Day Trip to Dion and Olympus from Thessaloniki

It was after a long strong winter that I received a message from my friend Mio, suggesting we go for a day trip from Thessaloniki to the archaeological site of Dion in the shadow of Mount Olympus. It was one of those days of early spring when we reached the area.

The archaeological site of Dion is a short distance journey from Thessaloniki and  a great location for one day trip, especially when you combine it with the a visit to the Archaeological museum of Dion, the Enipeas gorge and the cave of Saint Dionysius and a visit to Olympus Litochoro you know for a swim in the summer and for a lunch in the winter..or spring as we did.

My trip to Dion it was a small catharsis, a passage from the cold winter to the promising spring and summer. Was it because my emotional state, or because of the power that this site has, I felt refreshed and relieved after my visit there. Dion you see  was the most sacred city of the Macedonians, Dion, was at that time only 1.5 kilometers from the sea and the so called Vafyras river was flowing through it. We have the first written reports mentioning Dion in the 5th century BC, but it was King Archelaos I who upgraded the city of Dion to a cultural and religious center of the region. The Macedonian King chose the city because of its connection with the worship of the Muses and Zeus, and thus Dion had in ancient Greece a prestige like this of Delphi in Sterea Hellas and Olympia in the Peloponnese. Temples, stadiums, walls were built and sculptures and statues were placed, while in the ancient Greek theatre of Dion the tragedian Euripides staged his plays, “Bacchae” and “Archelaos”.

Right under the house of Gods, visitors were coming to this city to worship the gods, to relax and maybe have some fun in the Temple of Dionysus. My friend Mio compared the site with the Hayao Miyazaki's  "Spirit Away" animation film. where there also people were living among the Gods, in an area with springs.

Dion is the site of a large temple dedicated to Zeus, as well as a series of temples to Demeter and to Isis (the Egyptian goddess was a favourite of Alexander the Great). Excavation of the magnificent House of Dionysus revealed a mosaic of exceptionally fine quality. Dion House of Dionysus Mosaic A rare and unusual find in the museum is a bronze "hydraulis" or hydraulic musical pipe organ found in a former workshop. Dion hydraulis In 2006, a statue of Hera was found built into the walls of the city. The statue, 2200 years old, had been used by the early Christians of Dion as filling for the city's defencive wall.

Among the ruins you will find excellent works of mosaics. The Macedonians were famous for their Mosaics. Unfortunately if you visit during winter or spring the mosaics are covered in order to be protected. Few steps away there is the centre of  Mediterranean Mosaic Dion right next to the Archaeological museum of Dion

To be honest I enjoyed my walk inside the site, because it seems that nature has took over the area. You walk inside the nature, in spring everything is green and I look forward to visit the site in summer as well.
By Evilemperorzorg at English WikipediaCC BY-SA 3.0Link
Even now you can see the water gushing out of the earth. During my visit there was a big group of frogs making noises, stating that this was definitely their home and that all visitors need to know that. I visited the area without a guide, but to be honest I think this site is too big to walk without someone explaining you where to go and what do you actually see. So I would recommend to visitors of Thessaloniki to choose the Guided Day trip to Dion. The participation cost is bigger but you don't live the site with unanswered questions in your mind.

By Evilemperorzorg at English WikipediaCC BY-SA 3.0Link
I understand that I am not providing a lot of information regarding the site. I was very impressed by what I saw, that historic value had totally skipped from my mind. While walking between the ruins, the former baths, the former Inns, the former Tavernas, I was trying to picture all those people who visited the site before me. Some of them came to worship the Ancient Gods of Greece, some came to have fun, while others might have came for the healing power of the baths.

I would like to apologise for the not showcasing enough this magnificent site, but I would like not to reveal all the information, I want the visitor to explore the site on his own and maybe with the help of a guide to understand the power that comes out from this site.

We have gathered all of the Day Trips from Thessaloniki and we can suggest you two ways to visit Dion and Olympus.

Day Trip to Dion and Mountain Olympus - Relax on a Budget
Every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with English Speaking Escort 
Duration 12 Hours (5 hours on the road)
We visit  - The Museum and archaeological site of Dion - The Enipeas gorge and the cave of Saint Dionysius of Olympus Litochoro Plaka Litochoro (beach) for a swim break 
Participation starting from 20 € per person / rates on the Relax on Budget trips are subject to availability.

Day Trip to Dion - Litochoro with a Guide
Every Friday with bilingual Professional Gudie
aprox 200 km / Duration 09:00 - 18:00 / Full day excursion
Participation: 45 € per person / 23 € per child aged 4 to 12years
children aged 0 - 4 years old travel for free
All rates for the tours with Professional guides are fixed.

Entrance fees
Reduced entry to the Museum of Dion (€ 6) is available to all citizens of EU Member States aged over 65, by showing their ID card or passport, as well as students from countries outside the EU.
Full Fee: 8 €

Please note: The hiking that lead to the cave of Saint Dionysius takes about 20 minutes and requires comfortable shoes. Do not forget the sun block, sunglasses and a hat.

You can ask for more information to our email :
Or contact with Lisa (yeah that's me) at 0030 2310 720 566

Have you visited Dion? Was it during Summer or Winter? Would you like to share some of your picture with us? Unfortunately the trees weren't in full blossom when I visited so my pictures looks kind of sad... Did you know we have an instagram account as well??

Feel free to join us to instagram as well!