General Information on Magnesia
Volos is the capital of Magnesia Prefecture which occupies the east side of Thessaly. Its boundaries extend to the northern Sporades islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonnisos. The prefecture is also known for its healthy climate; thanks to the beneficial effects of the sea surrounding it to the south and east, it is blessed with mild winders and cool summers.
The capital city of Magnesia, Volos is also the third largest port in Greece. It is a modern city, built at the innermost point of the Pagasetic Gulf and at the foot of Mountain Pelion. With a population of around 85,000 it is an important industrial centre, while its port provides a bridge between Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Volos is the most recent of Greek port cities, with a remarkably large proportion of modern buildings, erected in the wake of the catastrophic earthquakes of 1955. The city is full of energy, equipped with contemporary infrastructure. Among the prettiest regions in Greece, Magnesia is crowned by superb Pelion with its lush vegetation and amazing traditional villages. With gorgeous beaches, some tucked into windless coves, some disappearing into the infinite expanse of the Aegean, Pelion is a paradise. Pine trees, oaks, firs, wild olive trees and many more cover the mountains of the region. Pelion combines mountain and sea and according to the legend it was the summer residence of the twelve Gods of Olympus and the mythical country of the Argonauts and the Centaurs. Visitors come here all year round to either ski in winter or swim in summer in the Aegean and the Pagasitic Gulf.
History of Magnesia
Magnesia was among the first areas in Greece to be inhabited. Archaeologists have brought to light Mesolithic finds from the Sarakinos Cave, Neolithic settlements such as Dimini and Sesklo, as well as forgotten Mycenaean cities that played an important role during the Bronze Age. All these discoveries prove that distinguished cities were found in the district around the modern city of Volos, and they reached their peak during the Mycenaean era. Among them there was legendary Iolkos, capital of Mycenaean Thessaly and where Volos stands today.
According to Greek Mythology, Pelion was the home of the Centaurs –creatures with the body of a horse waist-down, and men waist-up. The most well-known Centaur was wise Chiron, son of Kronos, who taught Asklipios the art of Medicine. Chiron intervened for the marriage of Pileas and Thetida, which took place in Pelion. Also, here is the place were Paris gave Helen the apple of discord, the reason of the Trojan War. Other students of Chiron include Hercules, Achilles and Jason, known for his expedition to find the Golden Fleece aboard his ship Argo. The Argonautic expedition, starting here, is historically relevant with the very start of gold processing in the Greek area. The myth says that before Jason embarked on his journey, he asked the bravest of his time to accompany him.
Magnesia prefecture gathers some of the most important Neolithic settlements, not only for Greek standards but for Balkan standards as well. Till now, excavations have revealed 40 Neolithic settlements (7th & 8th millennium B.C.), many of them active until 3000-1500 B.C. At 293 B.C., king of Macedonia Dimitrios the Besieger founded the well-known town Dimitriada. Dimitriada became a very powerful military station and base of operations for the Macedonians. At the same time, it evolved into an economic centre. In 197 B.C. the area passed to the hands of the Roman Empire and the city was built according to the Hippodamus system, surrounded by very powerful walls.
The Turkish occupation of Magnesia was unusual because it did not extend into the eastern, inaccessible portion of Pelion; as a result, the coastal towns were abandoned in favour of the remote mountain villages there, which acquired a special cultural and economic lustre. At the same time the region became a bastion for all those fighting against the Turkish. In the Revolution of 1821, the flag of rebellion waved over Milies. In 1881, according to the Treaty of Berlin, Magnesia, along with Thessaly, was incorporated into the free Greek State to become one of the most vital areas in the country, combining natural beauty, economic and cultural development.
Towns & Villages in Magnesia
Agios Ioannis: This is one of the many beautiful seaside villages of Pelion, situated in the north part of the region, 57km northeast of Volos. The locals have named it “balcony of Pelion” because of the amazing view to the deep blue of the Aegean Sea. The cobbled roads, the alleys and the stone fountains offer a fine opportunity for long walks inside the village as well as the surrounding forest. The settlement is situated in the middle of three striking beaches. The main beach, which has the same name as the settlement, is sandy with pine trees and fabulous waters. Because of its unique beauty and international publicity, this beach attracts thousands of visitors every summer. Following the coast from Agios Ioannis towards the south, you will reach the bay Para Nero. This amazing beach is calmer and more beautiful than Agios Ioannis. Here the green of the mountains reaches into the sea and in addition with the white pebbles of the beach creates a unique set.
Kala Nera: This seaside village is situated in a beautiful location, overlooking the Pagasitic Gulf, among olive trees. It is a family tourist resort offering a variety of sea sports. The drinking water in the village promotes digestion and that’s why there are so many fountains in the streets. The beach at Kala Nera has sand and pebbles and shallow clear waters.
Platania: This is the largest fishing village of Pelion, situated at the foot of the peninsula overlooking the Aegean Sea. The village provides a pleasant nightlife, with many taverns, restaurants and bars along the quay. Platania village boosts a stunning golden sandy beach with the same name. Near the beach, there is a camping ground and the little port offers regular connections to the North Sporades. From there, a coastal path leads to the astonishing sandy Mikro Beach.
Afissos: This captivating port town is built amphitheatrically on a hillside among olive groves, overlooking the Pagasitic Gulf. It is believed that Jason and the Argonauts used this small port to restock with water for their expedition. The village is full of traditional old houses built at the beginning of the 20th century and has a charming wide beach comprising of three sandy and pebble bays all of which are surrounded with trees. Two of them, Lagoudi and Abovos have pebbles and the other one, Kallifteri, is sandy.
Damouhari: It is a traditional village which was settled by the Venetians. It is an extremely beautiful and particularly peaceful resort, which has the advantage of not yet being invaded by tourists, as much as the nearby cosmopolitan resort of Agios Ioannis. The small hamlet consists of two bays; one is a natural harbour with fishing boats and several taverns and bars. The other bay has a stunning white pebble beach with aquamarine waters.
Agios Dimitrios: It is one of the famous villages of Pelion on the eastern side of the mountain, situated in a fully green landscape, overlooking the blue Aegean. The settlement has cobbled streets and beautiful traditional houses but the main attraction here, other than the nearby seaside resort of Agios Ioannis, is the lush vegetation of the surrounding area. Agios Dimitrios is ideal for visiting all around the year.
Milies: This is one of the most picturesque and traditional villages of Pelion. It is built amphitheatrically on the green slopes of the mountain and cpnsists of distinct old mansions, clear waters and fascinating colourful paths and marble fountains. The settlement was named like that, because it is covered with apple trees and products the best apples of the entire region. Milies is the place with a famous cave where Centaur Chiron and his students lived. Moreover, this village is the birthplace of some of the leaders of the Neo-Hellenic Enlightenment, like Anthimos Gazis, Daniil Philipidis and more.
Makrinitsa: The community of Makrinitsa in the central area of Pelion is a preserved traditional village, situated at an altitude of 850m. Makrinitsa consists of many neighbourhoods, including the surrounding area and the forest. This village complex is particularly unique for its architectural style and its amazing central square which offers an amazing view. Makrinitsa also preserves remarkable historical memories such as the old and famous custom of May –a series of traditional activities which originate in ancient Dionysian ceremonies. If you are lucky enough to be in Makrinitsa during May, you can enjoy yourself by taking part in those celebrations.
Portaria: It is a lovely village situated at an altitude of 600m overlooking the Pagasitic Gulf, surrounded by trees and flowers. The village is a real balcony, where you can admire the fascinating sea view and the other villages lower on the mountain. The settlement is where tourism began in the area. The village has magnificent mansions which were once the property of Zoulias, Anastassakis and Kantartzis. Portaria is really rich in water sources and is full of waterfalls giving particular beauty to the surroundings.
Tsagarada: Tsagarada is one of the most appealing villages of Pelion. Set in a charming position in a lovely hillside area, it overlooks the deep blue sea. This particularly beautiful village attracts quite a lot of tourists during summertime, as it is built in the middle of a chestnut tree forest. Two elements characterize the settlement: the large flower garden houses and a huge and imposing thousand-year-old plane tree with a perimeter of about 13m located right in the middle of Agia Paraskevi square. Almost 1km away, there is the magnificent beach of Mylopotamos, divided in two by huge, impressive rocks. A little further to the north there is Karavostasia, where, as historian Herodotus narrates, according to myth, Xerxis' fleet crashed in 480 BC. Towards the north, 5.5km away, you will find the beautiful beach of Fakistra with its emerald waters.
How to Reach Magnesia
Coach: Regular KTEL coaches connect Volos to most major cities in Greece.
Train: Train services connect Volos to Athens, Larisa and Thessaloniki.
Air: The nearby airport of Almyros serves the area of Volos, connecting it to several European cities through charter and low-fare companies.
Weather in Magnesia
The weather here does not always conform to the weather forecasts because it is influenced by the mountains. Furthermore, it is known, since antiquity, for its great climate. Pelion is really pleasant in summer with temperatures less than 26 degrees, cooling under the shadow of the forest.
During winter, even when the mountains are covered in snow, Pelion keeps quite mild temperatures, especially in the western slopes of Pelion which is protected from cold winds from the sea.
Top 10 Destinations in Magnesia
All Destinations in Magnesia
Map of Magnesia