If you’re seeking to experience the scenery of a bygone time, Old Panteleimon is one of those underrated villages of Greece one has to visit. This bucolic village occupies a dreamy position overlooking the waters that span across the Dio-Olympos region. Stone-paved alleys, warm welcoming locals and an idyllic town square paint a picture of yesteryear.
The village of Old Panteleimon, also referred to as Palaios Panteleimonas, attracts thousands of tourists all year-round because of its picturesque and quaint appearance, delicious cuisine and closeness to Mt. Olympus. This was not always the case however, as Old Panteleimon was left abandoned in 1950 and it wasn’t until 1980 that the town went under a complete restoration. This notable settlement was even declared a National Heritage Monument in 2003 for its historical significance and inspiring architecture.
History of Old Panteleimon
The first house of Old Panteleimon can be traced back to the 14th century where craftsmen from Epirus encountered this mountainous area and used Macedonian and Epirotic influenced architecture to establish a settlement. Characterized by their small wooden balconies, stone structures, and wooden beams, the buildings of this Greek village embody the traditional architecture of Northern Greece. It wasn’t until the 1700’s when the village of Platamon was plagued by a cholera epidemic that the locals had to retreat to the mountains of Olympus, thus settling in the town we know today as Old Panteleimon. The town’s name comes from the prominent church, Saint Panteleimonas that was built to protect the locals from that horrific epidemic. Unfortunately, after the Second World War, many residents immigrated to other countries or settled in the coastal towns of Pieria leaving the village to decay. Fast-forward 30 years to the year 1980, and the renovations of Old Panteleimon commenced.
An All Year-Round Destination
The allure of Old Panteleimon attracts visitors every season of the year, with the months of May till October being the most popular. No matter when you decide to visit, we invite you to join our Olympus sunset tour, to enjoy the striking view from Old Panteleimon during the golden hour. The spring and summer seasons offer a refreshing and cool alternative tourist destination with the surrounding flora blooming to their fullest potential. The autumn season is a great opportunity to celebrate the famous chestnuts of Old Panteleimon by attending the town’s annual chestnut festival held at the main square. Although less crowded than other months, the winter season offers a rare glimpse into the winter wonderland that Olympus transforms into.
Local Food and Shops
Restored mansions and properties now serve as cozy bed-and-breakfasts, inviting taverns and shops. Let time-honored Greek recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation conquer your palate at any of the homely family-run taverns of the village. The local cuisine goes hand in hand with a glass of homemade wine or tsipouro for a complete gastronomic experience. A visit to Old Panteleimon is also a great opportunity to stock up on local products such as pasta, homemade jams, honey, herbs, spices and spoon sweets, a sweet preserve made from almost any fruit. There are also several shops selling handmade jewelry, folk art souvenirs and wooden decorative items.
Apart from exploring all that this authentic Greek village has, there are many things to do and see near Old Panteleimon that are worth your while. From taking a swim in the local beaches found only 5 kilometers away, to hiking to the gorge of Enipeas, one can experience the glories of nature all in one trip. Just a short drive away from Old Panteleimon, one can visit the Castle of Platamon, one of the largest fortresses in Greece, as well as the seaside town of Platamon. Another nearby significant point of interest is the archaeological site of Dion, the ancient Macedonian sanctuary where the gods of Olympus were once worshiped.
How to reach Old Panteleimon
Old Panteleimon is located 100 km south of Thessaloniki and about 400 km north of Athens. Katerini is only 38 km away from Old Panteleimon. Although cars are not allowed in Old Panteleimon, you may park at the free parking lot found at the entrance of the town and then follow the path leading into the village on foot.
For any further questions on how to get to Old Panteleimon, where to stay or book a tour, please contact us.