When you hear ‘vacationing in Greece’, you immediately think of the hot, sunkissed islands, the gorgeous beaches, and the whitewashed sugar-cube houses looking over the Aegean. And while that is indeed a little piece of paradise for you to enjoy, there is a lot more for you to discover- how about tall, craggy mountains with rolling verdant hills, sturdy, centuries’ old stone buildings, and a chance to walk with the gods?
If adventure and wild beauty charm you, then the small town of Litochoro is for you!
Languishing in the shadow of the looming Mt. Olympus, Litochoro is elegant, welcoming, and versatile, offering wonderful experiences in winter and summertime alike, for Litochoro blends the mountain that tapers into the sea.
No need for compromises if in your family there are seaside and mountain lovers. At Litochoro you can have both, wrapped in the splendor of nature that inspired myths and legends about ethereal nymphs and all-powerful, beautiful gods.
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- Where is Litochoro?
- Weather at Litochoro
- Litochoro’s name
- A brief history of Litochoro
- Where to stay in Litochoro
- What to see and do in Litochoro
- Explore Litochoro
- Visit the Municipal Park
- Visit the Maritime Museum
- See the churches
- Visit the Archaeological Site of Dion
- Visit Platamon Castle
- Hike in Mt. Olympus
- Hit the beach
- Where to eat in Litochoro
- FAQ About Litochoro
A Guide to Litochoro Village in Greece
Where is Litochoro?
Litochoro is a small town in Pieria, in Central Macedonia, Greece. It is located about 90 km south of Thessaloniki and 420 km north of Athens. The town is perched on the eastern slopes of Mt. Olympus and can be reached by car and bus.
If you are flying into Greece, the shortest route to Litochoro is by landing at Thessaloniki’s airport and then getting a taxi or KTEL bus to Litochoro.
You can also go to Litochoro by train! The ride from Thessaloniki lasts an hour and it is a chance to get your first treat of the gorgeous vistas of the area.
If you are already in Athens, you can get the KTEL bus on the Pieria Line and get to Katerini town first, which takes about 5 hours, and then change to Litochoro which is another 25 minutes.
You can also make the trip by train, which lasts a little less than 4 hours to Katerini.
Check out: A guide to Pieria. Greece.
Weather at Litochoro
Litochoro’s climate is Mediterranean, like in all of Greece. Unlike the islands, however, temperatures are cooler on average thanks to the mountain and the proximity to the sea. During the summer, temperatures are an average of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. This can climb up to 35 degrees during the hottest months.
During winter, temperatures are an average of 10 degrees Celsius, but they can often drop to 0 or below. It snows regularly in the winter.
There are several explanations of how Litochoro got its name, and the supporters of each tend to spell Litochoro slightly differently in Greek. The most popular opinion is that “Litochoro” means “land of stone” thanks to the location and the stone being amply used for housing. Others, however, argue that it means “land of freedom” thanks to the general history of the villagers’ indomitable spirit. Others still make a case that it means “land of Leto”, the mother of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis, or “place of prayer”.
A brief history of Litochoro
Litochoro and its general area have been inhabited since antiquity. However, the earliest mention of Litochoro with its name is by St. Dionysius who traveled there in the 16th century. Litochoro was a “kefalochori” or “head village” during medieval times and the Turkish occupation. That means it was a hub of commercial activity.
There are many instances in Greece’s turbulent history where Litochoro played an important or central role. It was the place of refuge of Rigas Feraios, a herald of the Modern Greek Enlightenment. In 1878 it was the place from where the revolution of the Macedonian Greeks against the Ottomans began, in their effort to be unified to newly-liberated Greece.
It also became a place of refuge for the Greeks of Asia Minor after the sacking of Smyrna in 1922, and the target of Nazis during the German Occupation in WWII due to suspicions of there being resistance in the village. It was also one of the places where events jump-started the Greek Civil War.
The village of Litochoro has always been a maritime one, with most villagers being sailors. It’s always been renowned for its affinity to the arts and education, a tradition that carries on to today.
Where to stay in Litochoro
Here are some recommended places to stay in Litochoro.
Mythic Valley: Beautiful rooms located in the center of Litochoro village featuring air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and continental breakfast.
Olympus Mediterranean Boutique Hotel: An elegant hotel near the main square of Litochoro featuring a spa, an idoor swimming pool and spacious rooms with modern amenities.
What to see and do in Litochoro
Litochoro is a gorgeous village with iconic stone architecture. Tones of grey and blue stone contrast beautifully with wooded balconies and heavy wooden doors, giving the town a cozy, lush feeling. Walk along its many cobblestone paths and streets and admire the woodwork and stonework against a gorgeous background of Mt. Olympus.
A great aspect of Litochoro is that the older structures in the village blend beautifully with the newer ones, making Litochoro an architectural gem without missing out on any of the necessary modern amenities and venues.
Visit the Municipal Park
As you enter Litochoro, you will come across its Municipal Park. This is quite a large park with a lot of trees, small waterfalls, careful planning, and a gorgeous view of Mt. Olympus. Have your coffee on the go in one of its beautiful benches and enjoy the scenery or explore the various areas.
The Municipal Park is where a lot of important services are, including the police station and the municipal buildings. You will also find sports areas designed for safe play and the Maritime Museum.
Visit the Maritime Museum
Don’t miss out on one of the few museums of its kind! Seeing the various exhibits of the Litochoro Maritime Museum is a treat: a big part of Litochoro’s identity and history is there for you to see.
Donated from several of Litochoro’s maritime families, you will see a variety of seafaring objects and tools, from anchors and buoys from various eras to compasses, chronometers, and sextants.
As you enter the museum, you will see an impressive model of a torpedo boat which sank a Turkish ship outside Thessaloniki in 1912. There are more boat models to admire, most from the ones that were from Litochoro, but also from Greece’s maritime history in general.
Don’t miss out on the memorial plaque commemorating all those from Litochoro who were claimed by the sea.
See the churches
Aghios Nikolaos Church
Litochoro’s cathedral is Aghios Nikolaos, which was built in 1580. Since, it has been renovated three times, in 1814, 1914, and 1992. The church is an imposing stone building in the classic Byzantine style, featuring impressive ironwork on the outside. Inside you will see imposing red columns, several vibrant frescoes, and a beautiful iconostasis. If you happen to be around during mass, take a moment to enjoy one of the best samples of Byzantine acapella religious music.
Aghia Marina Church
Aghia Marina is a tiny chapel located just outside Litochoro. It was built in 1917 in the neo-Byzantine style and it is a popular venue for summer weddings. The chapel has the same beautiful stone construction as the rest of the town of Litochoro. Inside its iconostasis is of dark wood, and there are many frescoes covering every inch of its interior.
Visit the Archaeological Site of Dion
Very near Litochoro, you will find the most important archaeological site of Mt. Olympus, the Archaeological Site of Dion. Known since the time of Thucydides, it was during the Hellenistic times that Dion, the most important sanctuary dedicated to Zeus, became the religious hub of Macedonia. Alexander the Great is known to have visited on the eve of his campaign against the Persians to receive the blessings of Zeus.
This site also called “the archaeological park” has several important ancient structures from the Hellenistic and Roman times, such as the sanctuaries of Vaphyras, Demeter, and Asclepios, several temples, and sanctuaries dedicated to Zeus, and one from the second century AD dedicated to Isis.
The sheer historical importance aside, the site is also simply gorgeous, with nature giving its own symphony surrounding the various findings.
Check out: Mount Olympus and Dion Minibus Tour from Katerini.
Visit Platamon Castle
Not too far away from Litochoro, you will find Platamon Castle, one of the most important remnants of Greek medieval history. Built sometime in the early 13th century, Platamon Castle is an iconic crusader castle.
It is remarkably well preserved and the views are stunning. Getting to Platamon Castle is quite easy as its strategic position of controlling the exit of the Tempe valley makes it now close to the main road.
If you are visiting in July and August, make sure to check out the Olympus Festival which has events taking place there every year!
Hike in Mt. Olympus
There are several different trails for hiking in Olympus if you have Litochoro as your base! Each one is a treat to some of Mt. Olympus’ many treasures. Each trail is a stunningly scenic route through gorgeous, forested areas, crystal clear creeks, stunning waterfalls, glistening rivers, and ponds, breathtaking views, and the chance to climb to Mt. Olympus highest peak, Mytikas.
Each trail is carefully mapped with varying levels of difficulty and needs for endurance, with a full description of everything you will be seeing and experiencing. Start from Litochoro and seek out the neighborhood of the gods!
Check out: Enipeas: Mount Olympus Half-Day Hiking Tour with A Guide.
Hit the beach
Plaka beach in Litochoro is a strip of paradise. It is a verdant beach with areas where it’s pebbly and other areas where it is sandy, with golden fine sand. There are rock formations offering a touch of the wild in some of the areas of the beach. The sea is a lush blue and the waters crystal clear, as verified by the beach’s Blue Flag. The beach is organized in places and there are many bars and restaurants lining it for when you get thirsty or hungry!
Where to eat in Litochoro
Litochoro is renowned for its excellent food and drink. So much so that it has a restaurant that is an attraction in itself!
Gastrodromio: Situated in Litochoro, this fine dining restaurant specializes in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, but with a European flair. With award-winning dishes and a welcoming atmosphere, you will go again and again.
FAQ About Litochoro
Litochoro is a beautiful small town that is known as the getaway to Mount Olympus.
There are many things one can see around Litochoro including the archaeological site of Dion, the many hiking paths of Mount Olympus, the Platamon castle and the many beaches.
1 thought on “A Guide to Litochoro, Greece”
Extremely helpful. Thanks!!