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Old Town Hall, Katerini, Piereia, Greece

Old Town Hall, Katerini

Copyright deTraci Regula

Where is Katerini?

Katerini is located near the foothills of Mount Olympus on the eastern coast of mainland Greece, about two-thirds of the way between Athens and Thessaloniki. Katerini's old name is Aikaterini, but this has almost completely vanished from modern usage.

What to See in Katerini

Katerini makes a good base for sightseeing in the surrounding region, including the extensive archaeological park of Dion to the south and the tomb of Alexander's father in the north, at Vergina.

The coastal area at Katerini offers some excellent beaches along the Thermaikos Gulf and numerous beachside hotels.

Downtown in Katerini

Katerini has a vibrant downtown "restaurant row" area, with a variety of tavernas and nightclubs on all sides, plus some convenient and cheap Greek "fast-food" stands which cater to younger Greeks. There are also many small shops which serve the local Greek population. If you're looking for a clearly-marked "souvenir" store, you may be disappointed. What you will find are traditional icon-maker workshops, gourmet shops with local wines and cheeses, phone and electronics shops, and clothing and shoe stores. Stationers and bookshops will have maps and guides to the local area and the odd souvenir or two. Many shops close on Sundays and also shut for a period in the afternoon. If you need to make a purchase, plan on doing so in the morning or late afternoon.

Katerini has a complicated maze of small streets in its center, many of them one-way, and parking is limited. If you can park on the periphery, you may find it easier and much more fascinating to walk through the tangle of streets. The pleasant Hotel Olympion is located downtown if you can forego the attraction of being by the seaside.

Architecture in Katerini

Due to its more northerly location, you won't find white sugar-cube architecture from the Greek islands here. Houses and buildings are designed to be kept warm easily. While the temperatures don't get as cold as they do farther north, winters and early spring can be chilly.

Events in Katerini

In the summer, the Olympus Festival provides dozens of musical and other events in the general Katerini area, with many of them at the Dion Archaeological Park.

The Olympus Marathon draws visitors to the area as well. Most hikers approach Mount Olympus from the village of Litochoro, a short drive from Katerini and another nice place to stay in the area, though rooms are limited.

How to Get to Katerini

Katerini is located on the main north-south highway connecting Athens and Thessaloniki. It can be reached by KTEL bus from Athens or Thessaloniki, and also has a TrainOSE station. While domestic train service has been sharply cut back due to the Greek financial crisis, you can still travel by train to Athens and Thessaloniki from Katerini. Train schedules have changed from the past, and will continue to change to adapt to the current lower demand, so beware of any older printed and online sources.

By Bus:
Athens station: (Add from the US - 011 30) 210 8317059
Thessaloniki station : (011 30) 2310 595428
Larisa station: (011 30) 2410 537773
Katerini station : (011 30) 30 23510 23313
By Train:
Train station Athens (011 30) 210 3628370, (011 30) 210 5297777
Train station Thessaloniki (011 30) 23510 23709

By Air:
Katerini does not have an airport. Your best choice is to fly into Thessaloniki and then take a bus or train to Katerini. The inland town of Kozani does have a small regional airport, but it's a long, slow drive to Katerini from Kozani.

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