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Thessaly, often called the breadbasket of Greece, is a region abundant in unspoilt forests, water areas, archaeological sites, villages with traditional architecture, ancient towns, Byzantine castles, monasteries and old churches. The mountain ranges of Pindos, which run along the ancient road that once connected western Thessaly to the Epirus regions in the north, create splendid mountain landscapes beguiling to visitors. They host a mixture of flora that produces a wide variety of ecosystems, characterized by the tree and bush species (oak forests, pine forests, riverside woods). Spreading northeast, the immense “green sea” of the Thesasalian plain is traversed by the tributaries of Pineios River.
To the south, with the mountainous maze of Agrafa in the background, the artificial Lake Plastiras is a pole of attraction for thousands of visitors each year, a splendid experience thanks to its natural beauty and unique sights that surround it. The harmonious combination of history, tradition, architecture, religious monuments and natural history is a pleasant surprise for visitors. The mountain slopes lend themselves for short or long trekking tours of various degree of difficulty. There are air-sport arenas at Templa and Kryoneri peaks within the lake area, as well as in Mouzaki, Ellinopyrgo and Agios Georgios. Mountain-biking is a new challenge for visitors, as well as hydro-bikes and canoes, which can be found at the lake shores. River Aspropotamos is undoubtedly one of Greece’s jewels, featuring an imposing and spellbinding landscape, rare wild flowers growing in abundance and a rich fir forest with River Acheloos flowing amidst them. Fishing, hunting, mountain biking, trekking, air gliding, riding, rafting and skiing are only some of the activities that visitors can enjoy in the Pindos Mountains area.
In the western part of Thessaly, a rare geological phenomenon has created an uncanny stone state, a group of looming rocks thrusting skywards and known as Meteora, because they indeed seem to hang or hover over (meteoro in Greek) above the plain. First inhabited by hermits in the 11th century, the rocks summits were the site where monasteries were built in the 16th century, a few of which still survive today, tended by monks and nuns. The area is included in UNESCO’s “World Heritage” sites list.
Tranquil hamlets are strewn throughout the region, giving the impression that time has stood still there. Thousands of visitors enjoy year-round vacations at comfortable accommodating, tasting local delicacies and home-grown wine, while tradition has been kept alive through a multitude of open-air festivities taking place usually near chapels in honour of the saints. Lake Plastiras becomes the focus of cultural events during the summer, featuring popular artists performing in an idyllic environment under the moonlight.