When you leave Attica by car or bus, the next prefecture you’ll come across is Viotia, known in ancient times as Boeotia. It will seem sparse at first with not much vegetation, but will slowly unveil its hidden secrets such as the beaches of the Corinthian gulf (as well as a couple on Evoikos or Euboean gulf), mountain climbing and skiing around Parnassos and a mixed bag of archaeological/religious sites including Plataiai, Chaironia and Orhomenos. As for Parnassos itself, there is so much more than skiing to be had: paragliding, stargazing and trekking are just some of these activities.

The prefecture’s lazy capital, Livadia, lies in a gorge where the springs of Erkina flow, against a backdrop of a 14th-century medieval castle that’s surprisingly well preserved. The castle is on the hill of Profitis Ilias, where it is said the Oracle of Zeus Trofonios was. Unlike the rest of the prefecture, Livadia is quite green because of its twin springs, Memory and Forgetfulness (Mnemosyne and Lethe).

Photo: dk636

The sites around this prefecture are not visited by mass tourism, which makes them all the more magical. Among these is the Lion of Chaironia (or Heronia), where Philip of Macedonia had defeated the forces of other city-states in Greece. There are some remains of a theatre and acropolis not far, with a modest archaeological museum. Nearby, Orhomenos represents one of the richest and oldest cities in ancient Greece. Today, the town has a notable Byzantine church and Mycenaean tomb as well as other landmarks, well worth visiting after before a lunch of superior trout from the well-watered area and delicious melons.

An hour or so away lies the quaint mountain village of Arahova, popular in the winter with skiers who seek adventure on Mount Parnassos. Yet Arahova is so much more than an accommodation village for skiers. Its intact traditional architecture is amazing, and it is known for its traditional rugs (flokati), bags and other hand-woven items. Arahova’s tavernas that have an amazing view of olive groves and shimmering sea in the distance are not to be missed. Delicious dishes or ‘mezes’ and the local Formaella cheese are on offer. The spring celebration on Saint George’s day (April 23) in Arahova lasts three days and should not be missed if you’re in the area during this time.

Photo: Vounisios

In another part of the prefecture, while the Thebes of today does not have the glory of ancient times, modern-day Thiva does offer a worthy archaeological museum. After all, Thebes was founded by the Phoenician King Kadmos. It was also the birthplace of Hercules and home to the myth of Oedipus.

Across Viotia, there are some cosy villages with much history and heritage attached to them, such as Davlia. This lovely village features stone-built homes, narrow streets, traditional fountains and a central square dominated by a large old plane tree. Traditional lodgings, various ruins, hiking paths and more will greet visitors who come to discover this relatively undiscovered jewel.

Last but not least, a visit to Osios Loukas – a fascinating Byzantine monastery with a powerful aura – must be part of your visit to Viotia. The religious complex is listed as a Unesco World Heritage site and is found in a serene valley. It is easy to jump to nearby attractions in other prefectures, such as Delphi in Fokida and the beaches in Fthiotida.

Photo: www.alexandrosgr.com

 

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Location - Viotia

Mount Elikonas

There are numerous hikes that have been outlined around Mount Elikonas and will allow you to get a real feel of the nature and life around this venerable mountain.

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Path No. 22

Linking the mountains of Parnassos and Parnitha, Path No. 22 begins at the village of Agoriani in Parnassos and winds its way through the mountains of Kirfi, Elikonas, Korombili, Kitheronas, and Pastra, continuing on to the Bafi refuge in Parnitha.

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Viotia is a meat lovers' paradise, particularly when it comes to grilled meat and on the spit. This includes all the Greek favourites such as Paidakia (lamb cutlets), Kokoretsi (lamb intestine wrapped with offal, grilled on a horizontal skewer), Kontosouvli (big pieces of pork grilled on the skewer) and various Sausages. You may also come across a variation of Kokoretsi called Gardoubakia which is roasted in the oven. The meaty cuisine of Viotia also features more western recipes that have found their way in the last century or two to local tables, such as Coq au Vin and Fricasee. You might want to try the Rabbit Stifado, boiled goat and lamb Kleftiko as well.

Photo: www.newsbeast.gr

Winter sees more hearty dishes as vegetable soups, bean soups and the like, while fish features highly in coastal regions. Try the fresh fish in the tavernas by the sea such as Alyki, Agios Nikolaos, Ai Yiannis and Saranti. Overall, the villages of Thisvi offer many traditional dishes to sample.

Vegetarians will revel in the local herb pies, cheese pies and pastries, as well as tiganopsomo (fried kind of bread/pie). Local cheeses are heavenly, especially the light formaela of Arahova, as well as others called shanotiri and opsimotiri. The latter is made with sheep's yoghurt that's been aged with salt for three days. Olive oil, local wine and the anis-based raki drink are also on offer. The wines coming from the Askri vineyards are excellent, while Distomo is particularly known for its excellent raki.

Photo: onparnassos.gr

Try Kalderimi Taverna in Arahova for traditional Greek recipes, country pies, local meats and good wine. Oddly, this traditional restaurant is actually located under the telephone exchange building (OTE), some 30 meters below ground.

Another good traditional tavern is Arhontiko in Kiriaki with many local specialties including mouthwatering appetizers, salads and hot dishes made with local products (+30 22670 51900).

O Zachos restaurant in Livadi in a beautiful stone building and complete with a fireplace offers a specialty of deer cooked with prunes (+30 22670 32159).

Head to the small Tsokanis Farm in Melisochori (+30 22620 98825) to sample some of the more authentic products of the area. In Distomo visit the traditional bakery of Christina Baba for some real baked delights. While passing through the old town of Thiva you can stop by the Thiva Women's Cooperative (+30 22620 80433) and visit the workshop to sample and buy local products. In Aliartos the workshop of Evaggelia Antoniou (+30 22680 23308) has a showroom with local products that you can also sample.

Efhidas’ historical route

An important hiking event takes place in Viotia yearly, known as ‘the revival of the feat of Efhidas’ where the Greeks where victorious against the Persians. The myth says that Efhidas ran Delphi to bring back purified fire from the sanctuary of Apollo in a mere 24 hours and then died of exhaustion. Today, the 14-hour route is 107.5 kilometers and begins at Plataea, going through Kaparelli, Lefktra, Xironomi, Aghia Anna, Kyriaki, Stiri, Distomo and Arahova to reach Delphi. If you don’t want to try this amazing hike, you can go directly to Delphi and participate in the feast that takes place with dance, music and good local food.

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East side of Parnassos

Paranssos has been designated as a National Park as far back as 1938, full of rare flora and fauna. Animal species include woodpeckers, jackals, foxes, wild lizards, adders, wolves, badgers and wild boars. The south and east regions of the mountain have been designated as Natura 2000 regions. Wonderfully picturesque paths and summits grace the eastern side of Parnassos, including Liakoura, Mavra Litharia, Koukos, Tzarko and Gerodovrahos to name a few.

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Mount Elikonas

There are numerous hikes that have been outlined around Mount Elikonas and will allow you to get a real feel of the nature and life around this venerable mountain.

Find Out More

Path No. 22

Linking the mountains of Parnassos and Parnitha, Path No. 22 begins at the village of Agoriani in Parnassos and winds its way through the mountains of Kirfi, Elikonas, Korombili, Kitheronas, and Pastra, continuing on to the Bafi refuge in Parnitha.

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The Alpinists’ call

In the fall of every year the alpine associations of the region and local organizations organize the ‘Alpinists’ Call’ for people to embark on a different hiking path each time. Enquire about it locally if you’re there during the fall.

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This mountainous area offers numerous possibilities for mountain climbing. You can head directly to the refuge for mountain climbers at Gerondovraho at an altitude of 1,900 meters.

Photo: Panos Bmpaloukas

About 50 different climbing routes between the 4th degree of difficulty to the 10 degree, up to a height of 70 meters, can be found in Krya in Livadeia. Zemeno on Parnassos also offers climbing routes some 10 kilometres away from the town reached by a dirt road, with climbs that are as high as 400 meters. There is also a climbing area in Antikyra at Konstantina, with several different routes available.

Photo: www.vrahomania.gr

The most common destination for Athenians and closest to Athens, Mount Parnassos offers two independent ski centres at Fterolakka and Kellaria. It is only a two-hour drive from Athens, which is why it can get very busy during the peak season.

Photo: parnassos-ski.gr

The resorts are ideal for both advanced skiers and beginners, with 23 ski runs and courses almost 25 kilometres in length. There are 13 of the 16 downhill ski runs designated blue for beginners, ranging between 600 meters and 4,000 meters long. The three remaining ones are black and for professionals. Overall there are 13 ski lifts in the area, as well as skiing and snowboarding schools, shops, etc.

parnassos-ski.gr

Agios Vasilios Beach

Lush greenery and pine trees surround this wonderful beach which has a lot of fish taverns, as well as opportunities for canoeing.

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Antikyra beaches

The whole antikyra region offers great beaches, with the beach of Agios Isidoros being awarded a Blue Flag or its cleanliness. You can also swim near in the area of “Koutrou Port”

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Distomo Beach

This is an organized beach over 4 kilometers long, starting from the Agios Nikolaos to Antikyra. It is more touristy in the high season (July-August) with nightlife and many restaurants.

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Kalamaki Beach

On the way to Agios Vasilis you will come to a beach with mixed sand and pebbles, offering very clean water and a lovely landscape.

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Karachalios Beach

About 35 minutes from Kyriaki, this area offers seven beaches to choose form.

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Panaghia Kalamiotissa Beaches

Clean seas, calm waters and beautiful shores await you, particularly at Alyki in Tarsus. Local boats can take you to the little islands of Daskalio and Abelos.

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Saranti and Agios Nikolaos Beach

Some 16 kilometers from Thisvi the beach of Saranti offers good swimming, and if you continue in a northwest direction you will get to the sandy shore of Agios Nikolaos, with a view of the Alkonides islands.

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Mount Elikonas

There are numerous hikes that have been outlined around Mount Elikonas and will allow you to get a real feel of the nature and life around this venerable mountain.

Find Out More

Path No. 22

Linking the mountains of Parnassos and Parnitha, Path No. 22 begins at the village of Agoriani in Parnassos and winds its way through the mountains of Kirfi, Elikonas, Korombili, Kitheronas, and Pastra, continuing on to the Bafi refuge in Parnitha.

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Weaving is an integral part of Viotia's customs. The Astradenis Weaving Workshop in Lafistio (+30 693 7111081), which processes farm products, has a weaving showroom and is open to the public.

Another traditional weaving workshop of Katina Panagakou can be found in Arahova (+30 22670 31743). It also processes farm products and is open to the public. Enquire about the training courses they have as well.

There are windsurfing opportunities on many beaches of the Gulf of Corinth, such as Agios Nikolaos, Alyki, Antikyra and Sarandi.

Viotia or Boeotia as it is known in classical literature has a wealth of sites that aren't well known by visitors, perhaps because they are not as intact as other more important sites in the country. Boeotia of today and yesterday is home to Thebes, made famous by the Theban plays, as well as other less known sites such as Orhomenos, Gla and Thisvi, among many others.

Photo: 2steps.gr

Aliartos

Central Greece / Viotia
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Ancient Krefsis

Central Greece / Viotia
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Askri in Thespies

Central Greece / Viotia
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Clock tower of Davlia

Central Greece / Viotia
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Davlia

Central Greece / Viotia
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Distomo

Central Greece / Viotia
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Donakes in Xironomi

Central Greece / Viotia
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Flygonio in Kyriaki

Central Greece / Viotia
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Gla

Central Greece / Viotia
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Korsies near Prodromos

Central Greece / Viotia
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Orhomenos

Central Greece / Viotia
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Sifes near Alyki

Central Greece / Viotia
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Thebes and environs

Central Greece / Viotia
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Thisvi Kakosia

Central Greece / Viotia
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Valley of Muses

Central Greece / Viotia
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Walls at Koronia

Central Greece / Viotia
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Castle of Livadia

Central Greece / Viotia
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Agios Thomas cave

Central Greece / Viotia
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Kokkinovrahos

Central Greece / Viotia
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Koronia the Nymph

Central Greece / Viotia
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Korykio Antro

Central Greece / Viotia
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Clock tower of Livadia

Central Greece / Viotia
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Dark past of Distomo

Central Greece / Viotia
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Monument of Oedipus

Central Greece / Viotia
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Stone Fountains, Viotia

Central Greece / Viotia
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Watermill of Livadia

Central Greece / Viotia
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Viotia is mountainous, wild and sparsely populated compared to the rest of the country. Nature, therefore, is everywhere.

Even Livadia, the capital of Viotia, has its fair share of natural attractions. The Erkyna river crosses through the small city and gives it much character, dotted with historical buildings, stone benches and old bridges. The area called Krya is attractive nature-wise and represents the exit of the gorge. It features the springs of Lithi and Mnemosene (Forgetfulness and Memory). Seek out the stone theatre and the Bridge of Trihino.

Photo: Elen Val

Near Davlia in Mavroneri there are the springs of Agios Ioannis, designated a natural area by the Centre of Biotopes and Wetlands. Near the camping site of Lapathia there are fir-laden forests and a robust ecosystem with rare fauna and flora.

Apart from the hikes around Mount Elikonas and Parnassos, other natural places to marvel at are the olive groves and vineyards of Xironomi not far from Thisvi, between Elikonas and the Corinthian Gulf. Near Xironomi lies the area of Donakes where Narcissus saw a reflection of himself in the spring of the nymph.

On the way to the picturesque mountainous village of Agia Triada with is fir trees, in Agios Taxiarchis Pontzas, there is a nature filled area with crystal water worth visiting. The many small lakes around the area take shape due to the abundant waters in winter. Visit the forest of Koronia for long walks, springs and recreational areas.

Another area full of fir trees lies in Arvanitsa between Agia Ana and Kyriaki, located right between the two highest peaks of mount Elikonas. Also interesting is the dried-up stream and resulting gully of Aimon.

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Helicon Muses

Central Greece / Viotia
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Helicon Muses

Central Greece / Viotia
Book with booking.com

Helicon Muses

Central Greece / Viotia
Book with booking.com

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