Old Panteleimonas – The most picturesque Greek village at Mount Olympus in Greece
Always looking for treasures hidden in Greece, we found this little jewel. The idyllic Greek village of Old Panteleimonas is built on the green slopes of the tallest mountain in Greece, Mount Olympus at an altitude of 700 meters.
The little traditional Greek mountain village of Old Panteleimonas (or Palaios Panteleimonas in Greek) is a perfect destination for those who want to combine a stay in the mountains (Mount Olympus is one of the best destinations for walking and hiking in Greece) with the option to get fast to the sea and the beaches at the Greek coast, which is only at five kilometers distance.
Old Panteleimonas is accessible via a small, paved, winding, five kilometers long road. This magnificent road passes countless beech trees, chestnut trees and strawberry trees and offers magnificent views of the Aegean Sea, the Castle of Platamonas and the snowy peaks of Mount Olympus.
The road starts opposite the Castle of Platamonas which is located on the old highway (palia ethniki odos) that runs from Athens to Thessaloniki.
Today, the coastal area and the opposite mountains are a paradise for tourists. The clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea, the beautiful beaches that almost touch the mountains, exotic palm trees and the idyllic mountain villages that hang off the slopes of Mount Olympus provide everything a visitor of Greece is usually looking for.
200 Years Ago
But only two hundred years before the situation was quite different. The Turks were still ruling. Τhis part of Greece became independent hundred years later than other parts of Greece.
Τhe area around Platamonas, the area below Palaios Panteleimonas, went through horrible plagues like cholera and pest. You can read about this in the writings of foreign travelers.
The German merchant Ascab Lutteroth Linnich, who was on his way to Thessaloniki in 1813 with a caravan from Athens, describes in his diary the fear that they have to pass from the area below the castle of Platamonas. They were informed that there is a serious plague epidemic that has caused many deaths. They even refuse to stay the night in a house and prefer to sleep under a big plane tree even though it’s November and pretty cold at night.
Linnich describes how the village of Platamonas and its surroundings are abandoned because the inhabitants are either dead or have moved away. The caravan sees dead people along the route everywhere.
Old Panteleimonas – A Greek Monument
At the end of the fourteenth century, the first houses were built in Old Panteleimonas by artisans from the Epirus region. Τhe architecture is therefore a fusion of Macedonian architecture with Eperiotic elements. The same artisans also built many traditional houses on the Pelion peninsula.
Because of its impressive architecture, Old Panteleimonas is a protected Greek monument. The stone houses with wooden beams and small wooden balconies, the narrow cobbled streets, the square with the ancient plane trees and the impressive church, the handwritten signs, the pots with colorful plants and the beautiful nature of the surrounding Olympus mountains make Old Panteleimonas like a real life fairy-tale village. Cars are not allowed which makes this small Greek village an oases of serenity.
History of Old Panteleimonas at Mount Olympus
Old Panteleimonas was only inhabited around 1700 when residents of the coastal village of Platamonas were forced by a cholera epidemic to leave their village and they went to live at a higher altitude in Mount Olympus. The church was built and dedicated to Saint Panteleimonas who had to protect them from the terrible disease that was widespread at the coastal area. The village was later named after this saint.
Renovation of Old Panteleimonas
The inhabitants were mainly engaged in the production of wood, silk and livestock and the village flourished. However, in the 1950s, after the Second World War, many residents left for the United States and Australia and the village became increasingly deserted and fell into decay. The remaining residents settled in the lower village of Neos Panteleimonas. In 1980 the renovation of Old Panteleimonas began. The first years the village was without electricity, because it was only in 2000 connected to the power supply.
Today, historic and picturesque buildings have been turned into inns, tavernas, shops with traditional products, and cafes. At the slopes around the village some small luxury hotels and inns were built that fit the traditional atmosphere and architecture. This old Greek village on Mount Olympus has become one of the most beautiful villages in the north of Greece.
Old Panteleimonas in Greek Movie & TV Series
In the early eighties, various scenes for the movie Alexander the Great were shot in the village by the Greek film director Theo Angelopoulos. And in 2008 another film director, Kostas Koutsomitis, considered the village the ideal location for a TV series based on the book “Ματωμένα χώματα” (Bleeded Ground) by the writer Didos Sotiriou. The episodes of the TV series can be viewed on YouTube, but unfortunately only in Greek.
Old Panteleimonas in Summer
Old Panteleimonas is a unique destination for all seasons. If you love the beach and the sea but don’t want the hustle and bustle of the seaside resorts, you can retreat to the green oases of the village after visiting the beach.
In summer you can enjoy the authentic Greek food on one of the romantic terraces in the shade of the ancient plane trees. During the scorching heat of the Greek summers, the climate in the mountains is more attractive anyway. Moreover, you can combine your stay with hikes in the forests and mountains around the village. Having a car available is necessary to be able to move around in the area.
Old Panteleimonas in Autumn
In autumn it is a good stay in one of the more luxurious inns of the village. Nature is at its best. This is due to the countless chestnut trees with chestnuts all along the paths and the famous strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) whose fruits vary in color from dark red to yellow and orange.
In the inns the fireplaces are lit and the local dishes of the season are served. Do not forget to taste the koumara liqueur from the fruits of the strawberry tree! These are not strawberries, but a delicacy with a hard shell with a rough speckled surface, which is mainly processed into jam, Greek sweets like “gliko tou koutaliou” (which means “sweet from the spoon”) or alcoholic drinks. It is a fruit that very easily gets bruised which makes transporting it difficult.
Old Panteleimonas is famous for its chestnusts and every autumn an event around the chestnuts is being held at the central square of the village. Read about the history of the chestnut it in our blog post >> The Chestnuts of Mount Olympus.
Old Panteleimonas in Winter
In winter (in particular the months January, February and March) the village is often covered in a beautiful layer of snow. In the inns, tavernas and cafe’s, where the fireplaces are burning, the tastiest authentic Greek food is served.
To spend a holiday in Old Panteleimonas in winter, you have to be a huge lover of Greece. I mean it’s a long travel and there are still very few flights available from Europe and the United States during winter. Besides it’s incredibly cold and there is not much to do in the area of Old Panteleimonas this time of year.
The village is certainly one of the most idyllic winter destinations you can imagine, but probably it’s too much fuss for tourists to come by plane to Greece for just a long weekend. For Greeks it’s easier, they just spend some days in the village and return home by car.
Old Panteleimonas in Spring
Spring in Greece has its own charm. While the temperatures at the coast start to rise, it can still be quite chilly at 700 meters altitude, especially in the evening.
The snow on Mount Olympus begins to melt and causes streams, rivers and waterfalls, which had nearly dried up during summer and were frozen in winter. The grass is green and the flowers have bright colors, not yet burnt by the summer heat. In spring you will see the nature waking up around Old Panteleimonas. It’s one of the best seasons for hikes in the surrounding mountains, forests and mountain villages to taste the beauty of Mount Olympus.
A fairy tale accommodation to stay at in Old Panteleimonas is the Fegaropetra Inn. Near the romantic central square of the village, with its enormous plane trees, idyllic terraces and beautiful church, you will find this guesthouse. It’s run by its two owners who are beloved for their hospitality and care. The Fegaropetra Inn has six spacious, romantic rooms with traditional furniture. The old mansion is built in traditional Macedonian style and from the mansion you have magnificent views of Mount Olympus and the Aegean Sea.
How to get to Old Panteleimonas
Although traveling by public transport in general is without problems in Greece, it might be tiring after a long flight, especially when you have to change buses. Of course you can take a taxi, but even though taxis are not really expensive in Greece, a long distance drive will cost you. Best is to arrange a shuttle service to your destination or rent a car before your arrival in Greece. If you nevertheless decide to travel by public transport to Old Panteleimonas, read on. Remember that the village is called Palaios Panteleimonas in Greek.
Old Panteleimonas is located in the Greek province of Pieria, 100 km to the south of Thessaloniki and 407 km to the north of the country’s capital Athens. There are regular daily bus schedules from both cities to the capital of Pieria, Katerini.
Center Thessaloniki – Inter City Busstation Thessaloniki – Katerini
The Macedonia Inter City Bus Terminal is located in the west of Thessaloniki. From the center of Thessaloniki you will either have to take a local bus or a taxi. From the Bus Terminal buses depart regularly to Katerini.
Airport Thessaloniki – Inter City Busstation Thessaloniki – Katerini
If you arrive by airplane at the airport of Thessaloniki, you first have to go by bus or taxi (around 30 euros) to the Macedonia Inter City Bus Terminal of Thessaloniki which is located at exactly the opposite part of the city. From the Bus Terminal you can take a bus to Katerini.
Katerini – Old Panteleimonas
Once arrived in Katerini you will have to take a bus to the village of Platamonas. From Platamonas you take a taxi uphill to Old Panteleimonas which is at a distance of around nine kilometers.
Places to visit near Old Panteleimonas
- Castle of Platamonas
- Archaeological site of Pydna
- Hiking the Enipeas Gorge at Mount Olympus
- Vergina Royal Tombs and ancient city Aigai in Vergina
- Orlias Waterfall in Dion
- Waterfall of Agia Kori in Vrontou
- Red Rock Waterfall in Dion
- Information Centrum National Park Olympus in Litochoro