Paleos Agios Athanasios, Kaimaktsalan Ski Center

Paleos Agios Athanasios is a wonderful, mountain village,

situated next to one of the best ski centers of Greece, far away from the metropolitan centers of the area.

Agios Athanasios village was created at the end of 16 th century, probably by farmers and builders from Epirus district. This area became the eastern border of the control zone, of Ali Pasha big estate at Ioannina. Its older name was “Tsegani“. The settlement was self-sufficient during the Ottoman Domination, because of the local production of cheese, meat, fleece, textiles, such as wine and “tsipouro” drink.

The village was inhabited until 1981, when a destructive earthquake destroyed most of the houses. The epicentre of the earthquake was 100km southeastern from the village.

Most of the inhabitants were farmers and cattle breeders . After the earthquake they leaved their houses and established about 6 km lower, at the slope of the mountain and created New Agios Athanasios village. The new village was constructed, following a nice and modern street-plan which designed all the streets to be in right angle.

Later on, visitors from everywhere started to come for the new Ski Center of Kaimaktsalan, 13km away from the village. Many houses started to be restored and transformed into traditional guesthouses and many restaurants opened. All the above matters made the village a main winter destination. Additionally, many construction companies started to build new, stone house complexes for sale.

Paleos Agios Athanasios, Παλαιός Άγιος Αθανάσιος, Καϊμάκτσαλαν

Paleos Agios Athanasios is a wonderful, mountain village, situated next to one of the best ski centers of Greece, far away from the metropolitan centers of the area. The village maintains its peace and colour all year, except the holiday periods, when many visitors from Thessalonica and other cities are gathered to the village.

The village has about 300 permanent inhabitants and it is rapidly developed according to the contemporary facilities for high quality hospitality. In addition, the area combines the traditional, local cuisine, the recreation to various cafes and wine shops with the mountain activities (trekking, horse riding etc.) and winter sports. There are many earth-roads for 4×4 vehicles which lead to the villages Loutraki, Kerasia, Panagitsa and Achlada, Skopo (Florina) next to the ruins of Setina castle.

Paleos Agios Athanasios, Παλαιός Άγιος Αθανάσιος, Καϊμάκτσαλαν

The Kaimaktsalan wood is an important biotope and an area of great natural beauty, recognized as a protected of “NATURA 2000′ area and a member of “CORINE” network.

If someone stands for a few minutes at one of the roads inside the wood, will feel the sounds of nature and will probably see roes, deers, rabbits, wild boars and rarely bears (they avoid human presence). Hunting is allowed only with permission of the Association of Hunting of Edessa and only to a particular, controlled area.

  • Walk the paths around the village
  • Enjoy the local cuisine to the restaurants
  • Buy local biological products from the center of the village
  • In addition, visit the ski center AEGEAN of Kaimaktsalan, 13km northern to the village.

The ski center which is situated at the highest altitude of all Greek ski centers, is well organized and offers excellent service to the skiers, visitors and allocates:

ALTITUDE: 2.020-2.480 m.
LIFTS: 6 (1 air & 5 sliding)
TRACKS: 13
OVERALL LENGTH OF TRACKS: 15km.
SEASON DURATION: Early days of December until the end of April

Paleos Agios Athanasios, Παλαιός Άγιος Αθανάσιος, Καϊμάκτσαλαν

The Kaimaktsalan Ski Center is one of the biggest of our country, with the highest altitude, since the highest lift is situated at an altitude of 2.480m. Its tracks are included to the bigger ones in length in Greece and satisfy all the preferences of the skiers; mainly they are known about their big width and gentle inclinations.

At the new building next to the central chalet, you will find shops for renting and selling ski equipment and next to the beginner’s tracks you will find the two, wooden buildings of ski schools.

One more advantage of Kaimaktsalan is Prophet Helias chapel which is situated on the top of the mountain, at land of Skopia. It is constructed during the First World War from Serb soldiers. Nowadays, it has many visitors and there is a track-laying vehicle which makes itineraries for this cause, from the central chalet to the top.

At Kaimaktsalan Ski Center there is the famous Snowbar “2.069 m”, an amazing cafe – bar, located at the start of the two-seater chair and which is considered to be one of the most successful cafe bars of Greece.

The last years, there have been made many changes for the better service to the skiers and visitors. The great fact was the reconstruction of the central chalet, using earth materials – stone, wood and glass – in combination with the special architectural demands because of the high altitude, the fully renovated chalet is ideal to offer all the necessary facilities.

A two – storey space of 2.000 sq.m, combines the snow lifestyle with relaxing and comfort and in the meantime can offer rhythms of intense music and dance. It also offers a great view to the round mountains, the Olympus top and the tracks.

At the ground floor of the chalet you will find mini market, first aid service, fast food, internet cafe, cafe with playground, big atrium, new offices for the management and the personnel, wc for handicapped people. At the first floor you will find a restaurant specialized in international cuisine but also in Greek traditional tastes. There is also a self service, cafe with atrium of 60sq. m. viewing to Vegoritida Lake and to 3-5 Pigadia Ski Center.

Paleos Agios Athanasios, Παλαιός Άγιος Αθανάσιος, Καϊμάκτσαλαν

What Else?

Local Tastes & Products

In Paleos Agios Athanasios as in all the villages of Kaimaktsalan you will find a rich traditional cuisine and many pure local products.

Some of the special flavors of the local cuisine are the tsomleki, the stamnato, the grivadi, the gulianos, the kasia, the pies, the trahanas etc. You can even try great local products, such as honey, fruit, pastries, batso cheese, hot chilli peppers, and pasta.

Tsipouro is an integral part of the local gastronomy.

Cultural events

The local cultural association of Agios Athanasios organizes important open events every year.

  • Feast of Agios Georgios in the area of ​​the homonymous chapel, accompanied by traditional music and dance groups.
  • Annual Meeting, accompanied by traditional music and dance groups, on August 15.
  • The Cultural Association “Friends of Kaimaktsalan” organizes an open camp with local music, bean soup and boiled goat, on the 1st fortnight of August.
  • Festival of the Zoodohou Pigis (Life-Giving Spring). First Friday after Easter.
  • Animal Dedication – Auction: Local custom with group baking in the area where five trees come together to form a human body. Traditional music and dance. It takes place in the chapel of Agios Georgios on April 23.
  • Traditional festival with music, dance and traditional dishes of the Ascension, 40 days after Easter, takes place in the square of Agios Athanasios.
  • The Christmas Fires: On December 23, in the central square of Paleos Agios Athanasios, large fires are lit and people gather around them and celebrate with traditional music and food.

Sights of Paleos Agios Athanasios

Churches: One of the most important sights of Paleos Agios Athanasios is the church of the Ascension with a well-preserved iconostasis, built in the 17th century, and dominates the edge of the village. It is a three-aisled wooden-roofed basilica, with a narthex on its long side. The interior is decorated with icons of Byzantine style. Visit the church of Agios Athanasios on the homonymous hill, from where you can admire a wonderful view of Lake Vegoritida and the lakeside villages. Do not forget to visit the chapel of St. George, where five trees join in this way, forming a human body.

Paleos Agios Athanasios, Παλαιός Άγιος Αθανάσιος, Καϊμάκτσαλαν

The forest of Kaimaktsalan

It is an area of unique natural beauty. Being an important habitat, it has been recognized as a protected area with NATURA 2000 and has been included in the CORINE network. The forest hosts deers, hares, wild boars, bears and other animals.

The Vora-Kaimaktsalan Ski Center

The area is dominated by Mount Voras-Kaimaktsalan, which is the third highest mountain in Greece. Just 10 km from Paleos Agios Athanasios operates the Kaimaktsalan Ski Center, with modern facilities and excellent views. It is one of the largest ski resorts in our country, with the highest lift in Greece, at an altitude of 2,480 m. Its slopes, famous for their large width and gentle slopes, satisfy all skiers.

Wetland Agra – Nisi – Vrytton

A visit to the lake-wetland Agras-Nisi-Vrytton a unique experience for the visitor. The artificial lake is covered for the most part by aquatic vegetation, and hosts many species of fauna, but also rare species of birds. Herons, swans, pelicans, kingfishers, marsh ducks and many other duck species are some of the birds that find refuge in the lake.

The wetland is protected by national and Community legislation as a site of special natural beauty, hosting rare species of fauna. The tour of the lake can be done by car and boating.

Surrounding Areas

Mount Vorras or Kaimaktsalan is the third highest mountain in Greece and is located along the Greek-Yugoslav border while most of the mountain belongs to the prefecture of Pella to the borders of the prefecture of Florina.

Aridea is a beautiful city built in the heart of the Almopia basin, surrounded by the mountains of Vora and Paiko. Aridea is built on the right bank of the torrent Toplitsa, at an altitude of 128 meters, and at a distance of 26 km from the city of Edessa.

Panagitsa is a traditional village, built on the slopes of Mount Vora at an altitude of 750 meters. Panagitsa is the second largest village of the Municipality of Vegoritida and numbers about 1,000 permanent residents.

Loutraki is a beautiful settlement, built at the foot of Mount Vora, at an altitude of 350 meters, at a distance of 33 km from Edessa. It belongs to the municipality of Aridea and is only 13 km from the city of Aridea. The area is known for its thermal baths since antiquity.

Activities Paleos Agios Athanasios

In Paleos Agios Athanasios you will have the opportunity to do many activities such as paragliding, hiking, skiing at the ski center Vora-Kaimaktsalan, mountain biking, horse riding, mountaineering etc.

Climbing
Many mountaineering routes are organized and start from Paleos Agios Athanasios on the verdant slopes of Vora-Kaimaktsalan through the Black Forest.

Horse Riding
In the Municipality of Aridea, in the village of Orma, there is a equestrian club and a riding school with specially trained horses that offer rides to adults and children.

Hiking
Beautiful routes through lush forests start from Paleos Agios Athanasios and Aridea.

Paragliding
If you want to feel the unique experience of the double paragliding flight over the peaks of Kaimaktsalan overlooking Lake Vegoritida, you can go to Kerasies and from there take off at Panagitsa airfield.

Kaimaktsalan Ski Center
offers great thrills to lovers of adventure and action. In addition to skiing you can visit the church of Profitis Ilias at 2,524m, take endless snowmobile rides and try the Airboard Trail. Airboard Trails are inflatable boards designed for snow movement, and there is a track where you can move with Airboard Trails.

There is also a specially designed and fenced track for snowboarders, while there are specialized staff to assist guests. In addition to adventure moments you can relax in the chalet of the ski center enjoying your coffee or tea.


From Thessaloniki the distance is 120 km.

Paleos Agios Athanasios, Παλαιός Άγιος Αθανάσιος, Καϊμάκτσαλαν

The traditional Macedonian architecture of Agios Athanasios is based on carved stone and wood.

Beautiful landscapes, Nice people, Hospitality, Experiences that are completed with the smiles of the locals, Crystal clear blue water, Countless islands, Green mountains! And these are just a few of the many things you can enjoy in Greece!

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Paleos Agios Athanasios, unique destination!

“Agios Athanasios” village was created at the end of 16 th century, probably by farmers and builders from Epirus district. This area became the eastern border of the control zone, of Ali Pasha big estate at Ioannina. Its older name was “Tsegani“. The settlement was self-sufficient during the Ottoman Domination, because of the local production of cheese, meat, fleece, textiles, such as wine and “tsipouro” drink.

The village was inhabited until 1981, when a destructive earthquake destroyed most of the houses. The epicentre of the earthquake was 100km southeastern from the village.

Most of the inhabitants were farmers and cattle breeders . After the earthquake they leaved their houses and established about 6 km lower, at the slope of the mountain and created New Agios Athanasios village. The new village was constructed, following a nice and modern street-plan which designed all the streets to be in right angle.

Later on, visitors from everywhere started to come for the new Ski Center of Kaimaktsalan, 13km away from the village. Many houses started to be restored and transformed into traditional guesthouses and many restaurants opened. All the above matters made the village a main winter destination. Additionally, many construction companies started to build new, stone house complexes for sale.

Paleos Agios Athanasios is a wonderful, mountain village, situated next to one of the best ski centers of Greece, far away from the metropolitan centers of the area. The village maintains its peace and colour all year, except the holiday periods, when many visitors from Thessalonica and other cities are gathered to the village.

The village has about 300 permanent inhabitants and it is rapidly developed according to the contemporary facilities for high quality hospitality. In addition, the area combines the traditional, local cuisine, the recreation to various cafes and wine shops with the mountain activities (trekking, horse riding etc.) and winter sports. There are many earth-roads for 4×4 vehicles which lead to the villages Loutraki, Kerasia, Panagitsa and Achlada, Skopo (Florina) next to the ruins of Setina castle.

The Kaimaktsalan wood is an important biotope and an area of great natural beauty, recognized as a protected of NATURA 2000 area and a member of CORINE network.