So you have more or less visited and done the “must-see” popular things and places in Greece and you are now looking for an alternative path to continue your holiday!
Personally you’re more like a winter-person and you are not really attracted to the touristic islands and to the crowded “sightseeing” routes & streets of the capital. You are looking for something different! You wanna go off the typical touristic route and discover something new! The last few years you’ve been thinking about planning a roadtrip to Greece that would allow you to discover the hidden gems of the country. However, you don’t really know where to start from… and here I am to give you one suggestion.
Discover the western part of Greece; visit Kozani, Florina, Grevena and Kastoria!
Well, there are a lot… but on this page I’ll suggest a route that will definitely catch your eye, especially if you decide to travel during winter! Discover the western part of Greece; visit Kozani, Florina, Grevena and Kastoria! Go skiing/snowboarding in Vasilitsa, relax in the natural thermal spas in Pozar, join one of the most popular carnivals in Greece in Kozani, try the traditional delicacies, swim in the frozen lake of Kastoria and do things that only a local would know!
KOZANI; Kozani Prefecture in Greece is situated in the western part of Macedonia region. Kozani has been a prosperous area in the course of its history. Its merchants once dominated in the Balkan Peninsula, expanding their trade activities to the north and along the Danube. A mountain town with a centuries-old library, famous crocus fields and a miniature ‘Grand Canyon’. On this journey to Northern Greece, Kozani will win your heart. Kozani is the saffron capital of Greece and since antiquity has been one of the major regions for its production in the world. Every October inhabitants of the surrounding villages take to the crocus fields for the painstaking job of plucking the three crimson stigmas from an ocean of the mauve flowers (Crocus sativus). Prized in the cuisines of Spain, Iran and Asia for its exquisite, distinctive aroma and colour, it may be the most expensive spice on the market. You know it from buns and paella, but it was also used to dye the robes of Buddhist monks. In some parts of Greece, people drink saffron tisanes to relieve headaches, improve circulation and refresh the brain.
KASTORIA; Handsome mansions, Dionysian celebrations, Byzantine treasures, waterbirds and artisanal furs. Kastoria, in Macedonia, is eager to meet you. From a distance it looks like an Impressionist painting; houses, churches, trees seen through a haze, their reflections shimmering in the lake. The Macedonian landscape is magnificent. Come closer and you see impressive aristocratic lakeside mansions surrounded by clusters of tall trees, interspersed by Byzantine churches. Come closer still, and you’ll see the locals sipping coffee or promenading by the lake, with the fishermen in their flat-bottomed boats offshore and pelicans keeping hopeful watch alongside. Outside town, the old Mavriotissa Monastery and the phantasmagorical Dragon’s Cave await discovery. This is just the beginning of what Kastoria has to offer.
FLORINA; The land of the lakes An outstanding natural landscape dotted with six magnificent lakes (Vegorítida, Petrón Lake, Zázari, Ximarítida, Mikrí and Megáli Préspa), picture-perfect lakeside villages, stone-built villages and a beautiful capital traversed by a river: this is the prominent director’s Theo Angelopoulos favourite filmmaking spot, the place that inspired him deeply to praise beauty and life…Don’t leave without having bought some of Flórina’s exquisite local products, such as Flórina red peppers, Préspes beans, mountain tea, spoon sweets and knitted candles made from skillful local candle makers. Last but not least, the ski aficionados can slide down snowy slopes at the Vígla Ski Center at the village of Pisodéri (19 km far from Flórina, at an altitude of 1.600-1900 m).
GREVENA; Looking for action? Head for Grevena, the mushroom town! Grevena is a beautiful Macedonian town where man coexists harmoniously with nature. The village is surrounded by high mountains, verdant forests, streams, rivers and creeks, impressive stone bridges and old churches. The National Park of Valia Calda, the Vasilitsa Ski Center and mushroom picking make Grevena a pole of attraction for nature and mountain lovers. It is estimated that more than 1,300 different species of mushrooms grow in Grevena; it is therefore logically referred to as the country of mushrooms! Extremely rare European species of mushrooms have been found here. Dried or powdered mushrooms, mushroom liqueurs, mushroom sauces, mushroom pies and soups; this is your chance to taste all these excellent products from wild or cultivated mushrooms!
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