A forty-five-minute drive from Macedonia International Airport of Thessaloniki will take you to the popular resorts of the Olympian coast (Olympiaki Akti) and Leptokaria. If Athens your first port of call you should head north along the main motorway and railway line towards the capital of Macedonia. Once you've gone through the pass of Mt. Olympus guarded by the Frankish castle of Platamonas, you'll enter Pieria, the southernmost part of Macedonia.
History & Culture
In antiquity the majestic nature of Pieria was related with myths, deities, Muses and Heroes. The gods had chosen the high mountain peaks of Olympus to live on and from there they often intervened in or even determined the life of mortals. Pieria was often mentioned by Homer, as the region from which the Gods descended and "flew" to other places. The Macedonians also selected the embellished by Olympus site of Dion as their most sacred site. Pieria’s strategic position for the communications between Macedonia and southern Greece made it a much-desired target for conquerors throughout the ages. The Medieval castle of Platamonas built in 1204 stands as a mark left by the Frankish occupation. The Turks occupied the territory in 1489, but in spite of their long lasting occupation the high peaks of Olympus were never subdued. They remained the symbol of the Greek resistance and a perfect hiding for the freedom fighters.
Sightseeing & Monuments
At the resort of Platamonas one should not fail to notice the beauty of the landscape stressed by the very well preserved Frankish castle, which is also used as a site for holding various cultural events. The view of Olympus is magnificent from Katerini, the capital of Pieria. Here in the capital of Pieria, Katerini, a visitor can have a pleasant time taking a walk to the city zoo or visiting the Byzantine Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary in Kontariotissa. The view of Olympus is magnificent here, but one has to reach Litochoro to appreciate the full sense of wonder and respect for mother Earth. The peaks of Olympus rise majestically above this village built in the banks of Epineas river, whose rich waters flowing down the mountain form small lakes, while in some places disappear into underground cavities.
People & Lifestyle
The gods have definitely blessed the land of Pieria giving it unparallel natural beauty and the perfect environs for the prosperity of its people. The name "Pieria" actually means "fruitful and fertile land", a fact easily witnessed by visitors crossing any part of the region.
Zeus Xenios (the hospitable) has ensured that Pieria and its people know what hospitality is all about and have a strong urge to offer it to all. In that respect an interesting story, pertinent to the capital of the region, is quite revealing for the character of modern day Pierians and the beneficiary results of their tolerance to strangers: Katerini is a relatively young city for Greek standards, built only 300 years ago by a group of refugees from Sinai, who created here a community dedicated to St. Katherine. After the region was united with the Greek state a new wave of Greek refugees from Turkey settled this area, giving priority to commerce and economic development, thankful at all times of the land and its people for their generosity.
Sports & Leisure
Pieria’s diverse settings are perfect for doing horse riding, rowing, surfing, jogging, biking and it is even a popular site for extreme sports like hang-gliding. Mountaineering, mountain climbing so close to the Pantheon of Mt Olympus makes you feel the presence of the gods through out your stay.
Gastronomy & Shopping
In Pieria you have complete freedom of choice: tranquility and relaxation, lively times of endless fun, leisure and entertainment and new gastronomic experiences. Katerini is the major commercial centre of the region, with plenty of shopping opportunities. Many cozy little taverns adorn the golden sandy beaches of Pieria. You should savour the traditional and delicious Greek cuisine, which truly acquires new qualities and becomes a novel experience as the gentle sea breeze caresses your face.
For more than twenty years the Olympus Festival features the best Greek and International cultural events for the summer. Special emphasis is placed on Ancient Greek tragedy and comedy and such plays are performed at the Dion ancient theatre. Every summer dozens of thousands of visitors are given the opportunity to witness the revival of the Hellenic spirit and drama in a truly imposing ancient environment. The International Folklore Week is another major event, which invites the participation of music and dance groups from all over the world. For seven days Pieria accommodates a global feast celebrating the friendship and joy of different nations. Pop concerts, modern theatrical performances, and art exhibitions all add to the cultural life of Pieria and meet the expectations of the most demanding audience.
Nightlife & Entertainment
Social and lively of pleasures alternate with moments of serenity and tranquility, which one may seek and find either at the well-organized hotels in Pieria or at the numerous cafes, bars and night clubs of all the holiday resorts. The breathtaking imagery, whether in shade of mountains of at the popular beaches, makes Pieria a perfect place for the beginning of friendships and long lasting relations, in the company of refreshing long drinks, which there with the help of the gods are transformed into the nectar.
Irresistible beaches and mountain scenery of unparalleled beauty will lead the visitor on a special journey through image wrought by the serenity and the might of nature. Mt. Olympus is one of Greece’s most important National Parks, with its wild life and over 170 rare species of birds. UNESCO has also included Olympus in its list of global biosphere conservation sites. Finally, a splendid marine Conservation Park of Alikes-Kitros invites the interest of ecological organizations and environmentalists from all over the world.
The diverse scenery of Pieria, together with its high-standard tourist infrastructure, offers a variety of choices for organizing conferences, both in summer and in winter. Its fully equipped hotels, which are continuously upgrading their range of amenities, have succeeded in placing Pieria amongst the leading contenders for business and leisure combined meetings.