Together, Agios Athanasios and Mt Kaimaktsalan make a perfect mountain escape in northern Greece. Mt Kaimaktsalan is one of the leading ski resorts in Greece, at an altitude of almost 2,500m, made all the more special by the snow-capped peaks and glorious mountain views. When you add in the important cultural sights in the area, it’s easy to understand its popularity. So if you’re a snow skier, a foodie, an adventurer, or you simply want to be wowed by the wild beauty of Macedonian nature, this is the place is for you.
What to do in Agios Athanasios
Agios Athanasios Pellas: A new twist on a traditional settlement
An excellent example of tasteful residential development and the epitome of understated elegance. Once an abandoned village dug into the mountain at an altitude of 1,200m, Agios Athanasios Pellas was listed as a ‘traditional’ settlement in 1992 when its new fairy tale life began. Today, it is among the most up-and-coming and rapidly growing winter destinations in Greece, with traditional local architecture, sloping rooftops, cobblestone streets and high standards of service.
Kaimaktsalan: The highs of skiing
A favourite destination for skiing enthusiasts, Kaimaktsalan is the only ski resort in Greece where you can reach an altitude of 2,480m. It has very good snow quality and, if that’s not enough, the landscape of the eastern foothills of Mt Voras will knock your socks off! Kaimaktsalan (meaning white peak) has pistes for all levels, from bunny to advanced, a chalet, ski and snowboard schools and equipment rental to suit all your needs.
Pella: Ancient treasures of Macedonia
The grande dame of Macedonian cities, Ancient Pella was discovered in a land that still has many treasures to reveal. The plain is scattered with Macedonian tombs and the remnants of ancient settlements that have yet to be found or excavated.
Aridaia’s hot springs: Nature’s elixir
Who wouldn’t want to soak in these thermal springs? The natural warm pools are found among beautiful streams, waterfalls and snow-laden pine branches. It’s the ultimate spa, with the mist rising around you from the mineral springs. Walking in the gorge, rock climbing and mountain hiking … everything is possible at Pózar Thermal Baths.
Hidden gems of Agios Athanasios
In Macedonia, where Mt Voras and Mt Vermio meet the mountain basin of Agra, there is a little yet very important wetland, where more than 250 different bird species have been observed. The short distance from Edessa makes it a paradise not easily missed!
The Archangel of Mt Paiko
Why the Archangel? At 700m above sea level, it took its name from the monastery founded in 1858. One of the most significant attractions in the area, the Archangel of Mt Paiko stands out for its architecture and is the starting point for all alpine routes into the Paiko Mountains, as well as exotic Tzenas.
The little church of Profitis Ilias
The 1.5hr walk from the ski resort to the little church of Profitis Ilias, at the summit of Mt Kaimaktsalan, is an experience in itself. At an altitude of 2,524m, the third-highest point in Greece, the church is a World War One memorial to the fallen Serbs and was built with war debris found in the area. Take a deep breath and feel the incredible power of the area.