Central Greece - The Legendary Mountain World
Central Greece accommodates the greatest ancient sanctuary, the Delphic Oracle, and one of the country's most popular winter sports destinations. The region caters for all tastes - whether you are a culture enthusiast, a lover of nature or an active holidaymaker - at all times of the year.
Geography - Climbing some of the country's highest mountains
Central Greece is a historical landscape in the centre of Greece. It borders on the peninsula of the Peloponnese in the south, the Ionian Sea and the Gulf of Corinth in the west, the Aegean Sea in the east as well as the regions of Epirus and Thessaly in the north. Central Greece has an area of about 21,000 km² and about one million inhabitants. Significant cities are Lamia, Galaxidi, Delphi, Chalkida and Thebes. Important islands in this region are Skytos and Euboea. The latter is the country's second largest island after Crete and extends along the coast of Central Greece. The island is separated from the mainland by the Euboean Gulf and the well-known Euripus Strait. Central Greece is one of the most mountainous regions and has some of the highest peaks in the whole country. The highest one is Mount Giona with a height of 2,510 metres. Other important mountains are Vardousia (2,495 m) and Mount Parnassus (2,457 m). Due to its geographical position, the region has a wide climatic range from dry mountain climate in the heartland to temperate climate at the coast.
Nature - Of rivers, lakes and wetlands
The region has a very rich and diverse flora and fauna. It fascinates with forested green mountains, hills vegetated by pines, beeches and poplars as well as with beautiful streams, mountains and great lakes. In addition, there are countless bays which descend into the sea smoothly or abruptly. Travellers can discover many small scenic islands along the south-west coast. The region is home to some of the country's best-known rivers such as Acheloos (Greece's second longest river), Spercheios and den Evinus. The country's largest lake is also located in Central Greece, Lake Trichonida. One of the most significant lakes is the artificial Mornos Lake. A true natural beauty is Missolonghi Lagoon, which is the largest wetland area in Greece and contains small islands, dunes, forested river banks as well as a rich flora and fauna, which provides the locals with fish.
Culture - Visiting the navel of the world and enjoying scenic towns
The territory of Central Greece has been populated for a very long time. Therefore, it is characterised by a rich and chequered history. The legendary city of Thebes, for example, which was made famous by heroic legends by poets such as Sophokles, Aischylos and Euripides, is located here. Another highlight is Mount Helicon (the mountain of the muses) and the greatest ancient sanctuary, the Oracle of Delphi. The Greeks considered Delphi the centre of the world for a long time. According to legend, Zeus let two eagles soar, one in the east and one in the west. The point where they met and dropped the sacred stone was the centre of the world, the omphalos (Greek: navel of the world). In Galaxidi, travellers should go on an expedition through the scenic alleys with the old two-storey manor houses and the taverns which are decorated with geraniums and jasmine. A visit to the Archaeological Museum and the Nautical Museum is highly recommended too. The latter displays model ships, maps, photographs and weapons from the Greek War of Independence in 1821. The city of Lamia accommodates a very interesting archaeological collection with various finds from the classical and Hellenistic era such as earthenware objects, statues and sculptures.
Experience - Discovering the region's beauty
Most travellers come to Central Greece to see the Delphic Oracle. However, instead of just visiting the historical sights, you should also pay attention to the region's natural beauty and beautiful villages. On the common way to Delphi, holidaymakers pass the village of Arachova, which is known for woven goods such as the flokati rug and the colourful bags. These products are great souvenirs. Along the coast, travellers find the beautiful towns of Galaxidi and Itea as well as the wonderful Naupactus. Visitors who want to get to know the region and its people should visit Amfissa at Easter when the village celebrates Easter traditionally. On Easter Sunday, the locals roast several lambs on a spit and offer the meat to passing people. They usually have local wine with their meals. Another festival which takes place in spring, more precisely on the 23rd of April, is the Saint George Day Festival in Arachova. It lasts three days and consists of the "race of the yeroi" (the race of the senior citizens), who run through the village's streets in their traditional costumes. Afterwards they have a feast at which they serve lamb on a spit (like in Amfissa). A real delicacy from this region is bottarga (cured and salted fish roe).
Activities - The most popular winter destination in Greece
The region of Central Greece is particularly popular with winter sports fans, especially with skiers and snowboarders. The main destination for these activities is Mount Parnassus, which is the most popular winter destination in the whole of the country. Besides ski runs, you find numerous other winter sports facilities which make active holidays in this region a memorable experience. The small town of Karpenisi offers a wide range of activities throughout the year. Popular sports in the region are rafting, canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, trekking and mountain biking. In summer, wonderful beaches invite travellers to go bathing in the sea. In addition, the harbour of Missolonghi is excellently suited for going sailing.
You reach Central Greece by plane via the airports in Preveza (PVK), Araxos near Patras (GPA) or Athens (ATH) and can continue your journey by bus or rent a car. If you want to travel in your own car, you can take the ferry from one of the great harbours in Italy to Patras and then cross the Rio-Antirrio Bridge to get to Central Greece.
Central Greece is the region with the highest peaks, the greatest lake and wetland area as well as the longest rivers in the country. The most popular winter holiday destination, scenic coastal towns and the Temple of Apollo in Delphi make a trip to this region an exciting experience.