Edessa – Charming Hilltop Town with Beautiful Waterfalls and Rivers

Since ancient days, the strategic location of Edessa above Via Egnatia, the Roman road between Byzantium and the Adriatic, has given the town its long historical importance. ‘Water’ is a keyword when it comes to Edessa, a town of rivers, fountains, streams, and waterfalls. Voden (Place of Water) is its long-existing Slavic name.

Why visit Edessa and Pella?

Where is Edessa Greece?

Western Macedonia Map

How to reach Edessa?

What to see in and around Edessa?

Edessa – Things to do

Ancient Edessa

Edessa History

Post War History of Edessa

Edessa – Weather and Climate

Vergina Royal Tombs, Facade of Philip II tomb, Macedonia Greece
Vergina Royal Tombs, Facade of Philip II tomb

The old part of Edessa and the beautiful Byzantine bridge are other great features of this charming town, perfect for a night’s sleep on your road trip adventure or hiking tour to archaeological sites in Central Macedonia. You should visit the nearby royal tombs of Vergina, Ancient Aigeai (discovered in 1977) and Ancient Pella, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia. Until 1977 Edessa was thought to have been ancient Aigeai. Edessa is the archaic name given back to the town in 1923.

Why visit Edessa and Pella?

Agriculture concept of Sunflowers and fields against a cloudy sunset sky, Edessa, Macedonia Greece
Agriculture concept of sunflowers and fields against a cloudy sunset sky

Today the region of Pella is an area full of surprises, perfectly combining the natural beauty, with the impressive historical past and the archeological sites, such as the King’s Tombs, the museum with the impressive artifacts and the ruins of the ancient city Pella.
With plenty options for entertainment and interesting activities, alternative tourism and winter sports, the region of Pella is an ideal holiday destination, in settings with immense natural beauty where you can enjoy truly relaxing holidays.

Some of the interesting attractions of the region, are the ski center of Vora, (Kaimaktsalan) the famous waterfalls of Edessa, and lake Vegoritida, perfect for fishing and sailing.

Lake Petron (between Florina and Edessa), Aminteo region, Macedonia, Greece. View from the top of a hill
Lake Petron (between Florina and Edessa), Aminteo region. View from the top of a hill

Gianitsa is another town of Pella, with impressive sites such as the clock tower, the charming village of Panagitsa, and the traditional and old hamlet of Agios Athanasios, which has preserved the classic elements that constitute to the Macedonian architecture style. The hamlet was deserted during the 80’s, but today is back to its old glory, as a base with proximity to the ski center Kaimaktsalan, just 17 km away.
The spas of Loutraki or Loutrohori, the natural history museum and the monastery of Archangelos, which was built in the 18th century, also make the region worth visiting.

Where is Edessa Greece?

Departure from the city of Edessa in Macedonia Greece.
Departure from Edessa

Edessa is a city in northern Greece and the capital of the Pella peripheral unit. It was also the capital of the defunct province of the same name.

Edessa Greece – Map

Map of West Macedonia Greece
Map of West Macedonia Greece – Coordinates: 40°55′N 22°05′E

How to reach Edessa?

The nearest airport to Edessa is Thessaloniki International Airport “Makedonia” (SKG). From there you can choose to continue by train, bus, taxi, or car. The travel duration by train is approx. 1 hour 25 min, by bus it is approx. 1 hour 30 min, and by taxi / car it is 1 hour 15 min. The distance between Edessa and Thessaloniki is about 90 km.

What to see in and around Edessa?

Edessa Waterfalls

Aerial panoramic view of the powerful waterfalls of Edessa and the surrounded area in Edessa city, Greece
Aerial panoramic view of the powerful waterfalls of Edessa and the surrounded area in Edessa

Edessa Waterfalls are a stunning sight. In ancient years people created a basin here for their water supply, but for some reason the river changed its course in the 14th century, creating the first waterfall in Edessa. Later, several smaller waterfalls came along. Today you can see the waterfalls from a viewpoint above. The left waterfall, called Karanos, is a single drop and the right Twin Falls are named Lamda Falls. It is possible to step behind the big waterfall, Karanos, to have a perfect view through the “water curtain”. The total height of the waterfall is approx. 70 metres. At a lower point of Edessa Waterfalls, you will find a cave of great geological value. The cave entrance is covered with moss, but inside it is quite spectacular. There is a small entrance fee.

Vergina Royal Tombs

In Vergina a grass covered tumulus (burial mound) has been discovered to be the unspoiled royal Macedonian tombs from the times of Alexander the Great and his king father Philip II. Today, it has been converted into an “Indiana-Jones-exciting” museum where you can descend to the countless treasures, since the grave was never robbed, and everything is on display.

Read more

Archaeological site of Pella

Pella House atrium, archaeological site in Macedonia Grece
Pella House atrium, archaeological site in Pella

Pella became capital of Macedon under dynastic King Archelaos (413-299 B.C.). Footings and low sections of walls has been carefully excavated; today it is quite atmospheric and Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine cities take form for your inner eye. What you will find are resurrected columns, an agora (market) surrounded by shops, two villas, sanctuaries, and workshops of the former important city. Entry to the site includes the on-site museum.

Read more

Edessa – Things to do

Skiing on Mt. Voras

skiing in Greece

Voras Mountain is located at the frontiers with the Former Yogoslav Republic of Macedonia and its crest-ridge is the limit line of the two countries. It is the third highest mountain in Greece after Olympos (2917 m.) and Smolikas (2637 m.), with an altitude of 2524 m, on the peak of which stands Kaimaktsalan Ski Center. The view from the mountain is amazing, since one can see as far as Thermaikos Gulf, the peak of Olympos mountain and, of course, the 3-5 Pigadia Ski Center in Naoussa, which is across from the peak.

Kaimaktsalan Ski Center (website only in Greek) starts at 2040 m, where you also find the chalet.
The centre is located at an altitude of 2,000m. There are 4 ski lifts for all levels and the summit of the mountain is at 2,500m. The ski bar at the base of “Sarantovrisi” lift is cozy and it serves nice hot chocolates and cold beers! The music rocks!
Kaimaktsalan, Edessa 58002, Greece Tel: +30 23810 32000, +30 694303001

  • Highest peak at 2524 m
  • Highest lift at 2480 m
  • Greatest lift height difference at 290 m
  • Greatest slope height difference at 440 m

Pozar Hot Springs near Edessa

Thermal Springs Pozar, near Edessa, Macedonia Greece

Pozar or Loutraki at the Kaimamtsalan foothills is known as Pozar Hot Springs or the Thermal Baths of Pozar. On site you will find hotels, guesthouses, taverns, and restaurants. Pozar is one of the most therapeutic spas in Greece, with many amenities and services.
The waterfalls in Pozar, the large swimming pool with thermal water gushing from Earth itself has been in use since ancient years and is indeed a miracle of nature. You will also find several new private baths in Pozar where you can isolate yourself for an hour or more and enjoy the waters with your friends. Find info about Loutraki Pozar

Ancient Edessa

Archaeological remains have been discovered on the site of ancient Edessa, just below the modern city. The walls and the agora have been unearthed so far. A colonnade with inscription in Greek dates from Roman times. The city achieved certain prominence in the first centuries A.D., being located on the Via Egnatia.

Edessa Greece – History

Little is known about the fate of the city after 500 A.D. After the Slavic settling in the 6th-7th century, the name of “Edessa” disappears and what remains of the city (a fortress in the acropolis of the ancient city) is named “Vodena” (from Slavic ‘Voda’, “water”), recalled by 11th century Byzantine historian John Skylitzes. It fell to the Ottomans along with the rest of Macedonia around 1390.
During the Ottoman rule, the Turkish component of the town steadily increased. From the 1860s onwards, the town was a flashpoint for clashes between Greeks and Bulgarians.

Post-war history of Edessa

In the post-war period Edessa gradually lost its competitive advantage in industry and declined economically and in population. Currently there are no major industry at the town. At the beginning of the 21st century, it is a city based on services (mostly linked to its function as capital of the Pella Prefecture) and tourism due to the waterfalls and winter sports.

Edessa – Weather and climate

The lake of Agra, Edessa Greece
The lake of Agra near Edessa
JanFebMarAprilMayJuneJulyAugSepOctNovDec
Day10°14°18°23°28°31°32°27°20°15°10°
Night-1°11°14°14°11°
Rainfall (days)151518182221161414131313
Average day and night temperatures in °C and average rainfall in days in Edessa