Welcome to Serres – the town in Northern Greece that’s seen it all and has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of every catastrophe it’s ever faced. What’s its secret? You’ll discover it in the enchanting Lailia Forest, in the shade from the leafy trees at Agii Anargyri. You’ll taste it in its famous sweets and in the scent of its ouzos. You’ll recognise it in its people, who fill the nights with fun and games, and in its women who are renowned for their beauty. You’ll find that Serres will keep its promise to give you a holiday to remember.
What to do in Serres
Travel to the valley of Agii Anargyri
This lovely park infuses Serres with colour and fresh air. With cascades, brooks, spreading plane trees, an artificial lake, restaurants and cafes, it’s a perfect holiday destination for walks and picnics, especially in spring and summer.
This pine-covered hill overlooking town is not just an attractive backdrop, it contains the ruins of a once mighty Byzantine acropolis. Climb up to admire the view and you’ll also see the western tower of the fortress, Orestes’ tower, which was part of the inner wall. An inscribed foundation stone dates it to 1350, during the reign of the Serbian king Stefan Dusan.
The pristine beauty of Lailia
Go just 25km north of Serres and you’ll find yourself in the Lailia Forest, 330 hectares of pine and beech forest at an altitude of 700-1,849m above sea level at its highest peak, which has the unusual name of Ali Baba. The forest is a genuine paradise, home to 514 types of flora. It has been declared a Natural Monument and a region of particular Natural Beauty. Enough said. Go to this corner of Macedonia and see for yourself.
Skiing or après-ski?
If you want to ski, the Serres centre’s the place to go for great slopes and even greater fun afterwards. In its bars, clubs, cafes, restaurants, ouzeris and the famous souvlaki stands, you’ll feel the pulse and join the locals in having a good time.
Temple of speed: The Serres racecourse
Step on the gas and let’s go to the Serres racecourse, the best in Greece and the Balkans. The course meets international standards and can host Formula 3000 events. International rallies take place here and, for a small fee, anyone can test their skills in their own cars or motorbikes.
Bar Hopping in Serres
Serres is serious about partying and you’ll understand why once you spend some time with the outgoing locals of this town. Bars, clubs, cafes, restaurants, ouzeries and the well-known souvlaki joints strategically situated on downtown street corners… This is where you’ll feel the pulse of the town’s vibrant social life.
Hidden gems of Serres
The sweets of Serres
Dusted with sugar, they look like Turkish delight, but they’re quite different. They’re called akanes and what sets them apart is fresh goat butter and spring water from Lailia. For the real thing, there are a number of traditional confectionary stores in Serres that will have you drooling in no time.
The Timios Prodromos monastery
This historic monastery lies 10km northeast of Serres in a ravine on Mt Menikios. The most noteworthy attraction in the district, it was built in the 13th century.
Serres was a melting pot of cultures and religions. The muezzin no longer calls the faithful to prayer but you will find three well-preserved buildings left from the Ottoman occupation, which only ended in 1913. Two are mosques – the Tsitsirli and Ahmet Pasha – and the third is the marvellous six-domed Bezesteni market, which now houses the Archaeological Museum.