Volos is a city situated at the center of the Greek mainland, north of Athens. It is the capital of Magnesia prefecture. Modern Volos is built on the ancient cities of Demetrias, Pagasae and Iolkos. To the west of Volos there are the Neolithic settlements of Dimini with a ruined acropolis, walls and two beehive tombs dated between 4000-1200 BC, and Sesklo with the remains of the oldest acropolis in Greece (6000 BC), as well as examples of Neolithic civilizations.
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- Messina (Sicily)
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Most Active or Strenuous
Minimal Activity Required
Behold the beauty of Greece through its archaeological artifacts and by visiting a hilltop village admired for its sweeping views and traditional architecture.
Boarding your coach at the pier, you will start with a short drive through downtown Volos, which is tucked along the foothills of the densely forested Mount Pelion. Arriving at the Archaeological Museum of Volos, you will have approximately 1-hour to browse its considerable artifacts. Among the treasures on display here are ancient jewelry, agricultural tools and classical statues, such as the torso of Aphrodite. Also, be sure to see the hundreds of funerary steles that amazingly still have their color intact even though they date back to the third century BC.
After visiting the museum, you will next commence a picturesque, winding drive up the gentle slopes of Mount Pelion. The scenery is captivating as you pass through lush vegetation, tree-covered hills and several delightful small villages. Before long, you will pull into lovely Makrinitsa, whose multi-storied houses cling to the hillside. The views of Volos and the bay from here are so stunning that the village is known as The Balcony of Pelion. During more than 1-hour of free time in Makrinitsa, you might wander the cobbled streets, relax in the shade of the main square, and spend a few reflective moments admiring the frescoes in the church of Agios Ioannis. You may also enjoy shopping or stopping in a traditional café.
Following your time in Makrinitsa, you will rejoin your coach for the return trip to the pier in Volos.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1-hour of moderate walking, plus any walking done at the guests' discretion during free time. There are inclines and cobblestone streets to negotiate in Makrinitsa. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; a hat; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.
Marvel at the Meteora Monasteries, which were built more than 600 years ago atop some of the highest, hardest-to-reach pinnacles in the Greek countryside.
Traveling by coach from the pier, you will head northwest through the fertile plain of Thessaly, past the provincial capital of Larissa and beyond. Near the town of Kalambaka, numerous outcroppings of sandstone jut straight up above the plain, creating one of the most striking natural sights in all of Greece. Even more remarkable, several of the rocky pinnacles are topped with Greek Orthodox monasteries built in the 14th and 15th centuries. Known as the Meteora (Greek for ""suspended in air"") Monasteries, they flourished for hundreds of years. However, of the 24 original monasteries, only six remain.
Depending on the day of the tour, you may see the Agios Stephanos, now a nunnery. While damaged during World War II and again during the Greek Civil War, it is still stunning. The nearby Varlaam Monastery is named after the first monk to occupy its soaring promontory in 1350. It contains an exquisite collection of crosses and icons, complemented by hundreds of religious manuscripts housed in the sacristy.
Following your visits at the monasteries, you will drive down to the plain by a different route and then dine on a luncheon of traditional Greek dishes such as spinach pie, moussaka and oven-baked salad. After a relaxing lunch, you will re-board your coach and drive directly back to the pier in Volos.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hour of moderate to strenuous walking and there are a significant number of steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Guests should be in good physical condition. Conservative attire is required (shoulders and knees must be covered) and flat, comfortable walking shoes with a non-slip sole. A hat and sunglasses are recommended. The Agios Stephanos monastery is closed on Mondays and will be substituted with the Roussanou Monastery.