An area featuring a distinctive geological heritage and hosting an impressive number of geosites
noted for their rarity, scientific and educational value, and arresting beauty.

General Regional Visitor Information

Geopark Grevena-Kozani 

Geopark of Grevena-Kozani: Key features of the area 

Area: 2.486 km² 

Population: 30,696 inhabitants (Hellenic Statistical Authority 2011) 

Most populous settlements: Grevena (13,137 inhabitants), Deskati (3,598 inhabitants) 

Population density: 14.6 inhabitants/km² 

Administrative division: 74 Local Communities (54 in Grevena, 6 in Deskati, 4 in the Municipality of Voion, 7 in Kozani, 3 in the Municipality of Servia-Velvendo) 

Neighboring tourist destinations: Vasilitsa Ski Resort, Meteora (Thessaly) Zagori (Epirus). 

View from the top of Mt. Vourinos, looking east toward Mt. Olympus. 

The geopark is located in north-central Greece, in the province of West Macedonia. Here the climate is continental, with four distinct seasons.  Summers are mild, and snow blankets the mountains in winter. 

Spring wildflowers and autumn foliage are popular seasonal attractions. 

Animal husbandry, farming and foraging are mainstays of the local economy, and many of our festivals and traditions mark the harvest and celebrate Nature’s bounty. 

Free-range cattle, Mavrovouni. 

Pentalofos Chestnut Festival. 

Goats, Dotsikos. 

Weekly farmers’ market, Grevena. 

The geopark region is one of exceptionally high biodiversity, a hotspot of endemic species, thanks to its complex geologic history as a zone of continental rifting, ophiolite emplacement, collision and glaciation, producing a crazy quilt of disparate rock types in close juxtaposition, as well as a highly varied geomorphology with a wide array of habitats.  The unique soils and microclimates that arise in such an environment encourage speciation: the divergence of species into separate and distinct forms.  Thus, a species may be found in only one locale, and nowhere else on Earth. 

Mesiano Nero Valley, Mt. Vourinos, a biodiversity hotspot.  Many species of plant and butterfly are endemic to this valley. 

Valia Calda (‘Warm Valley’) is home to an astounding diversity of wildlife including orchids, carnivorous plants, fungi and amphibians. 

The trees of Geopark Grevena-Kozani include many superlatives: specimens of robola (Pinus heldreichii or P. leucodermis) in the Pindos, and oak (Quercus pedunculiflora) in Deskati, are among the oldest trees in Europe; a cluster of Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) is the southernmost extent of this species in Greece; the platanus (Platanus orientalis) forests along the Aliakmon river are remnants of a forest that has persisted for at least four million years. 

Robola, cherished elders of the mountains. 

Black pine forest of Valia Calda. 

The first humans in this area were Neanderthals, who arrived at least 100,000 years ago. Stone tools of Paleolithic age have been found high in the mountains and at scattered locations within West Macedonia. Modern Homo sapiens came to the area as early as 40,000 years ago and Indo-European ancestors of today’s Greeks by about 10,000 years ago.  

The modern-day town of Aiani, in the eastern part of the geopark, was the capital of an early kingdom, Ellimiotis, and later a regional capital within Macedonia.  

The Archeological Museum of Aiani contains a wealth of artifacts from the geopark region.  The unique geology of the region provided ancient peoples with a plethora of resources. 

The Byzantine era (330-1453 AD) saw the creation of many monasteries in the area, many of which still exist, and some of which are still operating.  St Nikanoras (1491-1549) founded the Zavordas Monastery in 1534 AD as a refuge for Byzantine heritage.  

Zavordas Monastery. 

Most secular and religious architectural treasures of this area, such as our famed stone bridges, manor houses and churches, date from the 17th-19th centuries.   

Bridge of Aziz Aga, near Trikomo. 

Poulkos Manor, Siatista. 

Megali Panayia, Samarina. 

In 1995, this region experienced an earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale, after perhaps two centuries of quiescence. In less than half a minute of shaking, churches, schools and homes were destroyed. More than 40,000 people in the Grevena-Kozani region remained homeless as aftershocks continued for months. Although there were no fatalities, the event devastated manmade structures in the region, especially in rural areas.  All construction since that period follows strict seismic building codes. 

Witnesses to the earthquake of 1995.   

Local recreation takes advantage of the wealth of natural and historical attractions, with activities such as hiking, picnicking and historical tours available either independently or via trekking companies and tour operators.  Please see our Links section for more information. 

Hiking on Mt. Vourinos. 

Apokreas (Carnival), Grevena. 

Bear tracks, Valia Calda. 

Pentalofos village, Mt. Vourinos and Mt. Olympus in the background. 

Bear statue, Kalirachi.