Litohoro, in Northern Greece, is a unique and picturesque destination. It lies at the foot of Mt. Olympus at an altitude of 300m above the turquoise coastline of the Aegean Sea. Summit Zero is located on this coastline in an area called Gritsa which is actually part of the area known as Litohoro’s port. Visitors can therefore combine both the mountain and the sea in their travels. Litohoro and Gritsa are easily reachable by both rail and road, both being less than five kilometres from the national Athens-Thessaloniki motorway and they are also easily served by Thessaloniki’s International airport which is only ninety kilometres away.The town/village of Litohoro has approximately 7500 inhabitants and is growing steadily, whislt still retaining its traditional roots. A number of foreigners who have visited the area have been taken by its charm and now own properties there. The village is a maze of cobbled, meandering streets and alleyways and the traditional houses feature the celebrated Macedonian architecture. There is a quaint main square with a fountain as its centrepiece and the famous Enipea Canyon as its backdrop.
Litohoro is the ideal location for beach holidays, recreation, sightseeing, and visiting areas of historical and archaeological interest, as well as for excursions to Olympus. The shoreline stretches for over thirty kilometres with sandy beaches and isolated coves. The organised beaches offer facilities such as watersports, bars, tavernas and eateries. Wonderful fresh fish straight out of the sea can be readily found, along with the traditional tsipouro (ouzo-like) drink and fine local wines to wash it down with. There are numerous tavernas in and around the village where you can sample the delicious local food and there is plenty of nightlife to be found in the village and at the beach bars in the summer. Use Summit Zero as your base and then tailor your holiday to suit your needs – just let us know what you want and we’ll arrange it for you, whether its trips, excursions, events, or activities.
Walks and Local Beauty Spots
There are many interesting walks in and around the area of Litohoro, but rather than embarking on a long walk or trying to reach the mountain’s peaks you may just fancy a short hike to get a taste of the area. A perfect place to do this is from the top of the village where you join a footpath starting at the chapel of Agia paraskevi. This classic walk takes you through some woods and onto two more chapels, the last one having a panoramic view of Litohoro and the sea. Its well worth a trip and only about half an hour or so each way.
Another attractive spot well worth a visit is the area of Agios Ioannis which you can also reach from the village in about half an hour on foot, or by car. This picturesque area forms a natural clearing in the forest, and takes its name from the small stone church located there, which is a popular place for weddings and baptisms. It is surrounded by tall fir trees and pines, and there is also a taverna next door to the church which serves delicious food.
The area of Myli is also worth a mention. It is set against the Enipea river, characterised by the canyon, old water-mills and plane trees. Following the path along the river from Myli you’ll eventually reach the old monastery of Agios Dionysios after about seven kilometres (approx. three and a half hours). The monastery lies at an altitude of 850m and was founded by a hermit, who lived in a nearby cave, in the 16th century. The cave is only a short trek away and still exists as a shrine. Over the years the monastery has always been used as a refuge during the various occupations and in the Civil war which has led to its ruinous state. However it is currently under restoration and an interesting stop off point, along with the cave.
Traditions and Customs
There are several customs and traditions unique to Litohoro. Bringing in the new year there is the Epiphany on the 6th January which is celebrated with a grand finale whereby the priest throws a cross into the freezing waters and daring locals dive in after it. The lucky one who retrieves the cross then parades around the village visiting every household and collecting a fine bounty of money donated on his way as occupants get the chance to kiss the cross. Then there is the Carnival which takes place prior to and during Lent. On the Thursday, just over a week before Clean Monday (which marks the beginning of Lent), the celebrations begin and people usually go out and feast on meat in preparation for Lent. On the Friday before floats parade the streets and on the Sunday big bonfires of cedar trees are burnt in the main streets. The whole period is marked by people dressing up and parties and its rounded off on Monday down on the coastline where it is traditional for friends and families to go kite-flying. The municipality usually also puts on some music and dance events. Finally, Easter in Greece is also worth a mention. It is still a huge event here and its customary to spit roast a whole lamb or goat and gather in large groups to enjoy the festivities. Food being very central to the Greek culture, Easter is not only celebrated religiously, but it is also a time to indulge in fine food and wines. On a religious level it is also very interesting, with competing churches parading through the streets and the spectacular sea of candles that are lit by the holy light to signify Christ’s resurrection. These are but a few of the main events that mark the calendar in Litohoro and at Summit Zero we will be indulging in all of these events, as well as in the Olive and Tsipouro (ouzo-like drink) harvest. We can arrange for you to be a part of these unique traditions that thankfully have not yet been lost to modern society.