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Magnesia » Volos, the capital

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Volos Archaeological Museum
Volos, Agios Konstantinos Church

Volos -140,000 inhabitants - (326 km.from Athens, 215 km. from Thessaloniki) is the capital and economic centre of Magnesia prefecture thanks to its privileged position at the foot of Mountain Pelion on the Pagasitic Gulf, it is a ideal place for enjoying the sea, wooded slopes and green valleys that surround it. As for the derivation of the word "Volos", which according to a Byzantine historian of the 14th century was called "Golos", there are several theories; the most widely accepted is that it represents a corruption of the Mycenaean lolkos. Founded in the mid 19th century, modern Volos, is a cheerful, lively town, soundly laid out with pleasant broad streets. The waterfront is an ideal spot for a stroll. A modern coastal avenue busting with life, it is lined with pastry shops, cafes and restaurants.

The local theatre always has concerts of jazz music, guitar, classical concerts, great performance, painting exhibitions and dancing shows. In the daytime cheerful restaurants and taverns compete for your time with shops, the museum and the parks. Volos is particularly known for its «tsipouradika», small charming places set in a marine environment, where you can sip the local «tsipouro» (spirit) and taste the delicious «mezedes» (appetizers). There are up to 300 «tsipouradika» (places where you can drink tsipouro spirit with appetizers) spread throughout the town and along the harbour, serving fresh fish and a great variety of shellfish. At night, clubs and bars bring a lovely atmosphere to the city.

In Volos museum, visitors have the opportunity to admire the great selection of prehistoric findings such as: ceramics, pottery, clays statues, stone implements and weapons. Exhibits from the classical and Roman period are also on display. It is worth seeing the remains of the old city of Dimitriados in Pagases, some 6 km outside of Volos. Apart from the impressive exhibits found in this town there are excellent places to visit. There is a huge green park lying across the harbour where you can go for strolls by the sea.

From the suburb of Ano Volos, built up the slopes of Pelion, the Pagasitic gulf and the town below take on another dimension. Volos harbour is particularly active.

Around Volos
The lush area around Volos scattered with interesting archaeological sites which history buffs will find very rewarding. West of Volos taking the Volos - Larissa National Road, a small detour will lead you to one or more of the various archaeological sites in the vicinity: the prehistoric settlement of Dimini (6.5km) with a ruined acropolis, walls and two beehive tombs dated to between 4000 -1200 BC; Sesklo (13.5km) with the remains of the oldest Acropolis in Greece (6000 BC), as well as the foundations of a palace and mansions among the most typical examples of neolithic civilisation. A bit further to the west lies the village of Velestino (17km), birthplace of the revolutionary poet Rigas Ferraios, built on the site of the ancient city of Pherai.

Southwest of Volos
Near the coast road heading southewest of Volos, you will spot a pine wooded area containing the ruins of ancient Dimitrias (4km), the important city founded by Dimitrios Poliorkitis in the 3rd century BC. In this particular extensive archaelogical site there are ruins of a temple, palace and theatre with incomparable acoustics. Portions of the city's circuit wall can be seen on a hill to the right of the road. The famous grave pillar adorning the Archaeological Museum in Volos were discovered in the towers still standing on the acropolis. A little to the east, at Pefkakia, are the scant remains of a Mycenaean settlement identified as the Homeric city of Neleia .The road then passes by Nees Pagases (5km), a summer resort today with good facilities for tourists built on the site of ancient Pagasai, an eminent commercial centre of the Sth century BC and port of ancient Pherai. Finally the village of Kanalia (26km) surrounded by almond trees is well worth of visit. Every March there is an almond blossom festival. Here also there is a thriving bronze handicraft industry. Maratho (13km) and Chrysi Akti (15km) further south are renowned for their crystalline waters and the fresh fish served in their taverns. The main road continues along the shore, passing Nea Anhialo (18km), a pleasant market town built in a fertile region in a position formerly occupied by Ancient Pyrassos, which together with the neighbouring city of Phthiotic Thebes was the most important commercial centre on the Pagasitic gulf. Its small museum contains neolithic and early Christian finds.Continuing on you come to Mikrothives (25km) which took its name from Phthiotic Thebes. There are ruins of the old city -walls, temple, theatre and a stoa- on the nearby hill. At Almiros (35km), the centre for animal husbandry and farming in the area, you can visit the Archaeological Museum, while the Kouri park, the ruins of ancient Alos and the monastery of Panagia Xenia at Orthris are worth a visit.

The seaside village of Amaliapolis (57km) near Cape Almiros is very popular holiday spot.One of the largest villages in the Almiros area is Sourpi, surrounded by bountiful olive groves.lts taverns serve delicious "kokoretsi", a treat made of liver, spit roasted on glowing coals. As you proceed along the coast road, which cuts through the southern section of Magnesia past extraordinarily picturesque scenery, it is worth stopping at Pteleos (60km), a historic village with more olive groves, and its port, Pigadi, a quiet fishing hamlet with sparkling waters and an abun- dance of fresh fish; at Ahilio (67km), an idyllic bay with a long beach, and an ideal sanctuary from the August heat.

More about Magnesia & Pelion

Magnesia & Pelion Essentials » Magnesia PrefectureHotelsTouring PelionVolos - The capitalHistorySnow ski centreThe steam train
Pelion Seaside villages » Agios IoannisAfissosDamouhariHoreftoHortoKala NeraKalamosKato GatzeaMilinaMylopotamosPapa NeroPlataniasTrikeri Island
Pelion Mountain Villages » Agios DimitriosArgalastiKissosMakrynitsaMiliesHaniaPinakates & VisitsaPortariaTsagaradaXourihtiZagora