- 1 April 2021
Olympus Riviera, the continental coast of Greece close to the Gods
Travelling on the highway that connects northern Greece to the capital of Athens, at about 80 km south of the city of Thessaloniki you will find yourself in the region of Pieria. You will pass by the coast that faces the foot of Mount Olympus which is known locally as Olympus Riviera, and is part of the Pierian coast that is located directly under the mythical mountain of the Greek Gods.
While the mass of tourism flow will head towards the region of Halkidiki which is situated exactly in front of the Pierian Coast, the Olympus Riviera is respectively less known and advertised, but not less cramped especially during summer season.
The region attracts mostly an internal local tourism flow from its capital Katerini and Larissa, the capital of the adjacent region. Besides that, you will see that foreigners do visit for vacation, mainly from Northern Europe like Germany and Denmark and many come from the nearby Balkan states.
A natural landscape that varies between sea and mountain
Olympus Riviera is about 60 km long and has many swimming points, some of those are serviced by beach bars, but others with natural beaches with few people if you are looking for peace and quiet.
The particularity that makes this part of the continental coast interesting is that at its background you have the mountains at close proximity to the sea, Mount Olympus being one of them and the tallest of them all.
Therefore, the nature that engulfs the area is very impressive and worth a visit; in the same day you can take a dip in the sea and then take your meal at some typical restaurant at a mountain village nearby. This mix can make your vacation interesting, if you are the indecisive type between sea or mountain.
Points of interest around Olympus Riviera
Among the most picturesque villages surrounded by green is with no doubt Palios Panteleimonas, perched on a hilltop where the traditional houses are built exclusively with stone, even till today. I suggest that you visit for a refreshment at a café under the centuries old sycamore trees or for a meal, since the atmosphere is inviting.
Another key village is Litochoro, since it is the departure point for those who want to climb Mount Olympus: if you are a lover of simple walks along small waterfalls, of trekking or the mountain in general, you cannot do less than spend a day between the Gods.
From the Olympus Riviera you can reach different archaeological sites too, like the Castle of Platamona or the Greek ancient theatre of Dion. Not only those, but also the ones situated at nearby regions, like Pella, where you can visit Vergina, where the tombs of the Macedonian Kings of Greece lay with the most famous one being that of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. Another nearby worth the while visit is the city of Thessaloniki, a byzantine city.
Some seaside areas: Plaka Litochorou and Leptokaria
The coast offers a variety of choices. In Greek, Plaka defines the adjacent part of a village to the sea. Plaka Litochorou is a good choice if you are looking for beach bars that attract mostly young local people, like Milos, Molos, Akrotiri or Le Moon where loud music and parties are the rule of the day. Plaka Litochorou though has some beach points that are not serviced and therefore less noisy, but it doesn’t mean they are less crowded. The same I would say counts for Leptokaria, but less noisy since it attracts mostly tourists from the Balkans. The accommodation choices you have vary from campings to five-star resorts, like Cavo Olympo.
The beaches along this area are usually narrow with pebbles mixed with sand. At some beaches, the pebbles are prevalent and there is no sand. The water is clean and when the sea is calm its colour changes to various shades of blue.
The cost of umbrellas and sunbeds and having a refreshment or a meal is generally lower in regards to Halkidiki region, situated right across.
The center of Platamonas village and the sandy beach of Nei Pori
Heading south you will find first Skotina, another swimming spot with beached mixed of pebbles and sand and then Platamonas village, one of the focal points at the Riviera. At Platamonas I want to mention three fundamental activities to make the most of your day:
- Take a dip in the sea at the Gallaria Beach Bar, to my opinion one of the most impressive places in the coast of Pieria. It is built on the remains of an old train tunnel that passed literally by the sea. The owners of the bar have transformed it into an all day bar with a respective beach bar that serves the beach in front of it;
- Visit the Castle of Platamonas. Once upon a time, this castle used to be the line of defence of the sea trade from the pirate raids. You have to walk up a path to reach it and from atop you will have an amazing view of the whole Pierian coast and the nearby mountains; moreover, during summertime you can enjoy a theatrical play or a concert.
- A night walk at the seafront of Platamonas, where you can stop for a drink at the marina or at bars like Stavento or the Yacht Supperclub.
Right after Platamonas and really close by, the long beach of Nei Pori begins. In this case, the beach is wide and sandy and it differs significantly from the rest of the northern coast of Pieria. It is not short of bars, restaurants and hotels that are practically on the beach and it is an ideal beach to walk and enjoy the fun in the sun.
Olympus Riviera is a great alternative along the coast of continental Greece. You might want to consider spending a couple of days if you are on a road trip to/from Athens or dedicate an entire week in order to enjoy its rare advantage; its position that allows to combine in the same day excursions to a mountain and the sea at a short distance.
Olympus Riviera is the Riviera of the Gods, no wonder they chose that spot. It combines nature, sea, history and mythology!
Travel Blogger for passion. I offer my authentic experience in the world of travel.