Open Invitation to visit Central Macedonia, Creece. On the footsteps of Apostle Paul in Macedonia.

A unique combination of sightseeing, history learning, pilgrimage, hiking, orienteering, greek dancing and gastronomy.

First day: Thessaloniki

Arrive at the airport of Thessaloniki. A short drive to your accommodation 20 minutes drive away. Relax the first day by visiting and walking the nearby villages of Peraia, Neoi Epivates, Agia Triada, Epanomi and Nea Mihaniona. A unique experience. Swimming and eating in one out of hundreds tavernas in the area.

Second day: Thessaloniki

In the fall of 49 Paul visited Salonica. When problems began to rise Paul and Silas left the city most probably from a small door where later Vlatades monastery was established. Later on when Paul was on his way from Athens to Corinth Timothy returned to Thessaloniki. Some Thessalonians such as Aristarchus and Secondous accompanied Paul in some of his journeys.

The second day we will have a strenuous walk all around the ancient city walls. Starting from Vardari square, one of the busiest places in the city we walk upwards following the city walls. While we narrate the story of the city you marvel at the outstanding views of the city and mountain Olympus (on a clear day). We stop at the monastery of Osios David the monastery of Vlatadon and we will visit one of the numerous tavernas in the area.

The monastery of Vlatadon is one of the oldest and most important Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki. It is located in the Northern part of Ano Poli, next to the imposing Byzantine “Portara” (Great Gate). Its importance lies to the fact that despite the various challenges and significant disasters the monastery suffered throughout the centuries, it never stopped being active! It was founded somewhere between 1351 to 1371 AD by the empress Anna Palaiologina while it was named after two monks, Dorotheos and Markos Vlattis.  We will visit the monastery where there is an outstanding view of the city. The outstanding panoramic view of the location will offer you some unforgettable images! At 120m above sea level it is one of the best spots available.

After the monastery of Vlatadon we visit the Acropolis (Eptapyrgion) of Thessaloniki. We then relax in a beautiful café just outside the main door of the Acropolis. We continue our journey to reach the Trigoniou tower with the fabulous view of the city.  The tower of Trigoniou opened its doors on April 1st 2024. It is a must for all tourists visiting the city. Every photographer loves it! On a clear day you’ll be able to see Olympous mountain located 150km away, without any difficulty. If we have time we will walk to Rotonda, Kamara and White tower.

Third day: Phillipoi and Kavala (Neapoli)

A very early start to reach Phillipoi by car in three hours. On the way to Philipoi we will stop at Nea Apollonia for a coffee and lunch. Another place of interest is Asprovalta where might stop for yet another coffee.  Phillipoi is only 12 klm away from Kavala. Apostle Paul visited Philippoi three more times in 57, 63 and 64 A.C.

We continue our journey to Kavala where we will eat and walk in the old city. The castle of Kavala is outstanding and offers splendid views of the city. In the winter of the year 49 Apostle Paul landed in Europe for first time. The harbor where he landed was Neapoli (present day Kavala). In 56 he came to Neapoli for a second time. He was accompanied by Silas, Timothy and Luke. (If you wnt to extend your stay it is possible from Kavala or Keramoti to take the boat to reach Thassos, Limenas). Return to Thessaloniki.

Fourth day: Thessaloniki

In summer we take the boat from Peraia to reach Thessaloniki harbor, otherwise by car.  A visit to the Byzantine museum of the city will broaden your horizons. The visit might last several hours. This is followed by visits to White tower, Rotonda, Telecommunications tower inside the International Fair, the harbor of Thessaloniki, the remnants of circus etc. Lunch time at the Aristotle’s square eating delicious salads and drinking fruit juices. Return to the hotel/ accommodation in Peraia by boat (during summer). Alternatively, we return by bus back to our accommodation.

As we know from the Bible life was not easy for the new Christians in Thessalonica. Their own countrymen persecuted them (1 Thessalonians 2:14). Paul traveled in the Greek area and of course to Thessalonica. After the year 50 Paul wrote an encouraging letter of the new congregation in Thessalonica. Paul said: ‘We always thank God when we mention all of you in our prayers.’ (1 Thessalonians 1: 2, 3). Paul also asked them to strengthen each other and encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

In 390 A.C. the population of Thessalonica rioted in complaint against the presence of the local Gothic garrison. The emperor of the Empire was at that time Theodosious. Theodosious is well known because in 393 he banned the pagan rituals of the Olympics in Ancient Greece. The garrison commander was killed in the violence, so Theodosius ordered the Goths to kill all the spectators in the circus as retaliation. It was a huge massacre of 7000 people! Theodosius was excommunicated by the bishop of Milan, Saint Ambrose, for the massacre. Ambrose told Theodosius to imitate David in his repentance. Later on Ambrose readmitted the emperor to the Eucharist only after several months of penance. Regarding the massacre of Thesaloniki Theodoret, a contemporary witness to these events, reports:

“… the anger of the Emperor rose to the highest pitch, and he gratified his vindictive desire for vengeance by unsheathing the sword most unjustly and tyrannically against all, slaying the innocent and guilty alike. It is said seven thousand perished without any forms of law, and without even having judicial sentence passed upon them; but that, like ears of wheat in the time of harvest, they were alike cut down.”

Fifth day: Aigai, Vergina, Veria,

Early start to yet another journey. Through Egnatia road Paul we reach Veria. Near the Aliakmon Dam bridge driving along the old road Veria -Kipseli there is a beautiful snack bar/ Cantina river bar where we stop to drink coffee. First of all, we visit the museum of Aigai, the ancient palace of Aigai and we continue by visiting the royal burial places of Vergina. During lunch time it is worth tasting bougatsa and local sweet revani Verias with ice cream.

Archaeological Site of Aigai (modern name Vergina): “The city of Aigai, the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina, in northern Greece. The most important remains are the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C. One of the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus is identified as that of Philip II, who conquered all the Greek cities, paving the way for his son Alexander and the expansion of the Hellenistic world. ( opening hours Wednesday-Monday : 08:00 – 20:00, Tuesday : 12:00 – 20:00”.

As archeologist Mrs Aggeliki Kottanidi, head of the project of restoring Aigai pointed out: “The restoration of Philip II’s palace invites us to take a fresh look at ancient architecture from the 4th century BC onwards. This is so important. For instance, I believe in Delphi we’ll have many new interpretations. Having wrestled with this beast for so long, I have come to understand that architecture was what the Macedonians excelled at. And that makes sense considering that they built organised cities. While we tend to laud democracy, we tend to overlook the buildings created for the public in its cities. The Athenians built the Parthenon and the Erechtheion, but these were temples; they did not serve the public, citizens could not enter them. Philip and the Macedonians more generally initiated a policy of providing for the citizens with buildings, massive stoas, organised agoras, assembly houses, complexes, gymnasiums and, of course, new cities with all the amenities available at the time, like running water, sewage systems, and broad streets”.

Afterwards we will visit the spot in Veria where it is said that Paul stood and preached. This is now an imposing monument. We continue towards the old Jewish suburb and the old Jewish synagogue. We admire the old houses of Veria. Finally, we walk along the streets of the city and we drink café at the central square of Elia.

Sixth day: Agios Antonios, Petralona cave and Nea Kalikratia

We have breakfast at Agios Antonios Women’s Agricultural Cooperative was founded in June 1999 and was the first women’s cooperative to be established in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki in the region of Halkidiki. The purpose of the cooperative is to employ women living in small villages of the countryside, enabling them to increase their family income, to contribute to regional development, and to preserve and extend tradition with the production and distribution of traditional, healthy, high-quality handmade products made with care. ( Later on we visit the Petralona cave. Petralona Cave is one of Europe’s most impressive and important caves thanks to its wealth of fossils (one of the richest collections in Europe) and to the discovery of a human scull that dates back approximately 700.000 years and it is located near the village of Petralona, on Katsika Hill. Petralona ( Afterwards, we head towards the picturesque town of Nea Kalikratia and we enjoy a dip into the crystal clear sea waters.

Seventh day: Chortiatis

Walking up Hortiatis mountain. At Chortiatis village we will visit the historical moument. Mountain Chortiatis was known in antiquity as mountain Kissos. It’s highest peak at 1201 m. is unapproachable because of the military installations on its top. The mountain is heavily wooded and pleasant. The forest of Cheich Sou is actually an extension of the mountain. We strart from the historical village of Chortiatis. We follow a sign posted path towards the refuge of SEO hiking club. We circumnavigate the summit by following a circular dirtroad. Through the forest we descend to another dirtroad (which leads to ZEP Kissos). We turn right and away from ZEP Kissos until we reach the tarmacked road. For centuries the mountain was very significant to the city of Thessaloniki for its water supply. Chortiatis mountain has plenty of trails and is an ideal introduction for hiking beginners.

 Eight day: Departure. I will give you a lift to the airport.

Possible extra days.

Eigth and Ninth days: Naousa, Edessa, Pozar waterfalls, ancient Pella (in connection with Vergina visit).

We continue to Naousa city and beautiful Agios Nikolaos recreation area for a meal. We walk in the park. Edessa waterfalls is our next stop. Finally, we will arrive at Pozar thermal baths. We will walk to Kounoupitsa watefalls. After the hike a hot spring bath is recommended. On the way back to Thessaloniki we will visit ancient Pella.

Thermal hot baths of Pozar: It is a place of outstanding natural beauty. “At the foot of Mount Kaimaktsalan, the Pozar Thermal Springs’ facilities comprise 48 individual baths, 6 indoor pools, the outdoor pool (12x25m) hamams, jacuzzi and spa. Recommended for rheumatism, skin conditions, respiratory and circulatory problems, the Pozar hot springs are beneficial for your health and well-being, either by bathing in them, or drinking their water”.

Archeological site of Pella: Pella is famed as the birthplace and ruling seat of Philip II and his son, Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great who succeeded Philip II to the throne at the age of 20. Although Alexander’s empire-building made Macedon a major power that stretched from Greece to northwestern India, it was Phillip II who consolidated most of Classical Greece and reformed the Macedonian army into an effective fighting force.

Late arrival in Thessaloniki and our hotel/accommodation.

Tenth day: Thassos (in connection with Philippoi visit)

An exhilarating journey all around the island of Thassos to Limenas. We get on the boat to reach the marvelous Keramoti port in the mainland. We visit the outstanding villages of Panagia, Potamia, Potos, Theologos, Limenaria, Maries, Prinos. We walk along the beautiful path from Potos to Limenaria. Overnight stay in Limenaria or Theologos. Taverna at Theologos. Weather permitting we take a dip into the sea.

Thasos’ economy relies on timber (it is rich in forests), marble quarries, olive oil and honeyTourism has also become important since the 1960s. By far the most important economic activity is tourism. The main agricultural products on the island are honeyalmondswalnutsolives, and olive oil, as well as winesheepgoat herding, and fishing. Other industries are lumber and mining which includes leadzinc, and marble, ( “Green” is usually the first adjective you’ll hear if you ask anyone that has been to Thassos what it is like. Not many islands in Greece are this lush. With its rich history and archaeological remains, wonderful beaches, variety of things to do and friendly people, Thassos has become one of those islands holidaymakers return to year after year. (

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