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Christmas in Thessaly will take your breath away!

13 December 2014 / 23:12:44  GRReporter
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Monasteries, valleys, mountains and lakes ... Thessaly’s four regions – Larissa, Magnesia, Karditsa and Trikala – offer a whole lot of places you are well-advised to visit: from big cities to tiny villages and from mountains to coastal beaches. We offer you five choices for your Christmas vacation.

Lake Plastiras: scenes from a painting

The 300 km between Athens and Karditsa pale into insignificance before what awaits you upon arrival at Plastiras. The nature out there is different from anything you've seen before. The mist, the snowy winter landscape and the quaint Neochori, Kerasia, Kalivia, Krioneri, among other villages, will make your stay so special you might forget you are in Greece. Plastiras, a.k.a. Tavropos Reservoir, is wonderful on every side, and taking a hike along its circumference is totally worthwhile. You might stop at the Anthochori Falls or the monastery of Virgin Mary Pelekiti. Weather permitting, you might enhance your vacation with cycling, riding or climbing up the slopes.

Olympus: an appointment with the gods

On the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, and peaking at 2918 m, the highest Greek mountain enjoys world fame of mythical proportions. The vistas spreading over most of Greece do not disappoint either. Litochoro, at Olympus’ eastern foot, is the traditional launch pad. Yet it is on the mountain’s opposite side where you’ll find plenty of new places that can give you a really Olympic holiday. In the Larissa Region, there is Rapsani, known for its wine and tsipouro brandy; or Krania with its stone-clad drinking fountains, stone-paved streets and magnificent sea panorama; or Kallipefki at an altitude of 1054 m., surrounded by charming pine forests; or the new settlement of Sikaminea; or Karya- with its walnut trees; or the unexplored cave Moriah with its stalactites, etc.

Meteora: natural and man-made wonder

The four huge dark rocks with the monasteries on top of them: this is the unseen elsewhere landscape by the town of Kalambaka in the north-western part of Meteora, the Thessaly plain. This is indeed one of the most stunning places you can see in the whole of Greece: more than 2 million tourists visit Kalambaka each year, mostly to enjoy the rare geological phenomenon. There are 7 monasteries atop the rocks, which are featured in the UNESCO World Heritage List. If you are an extreme sensations junkie, Meteora’s rocks are definitely your element. And you can completely unwind in Kalambaka, in some place with a view to the towering cliffs nearby.

Zagora: Pelion in a nutshell

No description of Thessaly’s beauties can go without mentioning Mount Pelion. Zagora, one of the villages in the area, should top the list of places to visit: it might be hidden behind the mountain, but will reward you for having negotiated the dozens of bends with its traditional flavours, big houses, plane trees and clear flowing waters. Traditional cafes in the square will indulge you with aromatic Greek coffee, and the taverns – with local specialities, e.g. the zucchini meatballs and beef and onion stew. The local postcard vistas can be taken in with a breezy stroll around the village.

Trikala: nature with a touch of city

Trikala, in the northwest of Thessaly, offers proof that not all cities are the same and that nature can rule even in an urban setting. With its abundant trees and the river Litheos, Trikala is a combination of natural and urban setting in the correct proportions. It is worth visiting the old town, with Varousi and Palia Manavika neighborhoods (the old greengroceries) and study the architecture. There you can find some of the best restaurants and coffee bars in town. Take in the view of the city from the fortress atop the Prophitis Ilias hill. Feel the pulse of Asklipiou street where the people, the shops and Christmas atmosphere will give you abundant energy to continue your journey.

Tags: Christmas Thessaly Plastiras Meteora Zagora Trikala Olympus
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