The city of Volos in Greece sits in a beautiful location, at the foot of Mount Pilion at one end and the Pagasetic Gulf at the other. Volos is where the rich agricultural Thessaly region, breadbasket of Greece, meets the gentle waves of the Aegean Sea. The Sporades islands (Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos) are nearby and accessible by either ferry or fast hydrofoil and there are also sea connections to the islands of Chios, Lesvos, Skyros and Limnos. Further still, Asia and the Middle East can also be reached from Volos, which is Greece’s third major port (after Pireaus near Athens and the port of Thessaloniki).
Built near the neolithic (4,000BC) remnants of Dimini, today’s city of Volos sits on the site of 3 later, ancient Greek cities. One of them, Demetrias, was named after both the local Olympian goddess of harvest and a Macedonian king; another city (Iolcus) was connected to the mythological hero Jason (of Argonauts and Golden Fleece fame).
During the Byzantine era (13-14th century AD) and subsequent Ottoman (Turkish) rule, the city was known as “Golos”. It became part of free Greece in 1881.
Volos was largely destroyed in the 1955 earthquakes, so it’s not as historic looking as some other Greek cities that have preserved buildings and antiquities. However, it’s an excellent central location for getting to scenic Mount Pilion (according to legend, home territory of the Centaur Chiron) and for access to the nearby beautiful beaches and the Sporades islands. The location of Volos also permits rail or coach day trips to either the capital Athens to the south, or the second largest Greek city, Thessaloniki to the north. The beautiful seaside town of Katerini and Mount Olympus are even nearer.
When in Volos enjoy the local assortment of starters (mezedes) and the clear strong local spirit tsipouro (best drunk diluted with water until cloudy). Early/mid autumn is a great time to visit, as most local and foreign tourists will have left, the weather should be very pleasant and Mount Pilion will be showing its finest colours.
Posted : Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 at 10:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save