Abstract. Some 20 Myr after the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous obduction and collision at the eastern margin of Adria, the eroded Pelagonia (Adria)–Axios/Vardar (oceanic complex) contact collapsed, forming the Kallipetra Basin, described around the Aliakmon River near Veroia (northern Greece). Clastic and carbonate marine sediments deposited from the early Cenomanian to the end of the Turonian, with abundant olistoliths and slope failures at the base due to active normal faults. The middle part of the series is characterized by red and green pelagic limestones, with a minimal contribution of terrigenous debris. Rudist mounds in the upper part of the basin started forming on the southwestern slope, and their growth competed with a flux of ophiolitic debris, documenting the new fault scarps affecting the Vardar oceanic complex (VOC). Eventually, the basin was closed by overthrusting of the VOC towards the northeast and was buried and heated up to ∼ 180 ∘C. A strong reverse geothermal gradient with temperatures increasing up-section to near 300 ∘C is recorded beneath the VOC by illite crystallinity and by the crystallization of chlorite during deformation. This syntectonic heat partially reset the zircon fission track ages bracketing the timing of closure just after the deposition of the ophiolitic debris in the Turonian. This study documents the reworking of the Pelagonian–Axios/Vardar contact, with Cenomanian extension and basin widening followed by Turonian compression and basin inversion. Thrusting occurred earlier than previously reported in the literature for the eastern Adria and shows a vergence toward the northeast, at odds with the regional southwest vergence of the whole margin but in accordance to some reports about 50 km north.