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Mount Athos monasteries in Halkidiki
The White Tower of Thessaloniki city
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Macedonia is a large region that covers most of northern Greece. Despite its large size, only a few places in Macedonia have been developed as tourist destinations. As they are not much open to foreign tourism, these places receive mostly Greek travelers or tourists from the Balkans.
The largest city in central Macedonia is Thessaloniki, which is also the second largest city in Greece. With a rich history and interesting culture, Thessaloniki is a great place for sightseeing and shopping all year round. The large university community also gives the city a vibrant atmosphere day and night.
In close distance to Thessaloniki (about 1-hour drive), there are two popular summer destinations: Halkidiki and Pieria. They both have exceptionally clean beaches and many interesting sights to discover. In Halkidiki, do not miss a boat trip to the monastic community of Mount Athos. In Pieria, visit Mount Olympus, the home of the ancient Greek gods, and the archaeological site of Dion.
The rest of central Macedonia is great for autumn adventures. In the prefecture of Serres, you will find Kerkini Lake which is great for birdwatching and horse riding as well as the fantastic cave of Alistrati with millions of stalactites and stalagmites. North of Kilkis, there is Lake Doiran, the natural border between Greece and FYROM.
The most impressive towns in western Macedonia is Florina and Kastoria. Kastoria is constructed on the slopes of a large lake, while Florina is crossed by a river creating a very romantic atmosphere. Very nice natural places in western Macedonia are the Lakes of Prespes with the rich biodiversity, the valley of Valia Kalda in Grevena which is ideal for a jeep safari and trekking and the huge Waterfalls of Edessa.
In the region of western Macedonia, there are many ski centers, such as the ski centers of Kaimaktsalan in Edessa, Vasilitsa in Grevena, Pisoderi in Florina, Tria Pente Pigadia in Naoussa and others.
The most famous town in eastern Macedonia is Kavala, a beautiful port town with a large beach promenade, an old quarter and a Medieval Castle on a hill above. The region of Kavala has many nice beaches, while from the port of Kavala and Keramoti depart regular ferries to Thassos island.
Close to Kavala, there is the ancient site of Philippi, a town founded in 356 BC by King Phillip II (father of Alexander the Great) to take control of the gold mines in the neighboring Mount Pangaion. The other town of eastern Macedonia is Drama, where an International Short Film Festival is organized every September.