Photo: GNTO/Y.Skoulas

Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)

When it comes to vacationing in Greece, what’s the first thing you think of? If you’re like most holiday-dreamers, the first images that come to mind include endless white-sand beaches, sparkling blue seas, and squat whitewashed homes dotting hilly islands. But what about the parts of Greece that are landlocked, on the mainland, without any of the iconic aspects of Greece that we all love? Well, if you choose to visit one of these regions, and especially Trikala, you’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a part of Greece most people will never know.

Trikala – The majestic mystical beauty of landlocked Greece

You’ll fall in love with snow-peaked mountains, villages plucked from the pages of history, stunning pristine forests, and roaring rivers. Because Trikala offers fanatic eco-tourists the possibility to get lost in the majestic natural beauty little-known to mainstream tourists. Mountain climbing, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing and horseback riding are just a few of the activities you can throw yourself into as a way of getting lost in the mountains, waterfalls, and lush forests Trikala boasts about. Best of all, Trikala is an ideal vacation destination year-round – which means both summer and winter visitors will be awestruck with the sheer number of activities and sites available.

Photo: www.discovergreece.com

Trikala, one of the most breathtaking regions of the Greek mainland, offers visitors a plethora of sports, vistas and cultural activities. If you love nothing more than to explore remote villages that boast traditional architecture and winding roads, you’re in luck. All you need to do is pick one of the three mountains Trikala is famous for and explore traditional villages. Perched atop soaring mountain peaks and surrounded by lush fir forests – the largest in Greece – early morning fog wisps its way around stone homes and winding roads to create an almost mystical atmosphere. Interested in cultural sites? Trikala is home to Meteora, the second most important network of monasteries in Easter Orthodox Christianity. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the monasteries of Meteora sit atop sky-scraping sandstone boulders, silent witnesses to the natural wonders of the area. If you love nothing more than combining city life with stunning parks, you’ll fall in love with Trikala town and the region’s villages. Stone bridges cross gushing rivers, winding walkways line near-urban cascading waterfalls, and trails zigzag through lush green parks.

Nothing attracts eco-tourists more than eco-sports. If you’re an adrenalin junkie, the region of Trikala is a veritable eco-amusement park. Thick fir forests, a trio of soaring mountains, interesting rock formations, wild rivers and rugged terrain offer sports enthusiasts ideal arenas for rock-climbing, mountain-biking, mountain-climbing, hiking, horseback riding and skiing. In fact, you can combine the mystical experience offered at Meteora by exploring it via rock-climbing. One of the premiere rock-climbing destinations in the world, Meteora offers rock-climbing fanatics almost 700 routes. And the views and monasteries will astound you.

No beaches in Trikala? No problem. You won’t waste a minute missing them.

Mystical magic of Meteora

Begin your trip with a bang by heading to Meteora, in Kalambaka town. Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is made up of a network of Greek Orthodox Christian monasteries perched atop a complex of 1000 sandstone boulders, each soaring to 400 meters. As you approach, you’ll feel Meteora’s mystical aura, and from afar these huge brown boulders look like giant monks huddled in congregation – a rather fitting image for the second most important monastic site in Orthodox Christianity. This unique geological formation is 50 million years old and was created when a great earthquake drained the lake that once stood in Meteora’s place. As the terrain reshaped itself, the silt, rocks and sand that lined the depths of the lake took the form of the huge boulders we see today.

Soaring to the sky, these imposing boulders were chosen by the first monks as ideal spiritual locations for monastic cells. Beginning in the 12th Century, monks attempted to scale the boulders by pushing logs up against the sides of rock pillars, climbing the logs and then dropping rope ladders down for other monks to join them. To this day, monastic cells dot the sheer face of the rock – evidence of the monks’ determination to worship and meditate as close to God as possible. Make it a point to visit as many monasteries as possible – each one hides treasures that span the ages and which will leave you with a deeper appreciation of religious art, monastic life and spiritual scholarship. Monks and nuns will be happy to tell you more about the historically and religiously important documents, old illuminated manuscripts, precious books, church artifacts and stunning hand-painted icons that are centuries old.

If you’re an adrenalin junkie and eager to take part in something other than cultural and spiritual activities, you’ll find that Meteora offers the perfect coupling of spiritual reflection and intense sports as you commune with nature. The soaring sandstone boulders of Meteora are a premiere world destination for rock-climbers, with 700 routes along the 1000 pillars. If you’re into low-impact sports, take the time to hike or mountain climb around the rock pillars. Routes take you through lush forests thick with plane trees and the occasional squirrel. This is another way of reaching some of the monasteries at the top of the boulders, so take the land-based scenic route to meditate as you traverse some of the most pristine forests in the country. It’s the perfect prelude to your tour of the one-of-a-kind spiritual site of Meteora.

Medieval villages come to life

Mist-veiled villages, winding streets, buildings plucked from the pages of Greece’s history. That’s what you’ll find when you explore the beautiful towns that Trikala’s natives are so proud of. If you’re looking for an alluring atmosphere when you go sight-seeing, you won’t be disappointed. Dipped in mountain-top mists that make every nook you explore that much more mysterious and quaint homes reminiscent of those found in fairy-tales that will make you feel like you stepped into a childhood dream – that’s what you’re in for when you begin your travels. What’s more, Trikala’s towns and villages blend into the region’s stunning natural habitat, and you’re never far from lush forests, mountains perfect for hiking, and wild rivers that beckon to be followed. No matter where you go, Trikala’s natural wonders will be there to regale you.

Photo: GNTO/Y.Skoulas

Begin by exploring the village of Neraidohori. Perched at the top of a mountain at 1140m, almost defying gravity like Meteora, this beautiful village will take you back in time and into a fairytale. In Greek Neraidohori means Fairy Village – an apt name for such a magical village. Stone and timber homes are topped with bright red shingles, winding roads lead to quaint tavernas and inns. Follow the enchanting sound of gurgling springs – they’re dotted all over the village. And all this amidst pristine fir forests. If you love going on winter getaways, this is an ideal winter wonderland for you. Make sure you go visit St. Nicholas’ church at the center of the village. Built in 1764, it was known for its beautiful murals before a fire destroyed much of the artwork. It’s still worth your attention as the sketches and outlines drawn by the artist and served as an initial guide for his final masterpiece are visible. Hatzipetrou Bridge is another must-see, as its stone masonry is unique.

Pili town, 18 km from Trikala town, will be a highlight of your vacation if you’re a nature-lover. Pili hit the trifecta when it comes to nature – a canyon, mountains and a river. Situated at the mouth of a canyon and framed by mountains, you’ll be surrounded by a pristine landscape that’s almost alpine. Even as you walk around town you’ll be reminded that nature is never far in Trikala – a roaring river flows through the center of town and gives Pili a cosmopolitan feel. Make sure your walks take you to Pili’s Byzantine church. Built in 1283 by the Byzantine regional emperor Komninos, the heavy stone masonry of the Church of Porta-Panagia coupled with a golden aura of icons and lit candles indoors will take you back to the Middle Ages. Take some time to admire the two huge mosaic or psifidoto icons that greet you as you enter the church – they’re unique in Greece and something you’ll never come across again. Even the indoor masonry is exposed stone and offers an eerie mystical feel in the glow of candles lit by worshippers.

Photo: GNTO/Y.Skoulas

If you want to sustain this serene feeling, go visit Paliokaria, about 35 km from Trikala town. This town is literally dipped in lush forests, stunning waterfalls, and gushing rivers that will lure you into their fold. Paliokaria’s perfect for long walks beside a roaring river that includes a stunning waterfall, so take the time to walk the quaint pathways, cross the mossed stone bridges and feel like you’ve lost yourself in another time and place – the land of fairies. Ask the locals for the myriad legends about fairies and nymphs. In ancient and medieval Greek mythology, rivers and waterfalls are believed to be the home of fairies and water nymphs that often interacted with their human neighbors. Once you’ve listened to these tales of otherworldly intrigue and romance, pack a picnic lunch to accompany your hike through this water wonderland – soaring plane trees offer ideal spots for a quiet lunch. And don’t forget to look out for fairies! Locals swear they’re there. If you’re an architecture buff, make it a point to admire Paliokaria’s Porta bridge. Built in 1517 by St. Vissarion, this beautiful arched stone bridge traverses one of the largest rivers in the area. Continue by taking a tour of the 200-year-old stone watermill located beside the waterfall. It’s still in use – locals bring their carpets and rugs for washing, while wheat and corn is still ground here.

If you’re reluctant to leave the land of magic and fairies, you’re in luck because Elati village near Pili is the perfect destination for all you dreamers. Snuggled in the slope of  Koziakas mountain, you’ll think you jumped into a Christmas card if you visit during the winter. Elati’s natives stubbornly preserved their village’s otherworldly feel – homes and shops are perfect examples of centuries’ old architecture, with wooden trim against stone walls. Inns, hotels and businesses are all family-run, and Elati’s natives will welcome you as part of the family, contributing to the village’s homey atmosphere. Make it a point to browse the local arts and crafts stores for stunning artsy souvenirs – you’ll be amazed by the level of talent and craftsmanship. If you’re a food connoisseur, Elati’s unique recipes will certainly satisfy even the most eclectic palate. Herbal teas collected from Koziakas mountain, halva sweets, and trahana are just a few delicacies you’ll find here. If you’re a nature lover, Elati combines the best of both worlds as the village lies nestled in the midst of the largest forest of fir trees in the country. If you’re after an adrenalin high, visit in the spring when you’ll be able to go hiking, mountain climbing and rock climbing. In fact, one of the region’s most popular rock climbing spots is located right next to Elati village. Kokkinos Vrahos is comprised of 7 routes and is a wonderful way of taking in the beautiful scenery.

Photo: GNTO/Y.Skoulas

Once you’ve taken in the mystical feel of Trikala’s misty mountain villages, explore Trikala town, the region’s capital. Not only is it beautifully built around a gushing river and hugged by parks, bicycle routes and thick trees, but it’s very high-tech as well, combining the past with the future. Trikala was first inhabited in 3000 BC and was known by the name of Trikki – quite apt considering the region’s fairy lore. Trikki was the name of a nymph, and the daughter of Pinio River. Lithios River, a tributary of Pinios River, now flows through town and the banks of the river in today’s modern city are lush with tall trees and bright green lawns. Perfect for walking, biking or jogging. Stone bridges cross the river at regular intervals, which give the park a nostalgic feel.

If you’re an archaeology buff, you’ll be interested in Trikala town’s illustrious history. It’s been well documented that this city was the birthplace of Asklipio, the Ancient Greek god of medicine. You’ll love exploring the archaeological park in the center of town. Here you’ll find remains of a temple dedicated to Asklipio Trikkis, including a building with gorgeous floor mosaics and baths, as well as the remains of a 10th Century Byzantine church. Architecture fanatics will enjoy exploring Trikala’s many neighborhoods – in fact, the city combines wonderful examples of traditional architecture with modern amenities. If you want to take a stroll through pages of history, visit the Varousi district. It’s the oldest part of town and boasts a number of stunning architectural examples from the 17th to the 19th Centuries. It’s located just outside the town’s medieval castle and was a Christian neighborhood during the Ottoman occupation. Continue your walk through history by admiring the Clock Tower which stands within the castle and is one of the most beautiful landmarks. Kozum or Osman Sack’s mosque is a testament to the city’s religious past, considered to be one of the most beautiful mosques in Greece and is worth a visit. It was built in the 16th Century by a Turkish prince who sought refuge in Trikala when wounded. The locals helped him recover and were very hospitable, and in return he built a mosque so they don’t forget his time spent with them. Now it serves as a cultural center for the city. For an example of the city’s industrial past, explore Matsopoulou Mill that was built in 1884. This mill played a crucial role in the city’s history – present in all facets of industry, its place in the region’s economy was honored by turning it into a municipal arts center that also hosts a movie theater, classrooms for art courses and other cultural activities. While you take in an art show, admire the mill’s stunning architecture. It’s one of the most unique venues of arts and culture you’ll see.

As you walk around exploring the historical treasures tucked away in Trikala town, you’ll no doubt notice how high-tech it is, masterfully blending the past with the cyber-future. E-Trikala is a project that the locals are very proud of, as it’s the first Greek town that’s truly e-established. There’s free wifi everywhere, for everyone, even in parks and along the river, while digital displays above all the bus stops notify you of any delays, ETAs, and other important information you’ll need as you use public transportation. An innovative app also lets you find available parking spots, so you don’t waste time circling around town. E-Trikala’s goal was to make the life of locals and visitors easier, more accessible, and very high-tech. Locals also use a special app to transfer medical documents and phone-based ECGS from remote villages to doctors in the town center, while another app lets locals vote on municipal decisions, determine items on the agenda of town meetings, and offer possible solutions to local problems.

Photo: trikalaview.gr

Once you’ve experienced Trikala’s very high-tech e-environment, take a trip back to the past by visiting Kastraki village, squashed between the stunning pillars of Meteora and Kalambaka town. It’s got a very historical atmosphere, very traditional and a wonderful living museum of Trikala’s architecture throughout the centuries. When you’ve explored Kastraki’s old winding streets, head to Kalambaka. Although it’s a tourist town because of Meteora’s popularity, there are some hidden treasures to explore. The Konstantio School building is the oldest structure in Kalambaka, while the Byzantine church of St. Ioanni Prodromou is a fine example of religious architecture. If you’d like to admire a beautiful church, go to Kimiseos Theotokou church. It was founded in the 10th Century, is the oldest church in the region, and its ancient masonry adds to the spiritual atmosphere inside the church. It lies in the middle of a very old neighborhood, so if you want to see what Kalambaka was like in the past, this is the neighborhood to walk through. Another older neighborhood which is a must-see lies at the foot of Meteora. The stunning architecture that makes this corner of Kalambaka a gem isn’t the only reason to put it in your itinerary. If you follow the old trails that wind through the nearby trees and alongside streams, you’ll be able to take a relaxing walk up to St. Triada monastery up in Meteora. You won’t regret taking this very scenic route.

Natural wonders and never-ending eco-sports beckon all adrenalin-junkies in Trikala

If you’re a hiker, mountain climber, skier, horseback rider, kayaker or rock-climber you’ll fall in love with Trikala. Soaring mountains, roaring rivers and unique geological formations in the region have made Trikala a beacon for all eco-sports fanatics. Not only is there a plethora of choices that will leave you jostling your itinerary to fit everything in, but there are sports for all seasons, making Trikala a premiere vacation spot year-round.

If there’s one aspect of Trikala which will take your breath away, it’s the region’s majestic and pristine natural landscape. Meteora is one such site. Nowhere in the world will you be able to rock-climb up a UNESCO World Heritage site. And nowhere will you be rewarded for your effort with such stunning views of centuries’ old monasteries, lush forests, and a congregation of sandstone boulders. In fact, this spiritual monument doubles as a natural arena for avid rock-climbers. The complex of 1000 sandstone boulders that soar to 400m is one of the premiere rock-climbing destinations worldwide. And you’re in illustrious company when you scale these rock pillars, because the very first rock-climbers were 11th Century monks who built monastic cells in crevices in the sheer stone face. Meteora offers 700 routes for rock-climbers of all skill levels. If you’re more earthbound, or hate heights, don’t worry.

Meteora is a perfect spot for hiking or mountain-climbing, so don’t hesitate to enjoy the lush plane forests and routes around the monasteries.

Another stunning area that couples beautiful pristine natural surroundings and the opportunity for many types of sports is Koziakas Mountain. Part of the Natura 2000 network, this mountain soars to 1901 meters, is a source of immense pride, and you won’t need much time to understand why. Its significance can be traced back to Ancient Greece, as it was known as Asklipios’ pharmacy because of the endless variety of natural medicinal plants that thrive along the slopes of the mountain. Asklipios himself gathered medicinal herbs to administer to his patients from Koziakas Mountain, so if you’re an amateur botanist, keep looking for an array of plants. As you hike or mountain-climb you’ll be able to revel in the pristine peace offered by lush fir, elm, oak and beech forests, while the gushing sound of the area’s two rivers, Portaikos and Kefalopotamos, will lure you to their riverbanks. When you need to rest, stop by one of the many springs that dot the mountain’s eastern slope.

Because sports lovers can’t help but see this beautiful natural arena and all its adrenalin-spiking possibilities, you’ll be glad to know that Koziakas mountain is a rock-climbing haven. An interesting spot for this sport is Kontina waterfall. You’ll find it near Agia Paraskevi village and its five routes offer an interesting journey along the gushing water. Another stunning rock-climbing location is situated near Elati village. It’s called Kokkino Vraho, is a limestone rock and offers 7 routes for rock-climbers of all skill levels. It’s a wonderful place to learn. If you love to kayak or canoe, head to the Tria Potamia area. There’s a kayaking center there that will help you plan a route along the Aheloos and Aspropotamos rivers. As it’s part of the Natura network, you’ll love the lush fir forests, stone bridges and churches and monasteries that are based in the area. Mountain-bikers will enjoy the many forest trails and rugged terrain around Pertouliotika and Livadia. It’s a wonderful way of exploring this pristine area. If you’re a hiker or mountain-climber, you’ll find Koziakas Mountain a real treasure. The E4 European Trail goes through the mountain, while many unmarked trails in the area lead to all the neighboring mountains as well, so use this opportunity to combine your love of nature with this wonderful sport. Some interesting routes include Pirra to Avgo, Pertouliotika Livadia to Astrapi, which takes you to the peak of Koziakas mountain, Pertouli to Neraida, Haliki to Peristeri, Neraidohori to Marosa, and Klino to Trissia. Horseback riders, you’ll be happy to know that the summer season offers riders wonderful trails. Gallop through the lush trees, stop by the river and springs, and visit some of the mountain villages and monasteries.

Photo: www.peraalonia.gr

You’ll find a veritable treasure along the slopes of Koziakas mountain if you’re a skier. Pertouli ski resort is one of the most beautiful in the country as you’ll ski down slopes hugged by Greece’s biggest and most beautiful and pristine fir forest. There are 3 slopes and 3 cross-country ski routes that will satisfy skiers of all levels. If you’re a snowboarder, hit the slope on the south, as it’s a favorite of avid snowboarders. Don’t miss this ski resort, as you’ll feel like you’re skiing and snowboarding amidst oceans of huge fir trees.

Local delicacies and unique museums

We all know and love Greece’s stunning archeological museums, but Trikala’s museums are entirely different, quirky and unique. Begin exploring this very eccentric aspect of the region by heading to Trikala town’s Arts Center. This is a gem for all music lovers and for all of you who are interested in Greece’s musical history. In the Arts Center you’ll find a record of the creative life of a number of Greece’s prominent musicians, including Vasili Tsitsani who is a native of Trikala. This very interesting museum is found in the Varousi neighborhood, Trikala town’s oldest historical district, which adds to the museum’s allure. If you love antique musical instruments, here you’ll find guitars and bouzoukia (mandolins) used by Tsitsani and others when composing their lyrical hits. You’ll also be able to read handwritten rough drafts of lyrics, poems and letters and other correspondence as well as old records. You’ll also be able to see how beloved these musicians were by Greeks and the media, with photos and drawing as well as newspaper clippings combining to form a wonderful array of artifacts.

Photo: www.kliafa.gr

If you’re a vintage soft drink bottle collector or are just interested in the history of food production, you’re in for a treat. The Kliafa Museum houses one of the most extensive collections of soft drink bottle caps and labels from all over the world. While you take a virtual tour of the history of soft drinks, you’ll also be able to admire locally produced soft drinks, all under the Kliafa label. It’s interesting to see how marketing and design changed throughout history. The Kliafa Museum also houses a Children’s library, so take a peek at the type of picture books published in Greece. Gearheads will enjoy taking a tour of the museum’s engine room, which has been pristinely preserved from the factories’ heyday. As you explore the many exhibitions here, make sure you admire the architecture. Painstakingly preserved industrial facets of the factories’ production lines and architecture frame every corner of the Kliafa Museum and all the exhibition halls.

Are you intrigued by the power of water and how it was used extensively in the past? If so, make sure you visit the watermill in Pili. Located in lush forests, this Hydroengineering Museum is housed in a watermill that dates back to 1665. Take some time to order a coffee and desserts at the café right next to the museum, and then make your way to the old stone watermill. The owner of the café and watermill has restored the mill to working order, and now put the mill to use to portray the power of this clean source of energy. Rugs and carpets are cleaned in the mill, wheat and corn are ground. Admire the engineering used to perform these everyday tasks, and learn more about the world’s industrial past.

As you explore Trikala’s misty mountain villages and quaint shops and tavernas, make sure you taste the many delicacies the region is famous for. Trikala is known for its delicious varieties of feta cheese, Equally mouth-watering are Trikala’s thick creamy yoghurts which are made in small family-run farms. If you like rustic-style butter and sour-milk, you’ll be amazed at the variety you’ll find throughout the region. The creamy texture and taste are a testament to the quality of locally produced dairy. If you’re a cheese connoisseur, make it a point to savor the different types of myzithra cheese that locals produce from fresh milk. You can eat it on its own or as part of the many pites or pies Trikala’s cooks have turned into an art form. Everyone’s a fan of spanakopita or spinach pie, as well as the popular tiropita or cheese pie, but Trikala is a pie-making center. Prasopita is a leek pie that will leave you wanting more, while hortopita is a pie combining a number of wild leaf greens Trikala’s cooks collect from the slopes of nearby mountains. Not only is it healthy, but you’ll find it will soon become a favorite of all vegetarians.

With all the stunning natural landscapes Trikala is famous for, its meadows and mountain slopes fill with wildflowers each spring. This is wonderful news for honey-lovers as the region’s eclectic varieties of honey will make you a lifelong fan. Good with tea, on bread or in baked goods, honey is a staple food in Trikala. As you venture through all these beautiful mountain villages, pop into the local shops and stock up on herbal medicinal teas. Following in Asklipios’ footsteps, the locals brew their tea from medicinal herbs they pick from the mountains. Take a bag home with you and you’ll understand why they’re very rejuvenating in the winter. Arts and crafts collectors will also be astounded by the level of talent you’ll find here. Local crafts workshops display and sell their art-work, so be sure to pick up stunning hand-carved wood artifacts. Trikala is also center for weaving, and the artifacts produced and sold double as a historical cultural record here as artisans focus on traditional patterns that date back hundreds of years. Take home hand-woven tablecloths, placemats and other decorative items and you’ll also take home a little piece of history. They make perfect gifts for your friends, and ideal keepsakes for yourself as well.

The glorious region of Trikala offers visitors a treasure chest of stunning natural landscapes, quaint traditional villages, the mystical magic of Meteora as well as a variety of eco-sports ideal for all adrenalin junkies. With all these stunning locales and challenging sports to experience, Trikala has nothing to envy and everything to be proud of. Perfect for visitors year-round, choose Trikala as your vacation spot and you’ll understand why this region can rival any island, any beach. Unique, majestic and gorgeous, it’s a favorite of all eco-travelers. And it’s all there for you to explore and fall in love with.

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Location - Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)

Kidonia Cave (near Stournareika Village)

Experienced spelunkers will find this stunning cave at an altitude of 1340 m along the mountain ridge. It’s unexplored but its beauty is still well-known – ask the locals for tips and advice before venturing in to admire the cave chamber dripping with stalactites and stalagmites.

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If there’s one iconic feature Trikala is proud of, it’s the pristine natural landscapes found throughout the region, and birdwatching plays an important part of these landscapes. From Koziakas Mountain and its important part in the Natura 2000 network, to the roaring rivers that rip through deep canyons, coupled with the biggest fir forest in the country, the wildlife habitats provided by these pristine landscapes are of critical importance to birds.

As you hike through mountain trails or go canyoning, it’s a perfect way to birdwatch. Owls, woodcocks, pheasants, eagles, falcons, partridges are just a few of the species that make this region home. All these species are protected, so keep all safety measures in mind for the sake of these beautiful animals.

At the bottom of Koziakas Mountain you’ll find a vital ecosystem close to Prodromos village. This vital habitat features Baltista forest, which is a lush thick forest of sycamore and plane trees. If you hike through it you’ll find that Kazakous stream flows amongst the beautiful trees and into the nearby village. The water source combined with the forest cover make for an excellent place of refuge for all wildlife. It’s good for birdwatching, as partridges and pheasants often roam through the forest.

As part of your eco-tour, make it a point to hike through the area surrounding Prinos village. You’ll be wowed by the wonderful forest lush with sycamore trees that’s crossed by Sofratsa River. It’s an idyllic forest that serves a vital role in Trikala’s ecosystem. Look for Leni Spring and you’ll see an important water source. As you explore the area, head to Palio River which was once part of a lake. This river is extremely important for the birds of the area, and is one of the most pristine habitats for water hens and wild ducks as well as other birds that make the forest area their home.

The region around Meteora also boasts a number of important habitats that support vital ecosystems. Close to Klinos village, you’ll find another beautiful village called Mantania village. From here you’ll be able to explore pristine Kalogriani Forest. Thick with oak, dogwood, fir, elm and sycamore trees, Kalogriani Forest supports an important ecosystem consisting of thrush and partridges.

As you explore Trikala, you’ll discover Pili’s many beautiful forests. Trek your way through Ombrava, Lefkes and Paleomantri forests. They’re absolutely beautiful and you’ll be captivated by the thick fir forests which retain their pristine ecosystems. In fact, keep an eye out for partridges. Make it a point to admire Lakka Tis Stefanis forest. It’s small when compared to the flowing fir forests Trikala is famous for, but it is very worth an exploratory hike through it. As you hike through, explore the lush chestnut and fir forests around Ropoto village. It’s a haven for wildlife because of its pristine ecosystems and habitats. Partridges and woodcocks seek refuge here.

If you love canoeing, you must visit the Three Rivers or Tria Potamia area in the Koziakas Mountain. There’s a kayaking and canoeing center in the Three Rivers area that will help you plan a route along the Aheloos and Aspropotamos rivers and valley. Your canoeing trip will take you through lush fir forests, under stone bridges and offer the possibility of exploring churches and monasteries in the area. Kayakers also shouldn't miss out on the Tria Potamia area. There’s a kayaking center in the Three Rivers area that will help you plan a route along the Aheloos and Aspropotamos rivers and valley.

Trikala is an ideal location if you love canyoning. Not only will you be able to practically commune with nature, you’ll find the varied landscape and habitats provide an endless supply of stunning vistas and experiences. Mountains, waterfalls, rivers, lush forests – the area has it all.

Photo: www.periigites.gr

Take some time to admire the wildlife and make it a point to wander through the largest fir forest in all of Greece. Ask the locals for tips and advice as to what season is best for the sport and what to be careful of.

Popular canyoning locations include Kontina Waterfall near Aghia Paraskevi vllage which offers five routes, the canyon near Neraidohori village which takes you through thick forests of beech, fir and oak, as well as the canyon near Agio Nikolaos village where you’ll be able to admire the fir forests of Mikro and Megalo Kelasi. Desi Canyon is another popular location for the sport. Your route will take you through beech and fir forests where bears, wolves and partridges roam. Not-to-be-missed is Pindos Canyon near Gardiki village and the canyon near Mirofilo village on Mount Hatzis. MIrofilo’s canyon offers stunning routes through two forests, Petrouba and Selomo, which provide natural habitats for forest fauna.

Katsiouna and Haravla Caves

If you love hiking and spelunking, these twin caves near Messohora Village are perfect for you. Located at an altitude of 800 meters, you’ll enjoy searching for them and then exploring their beautiful chambers.

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Kidonia Cave (near Stournareika Village)

Experienced spelunkers will find this stunning cave at an altitude of 1340 m along the mountain ridge. It’s unexplored but its beauty is still well-known – ask the locals for tips and advice before venturing in to admire the cave chamber dripping with stalactites and stalagmites.

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Kokkini Spilia Cave (near Alonia, Nea Pefki Village)

When you visit this beautiful mountain village, ask the locals for directions to Kokkini Spilia. Translated as Red Cave, Kokkini Spilia’s name is suggestive of the cave chamber’s main feature, which is the beautiful red color of the rock.
When you’re done exploring, stop by the nearby gushing springs of Frahos and Vrisoula at an altitude of 1200 meters and then continue your hike in the area.

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Sarmanitsa Cave (near Pirra Village)

If you’re an adventurous spelunker, this cave is perfect for you. It’s unexplored and a bit of a mystery, so as long as you take all possible precautions, it could provide a wonderful opportunity for experienced spelunkers.

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Skala Paleohoriou Cave (Amarantos village)

This wonderful cave is located beside a quaint mountain village. As you hike through the region, look for the watermill of St. Minas and this beautiful cave.

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Tsiata Magia Cave, Polithea Village

If you’re an experienced spelunker and you’re feeling adventurous, this is the cave for you. Close to a mountain village, this cave is rarely explored and is undeveloped. Ask the locals for directions and tips, and as always keep safety in mind as unexplored caves can be dangerous.

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Cyclists and mountainbikers will be happy to know that Trikala is ideal for this sport. Mountain landscapes that will leave you breathless, stunning vistas, lush fir forests and bridges of roaring streams are just a few sights you’ll be able to admire.

Cyclists will love Trikala town. The river that runs through the town center, along with the lushly green river banks provide an ideal place for anyone to explore by bike. The locals have made cycling a part of their daily life, and you’ll understand why when you see how picturesque the town and its parks are and how inviting the river and its forest-like banks will prove to be.

The mountains of the region of Trikala are ideal for mountain-biking. Of course, as you explore the lush natural landscape, you’ll be able to map your own course and choose your own locations – you’ll be spoiled for choice – but one of the most popular mountain-biking areas is Pertouliotika Livadia on Koziakas mountain. The thick forest in the area make for a wonderful ride. If you decide to venture off the beaten path, visit the many mountain villages of Koziakas mountain, and explore other mountains in the region as well.

Trikala’s local cuisine won’t fail to amaze you. As you explore Trikala’s misty mountain villages and quaint shops and tavernas, make sure you taste the many delicacies the region is famous for.

Mouth-watering cheeses, yoghurts, and pies
Ingredients are locally grown and sourced, and small family farms and dairy farms produce milk, yoghurts and cheeses that will satisfy even the most demanding food connoisseurs.  Trikala is known for its delicious varieties of feta cheese, Equally mouth-watering are Trikala’s thick creamy yoghurts which are made in small family-run farms. If you like rustic-style butter and sour-milk, you’ll be amazed at the variety you’ll find throughout the region. The creamy texture and taste are a testament to the quality of locally produced dairy. If you’re a cheese connoisseur, make it a point to savor the different types of myzithra cheese that locals produce from fresh milk. You can eat it on its own or as part of the many pites or pies Trikala’s cooks have turned into an art form. Everyone’s a fan of spanakopita or spinach pie, as well as the popular tiropita or cheese pie, but Trikala is a pie-making center. Prasopita is a leek pie that will leave you wanting more, while hortopita is a pie combining a number of wild leafy greens Trikala’s cooks collect from the slopes of nearby mountains. Not only is it healthy, but you’ll find it will soon become a favorite of all vegetarians. Also, make it a point to taste trahana, which is milk-soaked dry dough that’s perfect for soup. For dessert, taste mouth-watering halva, made of burnt sugar and rice flour.

Herbal teas, wildflower honey
With all the stunning natural landscapes Trikala is famous for, its meadows and mountain slopes fill with wildflowers each spring. This is wonderful news for honey-lovers as the region’s eclectic varieties of honey will make you a lifelong fan. Good with tea, on bread or in baked goods, honey is a staple food in Trikala. As you venture through all these beautiful mountain villages, pop into the local shops and stock up on herbal medicinal teas. Following in Asklipios’ footsteps, the locals brew their tea from medicinal herbs they pick from the mountains. Take a bag home with you and you’ll understand why they’re very rejuvenating in the winter.

A foodie’s tour of Trikala
Koziakas Mountain is one of the most beautiful pristine natural landscapes in the country, and the villages that huddle along its slopes have most certainly reflected this beauty in their local cuisine and products. Xilopariko village is famous for its goat’s milk and cheese, made in local dairy farms whose herds graze along the mountain slopes. Villagers also sell herbs gathered from the mountain as well as handmade trahana. The village of Gorgogiri makes its own beans, so make it a point to sample traditional bean-based dishes at local tavernas. Another village known for its beans is Prodromos village – in fact these giant white beans aren’t just mouth-watering but also award-winning. As you tour Prodromos village, pop into various tavernas and taste locally churned buttermilk. Teal tea is also a source of pride for local brewers, and is picked from Koziakas Mountain. If you love getting involved in orchards or if you’re interested in gathering your own fruits and vegetables, Prinos village is the place for you. Here you’ll be able to pick your own wild berries, right off the slopes of Koziakas Mountain. Another must-see village for foodies is Genesi village. Honey, mountain sage tea and wild oregano all picked from the mountain are sold in local shops. Try Genesi’s locally churned buttermilk as well.

The Pili area is known for buttermilk made from goat’s milk, tsalafouti which is a drink made from sour milk (especially popular in Paliokaria village) and cheeses from local dairy farms. Walnut-based desserts are also popular here. Make sure you try the region’s excellent honey – and buy some oregano and sage to take home with you. They’re all gathered from the mountain. From Agios Prokopios village near Pili you must sample leafy greens found growing in the wild and locally harvested beans. Kotroni village is also famous for its organic beans and vegetables. When in Kotroni, also make it a point to taste their wild oregano, wonderful apples, and tea made from wild mountain herbs. Buy some locally grown flowers – they’re beautiful. Another village known for its locally grown nuts, fruits and vegetable is Ropoto. Hazelnuts, walnuts and chestnuts from the village are all mouth-watering, as are Ropoto’s apples. Make it a point to stop at a coffee shop for breakfast. The village’s creamy butter is one-of-a-kind.

Meteora isn’t only one of the most unique UNESCO World Heritage sites, it’s also the perfect destination for vegetarians. Mouth-watering local dishes include rustic moussaka, which is an eggplant and bechamel oven-baked casserole, as well as a wonderful bean soup. The villages around Meteora are usually dotted by open-air fruit stands, so stop and buy some apples, pears, and other fruit as you explore.

There are a few interesting villages around Meteora and Kalambaka that are worth a visit as a culinary tour. Mantania and Kalogriani villages are known for their mouth-watering feta cheese (excellent with salads and oven-baked vegetarian dishes). If you’re looking for a healthy way of sweetening desserts, head to Klinovo village - known for its wonderful honey. Chrisomilia village is another definite stop for foodies. Here you’ll find creamy feta cheese, a unique type of apple called skioupia, and sweet honey. For cheeses and other kinds of locally made dairy products, stop by Glykomilia village nearby, while Aidona village is famous for its walnut and fig preserves, trahana pasta, feta and cheeses, and locally grown beans. For excellent mountain teas, bean soup, vegetables and honey, stop by Paleohori. Kastania village is famous for its nuts – orchards of hazelnut, chestnut and walnut trees yield mouth-watering nuts, as do the plentiful apple orchards that offer bushels of sweet apples. If you love going on picnics, this is the perfect village for you. In Farma, you’ll be able to buy a number of local products to sample, including fruit, nuts, giant white beans and cheeses from local dairies. Fruit and nut preserves are also sold here. Dessert-lovers, make sure you visit Amarantos village. This beautiful mountain village boasts its own version of baklava called baklai, made of nuts, fyllo pastry and honey, in addition to walnut preserves made in the village. Also buy rustic-style bread – it’s perfect with locally made feta and honey.

If you’re around the Pertouli Ski Resort, which is also fantastic for spring and summer visitors as it offers hiking and mountain-climbing along snow-free slopes, take a culinary tour of the area. Pertouli village itself is famous for its mouth-watering cheeses made at local dairies, perfect rustic bread baked in traditional ovens and oregano that’s locally grown or picked from the mountain. The mountain village of Elati offers foodies a wonderful array of local delicacies – try the sun-dried trahana noodles, honey, pita pies made with leafy greens, herbal teas, fried vegetables, rustic pastas, desserts, fruit and nut preserves, and mountain-picked herbs. Neraidohori village will captivate you not only for its unique atmosphere but also because of mouth-watering treats like walnuts, trahana pasta, other rustic noodles, and excellent honey. If you love herbs and herbal teas, you must stop at Vrontero village. Here you’ll find mountain-grown or picked thyme, chamomile, oregano and mint. Also, stop by a local taverna and try their trahana. Kalogiri village is also famous for its herbs and teas, including wild and cultivated oregano, fir tree blossoms, lots of mountain teas, nettles and bee grass. Stop by local tavernas and shops to sample the village’s dairy products – you’ll love their buttermilk. Combine dairy products with the wonderful baked goods you’ll find in quaint rustic bakeries around the village.

For more baked goods, head to Pirra village. You’ll also find mouth-watering feta cheese, fresh mountain teas and trahana. If your travels take you through Desi village, stop and buy some mountain teas for you to take home. Don’t forget to try their feta cheese – it’s mouth-watering. Agios Nikolas village is a vegetarian’s dream. Here you’ll be able to sit down at a local tavern and have some wonderful pies called pittas which are stuffed with leafy greens picked from local fields and the mountain – they go really well with the village’s fresh hard cheese. Finish your meal with a local dessert – Agios Nikolas’ milk pudding pastry is a must! Buy some mountain teas and vegetables to take with you. The villamountain teasge of Drossohori offers visitors wonderful feta cheese varieties, while the mountain village of Gardiki is famous for its nettle pitta pie, which vegetarians will love. Nettles are picked from the mountain slope. Make sure you accompany your meal with the village’s excellent feta cheese and don’t forget to buy mountain teas, honey and oregano. If you love arts and crafts, don’t leave this village without admiring and buying their famous hand-carved wooden hiking staffs. It’s a perfect souvenir and one-of-a-kind. As you explore Athamania village, make sure you taste and buy locally picked mountain teas and mouth-watering honey made from wildflowers.

If you enjoy following the natural landscape as part of your tour, you’ll be able to combine this with a culinary excursion as well. Follow the flow of the Malakasiotis River and savor some wonderful local products. Begin at Kalomira village for luscious apples and meaty walnuts then head to Matoneri village for feta cheese made at quaint local dairies. If you love nuts, head to Ambelohori for walnuts. The mountain village of Malakasi is ideal for cheese lovers – buy the local dairy farms’ smoked and fresh cheeses as well as creamy village-style yoghurt. While you explore the area, buy some walnuts on offer from the farmers, then stop by a taverna for mouth-watering bean soup. Panayia village is another perfect destination for dairy lovers – with excellent feta cheese and other mouth-watering dairy products made locally, as well as creamy home-churned butter. Korydallos village is also known for a wonderful variety of locally-made feta cheese, as well as locally grown walnuts. If you love fresh vegetables, explore the St. Athanasios area. Known for its many quaint farms, you’ll be able to buy peppers, beans, walnuts, tomatoes and apples. You won’t regret it! And it’s perfect for a picnic.

As you make your way around the Tria Potamia area to organize your kayaking or canoeing trip, combine your favorite sports with your passion for food. Villages around the Kraniotikos and Aheloo Rivers that dot the mountain-ringed valley are famous for a number of wonderful local products. Aghia Paraskevi, Anthousa, Krania and Polithea villages make mouth-watering honey and cheeses. Haliki village is another must-see for cheese lovers. Family-run dairy farms produce a variety of cheeses, from hard cheeses to feta cheese and fresh cheeses. For another type of cheese, go to the mountain village of Stefani. Cheese there is made using local recipes by family farms.

If you love hiking through forests, it’s a wonderful opportunity to sample the local cuisine served at tavernas in villages located alongside these beautiful natural landscapes. Moshofito village offers visitors some of the best walnuts, mountain-grown oregano, mouth-watering honey, mountain-picked herbal teas and feta cheese. Then ask the shepherds at Valkano village for their stunning varieties of cheeses before you explore Mirofilo. At this beautiful village you’ll be able to sample locally harvested hazelnuts, honey, walnuts, apples, desserts, and cheeses. Make it a point to try a very unique drink called tsalafouti. It’s made by boiling milk and then adding salt to it.
When you explore the Pyndaioi part of Trikala and admire the lush forests that flow down steep mountain slopes, tour some of the most beautiful villages in Trikala and discover wonderful local products. Giant beans, feta cheese, honey, oregano and trahana pasta are all products that have a place of pride in Stournareika. For mouth-watering buttermilk and locally grown beans, go to Vathirema, while

Livadohori village is famous for its mountain-picked oregano, fresh mountain teas, and beans grown by local farmers. Vegetarians, you must visit Paramero village. Stop by a local taverna and sample crispy snap beans, a mouth-watering recipe for cabbage-filled pastry-dough dishes, locally churned buttermilk and excellent cheeses. For trahana dishes and wonderful cheeses, buttermilk, and other dairy products, head to Mesohora. While you’re there, don’t miss out on the village’s famous mouth-watering vegetarian pitta pies, oregano, desserts, wild honey and mountain teas. Then make your way to Armatoliko village for walnuts and berry preserves. Korifi, Pahtouri and Neraida villages will captivate you with excellent honey, creamy varieties of cheeses, fresh cheeses made locally, and desserts.

Popular drinks in Trikala
Tsipouro is the most popular alcoholic drink in the region – it’s a pomace, grape-distilled brandy which is only made in Greece. Villages famous for their locally distilled tsipouro include Petrohori, Agios Prokopios, Ropoto, Xilopariko, Prinos, Genesi, Meteora, Mantania, Kalogriani, Kalomira, Ambelohori, Kalogiri and Desi.
If you’re a wine enthusiast, sample the wines at the villages of Kastraki, Mourgani and Ambelohori – which translates to “village of vines.”
For an original drink, head to Gardiki and Armatoliko villages where you’ll love their dogwood berry liqueur.

With all the beautiful, lushly forested mountains around Trikala, hikers will be inundated with interesting stunning trails to follow. In the spring and summer, hiking is a perfect sport for anyone who wants to explore the area, including unique monasteries and churches, while really immersing themselves in the pristine natural landscape. Trikala is a veritable once-in-a-lifetime experience when it comes to admiring nature in a pristine state. So take advantage of all the incredible sights you’ll be treated to with the region’s mountains, meadows, rivers and waterfalls as you plan your hiking route. Don’t forget to ask the locals in the villages you’ll no doubt stop in for any little-known sights in the area.

Area around Elati Village: This village sits atop Koziakas Mountain, which is one of the largest and most beautiful mountains in Greece. Summer is the perfect season for hiking through the area, where you’ll no doubt be mesmerized by the seemingly endless lush fir forest – it’s the largest in Greece.

Photo: www.discovergreece.com

Area around Neraidohori village: If you love exploring mountains, begin in Neraidohori, located at an altitude of 1140m. Hikers will enjoy trekking through the mountain to find the many springs that appear between thickets of fir forest. From here you can hike to the Peak of Avgo Mountain, as well as the top of Marosa and Neraida Mountains.

Photo:GNTO/Y.Skoulas

Area around Paliokaria Village: Paliokaria is immersed in a sea of thick plane trees that surround a gushing river and waterfall. If you’re an amateur hiker, this is a great place to start. Pathways and stone bridges lead you through the area as you admire the serenity of hearing the flow of water. Admire the Portas Bridge that dates to 1517 and stop by the 200 year-old watermill. Take a picnic lunch.
Area around Pili town: Located at the beginning of a canyon, you’ll be stunned by the beautiful mountains and rivers in the area. Hike through the landscape and admire the Monastery of St. Vissarion, the Bridge of Porta that dates to 1514 and was built by St. Vissarion.

Koziakas Mountain: This mountain is a haven for hikers, as it’s part of the Natura network. The E4 European Trail is an important part of the mountain which is perfect for a stunning route through the mountain’s natural beauty. Some not-to-be-missed sights you’ll encounter as you hike through the mountain include Kontina Waterfall, Kokkino Vraho rock, rivers, canyons drowning in elm, oak, fir and beech trees, refreshing springs perfect for a respite during your trek along the eastern slope, and the villages of Haliki and Lepenitsa. You can also follow a number of unmarked trails that will take you through stunning vistas and end at the peaks of all the nearby mountains. The trails include the route from Pirra to Avgo Mountain, the route from Neraidohori to Marosa Mountain, the route from Pertouliotika Livadia to Astrapi – the   peak of Koziakas Mountain, the route from Klino to Trissia, the route from Pertouli to Neraida Mountain, and the route from Haliki to Peristeri.

Photo: Panos Bampaloukas

Meteora (near Kalambaka): The hiking around this stunning UNESCO World Heritage site will bestow you with a unique appreciation of the monastery-topped rock pillars. You can even reach some of the monasteries by following paths through lush plane forests and refreshing streams that surround the 1000-strong network of boulders.
Pertouli Ski Resort (Pertouli Town): You’ll find a veritable treasure along the slopes of Koziakas Mountain if you’re a hiker or trekker. Pertouli ski resort is one of the most beautiful in the country as you’ll find yourself hugged by Greece’s biggest and most beautiful and pristine fir forest. There are 3 slopes and 3 cross-country ski routes that are perfect for hiking in the summer. Don’t miss this ski resort in the spring and summer, as you’ll feel like you’re hiking amidst oceans of huge fir trees.

Katsiouna and Haravla Caves

If you love hiking and spelunking, these twin caves near Messohora Village are perfect for you. Located at an altitude of 800 meters, you’ll enjoy searching for them and then exploring their beautiful chambers.

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Mountain-climbers will be mesmerized by all the interesting and stunning trails to follow through all the beautiful, lushly forested mountains around Trikala. In the spring and summer, mountain climbing is a perfect sport for anyone who wants to explore the area, which includes unique centuries’ old monasteries, while really immersing themselves in the pristine natural landscape. Trikala is a veritable once-in-a-lifetime experience when it comes to admiring nature in a pristine state. So take advantage of all the incredible sights you’ll be treated to with the region’s mountains and alpine-like meadows as you plan your route. Don’t forget to ask the locals in the mountain villages you’ll no doubt stop in for any little-known sights in the area.

Area around Elati Village: This village sits atop Koziakas Mountain, which is one of the largest and most beautiful mountains in Greece. Summer is the perfect season for mountain climbing through the area, where you’ll no doubt be mesmerized by the seemingly endless lush fir forest – it’s the largest in Greece.
Area around Neraidohori village: If you love exploring mountains, begin in Neraidohori, located at an altitude of 1140m. If you love the sport, you will enjoy trekking through the mountain to find the many springs that appear between thickets of fir forest. From here you can climb to the Peak of Avgo Mountain, as well as the top of Marosa and Neraida Mountains.

Area around Pili town: Located at the beginning of a canyon, you’ll be stunned by the beautiful mountains and rivers in the area. Climb through the landscape and reach the Monastery of St. Vissarion at an altitude of 1650 meters.
Koziakas Mountain: This mountain is a haven for mountain climbers, as it’s part of the Natura network. The E4 European Trail is an important part of the mountain which is perfect for a stunning route through the mountain’s natural beauty. Some not-to-be-missed sights you’ll encounter as you hike through the mountain include Kontina Waterfall, Kokkino Vraho rock, rivers, canyons drowning in elm, oak, fir and beech trees, refreshing springs perfect for a respite during your trek along the eastern slope, and the villages of Haliki and Lepenitsa. You can also follow a number of unmarked trails that will take you through stunning vistas and end at the peaks of all the nearby mountains. The trails include the route from Pirra to Avgo Mountain, the route from Neraidohori to Marosa Mountain, the route from Pertouliotika Livadia to Astrapi – the peak of Koziakas Mountain, the route from Klino to Trissia, the route from Pertouli to Neraida Mountain, and the route from Haliki to Peristeri.

Pertouli Ski Resort (Pertouli Town): You’ll find a veritable treasure along the slopes of Koziakas Mountain if you’re a mountain climber. Pertouli ski resort is one of the most beautiful in the country as you’ll find yourself hugged by Greece’s biggest and most beautiful and pristine fir forest. There are 3 slopes and 3 cross-country ski routes that are perfect for mountain climbing in the summer. Don’t miss this ski resort in the spring and summer, as you’ll feel like you’re hiking amidst oceans of huge fir trees.
Contact the Mountaineering Association of Trikala for more information as well as any tips and advice you’ll need from experts. Tel.: +30 24310 28943 www.soxt.gr

Kidonia Cave (near Stournareika Village)

Experienced spelunkers will find this stunning cave at an altitude of 1340 m along the mountain ridge. It’s unexplored but its beauty is still well-known – ask the locals for tips and advice before venturing in to admire the cave chamber dripping with stalactites and stalagmites.

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Trikala is a center for weaving, so as you wander through remote mountain villages, make sure you stop by local arts and crafts stores to admire the local talent in weaving. The artifacts produced and sold double as a historical cultural record here as artisans focus on traditional patterns that date back hundreds of years. Take home hand-woven tablecloths, placemats and other decorative items and you’ll also take home a little piece of history. They make perfect gifts for your friends, and ideal keepsakes for yourself as well.

Agia Triada Monastery (Meteora monastic complex)

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Asklipion Trikkis Archaeological Park, Trikala Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Clock Tower in Medieval Frourio, Trikala Town

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Frourio, Trikala Town

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Kliafa Museum of History and Culture, Trikala Town

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Meteora, Kalambaka Town

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Municipal Arts Center, Trikala Town

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St. Nikolaos Monastery (Meteora monastic complex)

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Theopetra Cave (near Theopetra village)

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Transfiguration of Christ Monastery (Meteora monastic complex)

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Trikala is the birthplace of Asklipios, the Ancient Greek god of medicine. Born in the region, he used the vast variety of medicinal plants and herbs found on the slopes of Koziakas mountain to formulate cures for his many patients.

Photo: Polydoros H.

In fact, Koziakas mountain is known as Asklipios’ pharmacy, in tribute to the god. Trikala also plays a part in Greek mythology, as it’s named after Trikki – a nymph and daughter of Pinio River. First inhabited in 3000 BC, Trikala played a vital role throughout the ages.

Ancient Potneo (near Elati village)

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Asklipion Trikkis Archaeological Park, Trikala Town

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Kokkinostefano Fort (near Pertouli)

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Theopetra Cave (near Theopetra village)

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Clock Tower in Medieval Frourio, Trikala Town

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Frourio, Trikala Town

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Kokkinostefano Fort (near Pertouli)

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Avid spelunkers will enjoy Trikala’s many and varied caves. A large number of them are archaeologically significant, while your treks to find them will lead you through stunning forests.

Arkoudotripa (near Elati Village)

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Houliaras Cave (near Pahtouri Village)

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KATSIOUNA AND HARAVLA CAVES

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Kidonia Cave (near Stournareika Village)

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Kokkini Spilia Cave (near Alonia, Nea Pefki Village)

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Kriakoura Cave (near Neraida Village)

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Lengo Cave (near Desi Village)

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Sarmanitsa Cave (near Pirra Village)

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Skala Paleohoriou Cave (Amarantos village)

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Soufli Cave (near Paleohori Village)

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Theopetra Cave (near Theopetra village)

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Tsiata Magia Cave, Polithea Village

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Agia Triada Monastery (Meteora monastic complex)

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Koimiseos Theotokou Church, Kalambaka Town

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Meteora, Kalambaka Town

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Porta-Panagia Church, Pili Town

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St. Barbara (Roussanou) monastery

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St. Ioanni Prodromou, Kalambaka Town

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St. Nicholas Church (Neraidochori village)

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St. Nikolaos Monastery (Meteora monastic complex)

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St. Paraskevi Church (Xylopariko village)

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St. Stefanos Monastery (Meteora monastic complex)

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St. Varlaam/All Saints Monastery (Meteora monastic complex)

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St. Vissarion Monastery (outside Pili Town)

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Transfiguration of Christ Monastery (Meteora monastic complex)

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Clock Tower in Medieval Frourio, Trikala Town

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Hatzipetrou Bridge, Neraidochori village

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Konstantio School, Kalabaka town

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Koursoum Tzami or Osman Sach Mosque, Trikala Town

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Matsopoulou Mill, Trikala Town

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Meteora, Kalambaka Town

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Porta Bridge, Pili Town

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Watermill and Museum, Pili Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Kliafa Museum of History and Culture, Trikala Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Municipal Arts Center, Trikala Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Trikala Museum of Folklore, Trikala Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Watermill and Museum, Pili Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Trikala will astound all nature-lovers. Mountains, rivers, streams, forests, canyons and waterfalls weave a beautiful natural landscape that beckons to be admired and explored. Part of the Natura 2000 protected areas, a few days exploring and hiking through the area will prove to you why Trikala is a premiere destination spot for eco-tourists and locals alike. Lesser-known but incredibly beautiful, make it a point to visit the region throughout the year and admire how each season brings out beauty.

The unique geological phenomenon of Meteora
Meteora will astound you. Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is made up of a network of Greek Orthodox Christian monasteries perched atop a complex of 1000 sandstone boulders, each soaring to 400-meters. This unique geological formation is 50 million years old and was created when a great earthquake drained the lake that once stood in Meteora’s place. As the terrain reshaped itself, the silt, rocks and sand that lined the depths of the lake took the form of the huge boulders we see today.

The forests and wildlife around Meteora and Kalambaka
Close to the stunning marvel that is Meteora, you’ll find an area unparalleled in natural beauty. Next to Kalambaka, there’s a wonderful forest that begs to be explored – Amoutzelos Forest. It’s located near Klinos village and is a pristine area lush with pine and fir trees, as well as underbrush that’s thick with wildflowers and shrubs in the spring. There are a number of natural springs – including Kazani, Lakos and Goura springs – that mark the starting point of the Klinovitikos River.

Close to Klinos village, you’ll find another beautiful village called Mantania village.From here you’ll be able to explore pristine Kalogriani Forest. Thick with oak, dogwood, fir, elm and sycamore trees, Kalogriani Forest supports an important ecosystem consisting of wolves, bears, rabbits, thrush and partridges. For another beautiful forest that’s a must-see for all nature lovers, head to Chrisomilia Forest near Chrisomilia village. It’s the perfect place for a hike or a leisurely walk, so take the time to wander through the forest’s sycamore, maple, dogwood, fir and oak trees – and keep an eye out for foxes, wolves, rabbits and bears. Continue your tour of Meteora’s forests by visiting Lalena Forest near Amarantos village. It’s lush and an important ecosystem for bears.

The beauty of Koziakas Mountain
Another stunning area that boasts beautiful pristine natural surroundings is Koziakas mountain. Part of the Natura 2000 network, this mountain soars to 1901 meters, is a source of immense pride, and you won’t need much time to understand why. Its significance can be traced back to Ancient Greece, as it was known as Asklipios’ pharmacy because of the endless variety of natural medicinal plants that thrive along the slopes of the mountain. Asklipios himself gathered medicinal herbs to administer to his patients from Koziakas Mountain, so if you’re an amateur botanist, keep looking for an array of plants. As you hike or mountain-climb you’ll be able to revel in the pristine peace offered by lush fir, elm, oak and beech forests, while the gushing sound of the area’s two rivers, Portaikos and Kefalopotamos, will lure you to their riverbanks. When you need to rest, stop by one of the many springs that dot the mountain’s eastern slope. Admire the pristine beauty of the largest forest of fir trees in the area.

Photo: www.periigites.gr

One of the mountain’s most important ecosystems is located near Tripio Lithari peak. There’s an important spring here called Gourno Spring that flows into a lake frequented by wild boar and deer. If you’d like to improve your chances of photographing wildlife, head to the forests around Gorgogiri village. It’s surrounded by natural springs – Karies, Koukounari, Laka and Gavros – as well as Kefalopotamos and Pinios Rivers’ tributaries. These sources of water coupled with the lush forest of Paliokopri Laka make an ideal ecosystem ideal for all wildlife.

At the bottom of Koziakas Mountain you’ll find a vital ecosystem close to Prodromos village. This vital habitat features Baltista forest, which is a lush thick forest of sycamore and plane trees. If you hike through it you’ll find that Kazakous stream flows amongst the beautiful trees and into the nearby village. The water source combined with the forest cover make for an excellent place of refuge for all wildlife. It’s good for birdwatching as well, as partridges and pheasants often roam through the forest. Baltista forest is well worth exploring – and admire this pristine ecosystem as you hike through the trees.

As part of your eco-tour, make it a point to hike through the area surround Prinos village. You’ll be wowed by the wonderful forest lush with sycamore trees that’s crossed by Sofratsa River. It’s an idyllic forest that serves a vital role in Trikala’s ecosystem. Look for Leni Spring and you’ll see an important water source. As you explore the area, head to Palio River which was once part of a lake. This river is extremely important for the birds of the area, and is one of the most pristine habitats for water hens and wild ducks as well as other birds that make the forest area their home.

The lush forests of Pili
As you explore this area, you’ll discover Pili’s many beautiful forests. Trek your way through Ombrava, Lefkes and Paleomantri forests. They’re absolutely beautiful and you’ll be captivated by the thick fir forests which retain their pristine ecosystems. In fact, keep an eye out for wolves and deer, as well as partridges. Make it a point to admire Lakka Tis Stefanis forest. It’s small when compared to the flowing fir forests Trikala is famous for, but it is very worth an exploratory hike through it. As you hike through, explore the lush chestnut and fir forests around Ropoto village. It’s a haven for wildlife because of its pristine ecosystems and habitats. Wolves, partridges, foxes, woodcocks, wild boars and jackals all seek refuge here.

Photo: GNTO/Y.Skoulas

The beautiful ecosystems in Pertouli, Drosohori, Anthousa, Paramero and Desi
Once you’ve enjoyed your hike up Pertouli’s ski slope in the summer, take some time to explore the meadows in the area. Pertouliotika Meadows are alpine meadows that offer visitors a unique experience in a rare habitat for a number of wild animals. Drosohori is equally important to wildlife- Spitaki Forest provides excellent refuge for bears and wolves. Ask the locals for directions to a beautiful waterfall in the forest. For a stunning experience that will wow you with Trikala’s natural beauty, head to Anthousa village. This lush fir and dogwood forest flows over a rugged mountain landscape and supports a thriving community of bears, wolves and wild goats.

As you explore the area, make sure you go to Paramero village – it’s worth a visit by any eco-tourist because of the forest nearby. A mountain village, Paramero’s Dalamitros Forest is one of the premiere brown bear habitats in Greece. As you hike through the forest and admire the pristine landscape, you’ll understand why this forest is a place of refuge for bears. Another vital ecosystem is found close to Desi village. Agios Nikolaos Forest near the village will captivate you with its beauty. Beech and fir trees combine to create a lush verdant habitat for wolves as well as bears.

Agia Triada Monastery (Meteora monastic complex)

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Asklipion Trikkis Archaeological Park, Trikala Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Clock Tower in Medieval Frourio, Trikala Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Frourio, Trikala Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Kliafa Museum of History and Culture, Trikala Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Meteora, Kalambaka Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Municipal Arts Center, Trikala Town

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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St. Nikolaos Monastery (Meteora monastic complex)

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Theopetra Cave (near Theopetra village)

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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Transfiguration of Christ Monastery (Meteora monastic complex)

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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If there’s one iconic feature Trikala is proud of, it’s the pristine natural landscapes found throughout the region. From Koziakas Mountain and its important part in the Natura 2000 network, to the roaring rivers that rip through deep canyons, coupled with the biggest fir forest in the country, the wildlife habitats provided by these pristine landscapes are of critical importance to a number of species. As you hike through mountain trails or go canyoning, make sure you watch out for bears, wolves, owls, woodcocks, squirrels, foxes, pheasants, rabbits, partridges, deer and other mountain animals.

Photo: Thodoris Kliafas

One of the mountain’s most important ecosystems is located near Tripio Lithari peak. There’s an important spring here called Gourno Spring that flows into a basin frequented by wild boar and deer. All these species are protected, so keep all safety measures in mind for the sake of these beautiful animals and yourself. The Pili area is also an important ecosystem, as it provides vital habitats for a number of wild animals. Wolves, deer and partridges can be found in Ombrava, Lefkes and Paleomantri fir tree forests. Wolves, partridges, foxes, woodcocks, wild boars and jackals all seek refuge in the lush chestnut and fir forests around Ropoto village that provide pristine habitats and vital ecosystems.

The region around Meteora and its monasteries also boasts a number of important habitats that support vital ecosystems. Close to Klinos village, you’ll find another beautiful village called Mantania village. From here you’ll be able to explore pristine Kalogriani Forest. Thick with oak, dogwood, fir, elm and sycamore trees, Kalogriani Forest supports an important ecosystem consisting of wolves, bears, rabbits, thrush and partridges. For another beautiful forest that’s a must-see for all nature lovers, head to Chrisomilia Forest near Chrisomilia village. Foxes, wolves, rabbits and bears find sanctuary in the forest’s thick sycamore, maple, dogwood, fir and oak trees. Another important ecosystem for bears is found at Lalena Forest near Amarantos village.

Pertouli’s ski slope leads you to another important ecosystem in the region. Once the snow melts, the alpine meadows of Pertouliotika Meadows offer visitors a unique experience in a rare habitat for a number of wild animals. Drosohori is equally important to wildlife- Spitaki Forest is lush forest provide excellent refuge for bears and wolves. Ask the locals for directions to a beautiful waterfall in the forest – an important watering spot for local wildlife. Paramero village is worth a visit by any eco-tourist because of the forest nearby. A mountain village, Paramero’s Dalamitros Forest is one of the premiere brown bear habitats in Greece. As you hike through the forest and admire the pristine landscape, you’ll understand why this forest is a place of refuge for bears. Another vital ecosystem is found close to Desi village. Agios Nikolaos Forest near the village will captivate you with its beauty. Beech and fir trees combine to create a lush verdant habitat for wolves as well as bears.

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Hotel Kastraki 3 *

Thessaly & Sporades / Trikala (Meteora, Pertouli)
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