The property was fully renovated with a touch of old-world luxury, while still retaining all the architectural elements – and values – of yesteryear. Just a few steps away from the village’s cobblestone main square, the little guesthouse boasts only five exclusive double rooms – dubbed Orion, Andromeda, Hercules, Cassiopeia and Pegasus – with views that look not only to the sky but to Mount Olympus and the Mediterranean Sea.
After sleeping like a baby in high-end bedding, you’ll awaken to a mouthwatering sustainable breakfast. Why sustainable? Because it offers fruit preserves from the local Women’s Cooperative, eggs from the family farm, hand-kneaded savory pies based on old regional recipes, many fruits and vegetables from the private garden, homemade oven-baked bread, and fruit jam from a local producer, along with excellent honey from the region. The owners believe in working with small producers to create an authentic breakfast experience that both supports the local economy and delights the guests. Think what a lower carbon footprint this lifestyle brings, in a village where now cars are allowed! (The hotel is best recommended for fitter visitors who delight in walking on old, cobbled village alleyways and sloped walkways).
A historical village like no other…
Palaios or “Old” Panteleimonas and its greater area are definitely worth exploring. The village sits on the lower, gentler slopes of Mount Olympus idyllically among chestnut, oak and plane trees, in full view of the gorgeous beaches of Pieria down below. Abandoned in the 1950s when its inhabitants moved to the more “modern” New Panteleimonas, the village sprang back to life beginning in the 1980s and managed to retain its gorgeous character.
Must-see attractions in the village include the 18th-century church of Agios Athanasios, designated by the state as a heritage monument. Explore the narrow alleyways and the little traditional shops in the village, which will delight the visitor and fill you with wanderlust. A short drive away are the Platamonas Castle which is a great spot for photos, as well as the beach of Platamonas which has been awarded the Blue Flag for its cleanliness. It is worth noting that archeologists have found both ancient and byzantine-era ruins below the foundations of the Platamonas Castle, now assumed to be the site of the ancient Macedonian Greek city of Heraclea.
Outdoor and eco-friendly activities
Who knew that this quiet village would have had so much outdoor – and even extreme – sports options that are friendly to the environment? It is indeed a great starting point for hiking, mountain biking and canyoning near waterfalls. Pieria has many gorges to explore, including the waterfall gorge of Kremastos. Several local companies can arrange hiking or canyoning tours in the greater Mount Olympus area, and will take you to wondrous places that will thrill you as much as they will keep you in shape. In another exciting and eco-friendly sport, you might want to try paragliding from Mount Olympus, which will reveal views of the hills and coasts below that any Olympian god would envy. If you’re a runner, come and join the Pieria Marathon which takes place every September.
On the more cultural side, an excursion to the ancient site of Dion dating from the 5th century BC will appeal to history and archeology buffs, so will a visit to the archeological site of Leivithra. Whatever you decide, do visit the colorful town of Litochoro and explore the valley right above the village. A friendly hiking path with water running below appeals to all who visit.
At Ecotourism Greece we take pride in supporting little hoteliers to become more sustainable. Together with the owners of Ourania Guesthouse, we’ve guided the property in its efforts to recycle paper and glass, as well as to recycle or compost leftovers. The property owners also have a Café in the center that takes all used coffee grinds and turns it into fertilizer.
Beyond the sustainable breakfast on offer, there are efforts to minimize plastic, use energy-efficient lighting/equipment and adopt more eco-friendly practices overall. This includes an effort to preserve the local heritage and culture, as well as helping guests discover the wonders of the immediate area. The latter supports the local economy and minimizes visitors’ carbon footprint.