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A Harmonious Blend of Nature and Mythology

Located at the center of the mainland, Thessaly boasts majestic islands, magnificent mountains, impressive religious monuments, and charming mountain villages that beckon explorers from around the world. Thessaly is a region where green mountains harmoniously coexist with the deep blue of the Aegean Sea, creating a mesmerizing landscape that epitomizes the essence of a four-season destination.

Discover the beauty of Thessaly

Ultimate Thessaly Travel Guide

Welcome to Thessaly, Greece’s enchanting gem that beckons adventurers from around the world. Discover the wonders of this captivating region with our comprehensive Thessaly travel guide. From the mythical Mount Olympus to the mesmerizing Meteora, Thessaly has it all. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through this hidden treasure of Greece.

Unveiling the Regions of Thessaly

Thessaly is comprised of several fascinating regions that each possess its own unique charm and allure. Let us take you on a virtual tour of these remarkable destinations.

Thessaly - Central Greece

It is one of the 13 peripheries of Greece, lying in the central continental country and bordering Macedonia on the north, Epirus on the west, Sterea Hellas, or Central Greece on the south and the Aegean Sea on the east. Its geography consists of a ring of mountains embracing an extended central plain, which, thanks to the summer rains, is so fertile, that Thessaly is often called the breadbasket of Greece. The region is divided into four prefectures.

It has a higher percentage of flat land than any other part of the country. The mountains Pindos, Othrys, Ossa, and Agrafa surround the entire plain. Among them, Pinios river flows draining into the Aegean Sea after passing through the area of Tempi. This part was the home of ancient gods and Centaurs. Thessaly was a rich country and a major supplier of horses to Athens and other parts of Greece, governed by a few noble families owning most of the land and controlling the cities, especially Larissa, Crannon, Pheres, and Pharsalus.

During the 5th and 4rth century B. C. Thessaly was a “federal” state that could, in time of war at least, be placed under the supreme leadership of a commander in chief called Tagos. It was divided into four major regions, Hestiaotis in the northwest, Pelasgiotis in the northeast, Thessaliotis in the southwest, and Phthiotis in the southeast, however, it is not clear enough how united they were.

People in the regions surrounding Thessaly, such as Dolopes from the Pindos range, Magnetes from Magnesia, Achzans from Phthiotis were at times subjected to a tribute by Thessalian kings (Xenophon’s Hellenica, VI, I, 19).

“They say that these were the tribes collected by Amphiktyon himself in the Greek Assembly: ... the Macedonians joined and the entire Phocian race ... In my day there were thirty members: six each from Nikopolis, Macedonia and Thessaly...”


The prefecture of Larissa is mainly agricultural. The namesake capital city of Larissa is the biggest in the periphery and lies in the middle of the plain of Thessaly. The county of Larissa is located in the northeast of Thessaly and is the biggest county in Greece, covering roughly 10,000 km. It is made up of the districts of Agia, Elassona, Turnavos, Farsala, and Larissa, which is also the capital of the county. This county covers 38% of the total area of Thessaly and contains 37% of the population. Mount Olympus (2,917m), the highest peak not only of Greece but also of the Balkans, is located here and stands at the border with the county of Pieria.

The huge plain of Larissa is characteristic of the county. The main river of the area is the Pineio, which flows between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa (Kissavos) and through the Temby valley. The aforementioned valley, as well as the villages around Olympus, are the best-known tourist attractions in this county.

During the years of the Turkish occupation, the county experienced a financial boom due to the developed industries here. Signs of past prosperity still exist in the form of the churches of the 16th and 17th centuries.

There is an abundance of wonderful locations for outings both summer and winter and one can visit areas praised for their greenery and crystal clear waters. The northern and eastern coastlines are ideal for relaxing summer holidays spent on clean sandy beaches. Of course, there are a variety of alternative types of holidays available too, as the county offers the best possible combination of sea and mountains.


The county borders the county of Larissa in the northwest, Fthiotida in the southwest, touches the Agean in the east, and the Pagasitiko gulf in the south. The summer residence of the gods on the mythical mountain of the Centaurs, in Pelion, is located in this county. Volos and the county of Magnesia as a whole are generally considered to be one of the most attractive areas in Greece.

The snowcovered mountains of Makrinitsa and Tsagarda are the ideal starting point for winter expeditions. The county also offers unforgettable spring or autumn outings exploring the wonders of nature and beautiful summer holidays relaxing on the sandy beaches located here. As well as the natural beauty of the area, this county offers a wealth of archaeological sites and treasures that attract visitors all year long.

Take a hike through the enchanting Pelion trails, visit the picturesque villages of Portaria and Makrinitsa, or soak up the sun on the idyllic beaches of Agios Ioannis and Mylopotamos. Explore the coastal town of Almyros, known for its picturesque beaches and charming atmosphere. Immerse yourself in the ancient history of Magnesia as you wander through the ruins of ancient Dimitrias and the majestic fortress of Volos.

Volos: Where History Meets Modernity

The city of Volos is the capital of the prefecture of Magnesia.  Known as the birthplace of the ancient mythical hero Jason and his crew of Argonauts, Volos is steeped in fascinating legends and stories. It is a beautiful city by a big bay, with a wonderful seafront promenade, lined with tavernas and bars serving ‘tsipouro’, a strong local spirit. In the same prefecture, Pelion, the mythical mountain of the Centaurs, is one of the most beautiful places in Greece, combining the forest-covered landscape of the mountain with the fabulous beaches at its foot. In this unique setting, where picturesque traditional stone-built villages are nestled into the woods, amidst springs and tiny waterfalls, one can enjoy an ideal winter vacation (there is also a ski center), then as the green mountain dives into the turquoise and emerald waters of the sea, the visitor is bound to live unforgettable summer experiences.

Volos serves as the gateway to the pristine islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, and Euboea where azure waters and picturesque beaches await.


In the prefecture of Karditsa, upon a mountain plateau, the Lake of Plastira is a landscape of spectacular scenery, where nature lovers will rejoice, and a place ideal for long walking, hiking, or biking around the serene highland lake reminiscent of a Scandinavian landscape.

Karditsa unveils its hidden treasures, starting with the mesmerizing Agrafa Mountains and the mysterious slopes that have witnessed the passage of time. The artificial lake of Plastira, surrounded by the Agrafa Mountains, takes center stage in this region. Explore its serene beauty and indulge in the tranquility of nature. Karditsa is also known for its picturesque villages, including Pertouli, which offers fantastic opportunities for skiing during the winter months. Don’t miss the renowned thermal springs of Smokovo, famous since the Ottoman occupation. Karditsa’s verdant greenery, picturesque landscapes, and mythical allure make it an unmissable destination.

Trikala: A Haven for Adventurers

One of the highlights of Trikala is the iconic Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of ancient monasteries perched on towering rock formations. Trikala is also known for its unique stone bridge, the famous “Manaviki,” which spans the River Lithaios and adds to the city’s charm. Take a leisurely stroll along the stone-paved alleys of Varousi, the old quarter of Trikala, and discover its well-preserved traditional houses and Byzantine churches.

The prefecture of Trikala boasts numerous little picturesque settlements nestled in its wooded mountainsides. Elati and Pertouli are the most beautiful, the latter near a ski center, with a variety of traditional guest houses where one can relish the local hospitality and cuisine. The region also offers excellent hiking and trekking routes.

It has a population of about 140,000 people, the majority of whom are farmers. It is in the southwest of Thessaly and has borders with the counties of Grevena in the north, Ioannina and Arta in the west, Karditsa in the south, and Larissa in the east. This is mostly a mountainous area, which attracts tourists all year round who come to admire the wonder of nature that is known as Meteora. Indeed, Meteora is almost indescribably beautiful. The sheer rocks and numerous monasteries are very impressive, as are the services available in Kalambaka and Kastraki. Skiing and mountain climbing are available for the more adventurous visitor and nature lovers. The county offers high mountains and rivers as well as plains, all co-existing in perfect harmony with each other.


The most important monastic group in Greece after Mount Athos is found in the prefecture of Trikala, 9 km from the town of Kalampaka. The beauty of this monument is out of this world, as a formation of giant rocks, called the Meteora, are towering over the ground like isolated castles, on top of which perched are Byzantine orthodox monasteries. Of the six that have been rescued to the present day, some date to the 11th century. Their historical religious treasures are invaluable, as is the contribution of their monks to the artistic production of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine times.

Discover Meteora: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Prepare to be awestruck by the monumental rock formations of Meteora, one of Thessaly’s most impressive sites. These massive rocks rise from the valley floor, forming a surreal landscape that seems straight out of a fairytale. Perched atop these towering rocks, ancient monasteries stand as a testament to human resilience and devotion. The harmonious blend of natural beauty and spiritual significance makes Meteora a must-visit destination for the intrepid traveler.

Meteora’s allure is not limited to its spiritual and natural wonders; the region also offers opportunities for adrenaline-fueled adventures. Rock climbing enthusiasts can test their skills on vertical cliffs, finding their footing amidst the rugged beauty of the landscape. These towering rock formations rise majestically from the earth, adorned with monasteries perched on their summits. Enjoy the breathtaking views, admire the exquisite Byzantine art and architecture and feel a sense of tranquility envelop you in this sacred place.

Uncovering Dion and Mount Olympus: A Journey through Greek Mythology

For those fascinated by Greek mythology, a trip to Dion and Mount Olympus is a must-do. This park is a treasure trove of ancient wonders, allowing you to explore the exterior archaeological site at your own pace. Visit the Museum of Dion, where you can admire statues and marvel at the mosaic work in the House of Dionysus. Uncover the secrets of the mythological house of the 12 Greek gods and embark on a short trek through the foothills of the mountain. As you traverse the Enipeas gorge, keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife and capture stunning pictures of the mountain views.

Platamon Castle: Timeless Majesty

Perched atop a hill, overlooking the azure Aegean Sea, lies the majestic Platamon Castle. This medieval fortress stands as a testament to the region’s fascinating history.

Beach Bliss: Thessaly's Coastal Paradises

The eastern base of Mount Pelion is home to some of the most captivating beaches in the region. Among them, Mylopotamos, Papa Nero, Horefto, and Fakistra stand out for their natural splendor.

How to Get to Thessaly: Your Pathway to Adventure

Thessaly is easily accessible by various means of transportation. Major airports and ports provide convenient entry points, and a well-connected road network ensures seamless travel within the region. If you prefer flying, the closest airports to the region are Volos Airport and Larissa Airport, offering convenient connections from major cities. Alternatively, you can also opt for a scenic road trip, with well-maintained highways leading to Thessaly from different parts of Greece.

Island Hopping: A Mediterranean Paradise

If you’re looking for sun, sea, and sand, a trip to Euboea (Evia), Skopelos, Alonissos and Skiathos is a perfect choice.

Euboea - Evia

The island has an abundance of color from the wildflowers and the forests, the mountain springs, and the deep gorges with waterfalls. Evia is the third largest island in the Eastern Mediterranean and at the same time, it is connected to the mainland with two bridges. Evia is easy to reach – 80 kms from Athens – in a short time by boat from the port of Oropos on the north coast of Attica to Halkida town, or from Rafina port on the east coast of Attica to Marmari, or by car arriving at the town of Halkida through the bridge. In the north of the island and at the cape Artemisio in 1928 fishermen brought out of the depths of the sea two precious statues, decorating now the archaeological museum of Athens.

Halkida, the capital of the island, is a modern town with traditional two-story houses and modern buildings. Starting from this town and traveling south you will reach the villages of Nea Lampsakos, Vassiliko, Malaconda, Eretria, with the ruins of the ancient theatre and the archaeological museum, and Amarinthos. On the southwest coast, the town of Karystos offers an unspoiled environment, clean sandy beaches, archaeological sites, and authentic Greek dishes.

The legendary Karystos, son of the centaur Chiron, gave his name to this town according to the Greek Mythology. Karystians were the first Greeks to stand up to the Persians and suffered greatly. They were at the peak of prosperity during the Hellenistic and Roman periods having their civic center at Chora. Franks built the Fort Bourtzi and the Castello Rosso, which became the habitation center during the Turkish period. The modern town was designed by the Bavarian architect Bierbach under the commission of the first king of Greece, Otho.


Over the centuries the island has been called by many different names like Ikos, Evonymos, Liodromia, Hilliodromia, but very little has changed. It is a stopping place on the sea routes from the North Aegean to Crete since the 9th millennium BC. Renowned for its wine and vineyards since ancient times, the island has preserved a harmony between production and development. Today the natural cycle of a local economy based on ecologically friendly fishing, farming, and stock-raising help keep the environment untouched from development.

The island provides shelter at the Alonissos Marina Park for one of the rarest mammals of the Mediterranean Sea, the “Monachus Monachus”, classified as one of the endangered spices. Worth watching is the revival of the traditional “trata” on the last Sunday of the carnival, which starts the beginning of spring and continues with the local festivals on St. George’s day. There are beautiful beaches like Gialia, Tsoucalia, Megali Ammos, and Agallou Laka, which can be reached by small boats, cars, or on foot offering a variety of choices. A perfect spot for a relaxing holiday, this place has something for every taste, in the natural environment that its people have so carefully preserved and exploited.


Skiathos is an island of Sporades, which was an isolated agrarian one until the early 1970s. Today it is one of the most cosmopolitan islands in Greece. The main attraction is the purity of the water and the lovely fine sand beaches. It boasts of having more than 60, the most famous of which, Koukounaries, is considered one of the very best in Greece. A few more beaches are Megali Ammos, Kanapitsa, Agia Paraskevi, and Platanias. Skiathos town is the capital of the island. It is a relatively modern town built-in 1930 on two low lying hills, then reconstructed after a heavy German bombardment during the second world war. In the town, off the main street, you will find the House of Papadiamantis, a famous Greek author, who presented in his books, the life of the island and the Greek customs. At a small distance, there is the pretty 17th-century monastery of Kounistria with beautiful icons.


It is easy to reach this island by boat from the port of Kimi in Evia, in two hours. According to Greek Mythology, this is the island where the goddess Thetis, Achillea’s mother, decided to hide her son dressing him as a woman and give him the name Pyrrha (blond), since she found out that he would be killed in the Trojan War. But he was not lucky because the Greeks sent Odysseus to bring him back and ask him to become the leader of the War. The island, according to archaeological finds, has been of great importance. So far excavations have shown that traces of life existed on the island during the Neolithic period (6000-2900 BC) and the developments took place especially during the Bronze Age.

The northern part of the island is green, full of pine trees and cultivations, where the south appears to be the opposite, however perfect for goats, sheep and for the Skirian small horse, which is just 1 m tall and has no relation to the pony of Northern Europe. This horse is found carved in the Panathinea procession and in the excavations of Marathon and Vergina. Sandy and pebble beaches are spread around the island. At the same time, the pine trees on the mountains of Olympos and Kohilas offer a relaxing atmosphere. There are almost 300 churches on the island, but the most important of all is the one of St.George, the patron Saint of this island, built-in 906 by Nikiforos Fokas and Ioannis Tsimiskis, on the highest point of the island.


Skopelos is the neighbor of Skiathos island, where you arrive by boat or hydrofoil at the ports of Glossa, Loutraki or Skopelos. A lot of beautiful and pretty beaches are spread around. The capital of the island is Skopelos town or Hora with its port, one of the most beautiful ports in Greece. The town is one of Greece’s greatest architectural treasures, on a par with Hydra and Symi, with 123 churches and a Venetian castle built over an archaic temple of Athena. A visit to the Folk Art Museum or the variety of galleries displaying local photos, ceramics, and jewelry is also important.

You may not miss the five monasteries south of the town, the Evangelistria, the fortified monastery of Agia Barbara, now abandoned, containing frescoes of the 15th century, Metamorphosis, Prodromou, and Taxiarchon. The island is rich in vegetation and the interior is planted with fruit and nut orchards. Famous are the plums and almonds of the island that are used a lot in local recipes.


Got a Question?

Thessaly offers a range of wonderful attractions.

Meteora: Visit the extraordinary monasteries perched atop towering rock formations.

Mount Olympus: Explore the mythical home of the gods and hike its majestic trails.

Pelion Peninsula: Discover charming villages, lush forests, and beautiful beaches.

Volos: Experience the vibrant coastal city known for its lively waterfront and rich history.

Trikala: Explore the picturesque town with its traditional architecture and historic center.

Larissa: Immerse yourself in the vibrant city life, archaeological sites, and lively markets.

Plastira Lake: Enjoy the serene natural beauty of this enchanting lake surrounded by mountains.

Pelio: Indulge in the scenic beauty of this mountainous region, known for its traditional charm.

Pelion Steam Train: Take a nostalgic ride on a vintage steam train through the stunning Pelion region.

Alonissos Island: Visit this tranquil paradise known for its pristine beaches and marine park.

These are just a few highlights, and Thessaly has much more to offer in terms of history, natural beauty, and cultural experiences.

Getting to Thessaly is relatively easy. You can reach the region by flying into the airports in Volos, Larissa, or Karditsa, which have domestic connections. Alternatively, you can take a train or bus from major Greek cities like Athens or Thessaloniki to reach various destinations within Thessaly.

Thessaly boasts some captivating cities to explore. Volos, a vibrant coastal city, offers a great mix of history, culture, and a lively waterfront. Larissa, the regional capital, has archaeological sites and a bustling city center. Trikala is another charming city known for its traditional architecture and proximity to the stunning Meteora monasteries.

The best time to visit Thessaly is during spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October). These seasons offer pleasant temperatures for outdoor activities and sightseeing. Summer (July to August) can be hot but is ideal for beach lovers. Winter (December to February) is suitable for skiing enthusiasts as some areas have ski resorts.

Thessaly is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can go hiking and explore the trails of Mount Olympus or the stunning gorges of the Pindus Mountain Range. Rafting and kayaking in the River Pineios are popular water-based activities, while horseback riding and mountain biking are also great options. Additionally, Thessaly has beautiful beaches for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

Yes, Thessaly is home to several famous beaches. Some popular ones include Agiokampos Beach, a sandy beach with crystal-clear waters, and Kala Nera Beach, known for its calm and family-friendly atmosphere. Additionally, the coastal areas of Pelion Peninsula offer picturesque beaches like Mylopotamos and Papa Nero.

Thessaly’s cuisine is rich in traditional flavors. Some local dishes include “Spetzofai,” a spicy sausage stew with peppers and tomatoes, “Zilopites,” handmade pasta usually served with local cheese or meat, and “Tiganopsomo,” a type of fried bread. You should also try the local desserts, such as “Tiganites,” a type of sweet pancake, and “Mpelintzes,” a pastry with syrup and walnuts.

Thessaly has a significant historical heritage. The most famous landmark is the Meteora monasteries, a UNESCO World Heritage site, perched on towering rock formations. Other notable sites include the archaeological park of Ancient Larissa, the ancient theater of Demetrias, and the ruins of the ancient city of Farsala.

Thessaly offers numerous breathtaking hiking trails. Some recommended ones include the Enipeas Gorge Trail in Mount Olympus, the Vikos Gorge Trail in the Pindus National Park, and the Centaurs’ Path in Pelion.

Thessaly is best known for its stunning natural landscapes, including the famous Meteora monasteries. It is also renowned for Mount Olympus, the mythical home of the Greek gods and the highest mountain in Greece. Thessaly’s fertile plains and agricultural heritage contribute to its reputation as the country’s “breadbasket.” Additionally, the region has a rich history and is associated with ancient Greek mythology and the epic tales of the Centaurs.

Thessaly has a rich and diverse history dating back to ancient times.

In Greek mythology, it is often associated with the legendary tribe of Centaurs and was considered the homeland of the wise Centaur Chiron.

The region was inhabited by various ancient Greek tribes, including the Thessalians.

During the classical period, Thessaly was an independent region with its own cities and political system.

It held a momentous position in the Greco-Persian Wars and eventually capitulated to the military prowess of Philip II of Macedon.

Under Macedonian rule, Thessaly became part of the vast Macedonian Empire led by Alexander the Great.


After the decline of the Macedonian Empire, Thessaly fell under Roman control and became an important agricultural and trading region.


It experienced a period of prosperity during the Byzantine Empire, with the rise of important cities like Larissa and Trikala.

Thessaly went through various periods of occupation and change throughout history.

Having been an integral part of the Byzantine Empire, the Frankish Kingdom, and the Ottoman Empire, this region eventually transitioned to the governance of the contemporary Greek state during the Greek War of Independence in the 19th century.

In the 20th century, Thessaly witnessed significant development and modernization.

Yes, Thessaly offers several hiking trails for nature enthusiasts.

The region is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and diverse terrain, providing abundant opportunities for hikers to discover and appreciate the splendor of nature.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, Thessaly’s trails cater to various skill levels, offering breathtaking views, lush forests, and charming villages along the way.

Lace up your hiking boots and embark on an unforgettable adventure on Thessaly’s scenic trails.


Thessaly offers a range of family-friendly activities that you can enjoy.

Here are some recommendations: Visit Meteora: Explore the breathtaking monasteries perched on towering rock formations.

Take a guided tour or hike the trails together for a memorable experience.

Discover Mount Pelion: Enjoy outdoor adventures such as hiking or horseback riding on the scenic trails of Mount Pelion.

The area also has charming villages to explore.

Explore the Olympus National Park: Go on a family hike in the home of the ancient Greek gods.

Marvel at the stunning landscapes and discover the rich flora and fauna of the area.

Relax at the Beaches: Thessaly boasts beautiful beaches along its coastline.

Spend the day building sandcastles, swimming, or simply relaxing under the sun.

Visit the Archaeological Site of Dion: Step back in time and explore the ruins of this ancient city.

Learn about Greek history and mythology while strolling through its remains.

Explore the Vale of Tempe: Take a leisurely walk along the enchanting Vale of Tempe, known for its natural beauty and mythical associations.

Pertouli Ski Resort: Experience skiing and snowboarding during winter, suitable for all skill levels.

Explore Thermopylae Battlefield: Uncover the legendary Battle and its historical significance.

Visit the Thessalian Plains: Take a family bike ride or a peaceful picnic in the scenic Thessalian Plains, surrounded by picturesque landscapes.

Enjoy Local Cuisine: Don’t miss the opportunity to savor traditional Thessalian dishes, such as bougiourdi (spicy cheese dip) or tsipouro (a local alcoholic beverage).

Here are some notable festivals that take place in the region of Thessaly, Greece:

  1. Larissa Beer Festival: A celebration of beer culture featuring local and international breweries. Visitors can enjoy live music, food stalls, and a variety of beer tastings. (Location: Larissa)

  2. Agrafa Mountain Festival: An outdoor festival celebrating the natural beauty of the Agrafa Mountains. Activities include hiking, camping, cultural performances, and traditional food tasting. (Location: Agrafa Mountains)

  3. Pelion Summer Music Festival: A series of classical music concerts held in the picturesque villages of Pelion. Renowned musicians and orchestras perform in stunning outdoor venues. (Location: Pelion)

  4. Tsipouro Festival: Dedicated to the traditional Greek spirit called tsipouro, this festival offers visitors the chance to sample different types of tsipouro, accompanied by local delicacies and traditional music. (Location: Volos and various towns in Thessaly)

  5. Feast of Agios Charalambos: A religious festival honoring Saint Charalambos, the patron saint of livestock. It includes religious processions, music, dance, and a vibrant market with agricultural products and livestock. (Location: Trikala)

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there may be other festivals and events taking place in Thessaly throughout the year. It’s advisable to check local event calendars or contact the tourism office in Thessaly for the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on festivals in the region.