Northern Greece is the large, varied upper half of Greece which, apart from a few scattered famous attractions, is still relatively untouristed, though much of this area offers rewarding destinations that deserve to be better known. Distances are long, and though the major cities are easy enough to get to by bus or train, and almost everywhere is served by at least one bus a day, visitors who want to get off the beaten track or cover a lot of ground in a limited time will probably find it most practical to have a car.
The North of Greece is a mountainous area and the climate is much colder and more rainy than southern Greece. Best time to visit is June to End of September.
Greek Epirus, like the region as a whole, is rugged and mountainous. It comprises the land of the ancient Molossians and Thesprotians and a small part of the land of the Chaonians the greater part being in Southern Albania. It is largely made up of mountainous ridges, part of the Dinaric Alps. The region's highest spot is on Mount Smolikas, at an altitude of 2.637 metres above sea level. In the east, the Pindus Mountains that form the spine of mainland Greece separate Epirus from Macedonia and Thessaly. Most of Epirus lies on the windward side of the Pindus. The winds from the Ionian Sea offer the region more rainfall than any other part of Greece.
The Vikos-Aoos and Pindus National Parks are situated in the Ioannina Prefecture of the region. Both areas have a wide range of fauna and flora. The climate of Epirus is mainly alpine. The vegetation is made up mainly of coniferous species. The animal life is especially rich in this area and includes, among other species, bears, wolves, foxes, deer and lynxes.
Macedonia is the largest and second-most-populous Greek region, with a population of about 2.4 million of which alone 1 million live in Thessaloniki. The region is highly mountainous, with most major urban centres such as Thessaloniki and Kavala being concentrated on its southern coastline. Macedonia incorporates most of the territories of ancient Macedon, a kingdom ruled by the Argeads and whose most celebrated members were Alexander the Great and his father Philip II. Although it has very scenic areas and many very interesting cultural sites, it is visited by relatively few tourists, except the Chalkidiki and Olympos region.
When speaking with Greeks about Macedonia it is better not to participate in any discussion or to agree that the name Macedonia is only Greek if you want to maintain a friendly atmosphere. Greeks are patriots and do not want any historical teachings on this sensitive topic. Although the name issue with the neighboring state of North Macedonia is now politically resolved, most Greeks still find it a betrayal of their history. This was reinforced by the creation of statues of Alexander the Great in Skopje and the use of symbols from Greek excavations by the neighboring state. Many Greeks wonder why the majority Slavic population of the neighboring state uses purely Greek symbols and national heroes for their nationality awareness.
Tourism in Western Thrace is developing along the seacoast from Abdera to Maroneia but many travelers on their way to Turkey still make few stops in the region. The archaeological sites of Abdera and Maroneia, the traditional settlements of Xanthi and Komotini, the Rhodope Mountains range, the Nestos river gorge and delta, are the most interesting features of Western Thrace.
Sourced from Wikivoyage. Text is available under the CC-by-SA 3.0 license.