Following Ε4 and leaving behind Palaia Moni, the monastery of Agios Dionysios, we reach Holly Cave, the saint’s hermitage, visited by many pilgrims within a year.
The Vrysopoules Ski Center (Vrysopoules) belongs to the Greek army and is the only ski resort on Olympus. It was established in 1934 and has been used for training Greek army officers since 1960, at an altitude of 1.805 m, over the “Mavratza” gorge on the southern side of Olympus, we come across the Vrysopoules refuge. It’s located on the installations of the Military Alpine Combat and Ski Training Center (KEOAX). Visitors must show a valid identification form in order to enter, while overnight stays require special permission from the Special Forces Directorate. With a hosting capacity of up to 30 persons, the Vrysopoules refuge features a restaurant and is accessible by car, albeit all vehicles must be parked outside the military base. The Olympus Ski Center is still in operation on the premises of KEOAX. It features three slopes (red) with three lifts (two T-bar single seat lifts and one baby lift) whose use is provided free of charge to the public.
Old Panteleimonas is a traditional settlement that has been preserved in its original state, without having undergone any architectural alterations or interventions in the process of time. The village, which was most probably founded in the 14th century, is built over an altitude of 700m. and offers amazing views towards Mount Olympus and the Golf of Thermaikos. Due to landslides along the cliffs, the village’s permanent residents have moved to New Panteleimonas. Most of the buildings forming the traditional settlement were bought and were renovated by people living in Larisa and Thessaloniki, who were eager to maintain intact the region’s architectural heritage.
Among sights to visit, there is the church of Agios Panteleimonas, old buildings, the renovated school-building and the picturesque village-square with its taverns serving local cuisine, and its known barbequed goat and cheese (galotiri). Cobblestoned alleys lead to the settlement’s center, while cars stay parked at the outskirts of the village.
The monastery of Agia Triada of Olympus was restored by the monk, saint of the orthodox church, Dionysus, in 1543, at the gully of Enipeas, at the place where there was an older Byzantine monastery with the same name. The Thessalian blessed Dionysus the young (from Drakotripa Karditsas), before the establishment of the coenobium on Olympus, he had been a monk at Meteora and an abbot at the monastery of Philotheos at Mt. Athos, having the reputation of a literate ascetic and calligrapher. The Turks destroyed the monastery several times due to fires and raids, since it had been a base of Macedonian thieves. It was devastated in 1943 by the German occupation troops, who considered as a centre of national resistance on Olympus. As for the old monastery, the ruins of the catholic (of the central church), an 18th century building, and of the northern wing together with the altar and the monastery’s tower are still preserved.
The Holy Monastery of Olympiotissa is considered one of the largest monastic complexes in Thessaly. The monastery’s katholikon is a four-column church in honour of the Virgin Mary. It was founded in the 14th century. The murals were also crafted at that time, but were restored in 1643.
The church of Panagia at Pythio is a three-aisled basilica with a wooden roof, built in 1638. The church used to function as a monastery and is decorated with lovely murals. It is unique in that it has the only cyclical bell tower in Greece.