Volos, Meteora, and Pelion where earth, sea, and sky meet

Words fail to describe the amazing beauty and variety that this untouched part of Greece’s mainland offers. Whitewashed beaches, ancient forests, and rocks hanging from the sky… It sounds like a fairytale, right?  

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Legend has it that Pelion was the forest where the mythic Centaurs used to live. To this day this place still holds an enchanting effect on people. The untouched beauty and the combination of sea and forest keep Pelion a destination for travelers. There are many villages to be found on the mountain but the most remarkable are Portaria, Tsangarada, Zagora, Vyzitsa, and Milies. Stroll around the different stone-lined pedestrian walks in Tsagkarada and shop local applesauce and marmalade. When you find yourself to a square it means it’s time to sit and relax. Several cafes and taverns are always located in a village square, usually by a church. Grab the opportunity and enjoy the panoramic view to the Pagasetic Gulf and to the city of Volos while tasting some local Tsipouro spirit and homemade local delicacies. The biggest village of Pelion is Zagora. Here can be found extremely beautiful houses from the 17th and 18thcenturies when Zagora was the center of the silk trade in the area. If you’re into more special experiences you could try horse riding in this incredible scenery especially in Fall. Besides its fame due to Mama Mia being filmed in part here, the Damouhari beach with its emerald colored sea and chestnut trees lining the small port awaits you during the warmer months in the foothills of Mount Pelion.
 

The city of Volos is one of the most beautiful and historic in Greece. Serving as a port since antiquity, the city hosts an Archaeology Museum that’s one of the oldest in Greece. You’ll have the opportunity to see exhibits from Dimini and Sesklo, the oldest Acropolis ever found in Greece funded in 6000 B.C. But the modern history of the area is proudly represented in both Volos Museum of the City and Tsalapatas Brickworks Museum. The City Museum exhibits the modern history of the city and the population through black and white photographs from the 19th century up till today. The exquisite Tsalapatas Museum is an odd one since its brick-making theme is an unusual one! The recently restored factory offers the opportunity to explore the space and see machinery used to produce the bricks as well as temporary art exhibitions. Of course, like many locals will confirm, in Volos is made the best Tsipouro in the world. Tsipouro is a distilled spirit made out of grapes. It belongs in the same family as ouzo. The city’s center and waterfront are buzzing with tsipouradika, small taverns that offer their self-produced tsipouro and small meze along with it. Like in any port the seafood is a must and a walk along the marina as well. The harbor is busy yet cozy and you will see many amateur fishermen sitting along the seaside enjoying their time.
 

The site of Meteora is a natural, cultural and theological marvel. The landscape of the area is a unique phenomenon that we still have trouble figuring out how it happened. We know that it was inhabited by Neanderthals during the last Ice Age meaning 60.000 years ago. The first monks moved to the rock pillars during the 9th century AD and it remains unknown when the monasteries were built. The plateau was bombed in the WWII and many treasures were stolen. Today there are only 6 functioning monasteries and over 20 abandoned. The iconography and architecture of the monasteries are a wonder to the sight and are unique worldwide. There are male and female monasteries and the experience of seeing the Meteora valley from a “hanging” monastery is unforgettable. The best way to explore the area is to hike, always with the help of professional guides. You will get the chance to visit abandoned monasteries and marvel at the way they blend with the rough environment. Another unmissable stop should be the caves of the site. Some of the caves were used by locals to protect their livestock and some others were used by monks either as punishment or solitude retreats. 

This port of call hides much more excitement and adventure than you imagine. Get ready for a journey from the sea to the clouds and back.
 

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