Magnesia comprises of one of the most beautiful destinations for a vacation in Greece. It combines the picturesque mountainous villages of Pelion with the exceptional local mezedes [appetizers] and the snow resort for skiing, whilst in summer, its beaches charm the visitors with their sparkling clean waters in the south and east of Pelion. In the south-west, in the heart of the Pagasitikos Gulf, is situated the capital of the prefecture, Volos, one of the most attractive cities of Greece, with enviably clean beaches.
A common secret to all is that Magnesia is a blessed land; to us as well, the lucky ones who live in the city of Volos, but also to those who wish to visit and “sample” its beauty. Volos, Pelion, Northern Sporades, the home of Riga Feraiou, Velestino, Sourpi, Pteleos, all compose part of the puzzle of the prefecture which took its name from the ancient Magnetes. From here, Jason commenced his journey to Kochlida with the legendary “Argo.” Magnesia offers a holiday destination throughout the entire year as it combines the mountain with the sea, and provides the necessary infrastructure, which together with its history, culture and natural beauty, make it an unrivaled destination. Its geographical position, in the center of Greece, secures easy accessibility to the visitor, by all means of transportation.
The prefecture of Magnesia covering an area of 2,636 square kilometres is an ideal destination for both summer and winter vacations. The coastal and beauty of the scenery, in combination with the several archaeological sights make Magnesia an appealing region. At the coastal villages you will be able to take pleasure in swimming, sunbathing and a number of water sports in the summer months, while during winter time, in the mountainous villages and on Mt. Pelion, you will have the chance to enjoy hill-walking, skiing.
Archaeologists have unearthed Neolithic artefacts from various sites around the prefecture, which give evidence that Magnesia was one of the first regions in Greece. The remains of ancient cities around the modern day city of Volos also prove the importance of the region during Mycenaean times. From the port of Volos, Jason and the Argonauts set sail on their epic voyage in search of the “Golden Fleece”.
Homer also mentions that many of the cities of the region took part in the Trojan War, these cities fell into decline at the end of the 4th century BC, and the region lost its importance. However, during the 5th century BC many of the cities near and along the Pagasitic Gulf, once again grew in importance.
During the Turkish invasion of Greece, the region became the cradle for the resistance movement for the Greek nation; in the city of Milies, the freedom fighters hoisted the Greek flag to mark the start of the revolution to free the country of the Turkish invaders. In 1881, the region became part of Greece.
Volos: After the devastating earthquakes in 1955, in which many of the older buildings where destroyed, after the earthquake the town rebuilt and today is a modern port and the principal town of the region. The mansions and the neoclassic houses that survived the earthquake are well preserved. Along the waterfront, there are many cafes, restaurants and pastry shops where one can refresh themselves after taking a pleasant walk around the city.
Places of interest in the city
The Archaeological Museum: on display are many fine artefacts from around the region, amongst them are ceramics and sculptures from the 8th and 5th century BC.
The Municipal Gallery: has a excellent display of paintings and sculptures by modern Greek artists.
The Kitsos Makris Folk Art Centre: has a wonderful display of items from the district, also paintings by Theophilos Hatzimichael and a frieze of Pelion by Makris.
The Pelion Light Railway: On special occasions, this small train makes the journey between Volos and Milies.
The Anavrou Park, the churches of Metamorphosis, Agia Triada, Agios Konstantinos and Agios Nikolaos are all worth a visit.
Towns and Villages
The area around the city has numerous ancient archaeological sites one can visit and along the coast, there are delightful coastal villages and resorts where one can sunbathe and relax.
Velestino: 17km west from the city is the birthplace of the revolutionary poet Rigas Ferraios.
Nees Pagases: is a busy resort with all the amenities for the tourist. The town stands on the site of what was once an important 5th century commercial settlement of Pagasai and the port of Pherai.
Maratho and Chrysi Akti: are pleasant resorts renowned for their clear waters and excellent fish restaurants.
Amaliapolis: situated near Cape Almiros, is a very popular tourist resort.
Ahilio: with its charming bay makes it an ideal place to relax.
Agios Dimitrios: known for its wonderful golden beaches, where one can sunbathe and swim.
Kanalia: here in the month of March the annual almond blossom festival his held, here one can see the tradition of working in bronze by local artisans.
Pelion Region: was the inspiration for Homer, Pindar and Euripides. The regions highest mountains are Mt. Pliasidi (1,548m.), Mt. Pourianos (1,610m.). Small picturesque villages some set among lush vegetation others set among steep ravines ad to the total charm of the region. The villages of Anakasia and Alli Meria to the northeast of the town offer stunning views over the plain of Thessaly and the Pagasistic Gulf as well as some good restaurants.
The village of Makrinista with its typical Pelionion style of architecture built on the slopes of the mountain; the Greek National Tourist Organisation has converted many of these charming houses into guesthouses. The local tavernas serve the local delicacy of “spetzofai” a spicy blend of sausages and peppers.
Hania: this village has become a very popular winter resort, with slopes for both novices and experienced skiers.
Zagora: visit the churches of Agios Georgios and Agia Kiriaki where you might see a traditional wedding.
Markirahi: south of Zagora is the village of Markirahi; across the deep ravine is the neighbouring hamlet of Anilio (“without sun”) a typical Pelionion hamlet.
Agios Ioanis: this seaside resort of Agios Ioanis, with its tavernas and beaches is very popular, one of the most popular beaches is Papa Nero situated between Agios Ioanis and Damouhari.
Tsangarada: A charming village also a popular resort, with houses spread along the mountainside and bordered by verdant vegetation, old mansions, cobbled lanes, squares and views over the Aegean Sea the village. Hotels set among chestnut trees offer wonderful service and hospitality.
Agria: Southeast of Volos is the village of here are hotels, restaurants and a large beach. Olive groves and orchards surround the village. Near Agria is the village of Drakia, this village is known for its “tower houses”. The Triantaphyllou Mansion decorated with wall paintings, carved doorways said to be one of the best of its kind. In the main square festivals are held in August, where the locals wear their traditional costumes.
Milies: is a significant cultural centre of the region; the library has a wealth of rare books and manuscripts. Many of the traditional houses in the village have been converted into guesthouses were one is sure of a good welcome. Milies is the terminus for the railway from Volos this service runs at the weekend and is popular with the tourists. The local museum has a collection of folk art from the district.
Vizitsa: this mountain village is a landmark settlement, this prevents any development of unsightly buildings in the area, and this is a charming village with opportunities for overnight stays.
Around the region are numerous charming villages, ancient sites to visit, and many excellent tavernas where one can taste the local cuisine and relax from the days exploring.
Places of interest in the region
Dimini: lies to the west of the city, here one can see the remains of an ancient settlement, with its beehive tombs, walls and the remains of an acropolis.
Sesklo: this ancient site features the oldest acropolis dating from 6000 BC in Greece, also visible are the foundations of a palace and mansions and other buildings.
Dimitrias: lies to the southwest of Volos, this was a very significant city dating from the 3rd century BC. On this large site are the remains of a temple, theatre with amazing acoustics and a palace.
Pefkakia: also to the southwest, one can see the remains of a Mycenaean settlement, acknowledged as the Homeric city of Neleia.
Travel & Tourist info
Bus: regular services run from Athens, Thessaloniki, Larissa and Patras.
Train: regular services run from Athens, Thessaloniki and Larissa.
Ferry: services run to and from Volos to the Sporades islands and Euboea.
Sports: The region has many opportunities for water skiing, windsurfing and sailing. The region also offers possibilities for mountain climbing/walking and skiing.