Katerini Travel Guide

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Paralia's Beach and Mount Olympus

Paralia's Beach and Mount Olympus

Catalin Stratila

Where to begin? Katerini is a beauty in itself residing at the base of Mount Olympus and facing the Aegea Sea . Its history goes back to the very beginning of Greek history itself, as the city of Dion was one of the first Macedonian (Greek-Macedonian, of course!) cities. Katerini is a small city and is the capital of the Pieria Prefecture. A large number of pretty villages surround Katerini and are worth a visit. Most of the people living in the villages work in agriculture (tobacco, cotton, etc.). There is a distiinct Greek warmth in these villages that you will not find in any other big city in Greece . The welcoming spirit, the openness and the hospitality that is now changing from the Greek culture still remains in these small villages.

Litohoro and Leptokaria are must-sees during the summer as they are resort villages right near the sea. Litohoro, in particular, is a beautiful village that is often referred to as the gateway to Mount Olympus, home of the Olympian gods and goddesses. Both villages offer a variety of tastes that vary from mountain climbing to early morning clubbing!

For a change of pace, Elatohori is another excellent village to visit. Unlike Litohoro and Leptokaria, it is not particularly close to the beach, but it is a beautiful little village up on Olympus, and it has benefitted from a recently-built ski resort.

On the other side of Katerini are Paralia and Katerinoskala. These two seaside towns are about 7Km away from the city of Katerini and get really busy during the summer, due to their proximity to the beach, abundance of hotel rooms, and, in the case of Paralia, a variety of night clubs. Paralia is the noisier of the two, with abundant nightlife, taverns, restaurants, and shops; it gets overrun with tourists in the summer. Katerinoskala is a better option for those who prefer quieter nights. There is a long walkway along the beach which connects the two towns and is perfect for a summertime evening stroll.

The city of Katerini itself has its own distinct character. Several years ago its high street was repaved with brick and dedicated only to pedestrians. Today, the pisodromo (as we call the high street) is full of shops and cafes and gets very busy in the morning (when everyone is out doing their shopping) and in the evening (particularly during summer), when everyone is out having a drink. The city itself has grown dramatically in the last decade in all aspects. New building blocks are built daily and surround the city with ugly concrete.

The city is also famous for its very best Dried Nuts (Hazelnuts, Almonds, Pistachio, etc), produced by a long established Family called Avakian. They are the best and most well-known producers in the city and it is a must to find them and buy when visiting (located near the fire station - close to the private music school). If you ever visit Katerini, just mention their name and you will find it.

If for some reason you ever get bored, the port city of Thessaloniki (Greece's second largest and its most beautiful city) is about a 45 minute drive away.

Katerini represents a combination of the material and spiritual ideals. That is, it provides history, natural beauty, and a great holiday resort. All in all, a place worth visiting.

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September 05, 2005 change by inevitablemind

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