The wild ridge of Mt Kozakias, on the easternmost part of the Pindus mountain range, is calling for you. The towering green peaks in Thessaly hide some of the most beautiful secrets of the Trikala district. A supernatural ‘schism’ from the town of Pylis leads you to the ‘invisible’ side of the mountain and some of the most valuable tourist magnets in Greece: Elati, Pertouli and Neraidohiri – all three villages being ideal for winter holidays.
What to do in Elati-Petrouli
Elati: a cosmopolitan mountain town in Thessaly
Heading up the west side of the mountain, amid a lush landscape of planes and firs, with a view of the river and the little villages across the way, you’ll soon arrive at the beautiful, picturesque village of Elati, at an altitude of 950m. It’s the largest of the alpine villages in this region, and one of the destinations in Greece with a tourist infrastructure fully-equipped for all four seasons. It is the primary ‘passage’ for dozens of journeys in Thessaly, whether they be asphalt expeditions, hiking trails or walking paths through the forest. It’s no coincidence that Elati is the destination of choice for alpine adventurers.
Pertouli: the Garden of Eden
Take a trip to a heavenly green landscape embraced by southern slopes of the Pindus range. Thousands of square metres of infinite beauty: lush vegetation, natural springs, rushing rivers and seasonal lakes create a stunning sight. Pertouli, with its dense forests and high tourist standards, including a small ski resort, is one of the main attractions of northern Greece all year round.
Small ski centre, supersised view
Small in size but with an unsurpassable natural landscape, Petrouli’s ski resort is situated near luxury hotels and restaurants. So whether or not you ski, young and old will have fun sliding down the snowy slopes or just keeping warm with a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of wine in Thessaly.
Pyli Trikalon: eternal guard of the mountain’s passage
This has been a gate for Trikala’s mountain region for centuries, and is a significant sight in the area. It was once a Byzantine town – Megala Pyli (Large Gates) – with a spectacular monastery called Porta Panagias. Above this narrow passage you’ll find today’s Pyli, the primary commercial and transit hub of the area. Here stands its famous arch stone bridge, built in 1514.
Hidden gems of Elati
The impenetrable Saint Bessarian
Far from the populated roads, invisible to contemporary travellers, the mediaeval monastery of St Bessarion stands like an impenetrable fortress at the foot of Mt Kozakias. It is one of the most impressive attractions in the area. The huge three-storey building complex has 366 cells (a leap year’s worth) and was built in 1527.
Likno: local dishes, flavours and herbs
Charming local shops preserve the flavours of Trikalas’ old mountain recipes, especially in Elati where you’ll find sun-dried frumenty with goat’s milk, a selection of organic products (honey, cracked wheat, sun-dried tomatoes), syrupy sweets, marmalade, and medicinal herbs. Indulge in the flavours of Thessaly!
The Red Rock
Where you can enjoy the incredible view above Elati. And for the more daring, there’s a rock climbing site here. A red-hot experience.