Then look no further than the province of Trikala, a landlocked paradise in the mainland of Greece.
The place is home to great opportunities for nature lovers of all kinds; from hikers and rock-climbers to bikers and skiers. Even if a simple stroll in the woods is your cup of tea, you will most probably indulge in getting lost around the waterfalls that the region so lavishly boasts about. It is literally a land in which the roaming of bears and wolves can still be heard, while the beauty of the Aspropotamos villages is unparalleled. In Kalogiri, you can gather fresh herbs in spring and chestnuts in autumn.
One of the area’s must-sees is one of the most picturesque stone bridges in Greece; just a bit difficult to find but it’s definitely worth the effort. The whole setting is framed by waterfalls, one which falls from high above, another one behind the bridge, while a lower one in the front completes the magnificent sight. The bridge’s construction dates back to the 16th century and it has a length of 26 meters while it was used in the past as a passage between Epirus and Thessaly. Swimming in the wintertime is not recommended, unless you are already a winter-swimmer.
In the old city of Trikala, the atmosphere takes you back in the days when just walking and admiring the surroundings was the way to go about one’s vacation.
The houses are strikingly beautiful and the streets very narrow, while in the late hours of the afternoon it is recommended to climb up the stairs that lead to the old fortress, in order to take in some very nice views of the city of Trikala.
Trikala is also home to the famous monastic community on the rock formations known as Meteora, which proudly holds the unofficial title of being the second most important network of monasteries in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, while at the same time it is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The region is one of the prominent rock-climbing destinations in the world with more than 700 routes.
There are also quite a few renowned wineries in Trikala that you need to visit, most notably the Theopetra-Tsililis estate which doubles as winery and distillery; it was founded in 1989 and was the first to bottle tsipouro in Thessaly, bearing the local official geographical indication.
The Elves Village
At Christmas time it would be ideal to consider a visit to the Matsopoulou Mill especially if you have children. The exhibition about the history of the mill is quite informative. At the same time, the nearby theme park, ‘Elves Village’, runs lots of activities for children as well as a variety of events tailored to their needs.
In general terms, Trikala emerges as an ideal, year-round vacation destination that offers a complete array of activities, as well as different sites to be visited.
Cover Picture Credits: Tilemahos Efthimiadis