The region of Thessaly is located on the northern side of Greece, between Macedonia and Sterea. Watered by the Aegean Sea from the eastern side, only a few parts of Thessaly are open to tourism.
Meteora in Thessaly
Meteora is the most impressive site of Thessaly Greece, with huge rocks standing in the middle of a valley and monasteries constructed on top of these rocks.
Pelion in Thessaly
Pelion is also a great place for a holiday: gorgeous natural beauty, with amazing beaches and lovely villages in the mountains. According to Greek mythology, Pelion was the homeland of the Centaurs, the mythical creatures half-men half-horses. Nice beaches are also found on the coasts of Larissa, the largest town of Thessaly.
History of Thessaly
At first, Thessaly was known as Aeolia and it appears with this name in the Homeric poems. The region is closely connected to mythology. It is worth mentioning that the legendary Achilles had his kingdom in southern Thessaly, in ancient Fthia. Also, Mount Pelion was the land of Centaurs, mythological creatures half men half horse. The most famous Centaur was Chiron, the discipline of Jason, who later started the Argonautic expedition from the port of Ancient Iolkos, modern Volos.
The presence of Thessaly in the classical times was not very evident until it was conquered by Philip II, the king of Macedon and father of Alexander the Great. In the centuries that followed, Thessaly became part of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and it was frequently attacked by Slavs and Serbs in the Medieval era.
The Ottoman occupation was very hard for the locals, as the cultivable valleys of central Thessaly, the largest valleys of Greece, were given to the Turkish rulers and the Greeks were hardly working their land and had no right on it. When Thessaly was set free in 1881, the Turks sold these lands to few Greek, who continued the same system. This led to a large revolution in March 1910 with the local peasants asking for a redistribution of land from the landowners. This happened many years later, after 1923, following the pressure of the Asia Minor refugees.
Geography of Thessaly
A large part of Thessaly consists of valleys and many inhabitants make their living from agriculture. For the watering of these valleys, a large artificial lake has been created, the Plastira Lake, taking its name from the politician Nikolaos Plastiras who suggested the creation of this lake.
An important geological formation in Thessaly is the Rocks of Meteora, impressive rocks in the middle of a valley on top of which Byzantine monasteries have been constructed. Apart from religious tourism, this region has also developed for rock climbing.
Mount Pelion is also a great region of Thessaly, ideal for tourism in every season. In winter, the central villages of Pelion attract visitors for their natural beauty and the ski center in Agriolefkes. In summer, the gorgeous beaches of the eastern side of Pelion impress with their exotic blue color and the wind nature.
How to get to Thessaly
The only airport of Thessaly in Greece is the small airport of Nea Achialos, about 26 km from Volos. This small airport works only in summer and receives charter flights from abroad.
There are many buses from Athens and Thessaloniki to towns of Thessaly. Buses to Thessaly depart from Liossion KTEL Bus Station in Athens. There are also buses from the towns of Thessaly to smaller villages.
Volos is the only port of Thessaly. Ferries from the port of Volos go to the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, and Alonissos. In summer, there are also local ferries from Platanias, southern Pelion, to Skiathos.
Information about the Weather in Thessaly, in Greece but also information about the weather in many locations of the group (average temperatures and forecast): The climate of Thessaly is pleasant in the coasts of the Aegean and much heavier in the center, where it is surrounded by mountains. The whole region is characterized by a continental climate where winters are cold and summers are hot. The temperature changes dramatically between these two seasons with many drops of rain. Rainstorms usually occur in the plains of Thessaly, during the summer months which strengthen the fertility of the area surrounded by imposing mountains.
Due to the high mountain ranges the region is known for, the weather is colder at a high altitude and rather unpredictable. There are usually snow reports and rain. The highest temperatures are seen in Larissa. On the whole, summers are very warm and pleasant to spend your vacation.
Thessaly Things to See and Do
Located on the northern side of mainland Greece, Thessaly is a nice region to explore by car. Things to see & do in Thessaly vary from visiting mountainsides and lakes to driving along vast stretches of valley.
Things to see and do in Meteora
Discovering Meteora is probably the most impressive thing to do in Thessaly. Meteora, whose name means hanging from the rocks are actually large limestone rocks standing on the side of a large valley. On top of these rocks, impressive monasteries were constructed in the Byzantine times. Out of the 22 monasteries that were established in the region at that time, only 6 of them work today and they are open for visitors. The view from the top of the monasteries is breathtaking. Over the last years, rock climbing has been largely developed in the rocks of Meteora, but in a district way so that the holy atmosphere of the place is not disturbed.
If you drive a car, there are many nice places to discover around Meteora. The prehistoric cave of Theopetra, only 10 min drive from Kalambaka, reopened recently and is a unique archaeological place. At 30 min drive is the beautiful town of Trikala, crossed by river Litheos. Close to the village of Pyli is the stone bridge of Porta or Agios Vissarion, while a ski center works in winter in Pertouli village. About 1-hour drive away is the beautiful Lake of Plastira. Although this lake is artificial, it has perfectly matched the surrounding environment and provides a gorgeous setting for hiking.
Things to see and do in Pelion
A fabulous place to discover in Thessaly is Mount Pelion, this lovely peninsula between the Pagasetic Gulf and the Aegean Sea. Mount Pelion distinguishes for the small stone villages in the mountains, the fabulous beaches along the coastline and the green nature. As it is crossed by many old footpaths, hiking is very popular in this region.
Nice hiking routes in Pelion is from Makrinitsa to Portaria, from Milies to Tsagarada, from Tsagarada to Mylopotas, from Argalasti to Milina and from Trikeri to Agia Kyriaki. A large town to see in Pelion is Volos, which is actually the fifth largest town in Greece and its busy port serves ferries to the Sporades islands.