The Pierian Mountains, a continuation of the ridge of Mount Olympus, is a natural border between the prefectures of Kozani, Imathia and Pieria. The highest peak of the mountain range is Flamburo with an altitude of 2,188 metres. They are covered by one of the most accessible forests in the country, which can be accessed from all sides.
In the eastern part there are beech trees, oaks, black and red pines and shrubs and deciduous trees at lower levels. The Pierian Mountains with its strong points “the tranquil beauty” and the untouched nature, claim an important place in the global list of mountain tourist destinations of four seasons, ideal for sports activities, tours to archaeological, cultural and spiritual sites, but also for complete relaxation. The biotic diversity and the microclimate make the area an important part of the vast botanical garden that starts from Mount Olympus, reaches the Pierian Mountains and continues to Thrace and is an ideal destination for visits by photographers, pupils and students who can study different types of habitats, alpine vegetation and mixed forests.
Pieria has two mountaineering shelters. The first one in the settlement of Ano Milia at 1,000 meters and the second one in Sarakatsana at 1,680 meters. The route from Ano Milia to Flamburo passes through forests and streams. The E4 mountaineering path crosses Pieria and heads towards Mount Olympus. The path passes by the Flamburo peak, passes by the settlements of Ano and Mesia Milia and descends to Kato Milia. Continuing towards Mount Olympus, it passes through Dion and reaches Litochoro.
The Pierian Mountains: Elatochori
Elatochori, a traditional village in the mountains, consists of two settlements, the old and the new one. The first name of the village was Skouterna, either from the water mills that existed in the area or from the woolen fabrics , which were processed or traded in various parts of Greece. It is a natural balcony towards Mount Olympus, at 850 meters altitude, in the mountain range of Pieria and is traditionally called the “Valley of the Palace”. In Old Elatochori, which has been characterized as a traditional, preserved settlement, the mountain architecture of the past has been followed in the resorts, guesthouses and catering shops. In each estate there is a hut, a traditional rural building mainly made of stone, which in the past was either the family’s place of residence when the work began or a storage room for the necessary tools. In the old village the old watermill, where the people of Elatohori used to grind corn and wheat to produce flour, has been renovated. In Neo Elatochori, the Folklore Museum, which operates under the responsibility of the Folklore and Cultural Group of Elatochori, revives aspects of everyday life of the past years in the area with a collection consisting of offerings from residents, family and historical relics, household utensils, utensils and tools.
Elatochori Ski Center
The Elatochori Ski Centre is located on the northeastern side of the Pierian Mountains, at an altitude of 1,800 meters in an ideal location overlooking the Aliakmonas, the artificial lake Polyfytou, Mount Olympus, Thermaikos and Halkidiki. The ski resort’s facilities include 10 slopes with varying altitude differences and different degrees of difficulty. There is also a snowboard slope and a sledding slope. It has a two-seater aerial lift of 1300 meters and there are also two sliding lifts. In the Ski Centre there is a renovated two-storey chalet with a café-bar and restaurant, ski schools and a first aid clinic. The aim is for the Ski Centre to attract tourists, not only in winter, but also in summer and to become a point of continuous visitation in the coming years. In the first phase the ski company will operate the lift and the chalet on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer.
In Helicon, the Muses were challenged to a musical contest by the daughters of Pierus, king of Pieria and Pella, the Pierides. These were otherwise called Imathides because of their origin from the area south of Axios and Paionia, north of Pieria, which extended from Aliakmonas to Mount Olympus .The musical contest between the two dances, between the immortal Muses and the nine mortal Pierides or Hematides, which took place on Mount Helicon, the mountain of the Muses, ended naturally with the victory of the Muses, who transformed the mortal maidens into birds. According to Pausanias,a Greek traveller and geographer,Pierides and Muses had the same names, but the children attributed to Muses were in fact Pierides, while they themselves remained virgins. With their victory over the hospitable Pierides, the Mousses secured their presence in areas where their power had been challenged. That is why it is believed that behind the myth lies the establishment of the worship of the Muses by King Piero, the son of Macedon and father of the Pierides. The Muses were also called Pierridean.
Another retelling of the contest of Pierides and Muses appeared in Antoninus Liberalis Zeus made love to Mnemosyne in Pieria and became father of the Muses. Around about that time Pierus, was king of Emathia, sprung from its very soil. He had nine daughters. They were the ones who formed a choir in opposition to the Muses. And there was a musical contest in Helicon. Whenever the daughters of Pierus began to sing, all creation went dark and no one would give an ear to their choral performance. But when the Muses sang, heaven, the stars, the sea and rivers stood still, while Mount Helicon, beguiled by the pleasure of it all, swelled skywards tilI, by the will of Poseidon, Pegasus checked it by striking the summit with his hoof.
Since these mortals had taken upon themselves to strive with goddesses, the Muses changed them into nine birds.