Thessaly

PELION
Midway between Athens and Thessaloniki, Pelion is a mountainous peninsula rising from the coast combining traditional mountain villages with pristine beaches.  Makrinitsa and Portaria just above the city of Volos at the entrance of Pelion are two of Greece’s most well preserved traditional mountain villages as much for their architecture as for their gastronomy.  Be sure to try the local sausages and pies filled with mushrooms.  The region is also famous for its traditional “spoon sweets” which you can purchase to take home with you.  Tsagarada is a village ideal for those looking for easier access to the beaches without giving up the mountain culture.  As roads are windy and long the best way to explore the beaches is by chartering a private boat to explore the many spectacular beaches.
 
METEORA
Meteora is on the UNESCO World Heritage list as a mixed site, meaning that it is both a natural heritage but also a cultural heritage site.  The landscape is just breathtaking and Meteora actually mean “suspended in air.”  Six monasteries, built between the 14th and 15th centuries AD, perched up to 400 meters up high on a unique grouping of sandstone rock pillars 60 million years old.  Only when one visits the monasteries, many which were only accessible by ladder and basket, can one appreciate the difficulty in building them.  Second only to Mt. Athos in terms of Byzantine monastic architecture, everyone should visit Meteora.
 
LAKE PLASTIRA
Located just west of the city of Karditsa, lake Plastira is a great destination for everyone from families, to couples and those looking for an active holiday.  This man-made lake is the result of a damn built in 1960.  The setting couldn’t be more beautiful for a lake, surrounded by peak from the Pindos mountain range filled with plush forests.  There are 18 villages around the lake and you will visit several of them during your stay.  Visit the village of Kastania where one of the last remaining “tsarouhia” work shop operates.   Tsarouhia are shoes that go back at least six centuries and were the everyday shoe of Greek; now they are only worn by the National Guard which guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens.   Neraida is a village at about 500 meters above Lake Plastira which is already 750 meters above sea level.  The views here of the lake and the surrounding area are to die for.  The local rustic tavernas in the villages are excellent and you will definitely be satisfied.  In terms of activities kayaking, horseback riding, biking and hiking are just a few options to choose from.   Accommodation options are various with chalet style boutique spa hotels.


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