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The myths of Greek antiquity depicted the gods as majestic, blessed with incomparable beauty and enormous physical strength. They also saw them as embodying all human traits and weaknesses. The gods hunted, fought, loved, and were jealous and often unfaithful, which is why they persisted in meddling with demigods and simple human beings. Satyrs, nymphs, centaurs, and other strange, fanciful, and bewitching creatures, along with the twelve gods of Olympos and the ancient Greeks, had their hand in the writing of the story of Greek mythology, which still continues to fascinate us. Of course, the natural environment played its part: the endless chains of verdant mountains, the wonderful climate, and the ubiquitous sea. Perhaps the place that was best endowed for these divine festivities was Central Greece. In its rivers, lakes, and every corner of its lovely mountains, the gods have left traces of their passing. Parnassos was the home of Apollo and the nymphs, and it was there that Pan had his cave. Kithairon was where Orpheus strummed his lyre and the maenads held their orgies in worship of Dionysos, while serene Helicon was where the Muses reigned
Central Greece was and is beloved of the gods and nature. The
Acheloos, the son of Oceanos and Gaia and father of the Sirens, still flows peacefully among the mountains and forests. On Pelion, the enchantingly beautiful mountain where the Centaurs, half men-half horse, galloped after the nymphs, twenty-four villages were built over the centuries amidst the oaks and chestnuts, their delightful architecture enhanced by the sea on one side, the woods on the other. Life allover Greece bears the imprimatur of these myths. It lies somewhere between memories of the past and the present, between legend and reality, in the time of the demigods and in the world of today. While at Meteora, in monasteries hidden on steep mountains tops, monks and hermits live according to the Christian religion traditions

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Viotia - Central Greece

Lying adjacent to Attica, this region is equally enjoyable winter and summer. The shores of the Euboean (Evoikos) and Corinthian (Korinthiakos) gulfs, the ski center at Parnassos, the wealth of archaeological sites at Orhomenos, Chaironia, Plataiai, Thebes and elsewhere are guaranteed to hold your interest.The climate is dry and Mediterranean and the vegetation, with the exception of the fertile plains of Thebes and Kopaida, is rather sparse among the bare rocks. In ancient times, Viotia (Boeotia) was called “tristhalatto” (three-sea’d) – a name mentioned by Strabo – because it was washed by the two halves of the gulf of Euboea and the Corinthian Gulf. Livadia (135 km. from Athens, the capital of the prefecture, is built between two hills on the sides of a gorge through which flow the springs of Erkina. On the top of one of the hills, Profitis Ilias, there is a well-preserved 14th century medieval castle. In ancient times Livadia was known under the name of Mideia and was the site of the famous Oracle of Zeus Trofonios. Scholars have identified the location of the sanctuary, of Zeus and the Oracle as being on Profitis Ilias. Livadia is very fertile thanks to the abundant water in the region and the two springs known in mythology as Lethe (Forgetfulness) and Mnemosyne (Memory), in the north of the town at the site of Kria. Easter here is celebrated with particular color. The whole town becomes an open-air barbecue and everywhere spitted lamb, “kokoretsi” and “splinandero” (tasty kebabs made of the innards), and local red wine are served to one and all. Musical instruments, folk dances and all-night revels complete the traditional Easter festivities at Livadia. Chaironia (Heronia). A Vilage of great archaeological interest and Plutarch’s birthplace lies near the battlefield where in 338 BC Philip of Macedonia defeated the allied forces of the other Greek city-states. At the entrance to town stands the Lion of Chaironia, symbol of courage and bravery. Nearby one can see the ruins of the acropolis and theater, while the small archaeological museum contains various objects found in the vicinity. (Chaironia and Orhomenos). Orhomenos, one of the oldest and richest cities of ancient Greece, is today a low-lying, well-watered town. Worth visiting here are the Byzantine church of the Dormition of the Virgin (9th c.) and a vaulted Mycenaean tomb known as the “Treasury of Minyes”. The ancient acropolis has ruins of temples, a theater and other buildings. Don’t leave Orhomenos without tasting its delicious trout, renowned throughout Greece, or its similarly famous fragrant melons. Arahova is a mountain town little touched by modern development. At an altitude of 940 meters, its quaint houses are built up the slopes of Mt. Parnassos. This is a good place to buy hand-woven fabrics, “flokates” (rugs) and colored shoulder bags, and you shouldn’t miss trying the local specialties in one of the town’s many taverns. Arahova lies 35 km. west of Livadia and is a usual stop for people headed for Delphi or the Parnassos ski center. Most of the skiers, novices or experienced, spend their nights in Arahova. If you happen to visit Arahova in the spring, try to attend the huge celebration that occurs on St. George’s day on April 23rd. The entertainment lasts three days and includes a race for old men dressed up in local costume followed by feasting on roast lamb. Just 10 km. east of Distomo, a town with important archaeological finds and an interesting museum, which played an important role in the Revolution of 1821, one comes to the Byzantine monastery of Ossios Loukas, whose 11th century mosaics and frescoes are among the finest in Greece. Thebes (Thiva) (87 km. from Athens), built in a fertile, low-lying region, is very interesting archaeologically. It is said to have been founded by the Phoenician King, Kadmos. Among the heroes of Thebes, which became famous mainly for its adversities, is one of the most tragic figures of mythology, Oedipus, whose story inspired the most illustrious Greek tragedians, Aeschylus (“Seven Against Thebes”), Sophocles (“Oedipus Rex”, “Antigone”) and Euripides (“Phoenician Women”). Thebes was also the birthplace of Hercules, known for his wondrous feats. Apart from being the homeland of myths and heroes, the city also gave birth to extraordinary men like the poet Pindar, the generals Epaminondas and Pelopidas, and others. We recommend that you visit the superb archaeological museum, the Mycenaean tombs in the area, the ruins of the temple of Ismenios Apollo and the spring of Aghii Theodori, known in antiquity as the “Fountain of Oedipus”. Other sights worth noting are: the Fountain of Dirki at the Frankish aqueduct, the Byzantine church of Aghia Fotini, the catacombs of the early Christian church of St. Catherine, the church of St. Luke the Evangelist in the town’s first cemetery, which contains a 13th century sarcophagus supposed to have held the saint’s body. Using Thebes as a base one can visit Plataiai (Platees) (18 km.) and Lefktra, the sanctuary of Kabeirians, the Mycenean Acropolis Gla or Goulas on Mt. Ptoon, Tanagra, renowned for its terra cotta figurines, Vathi Avlidas, Faros and Dilessi. Two kilometers north of Vathi lie the ruins of ancient Aulis (Avlida), where myth recounts that Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis. And one must not overlook the lovely beaches in the region – Distomo Beach, Andikira, Aghios Issidoros, Vathi Avlidas, Faros, Sarandi Beach – which, whether sandy or pebbly, offer superb bathing conditions

Fthiotida - Central Greece

A land of towering mountains and beautiful beaches, the prefecture of Fthiotida (Phthiotis) has all the prerequisites for a delightful holiday all year round. Here you may chose to swim in isolated beaches or well known summer resorts, you can wander among mountain villages “drowned” in plane and oak trees or enjoy winter sports in modern skiing resorts and let your memory revive heroic moments of the Greek history (at Thermopylae, Alamana or Gorgopotamos). Add to the picture several thermal springs equipped with modern tourist facilities (Ypati, Kamena Vourla, Platystomo) and you can have an idea of the vacational possibilities offered by the area. Lamia (220 km. from Athens), a bustling commercial city and capital of the prefecture, is built up the southwest, pine-covered slopes of Mt. Othris near the Sperhios River. Dominating the city from a hill above it, a Frankish castle rises from the stones of the ancient acropolis. On another hill stands the 18th century church of Aghios Loukas (around late 19th-early 20th century) with a magnificent view of the Maliac Gulf and beyond to the shores of Evia. The Lamia museum has an interesting archaeological collection of Classical and Hellenistic finds, pottery, sculpture, statues, and Geometric figurines. The municipal buildings, hotels and tavernas are centered around the city’s four main squares, each of whom has its own distinctive feature: the cathedral, plane trees and fountains, the statue of the Revolutionary hero Athanasios Diakos, the statue of the Greek evzone. During your stay here, make it a point to try the local homemade egg noodles, “kourambiedes” (crushed almond cookies), and “trachana” (a form of dumpling). The historic Thermopylae (Thermopiles) pass lies 18 km. southeast of Lamia. The statue of Leonidas and the cenotaph of his 300 Spartans remind one of the heroic 480 BC battle. The famous since antiquity thermal springs of Thermopylae, bubbling quite near, have made an important resort out of the village. At a distance of 3 km, stands the historic bridge of Alamana. Kamena Vourla, to the north, is a popular spare sort, renowned for its therapeutic waters and dry, healthy climate. The coastal towns of the area, Aghios Konstantinos, Arkitsa – linked by ferry with Edipsos on Evia – as well as the lovely beaches of Aspronerio, Aghios Serafim and Aghios Nikolaos are pleasant places to spend a holiday especially for those who like swimming and dining on fresh fish. There if a magnificent beach at Livanates, which also has an old church, Aghios Theodoros. Before making the turn for Atalanti, it’s worth stopping at its harbour Skala, at Malesina, with the little coastal settlement of Aghios Theologos to leeward, and Martino, famed for its delicious “myzithra” cheese (similar to ricotta). Talantonini opposite Skala is a small picturesque island. Next stop is Atalanti, commercial and agricultural center of the area. The catacombs of St. Athanassios at the heart of the town are of special interest. Further west of Atalanti one can visit Elatia and Tithorea, wooded areas of archaeological interest, as well as Amfiklia, one of the starting points for going up to the Parnassos ski center. West of Lamia there is one of the most historical towns of Central Greece, Ipati. Built on the slopes of Mt. Oiti, where the homonymous national Forest, among oak arid plane trees and cypresses. The spot offers also a panoramic view to the sea. Ipati has played an important role at all eras of Greek national history. Loutra Ipatis, identified with the town itself, is an important spa equiped with hotelier and tourist installations.Moni Agathonos (a monastery of the 15th century) lies at 7 km from Ipati and is considered one of the most illustrious monuments. Apart from valuable historical relics the Museum of Oiti Natural History is also roofed here. The beautiful villages of Mt. Oiti, such as Pavliani covered with fir and plane trees offer a refreshing shelter during hot summer months. Makrakomi is a market town and traffic center built in Sperhios valley upon the ruins of the ancient homonymous city. Well known for its thermal springs is the village of Platystomo (34 km west of Lamia). North of Lamia, on the way to Domokos, which is a historic town with a fine view over Thessaly valley, a side road leads to the ruins of ancient Melitaea; not far from here is built the Byzantine Monastery of the Holy Trinily (Aghia Triada). Worth visiting are also the coast town Stilida, the tranquil fishing hamlets Karavomilos and Achladi and finally the beaches of Pelasgia and Glifa.



Fokida - Central Greece

The green prefecture of Fokida (Phocis), full of olive groves as well as small beaches, attracts a large number of tourists almost all year round. The capital and commercial center of the prefecture is Amfissa (200 km. from Athens, the Byzantine Salona. From the moment you see it, the town will strike you as picturesque, built as it is between the mountains, with its Frankish fortress perched precariously on a precipitous rock and surrounded by olive trees. Here you can see the well-preserved Byzantine church of the Saviour (11th c.), the cathedral of the Annunciation as well as the Phocis Folk Art Museum. Easter in Amfissa is celebrated according to local Roumeli traditions and customs. On Easter Sunday the residents roast lambs and “kokoretsi” in the streets, offering red wine and tasty tidbits to all passers-by. Amfissa is also renowned for its marvellous olives. But what attracts the largest stream of tourists to the area is nearby Delphi (Delfi), the site of the famous Oracle of Apollo on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos . The magnificent landscape chosen by the ancient Greeks for their sanctuary, framed by the Phaedriades rocks (the twin “Shining Rocks” that tower above the Oracle) with the Gulf of Itea gleaming in the background, is truly unique. The sanctuary of Athena, the ruins of the temple of Apollo, the Gymnasium, the Stadium – decorated with small statues – the ancient theater, a 4th century BC construction, and the Castalia Fountain are just some of the wonders to admire amidst Delphi’s majestic atmosphere. Finally, don’t miss the museum, which houses the important finds excavated at the site. Among the most impressive are the famous bronze statue of the Charioteer (5th c. BC), the gold and ivory heads of Apollo and Artemis and the Roman copy of the “Navel of the World”. Delphi is also home to the European Cultural Center, an international organization that sponsors cultural conferences and symposia. On the road to Itea, it is worth stopping for a while at Chrisso, a charming village filled with plane trees and fountains. Itea lies at the edge of the Sacred Valley of Delphi. It takes its name from the numerous willow trees (ities) that used to reach as far as the shore. A seaside market town, Itea is slowly evolving into an important commercial and tourist center. It is hard to pass by the nearby beaches of Trocadero and Miami, or the beach of Itea, without taking a dip. Very close to Itea is the village of Kira, the flourishing port of Delphi in antiquity. Nowadays its long stretch of beach attracts many bathers. Following the coast road west of Itea, you come to Galaxidi. Situated at the end of a little fjord, it was an important naval and shipbuilding center until 1821 when it was destroyed. In this pleasant harbor, tradition is still very evident along the quay amongst the seafood tavernas and boat yards, where self-taught craftsmen still make sturdy wooden caciques. It is well worth strolling through the picturesque streets lined by stately mansions and dotted with little tavernas drenched in geraniums and jasmine. Don’t miss the Galaxidi Archaeological and Naval Museum, with its fine exhibits of model ships, maps, naive sea paintings and weapons from the War of Independence; the church of St. Nicholas, famous for its carved wooden icon screen; and Aghia Paraskevi, which has the zodiac cycle inlaid in its floor and a sundial in its forecourt. If you happen to be in Galaxidi on Clean Monday (beginning of Lent), you’ll get caught up in the revels of the masqueraders who throw flour at each other in festivities with heavy Dionysiac overtones. Another charming fishing village west of Galaxidi is Eratini. Nearby is the site of ancient Tolophon. Continuing west, the seaside settlements of Aghios Nikolaos, Spilia and Glifada, as well as the islands of Trizonia, Aghios Ioannis and Prassoudi opposite are ideal for bathing and fishing. If you’re seeking peace and quiet, we suggest you visit the mountain villages of Eptalofos or Ano Agoriani, a starting point for the Parnassos ski center, Lilea, Polidrossos and Gravia surrounded by fir trees and streams. At Aghia Efthimia near Amfissa, the delicious wine will help you to forget your worries. West of Amfissa lies the interesting monastery of the Panayia Koutsoufou in the village of Amigdalia, while somewhat cut off from the rest of the prefecture is Lidoriki, a town on the slopes of Mt. Giona, not far from the Mornos dam and reservoir.

Evritania - Central Greece

Bewitching scenery and an invigorating climate are the main features of Evritania prefecture. It is the mot thickly wooded, best-watered region in Greece. There are so many fir trees in Evritania that you think you’re in the midst of a magnificent endless forest, and in fact the region has been nicknamed “The Switzerland of Greece” for this reason. According to Homer, the first known inhabitants of northern Evritania were the Dolopes, who took part in the campaign against Troy. During the Byzantine era, the people of Evritania had the rare privileges of self-government and tax exemption. For this reason the northern part of the district was also called “Agrafa”, (unwritten), because the residents were not listed in the Imperial tax registers. Its mountainous countryside also discouraged would-be conquerors. Karpenissi, capital of the prefecture, is located at the foothills of Mt. Timfristos, at an altitude of 960 meters. It most probably owes its name to the maple trees that abounded in the area in the 12th century (Carpen = maple tree, Carpenis = land of maple trees). The clear atmosphere, the dry healthy climate, the plane trees, fir and chestnut forests make Karpenissi an ideal place for winter and summer holidays. Among the town’s most characteristic features are the workshops that produce handmade brass bells for animals. The tinkling of the bells being tested is a picturesque, melodious welcome. When eating at a Karpenissi taverna, try the feta cheese roasted in wax paper and the local sausages, and before you leave buy some goat butter and cheese, chestnuts and walnuts. You’ll also be impressed by the lovely hand-woven fabrics made on traditional looms and the skillfully carved wooden objects on sale in the shops. The church of Aghia Triada, the Gorgianades and the site of Kefalovrisso are among the places in the vicinity we recommend that you visit. Just 5 km. southwest of the capital, concluding one of the most beautiful drives, you come to Korishades, a village of well-preserved stone mansions. Here the GNTO has recently renovated and opened several traditional homes as guesthouses. Not far away there are traces of ancient ruins, which have not yet been studied. Many scholars say that this was the ancient capital of Evritania, Oichalia. Next comes Mikro Horio, a marvellous place for a summer holiday, nestled in a small fir forest interspersed with apple, cherry and pear orchards. The view from here is magnificent. Megalo Horio lies nearby, situated in an equally lovely setting on the slopes of Kaliakouda, opposite Mt. Helidona. A little trip around the area will never be forgotten. At Klidi, a lush, majestic gorge, stands the Byzantine church of Aghios Athanassios. After a drive through trees alongside the Trikerioti River, you arrive at the stately monastery of the Virgin Proussiotissa, which possesses a miracle – working icon said to have been painted by St. Luke. The monastery church was built in 1754 and is full of remarkable icons, woodcarvings, sacred treasures and silver utensils. There is also a small museum in the monastery containing some personal mementoes of Karaiskakis, the Revolutionary hero. On the 15th and 23rd of August, the monastery becomes a place of pilgrimage, attracting the devout from allover Greece. Opposite the monastery stands the chapel of Aghii Pantes, decorated with old icons. Above it loom Karaiskakis’ watch towers. The village of Proussos, 800 meters above sea level, is not only picturesque; it has an interesting cave, the Black Cave or “Apokleistra” as it is also called. Believed to have been the site of an oracle, the cave has two entrances, one in the village, the other some distance away. East of Karpenissi, the road from the verdant village of Aghios Nikolaos to Krikelo (1,120 m. alt.), which has a charming square with little cafes, passes through some especially beautiful, sprucefilled scenery. Near Krikelo is historic Kokalia. Even though the road is no longer paved after Krikelo, it is well worth making the effort to get to Domnitsa, a village crowded with little churches containing superb wooden icon screens and icons. The region is full of wildlife – hare, partridge, woodcock, and if you are in luck, you may even spot a wild boar. West of Karpenissi lies Anatoliki (Eastern) Frangista with Ditiki (Western) Frangista 4 km further on, a lush area with a wonderful climate. Here the little church of the Saviour (Sotir) is worth a visit; built in 1725, has its walls covered with Byzantine frescoes. From Ditiki Frangista the road leads north to the village of Granitsa, whose folk museum is well known. The more intrepid will want to venture as far as Agrafa, a remote village encircled by thick spruce forests. If you like fishing, the Agrafiotis River is full of trout. All these mountain villages are “buried” under snow for many months of the year. Continuing south on the road from Ditiki Frangista, you reach the lake of Kremaston, the largest artificial lake in Greece, and from there on to the prefecture of Etoloakarnania.

Etoloakarnania - Central Greece

Occupying the western portion of Central Greece, the prefecture of Etoloakarnania combines the beauty of both the sea and the mountains.
The capital of the prefecture is Messolonghi (244 km from Athens), the sacred city of Greece. The heroic exodus of the “Free Besieged” was a bright spot in our modern history as well as a source of inspiration for poets such as Solomos and Byron as well as for other artists.
The city was founded in the 16th century on three islets at the mouth of the Acheloos and Evinos Rivers, which were later united by silting to form three scenic lagoons.
On entering the city you will see the Exodus gate and the “Garden of the Heroes”. In the central square, the Town Hall houses the picture gallery.
If you’re a history buff, then you’ll want to visit Ancient Kalidon, Ancient Pleuron, “the castle of Kira Rhini”, as the locals call it, and the Windmill, a Revolutionary monument.
About 6 km. north of town, in a landscape filled with plane trees and running water, stands the historic monastery of Aghios Simeon (17th c.). This is where 1,800 of the besieged sought refuge and were saved. Since that time, every year on Whitmonday, a lively folk festival takes place.
The small island of Etoliko lies 13 km. northwest of Messolongi and is connected to the mainland by an arched stone bridge. From a distance its view is fascinating to the eye of the visitor.
Some 50 km northwest of Messolonghi the summer resort of Astakos, a picturesque market town, overlooks the gulf of the same name. Its extended unspoilt beaches with fine white sand and the sea of every shade of blue at Aghios Yorgis, Asprogiali and Vela make the area perfect for quiet, carefree holidays.
Boats leave Astakos daily for Cephalonia and Ithaca. Another sight worth seeing in the region is the monastery of the Profitis Ilias (15th c.) near the village bearing the name of Karaiskakis, where the illustrious Revolutionary used to have his headquarters.
Still following the coast, the road leads to Mitikas, a village built at the end of the gulf of the same name. From here you can find a little boat to take you across to Kalamos and Kastos, small islands with marvellous beaches. Just a hop from Mitikas are the interesing ruins of the ancient city of Alizea, and there is a very pretty beach at Paliomagaza. A few kilometers north of Mitikas you come to Paleros, a fishing village with another lovely beach.
After Paleros the coastal road that winds up at Aktion loops inland before reaching Vonitsa, a pretty seaside and very green town at the entrance to the Amvrakikos gulf, built atop the foundations of ancient Anaktorion. At “Aghios Petros” there are ruins of ancient temples and walls, while on the hill above a ruined medieval castle stands sentinel near the chapel of Divine Wisdom (12th c.) fashioned like a Byzantine fortress.
Continuing west, 15 km. on the road one comes to Aktion, renowned in history as the site of the great naval battle between Octavian and Marc Antony. Here lies the famous “Channel of Cleopatra”, the area through which the fleet belonging to the celebrated queen of Egypt was anchored prior to its defeat at Aktion. Here can also be seen the ruins of a Venetian citadel and an archaeological site. East of Vonitsa, the road passes near Thirio, which has a fine archaeological museum, before reaching Amfilohia.
The buildings of Amfilohia cover the slopes of two hills, providing a panoramic view towards the end of the gulf towards Arta. Amfilohian Argos lies 10 km. further north.
Nearby beaches for bathing and fishing exist at Sparto, Ai Yorgi and Bouka, where the old monastery of Aghios Nikolaos is located. Further north, at Menidi you can feast on all manner of seafood at its waterfront ouzeri and tavernas.
South of Amfilohia, on the national road towards Agrinio, we suggest you make a little detour and go to Katouna, on the shores of lake Amvrakia to admire its fabulous view.
Agrinio (35 km. north of Messolonghi) is an important tobacco – producing center with good facilities for tourists. The archaeological museum, the Papastratios Municipal Library, and the grove of Aghios Christoforos on the hillside with a panoramic view, are some of the sights worth seeing in town.
Other recommended stops include a visit to Angelokastro with its Byzantine monastery of the Pantocrator; the ruins of a 12th century Byzantine fortress at Melagi Hora (4 km NW); the Klissoura gorge with the monastery of Aghia Eleoussa; and the enchanting landscape around the Aheloos dam. East of Agrinio, along lake Trihonida, you come to the vlllage of Thermo, near the ruins of Ancient Thermo, where there is an interesting museum.
On the coast road that unites Fokida with Etoloakarnania you arrive at Nafpaktos, the prefecture’s third largest town, famous for the battle that took place off its shores in 1571. This market town with its atractive Venetian castle and circular walled harbour will delight even the most demanding visitors. The well-preserved citadel, with its series of ramparts winding up to the top of the hill, is one of the most beautiful in Greece.
All along this coast the sea is crystal clear. At Psani and Gribava, where the plane trees grow down to the water’s edge, the scenery is idyllic, while at Hiliadou (11 km. to the east) the shore is just right for swimming.
The mountains near the town are the most thickly wooded with spruce and firs in all Greece; of a rare beauty, they are worth visiting in summer and winter alike. Platanas, known for its forest which contains dozens of species of trees, Arahova, Perkos, Dorvitsia, Simos, Ano Hora, Terpsithea, Elatou, Hrissovo and Ambelakiotissa – tiny villages in the woods 700 to 1000 meters above sea level – will beguile you with their primitive beauty


The prefecture of Magnesia occupies the east side of Thessaly, encompassing the peninsula of the same name, which ends in cape Trikeri and encloses the Pagasitic gulf in its embrace. Its boundaries extend to the Northern Sporades islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnissos. Among the fairest regions in Greece, Magnesia, crowned by superb Pelion, probably owes its name to the Magnetes tribe, who led by Magnes – son of Aiolos – inhabited the area in prehistoric times. Travelers, however, who may find themselves taken unawares, carried away so much beauty, may find another unscientific derivation of the word more appropriate, as they find themselves “magnetlsed” by the place. Much praised Pelion with its picturesque hamlets; Volos and its port, which holds out a promise to modern day Argonauts of travels full of surprises; gorgeous beaches, some tucked into wind-free coves, some disappearing into the infinite expanse of the Aegean, are only some of the delights hidden away in this corner of Greece. Pine trees, oaks, firs, wild olive trees, chestnut trees and a myriad shrubs and plants – most of them with therapeutic properties – cover the mountains of Magnesia (Mts. Pelion, Tisaion, Orthris, Mavrovouni), which take up the greater portion of its surface, endowing it not only with unsurpassed loveliness, but also with wealth. Magnesia is also renowned for its healthy climate; thanks to the beneficial effect of the sea surrounding it to the south and east it is blessed with mild winters and cool summers.
The shoreline formed by the large enclosed Pagasitic gulf and the Magnesia peninsula is somewhat broken up on the inner coast of the Pagasitic, while the coast facing the open sea is unintended. Another characteristic of the region that is most pronounced in Pelion is its advanced social attitude towards culture, which is revealed not only in the preservation of traditional houses but also in the locals’ effort to revive tradition in their customs and habits as well as in their arts and crafts. The high standard of folk art found in the museums as well as in shops is directly linked with the daily way of life in the region today. From the economic point of view the prefecture shows a balanced development of agriculture, industry – with the first car assembly plants in Greece; and tourism – with the on-going qualitative upgrading of infrastructure and services in this sector

The modern town of Larissa, capital of Thessaly, administrative, commercial, industrial and cultural center of the province, straddles the river Pineios. Tradition has it that Hippocrates (460-377 BC), Father of Medicine, spent his final years and died here. Sights
The acropolis on Aghios Achilleios hill, the Early Christian basilica in the fortress and the bishop’s palace (6th c.), the ruins of a three-aisled basilica with important mosaics and wall-paintings (late 4th-early 5th c.), the ancient theatres A and B, the Alkazar park with its 2500 seat garden theatre and refreshment room, the grove with the small theatre.
Museums - Art Galleries
Archaeological Museum,
Folklore - Historical Museum,
Art Gallery,
Larissa has a permanent theatre company, the “Thessaliko Theatro”.
Places worth visiting in the prefecture
Tsaritsani, a traditional village 38 km northwest of Larissa with stone-built mansions, tower-houses, interesting churches and old monasteries; Aghia, 37 km northeast of Larisa, with old monasteries and churches; Elassona, 42 km northwest of Larisa with the PanAghia Olympiotissa Monastery (14th c.), built on the hill of the ancient acropolis; the unexplored cave atKefalovrysso, 14 km west of Elassona. One of the finest landscapes in Thessaly, if not in Greece as a whole, is the enchanting Valey of Tempe, a natural monument of rare beauty. Flowing through the middle of Tempe, between the slopes of Mounts Ossa and Olympos, is the river Pineios, its rushing waters entering the Aegean sea. Its estuary is an important wetland reserve proltected by the Ramsar Convention. On the slopes of Mount Ossa, opposite the Valey of Tempe, is the historic village of Ambelakia, 34 km northeast of Larissa. It is a scheduled traditional settlement with interesting architecture. The famous Schwarz mansion, built in 1787, is now a house-museum, with its murals, woodcarved decoration, stained-glass skylights and elaborate fireplace. The churches of Aghios Georgios, Aghios Athanasiqs and Aghia Paraskevi also merit a visit. The women ofAmbelakia have sert up a Rural Tourism Co-operative, which runs a few rooms to accommodate visitors, tel.: (24950) 93.487, (24950) 93.903. The prefecture’s extensive beaches are ideal for swimming and sunbathing: Agiokampos, Velika, Kokkino Nero, Karitsa, Stomio and Nea Messangala.
At Vrissopoules on Olympos there is a mountain refuge and a winter sports center. Information: GNTO Elassona. There is also a refuge on Mount Kisavo, at Kanalos. Information: GNTO Larisa,

Karditsa, the capital of the prefecture, is built near a tributary of the Pineios, in the heart of the rich Thessalian plain.
The renovated municipal market, the “Pafsilypo” park, the Greek Orthodox cathedral (metropolis) of Aghios Konstantinos, the church of the Zoodochos Pigi (Life-bearing Source).
Museums - Art Galleries
Folklore Museum,
Christian Museum
Municipal Art Gallery
Located 18 km southwest of Karditsa, 1,150 m asl, is the historic Korona Monastery, a religious and cultural center during the Ottoman period. One of the most important sights in the prefecture is the man-made lake of the river Tavropos or Megdova, known as Lake Nikolaos Plastiras, in honour of the distinguished general and politician from Karditsa who in 1925 conceived the idea of building a dam. The dam was constructed in 1959, at an altitude of 1,000 m, and supplied the whole of Thessaly with water and hydroelectric power. There are tourist amenities in the lake’s idyllic surroundings. The medicinal springs at Smokovo and Kaitsas; Philia with ruins of an Early Christian basilica (5th c.) on the site of the sanctuary of Athena Itonia; the Mycenaean tholos tomb (1500 BC) outside Georgiko; ancient Gomphoi near Mouzaki; ancient Kierion near Sofades; the twenty mountain villages of Agrithea with their traditional architecture and stone bridges; the highland town of Rendina which is a characteristic scheduled settlement; the Petra Monastery near Lambero are just some of the many places of interest in the prefecture.

The homonymous capital of the prefecture is built on the site of the Homeric city of Trikke. Crowned by the Byzantine castle, on the summit of the wooded hill of the ancient acropolis, Trikala spreads on the banks of the river Lithaios, which is spanned by quaint bridges.
The Byzantine fortress, the archaeological site near the Greek Orthodox cathedral (metropolis) of Aghios Nikolaos, which is attributed to an Asklepieion, the old neighbourhood of Varousi below the castle, the old churches.
Museums - Art Galleries
Municipal Folklore Museum Municipal Art Gallery Collection of 16th-19th century icons

349 km from Athens, 22 km north of Trikala.
En route to the monasteries at Meteora the visitor passes through Kalambaka, built in the foothills of the majesic grey crags.
On top of a hillock stands the Greek Orthodox cathedral (metropolis), dedicated to the Koimesis tis Theotokou (Dormition of the Virgin), (first half 12th c.), with valuable icons and wall paintings.
A short distance south of Kalambaka is Theopetra, an impressive rock with a cave of archaeological importance, which has yielded evidence of occupation from the Palaeolithic to the Neolithic Age.
To the southwest of Trikala (18 km away) is the town of Pyli or Porta, guarding the narrow pass between Thessaly and Epirus, through the Pindos Mountains. Here flows the river Portaikos, a tributary of the Pineios. The Pyli defile, with a watermill, is shaded by towering plane trees. At the base of Mount Koziaka (former Kerketion) is a rock with remains of ancient defensive walls, site of the ancient city of Pialia.
Other places of interest in the area are
The traditional settlement of Porto Panaghia with its cobbled streets and thriving orchards.
The church of Porta Panaghia, one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Greece (1283), is built on the site of a sanctuary of Athena or Apollo, from which the spolia incorporated in its masonry were taken.
The Monastery of Aghios Vissarion, tel.: (24340) 22.420, 2 km further north, of Pyli was founded in 1522 by Saint Vessarion. Built like a fortress, it is surrounded by a wall 10 m high.
The Convent of the Koimesis tis Theotokou (Dormition of the Virgin) stands 5 km south of Pyli on a slope of Mount Itamos.
The stone humpback bridge – a scheduled historical monument – was built under the direction of Saint Vessarion (1514-1518).
The little village of Pertouli (48 km west of Trikala) is one of the best winter resorts in Thessaly. At Pertouliotika Livadia, 3 km northeast of it, there is the Koziaka ski center. Information: Ski Center, tel. (24340) 91.385.
Neraidochori (52 km west of Trikala) is built on a pine-covered hillside.
The beautiful mountain village of Elati is a stopping place for the Koziaka refuge and ski center.

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