Pangaio (Greek: Παγγαίο) is a municipality in the Kavala regional unit, Macedonian Greece, named after the Pangaion hills. The seat of the municipality is in Eleftheroupoli.
The Pangaion Hills or Pangeo, Pangeon (Greek, Παγγαίο) is a mountain range in Norther-Greece, approximately 40 km from Kavala. The highest elevation is Mount Koutra (1,956 m). The Pangaio is located in the second row behind the Symbolo chain of hills by the Aegean Sea to the south sea surrounded by fertile plains of Philippi-Kavala-Serres in front of the Rhodope Mountains range to the north.
- 1 Elefteropolis. Elefteropolis is the largest town in the municipality of Pangeo with its approx. 5000 inhabitants and is the seat of the municipal administration. Here you will find the best shops including specialty shops and large supermarkets.
The Pangaio is with almost 2000 m the highest mountain in the Kavala area, with picturesque mountain villages, a multitude of monasteries and impressive vegetation. At the foot of the mountains the vegetation begins with the typical Mediterranean maquis (low, crippled sclerophyllous plants) and then changes slowly, with increasing altitude, in a dense deciduous forest and further above finally in coniferous forest and then reaches the tree line. From there on only grasses and herbaceous plants (including the Greek mountain tea) grow.
The Pangaio area is easily accessible via the motorway, with departures at Orfani, Mousteni and Exochi / Elefteropolis. By bus you can reach the city of Elefteropolis from the bus station Thessaloniki or Kavala. The nearest airport is in Kavala. By train go from Thessaloniki to Drama and from there by bus to Elefteropolis.
You can reach almost all villages by bus from the bus station of Elefteropolis. You only need a lot of time. By far the best way to explore the area is by car. Rental cars are available in Kavala. Because of the often winding road, the area also has very nice motorcycle routes.
Coming from Kavala, the road at Eleferopolis divides into a northern and a southern bypass of Pangeon. Following the northern road, after 10 km you come to a crossroads to the mountain village
- 1 Paleohori. Above the village starts the nice 'trail to the castle ruins' (about 2km) with wonderful views over the massif and the plain of Drama. A number of good restaurants with stunning views are well worth a visit in the village. The village is centrally located and well suited to take up quarters here. You can reach both Elefteropolis as a larger town quite quickly, as well as Kavala, if you want to escape the quiet of the villages. Also the way to the beach is not far and the village center is nicely designed, so that one can stroll in the evening and then eat well in one of the restaurants.
- After another 8km you come to the most famous mountain village of Pangeon
- 2 Nikisiani. Above the village there is the restaurant Kastanies" which is definitivly worth a visit due to the impressive views over the plain of Philippi and on the Pangaio mountain. Because of the altitude, it is refreshingly cool even in midsummer. From the end of the street at the restaurant , a very nice 'trail' leads to a small waterfall (800m) and an old bridge (1600m).
- The best-known attraction on the north side of the Pangeon is the
- 3 Ikosifinissa Monastery. (Μόνη Εικοσιφοινίσσης) It is located about 15 km from Nikissiani direction Thessaloniki. It is well signposted high on the mountain with superb paintings and impressive architecture in a fantastic location. A cafeteria in front of the monastery offers refreshments and a cool place to stay. Ikosifinissa Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries and centers of Orthodoxy in the Balkans.
- Above the monastery, a high-altitude road leads 6 km back to Nikissiani , past other, also worth seeing, monasteries.
- 4 Axion Esti Monastery. (Μόνη Άξιον Εστί)
- 5 Agios Dimitrios Monastery. (Μόνη Αγίου Δημητρίου)
- 6 John the Baptist Monastery. (Μόνη Αγίου Ιωάννου Προδρόμου)
- Another attraction in this area is the little-known
- 7 Aggitis Canyon. near the village Nea Mpafra . Approximately 800 m after the village direction Drama there are grain silos left hand. After the silos turn left and after about 3 km you reach a large parking lot on the edge of the canyon. The turnoff is not signposted. It is a good idea to preview the route in Openstreetmap. From the car park, footpaths lead along the canyon and on the opposite side to the Stalactite cave of Alistrati '. There is also the only cafeteria in the vicinity of the pretty hot canyon.
- If you follow the road in a south-westerly direction to the village of Proti after about 14 km you will reach the junction towards the
- 8 Analipsis Monastery. (Ιερά Μονή Αναλύψεως του Κυρίου). One of the most beautiful monasteries in the area and definitely worth a visit, also or just because of the magnificent mountain scenery. In the village of Proti, which is located below the monastery, a restaurant and a cafe in the central square invite with untourist village charm.
If you want to reach the summit, follow the southern road around the Pangeon from Elefteropolis. From Elefteropolis towards Thessaloniki turn right in front of the petrol station in the next village (Akrovouni / Panagia) and follow the road that leads to the top of Pangeon.
- 9 Summit of Pangeon.
- After about 20 minutes on curvy, narrow road you can visit the worthwhile
- 10 Monastery Ypapanti. (Ιερά Μονή Υπαπαντής)
- Directly behind the monastery is a dilapidated spirit village (Akrovouni), which has a strange charm with its dilapidated houses. Because of the altitude, it is already much cooler here and you should also take a light jacket in the summer. 3 km after the monastery is the
- 11 Dasiko Horio. a log cabin restaurant with great views. In the hot summer months you can escape here, because of the altitude, the heat. In winter, it is a cozy place to drink a wine by the large open fireplace.
- The drive from here to the summit of Pangeon takes about 1 hour, on a heavily damaged asphalt road. It leads through dense deciduous and coniferous forests until you finally reach the ski center above the tree line. In summer it is not managed. The view is breathtaking and well worth the strenuous trip if you've chosen a clear day. The way up to the mountain top with its antenna systems is closed for cars, with a motorcycle but on a dirt road reachable.
Also worth seeing is on the way from Eleftheropolis towards Thessaloniki is the monastery Agiou Panteleimonos and the traditional mountain villages Mousteni and Mesoropi with their stone houses and narrow streets located in a particularly beautiful landscape. There are several good restaurants in the villages as it is popular as a tourist destination in Kavala.
- 12 Agiou Panteleimonos Monastery. (Μόνη Αγίου Παντελεήμονος) Located above the village of Chrisokastro with wonderful views of the valley and beautiful gardens.
- 13 Mousteni. beautiful mountain village with famous restaurant Mpostani and the Dionisos Village Resort, a romantic hotel complex in the log cabin stalk in the mountains above the village
- 14 Mesoropi. beautiful mountain village with many traditional stone houses, a folklore museum and some traditional restaurants. Above the village of Mesoropi, a footpath leads to a small waterfall on a mountain lake.
At the western end of the Pangeon, visit the archaeological site of Amphipolis and the statue of the Lion of Amphipolis
- 15 Amphipolis. The city was founded as Athenian colony 438/437 BC. because of its strategic location, near the fertile Strymon valley and the gold mines of Pangeo. The numerous findings from the excavations can be found in the Archaeological Museum of Amphipolis and in the Archaeological Museum of Kavala. As in most of the archaeological sites, former temples were overbuilt with churches, so you can see the foundations of five basilica in the small excavation area. The signs to the archaeological site are placed a bit confusing. In case of doubt ask in the museum. In the immediate vicinity are several ruins of towers from the Byzantine period.
- 16 Lion of Amphipolis. Tomb monument from the 4th century BC in honor of Admiral Laomedon, who came from the island of Lesbos, near the ancient city of Amphipolis. The body of the lion is about four meters high, together with the pedestal he measures over eight meters.
- 17 Chrysopolis. was a Byzantine port city that developed after the 10th century on the delta of the Strymonas River and became an important port. As a true Byzantine city, Chrysopolis was protected by a fortress, of which some remains are preserved. Around 1380 Chrysoupolis is taken over by the Ottoman Empire, without losing its importance as a trading centre on the way from Thessaloniki to Constantinople. In the 16th century the settlement was abandoned.
- 18 Castle ruin Orfani. Turkish fortress from the 18th century. to control the protection of the delta
- 19 Castle ruin Karyani. Some scattered remains of a Byzantine fortress (11th century) on a low hill amidst vineyards. It seems that the place has never been a settlement. It was probably just a haven for the population.
- Hiking. There are some beautiful hiking trails, both for walks and demanding hikes. Some of the highest and most important peaks are Eye (1956 m), Dikorfo or Trikorfo (1940 m), Shepherd (1858 m) and Egg (1835 m). Of these, the Mati peak, though the highest, is of no interest to mountaineers, as the road leads to its highest point, where television and telecommunications facilities are located. The Greek Mountaineering Federation of Kavala (EOS Kavalas) organizes hikes every two weeks. The very good website of the association is unfortunately only in Greek, so that you can read them only with the help of a translation program. Inquiries via email can also be made in English. In this page you will find good descriptions of the best trails. Although the routes are described as accurately as possible, it is a good idea for those who want to climb for the first time to contact the Mountaineering Associations of Kavala for further information and advice on accommodation.
- Ski. In winter, the Pangeo often has enough snow for skiing. Unfortunately, the relative proximity to the Bulgarian ski center Bansko and the somewhat difficult road up to the top, the number of visitors to the ski lodge on the summit in winter has fallen so much that it is usually closed.
- Enduro Touring.
- Beaches. Very popular are the beaches of 1 Nea Peramos The village has a rather narrow, long sandy beach right on the promenade. On the peninsula, where the castle of Peramos stands, there are some smaller bays. Vrasidas is the most famous bay with a beach bar. Especially younger people prefer the beaches of Amolofos , 4km west of Peramos. Parking, sunbeds, umbrellas, loungers, beach showers and loud music are available free of charge if you order a drink at the bar. The crystal-clear shallow waters and fine sand provide a relaxed holiday atmosphere for those who love more action than peace. Pretty crowded in the season. Driving from Nea Peramos along the highway in the direction of Thessaloniki you will come to other very popular beaches in a particularly beautiful environment, with crystal clear water and beach bars. On Sundays in high season these beaches are very crowded. If you prefer quieter, should there during the week. The best known are: 2 Oasis Beach Bar, 3 Cuba Beach Bar, 4 Almyra Beach Bar, 5 Sarakina. Continue west, about 2 km after the entrance to 1 Loutra Eleftheron (hot sources), the only 6 nudist beach. Even further west then extends the many miles long, well-developed tourist beach of 'Orfriniou' .
- Wine. from the Pangeo region is a protected name and it is definitely worth tasting these high quality wines.
- Herbals & special food. The big monasteries also all have sales rooms. In addition to religious articles they offer also good herbal medicine, herbal ointments, teas, soaps a.o. herbal items, honey and cheese from our own production. Anyone who has some knowledge and interest about natural remedies and natural cosmetics will always find something here.
- Foodstuff and other every day life articles. Elefteropolis is a great place to take a stroll through the city as it has many shops as a supply center for the surrounding villages.
- 1 Peukórama. Located on the hill above Eleftheropolis with a wonderful view of the plain of Philippi
- 2 Pangeo Forest Village. Log cabins restaurant high on Pangeon with fantastic views. Because of the altitude it is always cooler here than in the valley and so you can sit here in the summer refreshing while you sweat in the valley or in winter, romantic by the fire and snowy landscape. Good for families with children who have plenty of space to play safely.
- 3 Dio Wrises. simple restaurant under high plane trees. Very nice place in the summer
- 4 Mpostáni. in Mousteni just above the village in a park. Popular especially with families on weekends, as in addition to the good food, the children can play safely in the park
- 5 Kastaniés. well-known and popular eatery in Mesoropi
- 6 Palairon. in Paleohori, popular because of the fantastic views
- 7 Kastanies. in Paleohori, popular because of the fantastic views
- 8 Platanos. in Proti, unter einer Platane im Dorfzentrum
You should not expect a lot of nightlife in the villages, except restaurants and kafeneios. Elefteropolis offers some nightlife, but better you go to Kavala or in the high season to the beach of Orfrinio.
Most visitors prefer accommodation by the sea in Nea Peramos, Nea Irakliza, Palio or Kavala. Something special, however, are the mountain huts:
- Crime is virtually non-existent. It is possible to move without fear during the day or at night in the villages. Only wild dogs can sometimes become uncomfortable or shepherd dogs guarding their herds. When encountering herds of sheep / goats, always be careful, especially if the shepherd is not present.
- When hiking in the mostly lonely mountain landscape, you should bring normal hiking equipment to clothing, footwear, etc., because it can be quite cool in the mountains, even if you sweat at the same time on the beach.
- Snakes: there is a poisonous snake (horned viper) that lives mainly in the mountains, often on stony terrain or in holes in walls, between rocks and similar habitates. It is very poisonous! Therefore, one should pay attention to good footwear and clothing, if you want to go off the roads into the grounds and generally be careful with walls in abandoned houses and land.