Trekking in Vrontou Mountains, the forest lung of Serres and ascent to the summit of Pr Elias.
Distance from Thessaloniki: 111 km
European emergency number: 112
Fire brigade: 199
AMBULANCE SERVICE: 166
Forester’s office Serres: 2321046262
We left from Thessaloniki with cloudy weather and in an hour we arrived in the beautiful city of Serres . From there, we followed the signs to Lailias ski center
On the 25Km (from Serres), there is a road sign to our right-hand, leading to the refuge of Serres Mountaineering Club. Outside the refuge, there are two trails that lead us through the forest, in aprox. one hour and a half , to Pr.Elias (called also Alibaba) summit. It is early April and the heavy weather is accompanying us till the refuge parking lot. We are parking our cars , we are setting up our gear and off we go.
Circular route , EOS Refuge- Pr.Elias Summit (1849m)-Ski resort base –EOS Refuge
The route is an easy ascent and does not have any technical difficulty. Note that even if it is April, half of the route was in snowy terrain. This justifies the duration times in route information section.
Outside the refuge, a good mountaineering path begins and for about 900 meters it moves north between an amazing pine and beech forest. With very good signing, it leads us, in a while, to turn east. At the spot, there is a sign indicating the route that we have to follow.
To our right, going up, is the route to the summit, while straight ahead is the route leading to the ski resort. We are ascending higher and higher and the beeches have given their place to the firs that begin and appear scattered among the pine trees.
We continue until our first small stop, a natural balcony at the end of the slope, where we can admire the view and the beauty of the plain of Serres. A little water to drink, the necessary photos to take and off we go again.
As we are ascending higher we can observe the forest changes. There are only fir trees now and their population is getting thicker and thicker as we are approaching the summit.
We are now at the top of the ski resort, the landscape is bald and in the jorizon , not to far away, we can see an abandoned fire lookout tower. From this point, the summit is a few meters away. From the fire lookout tower, we turn southeast toward the large pile of rocks that we see on our right hand. We climb the rocks with caution and here we are, on Pr.Elias summit. The view is magnificent, fantastic. We have in front of us , the plain of Serres, on our left Menoikio mountain, on our back Orvilos mountain and on our right Belles mountain and Kerkini Lake.
We return to the fire lookout tower and from there we can either descend from the same path that has brought us up here or descend through the ski resort’s slope to the asphalt road and from there, back to the refuge. The first option is shorter, but we preferred the second one. Descent is easy, with no orientation problems and it brings us fairly quickly to the base of the ski resort. From there , we can follow the asphalt road , heading to Serres and hike back to the refuge. But we wanted something more “earthy”, so after about 600 meters we find on our left hand a forest road, which is hiding in the forest and continues to move in the south direction.
We are hiking comfortably for about 800 meters and we reach the point of the sign that we encountered when we were ascending. If we go to the left, as the arrow shows, we return to the summit route. If we go straight ahead we return to the refuge. Straight it is and in about half an hour, we can see the refuge. We have arrived at our starting point again. This is the end of this circular route, at the summit of Lailia and the beautiful Forest of Vrontou Mountain. We are entering our car, full of memories, heading for Serres. Now, it is “tsipouro” time.