Amazing Kaimaktsalan: Ski Slopes, Hot Springs and Hiking Trails in Northern Greece

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Paleos Agios Athanasios is 575 km (6.5 hours) from Athens and 125 km (2 hours) from Thessaloniki. Estimate costs for gas and tolls at €85 and €15 respectively.


In the hotel Pozar Pallas (Loutraki, Tel. (+30) 23840.913.57, from €80 per double room, with breakfast) you’ll find a variety of rooms (double room, suite for three, two-bedroom apartment for four, two-bedroom apartment for six). Warmly decorated and offering  a hearty breakfast (including eggs, savory pies, croissants, local jams, and honey), the hotel is ideal for fans of thermal tourism and exercise. It has a Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, sauna, massage and body and face treatments as well as a gym. Perhaps its most impressive feature is the salt cave, an area designed especially to promote ​​wellness and relaxation (

Voras Guesthouse (Paleos Agios Athanasios, Tel. (+30) 23810.314.93, from €60 per double room, without breakfast) has double rooms (with or without fireplace), family rooms and suites (deluxe option includes fireplace and a hot tub).

The Chalet Sapin (Paleos Agios Athanasios, Tel. (+30) 23810.315.48, from €130 euros per double room, including breakfast) has 16 rooms, six of which have balconies that overlook the village and the mountain peaks of Voras. Breakfast includes eggs, cured meats, cheeses, cakes, bougatsa and fruit.


The ski center’s chalets offer drinks and refreshments, snacks, hot dogs, pizzas, sandwiches and drinks. In Paleos Agios Athanasios you’ll find many restaurants.

The taverna Kalyva (Tel. (+30) 6980.562.222)  is the place for meat soup, steak pancetta, beef liver, T-Bone steak, greens and Florina peppers. They also have a selection of wines, including a dry red, a Kaliva white Chardonnay; a semi-sweet Merlot; and their own house wine.

At Kala tis Antonias (Tel. (+30) 6932.419.735) try the fava, the beef kavourma, the noodles with meatballs and barliva, and the Bachovo peppers stuffed with cheese, fresh tomatoes and egg.

For hot chocolate, coffee and liqueurs, visit the Xionodromos Café (Tel. (+30) 6938.573.879), and for cocktails and whiskey, stop in at the Grand House (Tel. (+30) 23810.398.19). In the tourist shops of the village, you’ll can find various gastronomic souvenirs with names that honor sites in the area (including “Palios Agios Athanasios” tea, “O Voras” oatmeal, and “Kaimaktsalan” mustard and mayonnaise).

At the Pozar Thermal Baths, there are a few small shops, including the Tserkezos cheesery (Tel. (+30) 6983.013.261), carrying all kinds of traditional products.

In Loutraki, the top dining choice is Hydrolithos (Tel. (+30) 23840.916.00), a restaurant offering creative Greek cuisine, which serves – among other things – winter dakos with carob rusks, grilled beets, feta mousse and orange jelly; mushroom ragout; and kontosouvli pork with lemon sauce.

In the restaurant Paradosiako (Tel. (+30) 23840.910.17), you can find delicious dishes, including many kinds of salads, soups, stews and grilled meat.

On the way to Orma, you’ll find the restaurant Kokkino Piperi (Tel. (+30) 23840.911.00; it offers a variety of cheeses, such as PDO batzos, vegetables, meat dishes and a long wine list. You can even buy products such as the Macedonian tsipouro of the Melissanidis family and the trachanas of Almopia.

Dionysos restaurant in Orma has a very good reputation (Tel. (+30) 23840.944.10), too. Here, Karadzovitiki tigania is made with Greek sausage and Dorothea leeks, and you can get homemade burgers and savory pies filled with gruyere cream.


A trip like this can be made easier with a little planning. If you can rent a 4×4 car, you may be more comfortable on the road to the ski resort. In any case, whatever car you choose, you must have snow chains or snow covers and know how to put them on properly because the weather is unpredictable. Before going up to the ski resort, check its Facebook page to make sure it’s not closed due to sudden inclement weather.

Profitis Ilias and Apostolos Petros Church can be reached on foot and are a 20-minute walk away from the Sarantovrisi 1 lift.

As you get friendlier with the crowd here, you’ll notice that, when someone wants to treat you, they’re to offer you Jägermeister rather than the local tsipouro.

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