Kissavos, also known as Ossa, lies on the east side of Thessaly south of Tempi Vale, facing mount Olympus. The two mountains are divided by Tempi vale.
We find a reference of Kissavos in the Greek mythology when the two mighty giants Otos and Ephialtes, sons of Aloeus, wishing to claim Zeus’ power, placed Pelion on Kissavos so as to reach and conquer Olympus.
In antiquity it was Magnites that inhabited this mountain, whereas it is associated with the veneration of the goddess Demeter, and also with Asclepius, Hercules, Philoctetes, Alexander the Great etc.
Today a great part of Kissavos has been declared as “Ossa Aesthetic Forest” and classified as a special protection area by the Pan-European network Natura 2000, as it is an area of exceptional natural beauty.
The west part of Kissavos faces the great plain of Larissa whereas to the east its slopes reach the sea, forming several little creeks and wonderful beaches. To the north we find Tempi Vale and Olympus whereas to the south there are Agia valley and the mount Mavrovouni.
The northwest side of Kissavos is rocky and arid, while the south and east sides are verdurous, grown with planes, beeches, chestnuts and firs. One more exceptional feature of the mountain is its numerous canyons, run by cascading torrents.
The peak of Kissavos is “Profitis Ilias” rising to 1,978 meters high, whereas a little lower, on the site Kanalos (1,604 metres), there is a big and high quality mountain refuge owned by the Larissa Alpine Club.
Various kinds of animals live on the mountain, such as hares, wild boars, deer, pheasants and partridges.
• On the east side of Kissavos there lie the coasts of Larissa prefecture, with advanced tourist infrastructures. They can accommodate quite a lot of guests.
• In many of Kissavos villages, like Spilia, Karitsa, Metaxohori or Anatoli, the visitor can find traditional guesthouses, hotels, taverns and cafés.
• The mountain refuge of Larissa Alpine Club on the site Kanalos can accommodate up to 35 people whereas it has a fireplace, two stoves, water supply, restrooms and a fully equipped kitchen.
• All villages are connected with each other via cement (asphalt) roads.
• There is also a very good network of unpaved roads, so one can tour the area in a 4X4 jeep or on a powerful motorbike.
• The National Trail O2, coming from Olympus, crosses Kissavos.
• Many opportunities for activities in nature, such as hiking, mountaineering, canyoning and mountain cycling (pan-Hellenic championship races are held here).
• Opportunities for 4X4 jeep tours following special routes (competition events take place each year).
• The opportunity to go on holidays and excursions in a unique natural environment that offers peace and relaxation.
• Journeys of a religious interest, given that in Tirnavos area there are monasteries like Timios Prodromos convent, as well as temples of a great historical and cultural value.
• Magnificent views to the Thessalian plain and the Aegean Sea.
• Visit Timios Prodromos convent, outside the village by the name Anatoli, and be informed on their ecological and agrotourist activities.
• Visit the Agioi Apostoloi (St Apostles) church in Agia, which was built in the 17th century. Also, on the road connecting Agia with Melivia you will find the 16th century monastery of Saint Panteleimon, with murals made in 1721 and a chancel screen made in 1579-1580.
• Enjoy a delicious meal at Souliotis mansion, in Metaxohori.
• Have a cup of coffee in the guesthouse Dohos in Karitsa and enjoy the views of the beaches belonging to the prefecture of Larissa, from high above.
• Buy the traditional ‘teaspoon sweets’, the unique preserves of the region made with whole fruits.
• Pick oregano, thyme and forest mushrooms (if you know how to tell the edible ones of course).
And for the young (and the young at heart):
• Spend a night at the mountain refuge, after you contact Larissa Alpine Club.
• Combine your stay at the refuge with climbing to the top of Kissavos (a one-hour walk from the refuge, through an uphill and rugged path).
• After communicating with one of the alternative tourism companies of the region go down the unique canyon of Kalipso. It will be a lifetime experience.
• Having the right vehicle take the unpaved road from Anatoli and head to Belmas, a place grown with wild flowers, firs and beeches that offers a magnificent view to the peak of Kissavos.
Sources: inthessaly.gr, olympostrek.gr