Mount Kissavos is a mountain in the Larissa regional unit, in Thessaly, Greece. It is also known as Ossa, and it is the second highest mountain in Thessaly after Mount Olympus. It is located between Pelion to the south and Olympus to the north, separated from the latter by the Vale of Tempe and the Pineios river. It has a height of 1,978 metres (6,490 ft) and a prominence of 1,854 metres (6,083 ft), making it one of the most prominent peaks in Europe.
The name and the mythology of Mount Kissavos
The name Kissavos has been connected to South Slavic kisha “wet weather, rain.” This may reflect the humid climate of the mountain, which receives abundant rainfall and snowfall. The mountain is also rich in springs and streams, some of which form impressive waterfalls.
The alternative name Ossa comes from Greek mythology, where it was one of the mountains that the giant brothers Otus and Ephialtes tried to pile on top of Mount Olympus in order to reach the gods. However, they were killed by Apollo before they could succeed.
The villages and the attractions of Mount Kissavos
On the slopes of Mount Kissavos, there are several picturesque villages that offer a variety of activities and experiences for visitors. Some of them are:
- Skiti: A traditional village with stone houses and narrow alleys, surrounded by chestnut and beech forests. It has a folklore museum, a Byzantine church of Agios Panteleimon and a thermal spring with healing properties.
- Melivia: A village with panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and Mount Athos. It has a ski center, a botanical garden and a monastery of Agios Antonios.
- Polydendri: A village with a long history and a rich cultural heritage. It has a medieval castle, a Byzantine church of Agia Paraskevi and a folklore museum.
- Sotiritsa: A seaside village with a long sandy beach and crystal clear waters. It has a fish tavern, a camping site and a water sports center.
- Karitsa: A village perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. It has a stone-built square, a church of Agios Georgios and a hiking trail to the nearby waterfall of Kalypso.
The gateway to these villages is Agia, a town at the foot of Mount Kissavos that has its own attractions and amenities. Agia is famous for its apple production, its neoclassical mansions and its churches. It also has a historical and folklore museum, a barber shop museum and a deli shop with local products.
The activities and the adventures on Mount Kissavos
Mount Kissavos is an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The mountain offers many opportunities for hiking, cycling, skiing, canyoning, rafting, paragliding and more. Some of the highlights are:
- The Ossa Cave: A spectacular cave with stalactites, stalagmites, columns and chambers that can be explored with a guide.
- The Kalypso Canyon: A stunning canyon with waterfalls, pools and slides that can be descended with ropes and harnesses.
- The Pineios River: A scenic river that flows through the Vale of Tempe and forms the Pinios Delta. It can be rafted or kayaked with professional instructors.
- The Kissavos Ski Center: A small but cozy ski center with two slopes, two lifts and a chalet. It operates from December to March depending on the snow conditions.
- The Kissavos Botanical Garden: A unique garden with more than 300 species of plants from all over Greece and abroad. It also has an educational center and a picnic area.
Mount Kissavos is a hidden gem in Thessaly that deserves more attention and appreciation. It is a mountain that combines natural beauty, cultural heritage, outdoor activities and seaside relaxation. It is a mountain that can satisfy every taste and preference. It is a mountain that invites you to discover its secrets and enjoy its charms.
If you are looking for a place to stay, eat, drink or have fun on Mount Kissavos, you can check out the following links:
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