Travel to fairytale forests and snow-capped mountains, with picturesque villages and hidden monasteries
The wild ridge of Mt Kozakias, on the easternmost part of the Pindus mountain range, is calling to you. The towering green peaks in Thessaly hide some of the most beautiful secrets of the Trikala district. An almost supernatural ‘schism’ from the town of Pylis leads you to the ‘invisible’ side of the mountain and some of the most valuable tourist magnets in Greece; Elati, Pertouli and Neraidohiri – all three villages being ideal for winter holidays.
What to do in Elati-Petrouli
Elati: a cosmopolitan mountain town in Thessaly Heading up the west side of the mountain, amid a lush landscape of planes and firs, with a view of the river and the little villages across the way, you’ll soon arrive at the beautiful, picturesque village of Elati, at an altitude of 950m. It’s the largest of the alpine villages in this region, and one of the destinations in Greece with a tourist infrastructure fully-equipped for all four seasons. It is the primary base for dozens of journeys in Thessaly, whether they be asphalt expeditions, hiking trails or walking paths through the forest. It’s no coincidence that Elati is the destination of choice for alpine adventurers.
Pertouli: the Garden of Eden Take a trip to a heavenly green landscape embraced by the southern slopes of the Pindus range. Thousands of square metres of lush vegetation, natural springs, rushing rivers and seasonal lakes create a stunning sight. Pertouli, with its dense forests and high tourist standards, including a small ski resort, is one of the main attractions of northern Greece all year round.
Small in size but with an unsurpassable natural landscape, Petrouli’s ski resort is situated near luxury hotels and restaurants. So whether or not you ski, young and old will have fun gliding down the snowy slopes or just keeping warm with a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of wine in Thessaly.
Pyli Trikalon: eternal guardian of the mountain pass This has been a gateway to Trikala’s mountain region for centuries, and is a significant sight in the area. It was once a Byzantine town – Megala Pyli (Great Gates) – with a spectacular monastery called Porta Panagias. Above this narrow passage you’ll find today’s Pyli, the primary commercial and transit hub of the area. Here stands its famous arched stone bridge, built in 1514.
Hidden gems of Elati
The impenetrable Saint Bessarian Far from the busy roads, invisible to contemporary travellers, the mediaeval monastery of St Bessarion stands like an impenetrable fortress at the foot of Mt Kozakias. It is one of the most impressive attractions in the area. The huge three-storey building complex has 366 cells (a leap year’s worth) and was built in 1527.
Likno: local dishes, flavours and herbs Charming local shops preserve the flavours of Trikalas’ old mountain recipes, especially in Elati where you’ll find sun-dried frumenty with goat’s milk, a selection of organic products (honey, cracked wheat, sun-dried tomatoes), syrupy sweets, marmalade, and medicinal herbs. Indulge in the flavours of Thessaly!
The Red Rock Where you can enjoy the incredible view above Elati. And for the more daring, there are rock climbing opportunities here. A red-hot experience.