Starting from Pozar Thermal Baths, part a

We are somewhere in the middle of our long journey to Western and Central Macedonia and we have already done so much… Our last base was Old Saint Athanasios from which we turned around, but we also reached Florina. So we needed to spend a quieter day, without a lot of travel, and the Pozar Thermal Baths were the right place!

In the first part of our new travel article based on the Pozar Thermal Baths we spend a relaxing day enjoying the facilities of the Nymfes Hotel-Spa, talking to its people and tasting its rich breakfast, while we do not miss the evening out; we dine at the very good Dionysos restaurant in the beautiful Orma, Aridaia.

So, we said goodbye to Old Saint Athanasios and headed to Pozar Baths, or Aridaia Baths or Loutraki Baths as they are called, to explore the Peripheral Unit of Pella now, in Central Macedonia. Our car trip lasted an hour.

Pozar Baths are thermal baths, which are located close to Loutraki, Pella, 13 km. west of Aridaia. It is such a famous destination that they give the name to the whole area -in the second part of our article you will understand exactly why! Within walking distance of the baths there are many guesthouses and hotels, to serve the arrival of visitors, with very high quality services, as we found out from our hotel.

A sneak peek at how we spent the day at the Pozar Baths -you will find out everything in the second part of our article that follows!

Our need for a day of relaxation and rest from the intense -but of course unforgettable- rhythms of our trip matched perfectly with the hotel which would host us this time. Nymfes Hotel-Spa in Pozar Baths had exactly what we needed, and even more!

Arriving at the Nymfes Hotel

Nymfes Hotel-Spa is a 4-star accommodation, centrally located on the Aridaias-Loutron provincial road, a 5-minute drive and a 20-minute walk from the thermal baths. As we read on its website, the words that describe it are relaxation, wellness, comfort, luxury, leisure; so we were looking forward to experiencing it all!

Entering our hotel, its luxurious appearance made a great impression on us. In tones of white, beige and black, its decoration exuded a calmness that predisposed you for a unique stay experience. The fireplace in the center of the living room made us imagine the warmth of immersing yourself in the comfortable sofas in winter, while the bar next to it promised pleasant evenings with a drink and a chat.

The large fireplace in the center of the living room, next to the reception area
The comfortable living room and in the background the dining room where the breakfast is served which, of course, we were looking forward to!
A bar for special evenings, since inside the Nymfes Hotel you can do everything!

Our friend, now, Mr. Vangelis Amanidis, one of the owners of the family business, welcomed us to the hotel. The main owner is his father together with a partner. We asked Mr. Vangelis to give us a first taste of what awaited us during our stay and he told us that the hotel offers comfortable, luxurious, fully equipped rooms, wellness services, massage, a spa and a gym, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, buffet breakfast and cuisine with options for all tastes.

Mr. Vangelis told us that their origin is from Oreokastro, Thessaloniki -as many Thessalonians do, they made excursions to Pozar Baths, since they are at most two hours away by car, a distance ideal for an excursion on the weekend. The hotel has been operated by the family, together with his brother, Mr. Pantelis Amanidis, since 2009.

When the hotel opened, they pioneered in the area with the help of a very good consultant: they were the first to use social media to promote the hotel, at a time when businesses were still advertised exclusively on television, radio and newspapers. And it turned out very well for them!

With Mr. Vangelis at the hotel reception

The most likable Mr. Vangelis had a surprise for us: he had kept his favorite room for us… We realised that as soon as we entered to see it! Our room was painted in a natural shade of green, had a large bed, vintage chairs and coffee table, a beautiful lamp, TV, a clean bathroom and best of all? It had a big bathtub in the room! The Pozar Baths area is perfectly connected to the liquid element, so a bathtub to soak in your room was a perfect fit.

A large, soft bed with a fabric lamp in earth tones on top, everything you need for rest and deep sleep

And then we went out on our balcony! A nice table and from behind the large outdoor pool and the view of the mountains of the area… We did not know where to sit first!

On the balcony of our room

After settling in our room, we decided that the first place we would explore in our hotel would be its outdoor pool. It was a little hot that day, so maybe we would dare to have a swim… but mostly we needed a nice coffee overlooking the nature that surrounds the beautiful pool.

A nice, large pool with sunbeds and poufs was waiting for us…
Sunbeds for relaxation in the lush nature
Eliza got bolder and dived into the pool!
Cool water, delicious coffee and absolute silence in the green nature to rest your eye…

While drinking our coffee in the pool we met the barista, Manolis Kasteas. Manolis told us that he has been working in the hotel for a few years and that he has studied tourism at the Public Vocational School of Aridaia. He told us about the area, about the tourism that it attracts all year round from nearby places, and not only. He told us that the summer was a very successful season, from which everyone was satisfied. We only wish such a season for everyone!

Manolis Kasteas, the person in charge of the pool bar

The comforts of Nymfes Hotel, however, are not limited to the pool. The hotel has a hydromassage tub and an indoor pool which are free to guests, as long as they make an appointment at the reception. Also, as an extra service, it offers a “Private Spa” with a sauna, a hammam bath and a jacuzzi, as well as various body and face massage treatments. As you can see, we had to try them all!

We put on the bathrobes we found in our room and hurried to the spa…
In addition to all the wellness services, in the hotel you can also exercise

So we went down to the basement, where the spa facilities are located, and we tried everything. First we started with relaxing in the hydromassage tub. Water is a source of energy that gives good health and longevity, and we were in the area that makes the most of it. In fact, we know that Hippocrates was the first to use water to heal patients. The hydromassage tub is an installation that puts pressure on the body with water and air, so that the bather enjoys a beneficial massage that relaxes the muscles, calms and relieves physical pain. The best start!

Next stop, the sauna. Sauna comes from Scandinavia and includes an indoor area where the temperature reaches very high levels. Thus, sweating is caused, which has many benefits for the body and the health of the skin. These include relieving stress and joint pain and detoxifying the skin. There are, of course, dangers from the irrational use of the sauna, therefore it needs attention! We went in, sweated and detoxified!

In the sauna

And now it was time for the hammam bath. The hammam bath is an oriental custom that is considered the liquid version of sauna. It is a closed chamber full of steam with high temperature. The hammam bath helps to relax the muscles, detoxify the skin, reduce fatigue and stress and much more. Another unique, beneficial experience!

In the hammam bath

Of course, we could not miss the jacuzzi. The jacuzzi is also a type of hydromassage tub, with a slightly different layout and more comfortable seats. It was also absolutely enjoyable!

In the jacuzzi

Our wellness experience ended in the best way: a relaxing body massage by Mrs. Melpo Pantelaiou, a hotel employee and an excellent physiotherapist. What does a massage offer? It stimulates the immune system, relieves pain, relaxes muscles, reduces stress and improves the quality of sleep. We thank Mrs. Melpo for the tour of the hotel spa and the fantastic massage she offered Eliza!

A perfect massage at the end

After this refreshing and relaxing experience we were ready for action again! So, we started on foot with a walk to the awesome restaurant Dionysos in Orma, Aridaia. The walking distance was 40 minutes, everything we need to get hungry at the beginning and digest at the end. The route was wonderful, with the green nature surrounding us and the clear water accompanying us. We highly recommend it for anyone who visits the area and wants to take a short hike and try an interesting gastronomic proposal!

In the area of Pozar Baths the liquid element is everywhere…
We started our walk during the day and slowly it got dark.
Arriving in the village of Orma with its low houses

Orma is a semi-mountainous village of the Regional Unit of Pella, at an altitude of 310 m. at the foot of Mount Vora (Kaimaktsalan). In a sign on the largest plane tree in the central square of the village we read that the village was called Tresino (during the Turkish occupation), that it is built under huge plane trees on which vines climb, and that it has plenty of water to irrigate the whole area. Indeed, the plane trees dominated the village and created a beautiful landscape.

Under a big plane tree has its tables Dionysos restaurant too, and we were heading there. With a wonderful lighting, its outdoor space invites you to sit and try the flavors it has to offer.

Tables under the huge plane tree
In front of the restaurant Dionysos

With three decades of experience, Dionysos restaurant serves good Greek cuisine, with respect for tradition, but also with modern experimentations. We tried dishes with special flavors, made with love and passion, with pure raw materials from home-made products of Almopia (former province of the Regional Unit of Pella). Not to mention the wine list of the restaurant, which includes specially selected, special wines: sparkling wines, white, rosé and dry ones from all over Greece, with selections from their place, Almopia, as well as dessert wines, old crops and large bottles -Magnum, Double Magnum and Jeroboam.

In the warm, welcoming interior of the restaurant

And not only is the restaurant area welcoming, but so are the people, warm and friendly, with a concern for their place, for the preservation of its traditions, but also for the living of their fellow human beings. A typical example is their participation in the preparation of meals for the structure “Help at home” of the Municipality of Almopia. This program is one of the most important social programs, which is aimed at the elderly and people with mobility impairments and special problems, with priority given to those who live alone or do not have full family care or that their income does not allow them to provide the services needed to improve their quality of life.

We had the pleasure to meet Mr. Tassos Avramidis, who is the co-owner of the restaurant, but also a certified sommelier, which is evident in the restaurant’s wine list.

We learned all this and we wanted even more to try their cuisine. We chose traditional recipes as well as modern dishes to get a taste of everything. Behold!

Dionysos Rocket Salad: rocket leaves with raisins, walnuts, tomato, grated feta cheese, olive oil & balsamic vinegar
Bantzo: a local semi-hard sheep’s cheese, grilled with spicy tomato jam
Babalaskes: meatballs made with a traditional recipe, with a local variety of Almopia peppers, yogurt and tomato
Mantza: peppers with tomato sauce and feta cheese
Incredible local flavors that we had never tried before!
And our modern choice: orzo with chicken and asparagus
Red dry bulk wine of the restaurant, cheers!
A wonderful meal ended with a perfect cool dessert with cream and cookies, the cooker!

After we were enjoyed the wonderful dishes of Dionysos restaurant and rested under the beautiful plane trees, we took the road back. In the darkness of the night the landscape was different, with scattered lights here and there and the sound of water flowing. A nice return walk to our hotel!

Walking in the dark of night
Arriving at our beautifully lit hotel

As you can imagine after a day of relaxation in the hotel’s spa and a delicious meal in Dionysos restaurant, our sleep was one of the most enjoyable. The morning we woke up, and before going downstairs for breakfast, we took a look at a couple of other hotel rooms, which were also wonderful, each with its own character.

Other rooms of the Nymfes Hotel
One of the front balconies of the hotel with an endless view
We wanted to drink our morning juice outside, with our new friend, the hotel’s dog

So, after sunbathing for a while at the outdoor tables of the hotel, it was time for our breakfast. Our choices were many, with a huge variety, something that made us very happy. Among savory options we could choose between egg toast, sausages, bacon, boiled eggs, grilled sandwiches, breads, cold cuts, cheeses, cheese pie, spinach pie, potato pie and breadsticks. Our sweet choices were croissants, bougatsa (a Greek breakfast pastry), cakes, galaktoboureko (a Greek syrupy dessert), puff pastry with tahini and praline, praline, honey, jams, yogurt with oats and honey. We tried a little of everything and it was all very fresh and delicious!

Rich breakfast with espresso, filter coffee and orange juice
Whichever way we photographed our breakfast, it looked just as delicious!

Breakfast was what we needed for another day full of new experiences… But we will leave that for the second part of our article. The Pozar Thermal Baths, the Karafaki tavern in Aridaia, the Monastery of Agios Ilarion and the cave of Agios Ioannis are coming, it will be all very nice, you will see!

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