name of him and the Muses. It extended for almost 50 hectares and was less than 2 km from the sea, while now it is about 5. The city declined towards the 10th century due to invasions and floods; its rediscovery is due to an English explorer in 1823 who recognized the ancient Hellenistic temple under the vegetation. Today the archaeological park is unfortunately a little-known and advertised jewel. The cost of the ticket is about 8 euros, but it includes both the park and the museum, and given the many difficulties in maintaining the park, we were happy to help them in our small way. Inside the park, you can walk along the Roman roads, enter the villas, admire the amphitheater and mosaics of the Roman baths, discover the sanctuaries and the annual ceremonies that were carried out. Among these, the temple of Isis is the most magical: being an Egyptian goddess linked to the cult of water, the temple is crossed by a canal that must remember the Nile. The park is very large and we have been for about 1 hour and a half.

In the archaeological museum, however, it is possible to see the numerous artifacts they found during the excavations such as statues, sarcophagi, jewels, tools, coins, and mosaics. In particular, the mosaic of Dionysus, of about 100 m², is kept in a building next to the museum and can be seen from above in its majestic grandeur.

Third step

Palaios Panteleimonas

Palaios Panteleimonas is one of the most beautiful Greek mountain villages. It offers a beautiful view of the gulf and is truly typical with its narrow cobbled streets, flowers, and colorful houses with wooden balconies. In the main square, there are excellent taverns, we chose the Olympus Taverna and the corner table to enjoy the wonderful view. Then, as per the Greek ritual, we had coffee at the Old Cafè and tried the fruit in the spoon preserved in sugar (gliko in Greek or spoon sweets in English), which they usually make at home and offer to guests together with the coffee. Walking through the alleys we finally discovered the "natural pharmacy", where a young girl produces essential oils, tea, and other products using only herbs that come from Mount Olympus. We recommend the tea of Mount Olympus, the essential oil of oregano to digest and stomach problems, and the night flower whose scent is used to relax and sleep.

Last step

Platamon castle and the beach

To sleep we found a nice apartment in the area by the sea in Platamon and in the evening we go for a nice walk along the seafront, looking at the illuminated castle and stopping for a cocktail in the bars by the sea. The day after, to finish our tour, we went to the Castle of Platamon (ticket 3 €). Inside, there are only a few remains of the churches, but it is worthwhile the walk among the flowers to the entrance and the view of the gulf from the castle walls.

Itinerary in map:

Click here to see the map or use it during the trip



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