The Forest of Lailia, a Site of “Unique Natural Beauty”
The forest of Lailia is protected by laws and decisions of the Greek State and the convention 92/43/Ε.Ο.Κ – NATURA Network 2000.
According to the most dominant theory, the name Lailia derives from an alteration of the original Turkish name Yailas, which means “summer settlement”, while the etymology might also derive from an alteration of the name of the Saint of the Greek mountains, Prophet Elias (Profitis Elias).
During the Turkish period, there were more than 40 mosques, holy courts and hostelries (caravanserai) in the forest that served about 2.000 travelers.
The fauna of Lailias is characterized by a large number of mammals, such as rabbits, foxes, deer, boars, wild cats, ect., while more rarely wolves and bears are found in the most remote areas of the forest.
The picturesque slopes of Lailia, covered with beech and pine trees, are ideal for camping, winter sports, photography, painting, nature observation, clibbing, mountain bike and trekking in the hiking path E6.
In the center of the forest there is the paleo-botanical site of Sfagnonas in “Balta Tsair”, a site of great historical importance for the forest. The site of Sfagnonas has been declared “Monument of Nature” and a site of “Unique Natural Beauty”. In this beautiful site with abundant waters and vegetation, there are also organized recreational areas for the visitors. Historical remains found in the wider region of the mountain group of Vrontous suggest that the forest of Lailias was inhabited since the early neolithic period.
In the forest of Lailias and the site of “Olympia” there is a lovely mountain refuge since 1956, supervised by the Hiking Club of Serres, that organizes excursions and cultural events for hikers, trekkers and visitors. In the site of “Katimeria” there is a ski resort run by the hiking club, open since 1980 , featuring high quality services, a 1000 m. long ski trail and a 900 m. long ski lift. From there, you can also hike to the summit of “Ali Baba”, 800m. snow trail per hour. For extreme skiers, there are more demanding ski trails in Lailia, while there is also a ski trail for athletes, one of the best in Greece.