From alluring Thessaloniki and enchanted forests to golden beaches and the glory of Mount Athos

Macedonia is a collection of diverse landscapes. As the surrounding nature changes from region to region, so do the people, culture and traditions. The city of Thessaloniki is surrounded by beautiful scenery. To the east lies Halkidiki, made up of heavenly beaches, unspoilt wilderness and the solitary world of Mount Athos. And elsewhere, the numerous destinations make up a mosaic of images, aromas and surprises: Serres, Drama, Kavala, Edessa, Kozani, Veria, Katerini and others. 

You’ll be inspired by the grand mansions and churches of Kastoria, discover a sense of serenity in the mountainous region of Vitsi, and feel time slowing right down at the Prespa lakes. In the evocative landscape of Grevena, nature rewards you with a feeling of wondrous tranquillity. Meanwhile, experience the remarkable culture of eastern Macedonia by embracing the customs and traditions of the locals. Here you’ll enjoy diverse activities all year round, from water sports to skiing, trekking and bird watching. Whether you come for an extended winter or summer holiday or a short weekend getaway with friends and family, Macedonia is one of those destinations you’ll never forget.

One coastline, a thousand and one beaches

Discover beaches where the mountains meet the sea. Trek to the peaks of Mount Olympus or bask in the sun and enjoy a swim in the Aegean at Platamonas, Leptokarya or Litochoro. Travel further north, where ‘Queen’ Halkidiki awaits you with 550km of golden coastline, crystal-clear waters and trees so close to the water they kiss the waves. Discover the green waters of Sithonia and escape to the beaches of Kavourotripes, Karidi, Sarti, and to the exotic island of Ammouliani. Discover your passion for windsurfing or just sit back and relax with a refreshing cocktail in one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece.

History and civilisation in the land of Alexander the Great

Discover the long and noble history of Thessaloniki. From the White Tower to the Yedi Kule and the Upper Town, you’ll be introduced to the lifeblood of a city through its sights and museums. And don’t forget the yearly International Film Festival. The whole history of northern Greece lies at your feet: Visit important archaeological sites throughout Macedonia, chief among them the Royal Tombs of Vergina, Halkidiki’s Ancient Stageira (the birthplace of Aristotle), the archaeological site of Dion in Pieria, Pella (the ancient capital of Macedonia) and ancient Aiani in Kozani, a treasure from the Bronze Age. 

Explore more than 15 arched stone bridges in Grevena, most notable among them Portitsa and Aziz Aga. In Kastoria, there are the magnificent stone-built houses of the villages of Pentalogos and Siatista, works of the famed Zoupaniotes builders. And, last but not least, there are the beautifully restored mansions of Nymfaio, with its nearby bear sanctuary.

Notable religious landmarks and world-renowned Mt Athos

Standing gracefully in the centre of Thessaloniki is the church of Agia Sofia, while throughout the city you’ll find important Byzantine and Muslim landmarks. And, of course, on the Halkidiki peninsula can be found the one and only Mt Athos, a beacon for Eastern Orthodoxy. Renowned for the architecture of its monasteries, and within a setting of natural beauty, you can experience the abstinence and purity of a monk’s life – if you’re a man, that is – and explore the monasteries’ cultural treasures, among them libraries and museums.

In Ouranopolis, the last stop before the monasteries, you’ll find the impressive Prosforiou Tower and the Zygos Monastery – a particular treasure, because here archaeologists have been able to piece together the life of ancient monks in Mt Athos. Elsewhere, there’s the famous pilgrimage site of Panagia Soumela, founded by Pontiac refugees and location of the icon of the Virgin Mary, the work of Luke the Evangelist – said to have been transported to the Holy Church in Vermio by angels. Finally, travel to Kastoria where you’ll find 61 Byzantine churches and a prehistoric lakeside village in Dispilio.

Something for everyone

With beaches, lakes, rivers, canyons, dense forests and snowy mountains, Macedonia caters to everyone’s needs. Whether your passion is skiing, hiking or rafting you’ll find it here. Begin in Vasilitsa (Grevena) at the top of the Pindos mountain range where you’ll ski, snowboard or sled through the fir trees during your winter holidays. Another ski centre, Seli, was the first of its kind in Greece. Go to Kaimaktsalan (Pella) and visit the highest snow bar in Greece at an altitude of over 2,000m. And in 3-5 Pigadia, the ski season seems to grow longer each year. There is also a resort on Falakro (Volakas, St Athanasios, in Drama), the Lailias Ski Centre, Vigla Pisoderi and Elatohori, by the sea. 

For trekking, head to the Prespa lakes, in the region of Valia Kalda – Arkoudorema – Flega, and the waterfalls in the virgin forest of Fraktos, the Enippeas River at Litochoro. Walk or bike through the magical forest of Kotza Orman (Drama). 

End up at the top of mythical Mount Olympus. The highest peak is Mytikas, at an altitude of 2,918m. Observe rare birds such as flamingos in Prespa and Lake Kerkini. For rafting or kayaking, go to the Nestos and Aliakmonas. For canoeing, test your mettle in the lakes of Florina and Prespa. And for a spa experience, head to Pozar – hot springs in the middle of the lush, snowy landscape during the winter.

A taste of Macedonia

The influence of Asia Minor is evident in Macedonian cuisine. Look for delicious mezedes (appetisers) and other delicacies, such as tiganies (fried meat), hunkar begendi (lamb and aubergine), and giabrakia (cabbage leaves stuffed with pork). In Thessaloniki, try the famous patsas soup (made from tripe), indulge your sugary cravings with a bougatsa (delicious custard pastry), revani (cake soaked in syrup) and other sweets made with buffalo butter. Macedonian pies with handmade phyllo pastry are exceptional. Saffron is produced in Kozani, so be sure to take some home. Other popular local products include Florina peppers, potatoes from Kato Nevrokopi and the wild mushrooms of Drama and Grevena – a flavourful culinary journey! Macedonia is home to dozens of wineries. The most distinguished vineyards are in Epanomi (Halkidiki), Naoussa (famous for a red grape varietal called xinomavro), Amyntaio and Drama.

Macedonia: Standout experiences, destinations and attractions

  • Thessaloniki: Delicious food, vibrant bars and excellent shopping attract visitors from all over. Take an enchanting stroll from the port to the White Tower. Continue to Aristotelous Square and visit the Rotunda and the Old City.
  •  Lakes: At an altitude of 850m lie the Prespa Lakes. Admire the breathtaking view and observe the pelicans and rare birds in their natural habitat. In Kerkini, look out onto a majestic landscape, and in Heimaditida and Zazari become one of the lucky few to discover a masterly composition of colours and natural beauty.
  • Traditional settlements: Visit Nymfaio and stay at one of the lovely lodging options and meet the bears that live in the Arcturos reserve, the only one of its kind in Greece. Wander around the traditional village of Arnaias in central Halkidiki and explore the beautiful settlement of Aphitos in Kassandra.
  • Caves: Awaken your adventurous spirit in Halkidiki’s Petralona Cave, where a human skull at least 250,000 years old was discovered. The Alistratis Cave near Serres and the Angitis Cave near Drama are also worth a visit.
  • Other cities: Kastoria, with its gounaradika (legendary fur manufacturers) and aristocratic lake; Florina, with its stately mansions; Edessa, with the cascading waterfalls; and the old city of Kavala, with its unique hotel-monument, the Imaret.
  • Pindos National Park: In an isolated mountainous region between the borders of Grevena and Ioannina lies this unique ecosystem that is home to many rare plants and animals.
  • Mount Olympus: The tallest mountain and first national park of Greece is a destination in Macedonia that stands out for its astounding natural beauty – and, of course, the challenge of climbing to 2,918m.
  • Mount Athos: Deservedly a Unesco World Heritage Site and an icon of Eastern Orthodoxy, Mt Athos is a truly eye-opening cultural and religious experience.



The region of  Macedonia is broken up in three sub-regions: Western, Central and Eastern. 

Western Macedonia

Map of Western Macedonia prefectures

We begin our journey  from  Western Macedonia, encompassing  the following prefectures:

Kastoria, Florina, Kozani, and Grevena.


City of Kastoria panoramic view
City of Kastoria - partial view
City of Kastoria - path along lake
City of Kastoria - Papapetros mansion
City of Kastoria - Kosmas and Damianos church
Prespa lake - akrotiri (cape)
Prespa lake - church ruins

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization


City of Grevena - main square
Grevena - Spilaio village
City of Grevena - mushroom park
In the Museum of Natural History in Milea, Grevena  the tusks and fossilized remains of a 3-million-year-old mastodon, a mammoth-like mammal, are displayed. The tusks weigh a ton each and are 5 meters in length, the longest ever found. The mammal, believed to have been a male aged around 25, was 3.5 meters tall and weighed over 6 tons.
Grevena - Samarina village
Grevena - Samarina, Dormition of Virgin Mary
Grevena - Portitsa bridge
Grevena - Portitsa bridge in background

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City of Kozani - Nike Square
City of Kozani - Nike Square architecture
City of Kozani Folklore museum
City of Kozani cloud patterns
Kozani - Boucharia rock formations
Kozani - Askio village

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization


Florina - Megali Prespa lake sunset
City of Florina - panoramic view
City of Florina - view of Sakoulevas creek
City of Florina - Cathedral of Ag. Panteleimon
City of Florina - Folklore Museum
City of Florina - Art Museum

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization

Florina - Nimfaio village entrance
Florina - Nimfaio village view
Florina - Limnohori
Florina - Limnohori village
Florina - Flabouro village
Florina - Lechovo village
Florina - Lake Chimonitida
Florina - lake Prespa

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization

Central Macedonia

Map of Central Macedonia prefectures

The region of Central Macedonia encompasses  the following prefectures:

Pella, Imathia, Pieria, Thessaloniki,  Chalkidiki, and Kilkis


City of Edessa waterfall
Edessa ancient city
Edessa traditional homes
Edessa watermill
Edessa - Dormition of Madonna church
Pella - Flamouria village peach orchards
Pella - Flamouria village birch forest
Pella - Fields of cherry trees
Pella - Ariadaia village

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization


City of Naousa - Clock square
City of Naousa - view from Theologos hill
Imathia vineyards famous for Xinomavro
Imathia - Boutari winery
Naousa  has been renowned for its exquisite wines. This vine-growing tradition traces back to the old ages, because the soil, the water and the climate have always been  ideal for vine-growing.
Later in modern history (1800-1900 AD) Naousa’s wine becomes well-known all over the world, until today. Manuscripts written by famous travellers such as Pouqueville (1826) and Cousinery (1831) are characteristic evidence about the name and the quality of Naousa’s wine. 
City of Naousa -Mattheos mansion
City of Naousa - Old town
City of Naousa - Arapitsa creek
City of Naousa - Stoumbani waterfall

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization

Vergina - fresco depicting Hades and Persephone
Vergina - tomb entrance
Vergina - larnax of Phillip II
Vergina - gold diadem
Vergina museum
Vergina museum

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization

Veria - peach orchards blossoms
Veria - Archaeological museum
Veria Byzantine museum
Veria Jewish quarters
Veria Synagogue
Veria Ag. Anargyroi cathedral
Veria Medrese mosque

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization


Mt. Olympus - home of the gods viewed from sea
View of Mt. Olympus from Litochoro
View of Mt. Olympus gorge from Litochoro
Mt. Olympus highest peak of Mytikas
Mt. Olympus "Throne of Zeus"
Mt. Olympus plateau of muses
Mt. Olympus oak forest at Prionia

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization

City of Katerini municipal park
City of Katerini municipal park at Christmas
City of Katerini pedestrian street
City of Katerini church of Ag. Fotini
City of Katerini Olympiaki paralia
Dion Roman baths
Dion site theater
Dion site
Dion mosaic in museum
The ancient city owes its name to the most important Macedonian sanctuary dedicated to Zeus (Dios, “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, eponyms of Magnetes and Macedonians, who dwelt in Pieria at the foot of Mount Olympus Hence 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 characterised by rich vegetation, towering trees, countless springs and a navigable river. For this reason Dion was the “sacred place” of the Ancient Macedonians. It was the place where the kings made splendid sacrifices to celebrate the new year of the Macedonian calendar at the end of September. In the Spring, purification rites of the army and victory feasts were held.
Pieria - castle of Platamonas
Pieria - beach in front of Platamonas castle

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization


Kilkis - Ag. Raphael church on Mt. Paiko
City of Kilkis from St. George hill
City of Kilkis Archaeological museum
Skra lake
Monastery of Ag. Nicodemus
View from Drosato
Axioupoli cathedral (B&W)

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization


Thessaloniki - White Castle
Thessaloniki - Galerius Arch
Galerius - Galerius Rotonda
Aristotle Square panoramic
Traditional hotel building
Malakopi way
Thessaloniki remained an important city from antiquity to modern times with a multicultural population.
City of Thessaloniki Archaeological museum
City of Thessaloniki Archaeological museum
Derveni krater
Bronze calyx krater
Gold leaf crown
Golden diadem

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization


Chalkidiki - remote bay
Chalkidiki - Karydi bay
Chalkidiki - Lagonisi bay
Ouranoupoli - whole lobster with pasta
Ouranoupoli - Lobster tail pasta
Chalkidiki - Karydi bay
Chalkidiki - Ammouliani
Mt. Athos - St. Symeon monastery
Mt. Athos - Pantokrator monastery
Mt. Athos - St. George Zografos monastery
Mt. Athos Stavronikita monastery

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization

Eastern Macedonia 

Map of Eastern Macedonia Prefectures

Includes the following prefectures: Serres, Drama and Kavala


Serres - Kerkini Lake
Serres - Akritohori; St. John's church
Serres - Prefecture classical building
Serres Lake Kerkini
Serres - Hotel at lake kerkini
Serres - Archaelogical museum
Serres - Natural History museum
Serres - Alistrati cave
Serres - Mehmet Bey mosque

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization


Drama - Ag. Varvara springs
Drama - Angitis river cave
Agia Varvara park
Agia Varvara park
Falakro mountain
Elatia forest

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization


City of Kavala at dusk
Kavala castle
Kavala Roman aquaduct and castle
Ancient city of Philippi
Philippi theater
Nea Iraklitsa bay from drone
Nea Peramos bay
Moustheni village
Red rocks beach

Info link to Greek National Tourism Organization

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