Our corner of Thessaly is crammed with A-list history. Literally within a ten km radius of central Volos there is… Sesklo, an 8000 year old town with Acropolis in a stunning location… Dimini, a 6500 year old hill town with four concentric ring walls, and (coincidentally) also the site of… Iolkos, the Mycaenean town where Jason and the Argonauts lived, with two huge “beehive” tombs in one of which Jason himself could have been buried and…. Demetrias, the enormous Macedonian capital of an empire covering much of the Eastern Mediterranean…not to mention Pefkakia a Neolithic settlement on a promontory with panoramic views over the Pagasitic Gulf,… Goritsa Hill, the fort built by Philip of Macedon, (Alexander the Great’s Dad) when he conquered Thessaly… Pagasae a rather swanky Roman seaside resort (plus aqueduct)…and Makrinitsa, , the”balcony” of Pelion, a traditional mountain village founded in 1204 by monks fleeing Constantinople after it was sacked by the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade…
Whether or not you have hired a car, Richard, who has a degree in Ancient History and a limitless interest in what Charlotte calls “little low walls”, will be happy to drive you on a Magical History Tour to Sesklo and Dimini/Iolkos, and/or other sites if you are interested, and answer your questions, and finish early afternoon at the Volos Archaeological Museum, which has all the best finds from all the places mentioned, and is the finest small museum anywhere – Well, we think so. You cover the petrol/ time, plus the, very small, entrance fees – 2 euros for Dimini AND Sesklo, 3 euros for the Museum. Other sites are free. Guide price 50 euros per car-full for a half day (not including entrance fees). Richard’s car will fit three adults, or four smallish adults/ children in relative comfort.
Full day trips can also be arranged to Meteora, where ancient monasteries perch on top of massive rock pinnacles, Vergina, where Philip of Macedon’s tomb was discovered in 1974, now housed in an atmospheric underground museum, plus the theatre where he was assassinated, (possibly on the orders of his son Alexander the Great), and Pella, the new city founded by Alexander covering several square kiometres. Pella Museum has finds from Alexander’s palace and from the city mansions, including breathtaking mosaics and curses on lead strips which were rolled up and inserted into cracks in the “victim’s” house. Also Dion, an ancient health spa at the foot of Mount Olympus has an interesting site (populated by ground squirrels) and a well arranged Museum with curious exhibits illustrating ancient hypochondria and Larissa, which is not for the faint hearted, has a 6000 year history and some interesting antiquities in the city centre. All the above sites are accessible in a long day, but 2 day excursions, for instance spending the night at Meteora, can also be arranged. Guide price 100 euros per car-full per day plus entrance fees.