Greece - Thessaly - Magnesia

An undiscovered Greek holiday destination!
Magnesia is part of the region Thessaly, and is the ultimate holiday destination all year around. Pelion is part of Magnesia, a peninsula between the Pagasetic Gulf and the Aegean Sea, and a lovely mountain range. The unique beauty of the region comes from the bright sun, the impressive fertile mountain Pelion, picturesque friendly family authentic villages, naturally formed beaches, the impeccable rugged Aegean Coast, the islands Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonnisos, while ancient sites add to all year-round wonders.

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Description of Greece - Thessaly - Magnesia

Magnesia, Volos, Pelion
Aerial photo Magnesia

All that beauty could not but give birth to myths. The mythical background of the region captures the imagination of visitors. Thessaly, with its four Administrative Units (Larissa, Magnesia, Trikala and Karditsa), lies in Central Greece and is the birthplace of the Greeks and Greek myths. Thessaly has some of the biggest mountains in the country, Olympus, Kissavos and Pelion, and several smaller ones all over its region. There is a quite long river, the third longest one in Greece, Pinios River crossing the Tempi Valley.

Thessaly’s coastline has a lot of beautiful beaches and landscapes and it is very attractive to tourists. Volos is the only big harbour in Thessaly and to the east there are the mount Pelion and Northern Sporades islands, namely Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnissos and other smaller islands. The climate is continental. According to mythology, Pelion was the summer residence for the Gods of Olympus and the home of the Centaurs.

It may not be as popular as Athens or have as many parties as Mykonos, but Magnesia in Thessaly definitely has a lot to offer the discerning and intellectual traveller. Its great natural features and heritage sites make it a truly underrated holiday destination. Paths, old churches, villages gaining at beaches with green, blue water.

 

A week is not enough to see everything, but it is enough to love it forever.

The Pelion Paninsula

Greece, Thessaly, Magnesia, Volos, Pelion (Pilion)
Pelion Peninsula

Above the city of Volos  arises the legentary Centaur mountain Pelion (Pilion) extending to the southeast. The area is mountainous, wherever you look is green with sparkling water everywhere, and it is obvious that it has a rich past. Even in September you wonder in forests listening to waterfalls, creeks gurling water in fountains, bathing in sunbeams through foliage: sycamore, apple, chestnut trees, oaks, olive forests, gardenias, hydrangeas, camellias …

Pelion (Pilion) has 24 villages at different heights. Beech forests, Macedonian fir trees, mountain slopes full of chestnut and apple trees. Over 1,500 plants dot the landscape along with birds of prey, foxes, hedgehogs, boars and rare animals life. Dozens of amazing cobblestone footpaths all over the region that are great for hiking. Its eco-friendly topography, medicinal herbs and traditional architecture make it a true paradise, popular both during snowy winter months and cool summer months. The temperatures by the coast in summer can go up to 35 degrees, but in the higher villages such as Chania (roughly ‘The Khans’ or ‘The Inns’) you can eat at a taverna with a view to the sea below, and still think of wearing a light jacket at 22 degrees.

West and East Pelion

Greece, Thessaly, Pelion Peninsula, elevated view of the Pagasitikos Gulf
West Pelion

The Eastern side reveals the wild beauty of the mountain, the dense green forest & the endless springs. Rugged slopes covered by trees descend to stunning beaches and small coves. The western side is an endless natural seaside front where the mountain gently dives into the sea with traditional seaside villages and extraordinary little beaches of the Pagasetic Gulf, as you emerge from the bush and walk over the shoreline is awe inspiring.

The Western side curls around the Pagasitic Gulf. This area is gentle – its hills covered with olive trees and shrubs – yet still remarkably attractive. Most accommodation facilities are located right on the beach, making this side of the peninsula ideal for pleasant family vacation.

The beaches are not very large, and along the promenade areas and boulevards is everywhere comfortable, pleasant, friendly shops and terraces and patios of cafes and restaurants.
Worth staying in one of these friendly and lovely family beaches including Platanidia, Malaki, Kato Gatzea, Kala Nera, Koropi, Afissos and Lefokastro.

Greece, Thessaly, Pelion Peninsula, elevated view of the Pagasitikos Gulf
East Pelion

The rocky  impressive Eastern side looks likes the Norwegian fjords, dominated by mountains reaching a height of some 1.600 meters and covered with pine, oak, fir, plane and chestnut. Views are dramatic, cliffs dip dizzily to the Aegean Sea. Hiking trails and stone paths give access to springs, coves and  numerous natural formed  beaches, sandy or pebbly, set among lusciously green slopes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Definitely split your time between the west side and the east side.

North Pelion, Karla Lake

There are wetlands with rare flora and fauna, an overabundance of almond trees. Wild birds, including heron and storks fly in the area. The lake has many tiny islets that provide a safe spot for the birds to rest. The land around the lake is home to many other animals.

Significant religious sites nearby are the 11th century church of Agios Nikolaos and the Flamouri monastery. Part of the area’s allure are the arched stone bridges in Ano and Kato Kerasia, or the walls of ancient Voivis. In the region are the quiet mountain communities of Veneto and Keramidi, traditional fishing villages and the harbour area Kamari, with stunning views of the sea.

All these areas are worth investigating before moving on to South Pelion and the Sporades islands, with their abundant nature and attractions.

South Pelion

F4DDJR Greece, Thessaly, Trikeri, Pelion Peninsula, elevated view of the Pagasitikos Gulf

On Pelio’s southwest tip, built on the steep slope of Mount Tissaio and at the entry to the Pegasitic Gulf, the fishing village of Trikeri offers exceptional architecture and quiet paved streets. “Even in winter is good to relax here,” assures us tavern owner. “The water is still pleasant daytime temperatures and very nice.” Embraced by three seas lies the lonely hilltop, proud and fearless. Like many of its people, excellent fishermen and sea captains. Below at the shore, Trikeri’s harbour, Agia Kiraki, is beautiful, as the blue clouds float on the horizon of North Evia.

On southwest tip, built on the steep slope of Mount Tissaio and at the entry to the Pegasitic Gulf, the fishing village of Trikeri offers exceptional architecture and quiet paved streets. Pelion’s final village. “Even in winter is good to relax here,” assures us tavern owner. “The water is still pleasant daytime temperatures and very nice.” Embraced by three seas lies the lonely hilltop, proud and fearless. Like many of its people, excellent fishermen and sea captains. Down the coast, Trikeri’s harbor, Agia Kiraki, is beautiful, and on the horizon floats the blue misty mountains of Northern Evia.

Through rough and uninhabited area you can walk 1.5 kilometers to the next settlement of Agia Kyriaki on a stunningly scenic cobblestone footpath. Across Trikeri lies the quiet island of Palio Trikeri with the Monastery of Evangelistria.

The beach of Kastri stands south-north the well-visited resort of Platanias, perfect place for a soothing sunbath. Platanias is a beutiful fisshing village opposite the Sporades Islands, Skiathos, Skopelos, Allonisos and to the south the large island (Evia) Euboea. A wonderfull resort with a strongly traditional character, quiet Aegean beaches, preferred by vacationers of all ages who wish to spend their holidays with tranquility and comfort, having the possibility to explore and have an adventure.

In the area of Platanias you can visit the ancient city of Sipiada. Herodotus mentions the dedication of this place to nereids, see goddesses, and the goddess Thetis, who was snatched by Peleus in one of the caves in today’s “Mpournia” near Platanias. The area is scattered with ruins of ancient temples (of the goddess Artemis and others), following post-byzantine monuments and churches with rare fresco’s.

There are quite a few paths, cobblestones and streets leading walkers to neighbouring resorts and beaches in idyllic locations, Mikro, Kastri etc.

If you choose to take the car you can reach the beutifull beaches’ of Milina and Chorto (Horto) in half an hour.

The island cluster of Sporades (Skiathos, Skopelos, Allonisos)

Greece, Thessaly, Sporades, Pelion Peninsula, elevated view of the Pagasitikos Gulf
The Island cluster of Sporades

Next on any visitor’s holiday plan should be the islands Skiathos, Skopelos, Allonisos, at the side of the Pelion Peninsula. These small islands have each a special character and amazing nature. The most popular island of Sporades for holidays and much visited is Skiathos. It might be a party town in summer, but it still has many quiet spots, the castle known as Bourtzi, the Kehrias Monastery and many worthwhile churches. Skopelos and Allonisos have more family atmosphere but still gorgeous beaches. To visit on the island are the Venetian fortifications the International Photography Centre and the Folk Museum. The numerous churches in unspoilt villages and verdant landscapes. The least known but equally beautiful island of Sporades is Skyros, with a charming capital town, secluded beaches and interesting sightseeing.

The environmental prise goes to the third and lesser known island of Allonisos with its Marine Park, abundant wildlife and ‘deserted islands’ which are a safe haven to numerous rare birds, mammals and the Mediterranean monk seal, most of which are under threat of extinction.

 

The Eastern side of Magnesia

Greece, Thessaly, Pelion Peninsula, elevated view of the Pagasitikos Gulf
Eastern Magnesia

Southwest of Volos you can visit, Nees Pagasses (5km from Volos), a summer resort known as Alykies with good facilities for tourists built on the site of ancient Pagasai, an eminent commercial centre of the 5th century BC and port of ancient Feres (Pherai).

A litle bit to the northwest lies Velestino where the ancient city of Feres used to be between the villages of the plain of Thessaly. It is the birthplace of the Greek benefactor Rigas Velestinlis and his family home is preserved as a place of pilgrimage. The village has preserved part of the walls of the ancient city and it is worthy to visit the “Hypereia Krini” (Fountain), from which water springs and the blessing of the waters takes place there.

Closeby you may want to visit the significant Neolithic settlements of of Dimini and Sesklo. They appear be the first traces of permanent human settlement in the wider region. Dimini was inhabited until the beginning of the Bronze Age. The finds of the excavations are many stone and bone tools, abundant ceramics as well as figurines and jewelry. To the southeast of the hill with the Neolithic remains an important Mycenaean settlement is revealed. The area is still inhabited today.

Back to the coast road heading southewest of Volos, you will spot a pine wooded area containing the ruins of ancient Dimitrias (4km from Volos), an important city founded in the 3rd century BC. In this particular extensive archaelogical site there are ruins of a temple, palace and theatre with incomparable acoustics. Portions of the city’s circuit wall can be seen on a hill to the right of the road. The famous grave pillars adorning the Archaeological Museum in Volos still stand on the acropolis. A little to the east, at Pefkakia, are the scant remains of a Mycenaean settlement identified as the Homeric city of Neleia.

Maratho and Chrysi Akti respectively 13 and 15km further south from Volos are renowned for their crystalline waters and the fresh fish served in their taverns.

Greece, Thessaly, Pelion Peninsula, elevated view of the Pagasitikos Gulf
Microthives

Continuing you come to Mikrothives (25km from Volos) which took its name from Phthiotic Thebes. On a nearby hill there are remains of the old city -walls, temple, theatre and a stoa- on the nearby hill. It is worthy to visit Kouri, an oak forest, the ruins of ancient Alos and the monastery of Panagia Xenia in Orthy. Daarna you can drive direction the sea voor Almyros (Almiros). The Almyros town is very close to the Volos airport (VOL) of Nea Anchialos.

Nea Anchialos lies south of Volos and north of Almyros. To the east it is washed by the Pagasetic Gulf and to the west it is surrounded by picturesque hills. It is a developed area, where its beauty, the magnificent landscape, the charm of nature in coexistence with tranquillity and the cosmopolitan life, but mostly the clean environment and the hospitality of local residents have contributed to the fact that is considered one of the best resorts in the wider region.

At Almyros (35km from Volos), the centre for animal husbandry and farming in the area, you can visit the Archaeological Museum, while in Kouri park, the ruins of ancient Alos and the monastery of Panagia Xenia at Orthris are worth a visit.

The seaside village of Amaliapolis (57km from Volos) near Cape Almyros is very popular holiday spot. One of the largest villages in Almyros area is Sourpi, surrounded by bountiful olive groves. lts taverns serve delicious “kokoretsi”, a treat made of liver, spit roasted on glowing coals.

As you carry on along the coast road, cutting through the southern section of Magnesia passing extraordinarily picturesque scenery, it is worth stopping at Pteleos (60km), a historic village with more olive groves, and its port, Pigadi, a quiet fishing hamlet with sparkling waters and an abundance of fresh fish; at Ahilio (67km from Volos), an idyllic bay with a long beach, and an ideal sanctuary from the August heat.

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