Originally a Neolithic settlement, and little more than a hamlet in the Middle Ages, when it became part of the Ottoman Empire, Volos – situated at the foot of the beautiful Pelion Peninsula, on the coast of the Pagasitic Gulf – has grown rapidly over recent centuries and become one of the largest, busiest and most important Greek cities.
Located in between Athens and Thessalonica, Volos is perhaps lesser-known than Greece’s iconic capital and its second city, but this only adds to this charming city’s appeal. While Athens and other such cities are revered for their history and ancient sites, Volos’ highlights are not as famous, so an exploration of the city – built on the ancient site of Iolkos – really is a chance to learn-of, and delve into, its fascinating past. The Volos Archaeological Museum has many finds dating back to the pre-Hellenic period, including pottery, sculptures and a unique collection of stelai – painted or moulded icons placed on graves. There are some interesting architectural sites and churches too, including a number with wall paintings by the local artist Theophilos.
For a taste of more modern Greek culture and cuisine, the waterfront district is the place to be, lined with pastry shops, trendy cafés and bars and busy restaurants. Alternatively, if you’re looking to enjoy some relaxation or wild exploration in the Greek sunshine, from Volos it doesn’t take too long to find some of the Pagasitic Gulf’s most beautiful scenic landscapes and beaches.