Mist-veiled villages, winding streets, buildings plucked from the pages of Greece’s history. That’s what you’ll find when you explore the beautiful towns that Trikala’s natives are so proud of. If you’re looking for an alluring atmosphere when you go sight-seeing, you won’t be disappointed. Dipped in mountain-top mists that make every nook you explore that much more mysterious and quaint homes reminiscent of those found in fairy-tales that will make you feel like you stepped into a childhood dream – that’s what you’re in for when you begin your travels. What’s more, Trikala’s towns and villages blend into the region’s stunning natural habitat, and you’re never far from lush forests, mountains perfect for hiking, and wild rivers that beckon to be followed. No matter where you go, Trikala’s natural wonders will be there to regale you.
Begin by exploring the village of Neraidohori. Perched at the top of a mountain at 1140m, almost defying gravity like Meteora, this beautiful village will take you back in time and into a fairytale. In Greek Neraidohori means Fairy Village – an apt name for such a magical village. Stone and timber homes are topped with bright red shingles, winding roads lead to quaint tavernas and inns. Follow the enchanting sound of gurgling springs – they’re dotted all over the village. And all this amidst pristine fir forests. If you love going on winter getaways, this is an ideal winter wonderland for you. Make sure you go visit St. Nicholas’ church at the center of the village. Built in 1764, it was known for its beautiful murals before a fire destroyed much of the artwork. It’s still worth your attention as the sketches and outlines drawn by the artist and served as an initial guide for his final masterpiece are visible. Hatzipetrou Bridge is another must-see, as its stone masonry is unique.
Pili town, 18 km from Trikala town, will be a highlight of your vacation if you’re a nature-lover. Pili hit the trifecta when it comes to nature – a canyon, mountains and a river. Situated at the mouth of a canyon and framed by mountains, you’ll be surrounded by a pristine landscape that’s almost alpine. Even as you walk around town you’ll be reminded that nature is never far in Trikala – a roaring river flows through the center of town and gives Pili a cosmopolitan feel. Make sure your walks take you to Pili’s Byzantine church. Built in 1283 by the Byzantine regional emperor Komninos, the heavy stone masonry of the Church of Porta-Panagia coupled with a golden aura of icons and lit candles indoors will take you back to the Middle Ages. Take some time to admire the two huge mosaic or psifidoto icons that greet you as you enter the church – they’re unique in Greece and something you’ll never come across again. Even the indoor masonry is exposed stone and offers an eerie mystical feel in the glow of candles lit by worshippers.
If you want to sustain this serene feeling, go visit Paliokaria, about 35 km from Trikala town. This town is literally dipped in lush forests, stunning waterfalls, and gushing rivers that will lure you into their fold. Paliokaria’s perfect for long walks beside a roaring river that includes a stunning waterfall, so take the time to walk the quaint pathways, cross the mossed stone bridges and feel like you’ve lost yourself in another time and place – the land of fairies. Ask the locals for the myriad legends about fairies and nymphs. In ancient and medieval Greek mythology, rivers and waterfalls are believed to be the home of fairies and water nymphs that often interacted with their human neighbors. Once you’ve listened to these tales of otherworldly intrigue and romance, pack a picnic lunch to accompany your hike through this water wonderland – soaring plane trees offer ideal spots for a quiet lunch. And don’t forget to look out for fairies! Locals swear they’re there. If you’re an architecture buff, make it a point to admire Paliokaria’s Porta bridge. Built in 1517 by St. Vissarion, this beautiful arched stone bridge traverses one of the largest rivers in the area. Continue by taking a tour of the 200-year-old stone watermill located beside the waterfall. It’s still in use – locals bring their carpets and rugs for washing, while wheat and corn is still ground here.
If you’re reluctant to leave the land of magic and fairies, you’re in luck because Elati village near Pili is the perfect destination for all you dreamers. Snuggled in the slope of Koziakas mountain, you’ll think you jumped into a Christmas card if you visit during the winter. Elati’s natives stubbornly preserved their village’s otherworldly feel – homes and shops are perfect examples of centuries’ old architecture, with wooden trim against stone walls. Inns, hotels and businesses are all family-run, and Elati’s natives will welcome you as part of the family, contributing to the village’s homey atmosphere. Make it a point to browse the local arts and crafts stores for stunning artsy souvenirs – you’ll be amazed by the level of talent and craftsmanship. If you’re a food connoisseur, Elati’s unique recipes will certainly satisfy even the most eclectic palate. Herbal teas collected from Koziakas mountain, halva sweets, and trahana are just a few delicacies you’ll find here. If you’re a nature lover, Elati combines the best of both worlds as the village lies nestled in the midst of the largest forest of fir trees in the country. If you’re after an adrenalin high, visit in the spring when you’ll be able to go hiking, mountain climbing and rock climbing. In fact, one of the region’s most popular rock climbing spots is located right next to Elati village. Kokkinos Vrahos is comprised of 7 routes and is a wonderful way of taking in the beautiful scenery.
Take a trip back to the past by visiting Kastraki village, squashed between the stunning pillars of Meteora and Kalambaka town. It’s got a very historical atmosphere, very traditional and a wonderful living museum of Trikala’s architecture throughout the centuries. When you’ve explored Kastraki’s old winding streets, head to Kalambaka. Although it’s a tourist town because of Meteora’s popularity, there are some hidden treasures to explore. The Konstantio School building is the oldest structure in Kalambaka, while the Byzantine church of St. Ioanni Prodromou is a fine example of religious architecture. If you’d like to admire a beautiful church, go to Kimiseos Theotokou church. It was founded in the 10th Century, is the oldest church in the region, and its ancient masonry adds to the spiritual atmosphere inside the church. It lies in the middle of a very old neighborhood, so if you want to see what Kalambaka was like in the past, this is the neighborhood to walk through. Another older neighborhood which is a must-see lies at the foot of Meteora. The stunning architecture that makes this corner of Kalambaka a gem isn’t the only reason to put it in your itinerary. If you follow the old trails that wind through the nearby trees and alongside streams, you’ll be able to take a relaxing walk up to St. Triada monastery up in Meteora. You won’t regret taking this very scenic route.