The northwestern side of Mount Parnassus, central Greece, is a magical, lush forest area with towering trees, detached from any trace of city life. The region’s series of lush, picturesque villages, built alongside the Boeotian Kifisos river, is a favorite weekend destination for Athenians throughout the year.
These villages include Agoriani and Kato (Lower) Agoriani, both jewels in the crown of the Fokida region’s mountain destinations. The two Mount Parnassus settlements rival – in terms of charm and appeal – neighbouring Arahova, a far more established attraction. Not as cosmopolitan or glamorous, by comparison, Agoriani and Kato Agoriani are situated less than a three-hour drive from Athens. They promise all the magic of a short escape to nature, amid a lush setting of fir trees and fresh mountain air.
What to do
Begin your route from lovely Kato Agoriani, or Lilaia, as the spot was known until 1928. This delightful settlement, lush and peaceful, is situated on the foothills of Mount Parnassus, at an altitude of 330 metres.
Enjoy a coffee at the village’s small square, offering a view of the two stone Kefalovrysa springs, a trademark feature of Kato Agoriani. The Greek Resistance museum, housed at the home of army officer resistance fighter Giannis Alexandrou, is interesting and definitely worth checking out before going for a stroll along the picturesque paved alleys.
Agoriani, 500 metres higher, attracts countless visitors every autumn and winter as a result of its close distance to Athens, and proximity to the Parnassus ski resort and extremely popular Arahova, 20 km and 24 km away, respectively.
Agoriani is officially named Eptalofos, as the settlement’s houses are built on seven lush hills. This superb locale is nestled amid a dense forest of fir trees and cool running waters. Head up to the top of a hill hosting the Agia Paraskevi church for a panoramic view of the entire village and then freely wander about the village’s paved alleys with dozens of shops. Delicious local food products and charming souvenirs may be found here. Include the village’s lovely square in your look around. It offers a truly superb view.
One of the village’s best-known spots, the Agorianitis river, flows to a small yet spectacular waterfall, hidden amidst raging vegetation. For nature lovers, Agoriani is a true paradise, not far from the Greek capital. The tourism flow is constant yet relaxed, even during weekends, when a greater number of visitors arrive to wander about the village alleys and fill the traditional restaurants and small cafes. Book a room at one of this destination’s timber guesthouses and enjoy a fireside glass of wine, board game, or chat with your loved ones.
Where to eat
One of the wider region’s best-known tavernas, the Griza Arkouda taverna even attracts travellers from far more cosmopolitan Arahova. It serves excellent meat and casserole dishes. The well-prepared shanks with spaghetti and the exceptional pork chops are highly recommended.
Featuring a delightful, flowered garden space, Stavros, a taverna, consistently stands as a leading culinary choice in the region. It has a hospitable fireplace, creating a warm and cosy interior atmosphere, and serves fine food, especially the handmade pies and casserole dishes. Definitely try the pie with greens and the spetzofai (spicy sausages with peppers and tomato sauce), but keep a little space in the tummy for the spot’s excellent dessert selections.
A classic food choice in Agoriani, Kyr Giannis caters to both casserole and meat dish preferences, serving the finest local recipes and perfectly grilled meat. The country-style sausages and steaks are standout meat selections, while the veal cooked in tomato sauce is a top casserole dish.
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