Colorful and bursting with life, it’s hard to skip the capital of Pieria, Katerini. Famed for its walkable city center and lively gastronomic scene, Katerini is an up-and-coming tourist destination of northern Greece. With a population of over 85,000 people, Katerini is the second most populous city of Central Macedonia, after Thessaloniki. Its strategic position between the mountain of Olympus and the city of Thessaloniki has contributed to the recent rise in tourism and urban development. There are over 200 hotels within the bounds of Katerini to cater to the growing number of tourists visiting from abroad, as well as other Greek cities. From the countless beaches found within a short drive away, to famous attractions in the surrounding areas, there are many things to do and see in Katerini.
What to See
Join the locals drinking coffee at one of the central cafes or explore the Katerini Municipal Park, found right in the center of the city. Within this green oasis, you’ll come across the Park of Colors, a breath of fresh air from the boisterous city life activities. Discover stunning flower gardens, luscious trees offering shade along the park’s pathways, water fountains, small ponds with bridges, pedestrian walkways and even a small zoo with deer, ducks, peacocks and a variety of other birds. The park is also a popular spot for taking wedding photographs as well as hosting cultural events in the Municipal Open Air Theater and the Municipal Cultural Center, which are found within the grounds. Apart from unwinding in the locals’ favorite parkland, there are many eateries scattered throughout Katerini. Visitors have the option of choosing between seafood restaurants, traditional Greek taverns or even more diverse options such as Italian or Chinese.
After exploring Katerini, it’s time to venture to the surrounding areas. There are many archaeological sites to visit, such as the ancient sanctuary of Dion, the ancient city by the foot of Mt. Olympus, Leivithra, the ancient city of Pydna and the famous crusader fortress, Platamon Castle. The historic settlement of Palaios Panteleimonas offers a splendid view of the Pieria coastline, especially during the golden hour. Just 20 kilometers from the city of Katerini is the base of Mount Olympus, where many hiking trails direct you towards the gorge of Enipeas. Follow along our Olympus hiking tours to discover a hidden monastery, a sacred cave, the bathtub of Zeus and many more wonders of this mythical mountain. Last but not least, winter tourism has also picked up in recent years due to the opening of the Elatochori Ski Center.
The archaeological park of Dion
You’ve surely heard of the god of all Olympian gods, Zeus, but have you heard of the ancient Macedonian city that was built and dedicated to the worship of Zeus? The history of Dion dates back to the Hellenistic period where the gods of Olympus were worshipped. Over the years, Dion developed into a prospering city with theaters, living quarters, stadiums and more. Later, the Romans would take over this thriving city and incorporate Roman baths and other characteristics of their motherland. Before reaching its end some time after the 10th century, the city also served as a bishopric and an administrative district for the Byzantine emperor.
Beaches of Katerini
The appeal of Katerini is that not only does it offer a distinct mix of historical and cultural attractions close to the city, it also has an abundance of exceptional beaches to visit. Spanning across many kilometers, the coastline of Katerini presents visitors a chance to unplug and recharge. From vibrant beach bars, to quiet campsites, to untouched shores, to water activities, there is a spot on the beach for everyone. Just a ten-minute drive away, lie the two most popular seaside escapes near Katerini, the villages of Olympiaki Akti and of Paralia. Both are connected along the beach via a seaside promenade suitable for pedestrians and cyclists. Other notable beaches of the area include Korinos, Plaka, Leptokarya, Skotina, Platamon and Neoi Poroi.
Getting to Katerini
Katerini can be accessed via the national Thessaloniki-Athens E75 highway or the Egnatia Odos to the north. The distance from Athens is approximately 435 kilometers, while the distance from Thessaloniki is a little over 70 kilometers. The national bus service (KTEL) connects Katerini with nearby cities, whereas the local bus lines can take you to nearby attractions and villages. Finally, there is the Railway Station of Katerini, found just outside the city center. The main line of the national railway system that connects Thessaloniki with Athens makes its way through Katerini, allowing the local residents to conveniently travel when necessary.
For any further questions on how to get to Katerini, where to stay or book a tour, please contact us.