We begin our journey from the northern borders of Greece, the city of Kilkis and capital of the prefecture, built at the foot of the hill of Agios Georgios where the post-Byzantine Monastery (1830), named after the Saint, is located.
Going down the hill we encounter the two-storey Cave with its coral formations, which together with its medicinal properties for diseases of the respiratory system, is ranked as one of the top caves worldwide. Rare findings from the Cave, including fossilized bones and teeth which date back to the last Ice Age, are on display in the Exhibition of Paleontology on the hill of Agios Georgios.
At the foot of the hill, we arrive at the Archaeological Museum where we can view its unique findings such as the Kouros of ancient Evropou (6th century BC), which the only one ever discovered in North Greece so far, the four monumental statues from the archaeological site of Palatianos and a variety of ceramics dating back to the early Iron Age.
Our walk at the pedestrian city zone is full of aromas coming from restaurants, taverns and ouzeri. There you can taste famous and nationally certified (PDO) local wines and dairy products such as ‘feta’ cheese, ‘manouri’ cheese etc. The cheese-making tradition has been enriched with techniques used by the refugees of Pontus which offer us today the opportunity to taste ‘gais’ cheese, ‘paskitan’, ‘tsiolakik’ etc.
We continue our journey to the villages of the mountain range of Krousia, the northeast part of Kilkis. Leaving back the villages Argiroupoli and Dipotamo, we arrive at Terpillos, the former center of the municipality of Krousia. In the area, the festival of Saint Panteleimon on July the 27th is very famous. Also, on January the 8th, the custom of “Babo” or “Midwife” (women feast while men stay at home etc.) is celebrated with great honour.
Within walking distance from the village, we come across Agiasma, a picturesque and idyllic location. We continue our journey to the villages Kokkinia and Melissourgio. This is a pleasant and relaxing route, a unique experience for nature lovers. The cafes of the area function as taverns and restaurants as well, as it is accustomed in every small village.
The hospitality of the people here with origins from the Pontus area will undoubtedly be rewarding.
A unique rest point is the village Parochthio, built on the hillsides of the mountain range Kroussia, literally embedded in lush green. A coffee at the traditional cafes is a must-do.
A few kilometers away from the village of Parochthio, in the middle of our way to Pontokerasia, we encounter a museum of living nature, the well-known Balkan Botanic Garden of Krousia. For nature lovers, this is a really good alternative amidst the idyllic landscape.
Long-living plane trees, ash trees, green oak trees and tall beech trees coexist in harmony with hundreds of endemic plants of the Balkans blossoming all year round and reaching their climax in spring.
Let’s discover them through different itineraries of sightseeing in rocky gardens, silver-colored pharmaceutical and aromatic gardens, waterfalls, ponds, streams, artificial paths, natural grasslands and woodlands.
After this wonderful break, we arrive at the village of Pontokerasia, also known as Old ‘Paprat’ or the village where ferns grow. It is located at the highest point of the mountain Krousia, at the peak called Mavrovouni, surrounded by woods rich in flora.
Let’s enjoy nature through strolls or through other activities, such as horse riding, cycling and paragliding. In the settlement, there is an ecotourism facility that can offer us, apart from accommodation services, experiences of great action and entertainment in the amusement park.
Local delicacies are another asset of the place. Here you can taste special salads made with arugula or spinach. Also, you can try many local dishes like boar or cooked deer or ‘tigania’ that is, fried pork slices, accompanied by the finest regional wines.
Leaving behind the village of Pontokerasia, we follow the way back to Terpillos in order to reach Efkarpia, a central village which is widely known for its good food in the picturesque taverns.
The last stop of our route is the village of Cherso, the old capital of the municipality and the commercial center of the region. Here you can find any kind of services, taverns, restaurants and cafes. Having seen vegetable gardens glimmering in the sun and having tasted the famous cuisine of Pontus full of aromas, we can now return to our starting point, Kilkis ...