If it’s a cold and sunny day, everybody would dream a day playing with the snow or a hot drink by the fireplace. You can do both in mount Hortiatis! Is less than 60′ driving from down town, so when you visit Thessaloniki for 3 or 4 days and you want to spent the morning into the nature I would definitely suggest you to schedule it. After all you have several cool things to do up there! You can play with the snow during the winter, you can collect chestnuts during the fall, go for a bbq with your friends in spring and summer or just visit the village for a warm coffee/tea by the fireplace.
There are also 2 kinds of activities people use to do there. They hike or drive! They drive their mountain bikes and their enduro motorcycles or hike on the mountain enjoying the bushing forest of beeches and chestnuts. The both kinds of the activities can lead you to visit or spend the night to the refugee of the Greek Association of Μountaineers (in Greek SEO) at 1000m. You can reach SEO by hiking for 1,5 hour from a medium difficulty trail, by bikes, by car from a non asphalt road or leave the car and walk the same road for 40 minutes. If you happen to be a scout you could also visit the refugee of The Scouts of Greece and if you are lucky enough you can meet a scouts’ group and ask them to guide you the spot (called “eagle’s rock” for them), where you can see the whole city on your left, the lake of Ag.Vasilios on your right and if the weather is clear Mt. Olympus, too.
After the contact with the nature there is a beautiful and traditional cafe that you can relax your body and spirit! Try one of the rare tea collections, rakomelo or tsipouro (alcoholic drinks) with a mezes (small traditional dish of food), nice folklore music and warmth from the fireplace. It is called “Periklides” and it is there from 1870, open from Friday evening and during the weekend. Some of the weekends they organize live music events with Greek artists and the atmoshpere is unforgettable. Believe me, this cafe is a motivation on its own even for those who are not in the mood of walking, staying in cold or don’t really enjoying being close to nature.
Mount Hortiatis is a mountain which rises southeast of Thessaloniki and peaks in 1,201 m. On it’s foot and at altitude of 600m there is the small village of Hortiatis with less than 6.000 population, famous for the Massacre by the Wermacht in 1944 during WW2 and the taverns on the main road. If you need some extra information, please don’t hesitate to ask me anything by e-mail, phone or a comment bellow and if you wish we could be sharing this experience together!
Anyway, relax and enjoy the nature! 🙂