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Pieria, Macedonia

The Prefecture of Pieria is a regional unit of Greece , located in the southern part of the Macedonia region , extending from the western mountainous border of Olympus, the range of the Pierian mountains , Ossa (Kissavos) in the south and the coasts of Thermaikos Gulf – Aegean Sea to the east. Katerini is the capital of the prefecture and the whole area is easily accessed by car (national motorway ) , train and airplane (Thessaloniki airport) .

Pieria is an area rich in history and mythology . Birthplace of Orpheus and the Muses , mount Olympus regarded as the house of the Gods , the ancient cities such as Dion which was the sacred city of the Macedonian Kingdom , Pydna , Leibethra ,Pimpleia ,many monasteries built during the Byzantine period , the castle of Platamonas and many more yet to be referred .

There is an extensive coastline to the east , that stretches for about 70km from the north to the south , often called Olympian or Greek Riviera , with sandy or pebble beaches and crystal clear waters while especially to the south the forestry reaches the deep blue sea like in the region of the castle of Platamonas .The most famous and well organized are these of Katerini , Olympic , Variko , Gritsa , Plaka , Leptokaria , Skotina , Panteleimonas , Platamonas and Neoi Poroi . All beaches are easily accessed and are well organized for swimming , sunbathing and usually offer many kinds of water sport activities .

The scenery to the west is mountainous , with the range of Pierian mountains extending from the north to the center of the area offering many and rare beauties, traditional hamlets , monasteries and the famous ski center of Elatochori, with modern facilities and ski runs. The center and the southern part of the area is dominated by the mount Olympus , the legendary and mystic mountain with its highest in Greece peak called Mitikas , 2.917m high , rich with unique flora and fauna , small creeks , waterfalls, caves , forests, peaks and steep rocky slopes , canyons , attracting tourists as well as mountaineers from all over the world. It is the most popular destination among the Greek mountains with more than 150,000 visitors entering the area which is a National Park . The town of Litochoro comprises the eastern gate of Mount Olympus , 90 km from Thessaloniki .

Moving further to the south you can visit picturesque old stone hamlets (Palaia Leptokaria , Palaia Skotina , Palaios Panteleimonas ) up in the mountain and travelling down to the New Panteleimonas village you can reach the area where the famous medieval castle of Platamonas stands .

The castle is one of the best preserved castles in Greece and is of Venetian origin , dating back to the 10th century , built to secure the area mainly from the pirates . Today is the venue for theatrical productions, musical concerts and other cultural activities within the framework of the Festival of Olympus.

The geographically area of Pieria ends to the south at the mount Kissavos, also known as Ossa, which lies on the east side of the Tempi Vale, facing mount Olympus . The two mountains are divided by Tempi vale with the famous river of Pinios flowing through it .