Lake Doirani, Kilkis, Greece
Lake Doirani, Kilkis, Greece (Credit: ΓΙΩΡΓΟΣ ΚΕΧΛΙΜΠΑΡΗΣ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Kilkis: Enjoy beautiful nature and many traditions

Wetlands, rocky mountains and caves, traditional towns, ancient sites, famous wines

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The regional unit of Kilkis, part of the region of Central Macedonia, is located between the regional units of Pella, Thessaloniki and Serres. Its capital is the city of Kilkis. The regional unit is home to an impressive selection of attractions including Lake Doirani, Lake Pikrolimni, the small mountain range of Paiko, the Skra Waterfalls, the Balkan Botanical Garden of Kroussia, the St. George Cave on St. George’s Hill, the picturesque town of Goumenissa and many more worth exploring. Enjoy Kilkis’s breathtaking natural landscapes, rich history, interesting archaeological and Byzantine monuments, the picturesque villages, the revival of customs and multicultural local cuisine.

.AT A GLANCE

Regional unit’s capital: Kilkis Regional unit’s area: 2,519 km2 Regional unit’s population (2021): 70,648 Density: 28/km2 Time Zone: UTC+2  Climate: Continental, bolder in the mountains and northern regions. The winter is very cold winter and the summer is warm.

.ADMINISTRATION

The regional unit Kilkis is subdivided into 2 municipalities.

.MUNICIPALITIES

KILKIS     PAIONIA

.MUNICIPALITY OF KILKIS

Area: 1,599.6 km2  Population (2011): 51,926 Density: 90/km2 Website: https://www.e-kilkis.gr/

.HISTORY

In classical antiquity, Kilkis was ruled by the kingdom of Macedon. In 148 BC it was subjugated under Roman domination and its name was Callicum. In the Middle Ages, Kilkis changed hands several times between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires and in the early Byzantine times it was called Kallikon.
With the conquest of Thessaloniki in 1430 by the Turks, the entire region of Macedonia passed under Ottoman rule. After the Greek War of Independence in 1821, the area of Kilkis remained enslaved. It became part of Greece in 1913 after the glorious three-day battle of Lachanas (June 19-21).  The population exchanges with Bulgaria (1919), Turkey (1923) and the settlement of the refugees from Eastern Thrace, Anatolia, Cappadocia and Pontos followed. During the 20th century, the area became several times a war theatre; during the Macedonian Struggle, the Balkan Wars, WWI, WWII, the Greek Resistance and the Greek civil war. Today Kilkis is a modern industrialized city, and a agricultural, commercial and transportation centre.

.POINTS OF INTEREST

Pikrolimni Lake: Well known for the therapeutical properties of its water, the lake is featuring an organized centre of mud therapy. It is also ideal for bird-watching as it serves as a resting place for many of the migratory birds that are directed to the nearby large wetlands.

Doirani Lake: Its crystal clear waters offer swimming in summer and fishing all year round. The idyllic landscape of the lake offers the visitor a sense of immense tranquility. In the village of Doirani there are operating customs, a Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) office and currency exchange. 

Balkan Botanical Garden of Kroussia: An area of ​​310 acres with a collection of endemic plants and more than 6.500 species of protected plants from Greece and the Southern European region Pharmaceutical and aromatic gardens, waterfalls, ponds, streams, formed paths, meadows and woodlands overwhelm the visitors with their beauty. 

Cave of St. George: Ranked among the most remarkable caves in Greece,  it was discovered in 1930. The area of the cave is more than 1500m2 in more than two levels and the corridors are narrow and high. More than 300 samples of fossilized animal bones have been found there in a very good state of conservation (by Vassileios Makridis aged from 10.000 to 100.000 years old. 

Other attractions: The early Christian settlement in the village of Colchida, the great prehistoric monument in the castle of Chorygi.

.GASTRONOMY

Taste various cheeses like tsiortan, parcharotyri, solgoun, tsiokaliki, gais cheese. For meat lovers, there is beef with bulgur, chicken with couscous, borts, trachanas with sausages. Try also homemade bread and pasta, fresh fish at the lakeside villages of Doirani. Deserts include halvas from semolina, grape preserve, milk pie, Houssaf compote and many more.

.WINES & DRINKS

You can taste superior quality wines and visit many wineries in the region of Kilkis.

.FEASTS, FESTIVALS & EVENTS

Many cultural events,  festivals and fairs are taking place respecting the local customs traditions.

.SHOPPING

Do not skip a stop at some of the shops, where you can buy homemade jams, sweets preserves, pickles, honey, olive oil, chestnuts, spices and herbs, pastas and a wide variety of traditional milk and dairy products.

.RELIGIOUS SITES

Church of Saint George: The post-Byzantine church located on the hill of Kilkis was  built out of marble around 1830 and is a three-aisled large basilica. The painted ceilings are dating from 1879.

.KEY MUSEUMS

Archaeological Museum: Opened in 1972, its exhibits date from the Neolithic to the Roman period. It houses the unique Kouros (6th cent. BC) of the Ancient Europos  which represents a young man. Other exhibits include funerary urns, clay figurines, pots, outstanding jewelry and more.

War Museum: Built in 1966 next to the war memorial built in 1927 on the Iroon Hill, the museum was expanded in 1971 and belongs to the Ministry of National Defence, which is also responsible for running it. The visitor can see documents from 1912-1913, uniforms, weapons, regimental flags. 

Μuseum of Lake Doirani: Learn about the wetland where 36 bird species have been recorded, including endangered species like the Dalmatian pelican and the pygmy cormorant.

.ACTIVITIES

Naturalistic activities in landscaped recreational areas like the Ranch of Kilkis which offers horseback riding lessons or the “Hilia Dentra” (literally meaning ‘a thousand trees’) in the forest of Mouries with oaks and plane trees that have stood for centuries.

.ACCOMODATION

There are hostels, boutique hotels, traditional guesthouses, charming agrotourism facilities.

.TRANSPORT

Kilkis currently does not have an airport; the nearest is Thessaloniki Airport, 66 km away.
You can reach Kilkis by driving or use public transport, such as the suburban bus (KTEL).
It is also accessible by train through the railway stations of Mouries, Gallikos and Idomeni of Kilkis.


TO DO & TO GO