Leaving Pieria, new high spots still await us. The first we come to is are the castle of Oria and the Vale of Tempe, the entrance to the rich plain Thessaly.
Famous Tempe, that lush gorge through which the river Pineios flows, has some of the most splendid vegetation in Greece. The national road winds through a narrow pass whose naked cliffs contrast vividly with the greenery below. A stop here is a must, to take a longer look at nature's wonders and to walk across the suspension bridge and pay our respects to the chapel of Agia Paraskevi and the nearby grotto.
The local archaeological museum has find from the many ancient settlements in the area: Iolkos, where Jason and the Argonauts set out from; Demetrias; Pagasai, which gave its name to the Pagasitic Gulf; Dimini, founded in the Neolithic era; and Sesklo the oldest settlement in Thessaly. After you see the exhibits, go visit the sites; the piles of stones, some rather meaningless to the layman, will acquire greater interest. Returning to Volos, the little 19th century train that used to serve part of Pelion reminds us that it's time to explore this legendary mountain where the centaurs once ruled. Here orchards run riot; in autumn apples, chestnuts and pears roll down the hills onto roads, the trees are so laden. And interspersed among the dense foliage are the charming Pelion villages, with their slate roots and timber - framed mansions, scarcely touched by time.
Whether on its wooded slopes or by the shores, the tranquil beaches facing the Pagasitic Gulf to the west or the wilder coasts looking onto the open Aegean to the east, Pelion is a place for all seasons, promising pleasures of all kinds, not the least of which are gastronomic. Don't leave before trying their spicy sausage and pepper dish, spedzofai.
You can start your tour by following the coast road from Volos for Aghia. Lechonia and Kato Gatzea, with its lovely beaches, and the continue on for Argalasti in the southern foothills, a good place to use as a base for visiting the beaches an all sides of the promontory as well as the mountain villages.
|< Prev||Next >|