Volos (Greek: Βόλος) (Population: 125248 (2011)) is the 5th biggest city (and 3d largest port) in Greece, situated in Thessaly, almost in the middle of the distance between Athens (326 km) and Thessaloniki (219 km). Volos is an industrial city, with a large port - but there are a few hidden gems here that you might find as you pass through to islands or Pelion.
Modern Volos is built on the area of the ancient cities of Demetrias, Pagasae and Iolkos. Iolkos was the homeland of ancient Greek hero Jason who boarded the ship Argo accompanied by the Argonauts and sailed in the quest for the Golden Fleece to Colchis. Demetrias was established by Demetrius Poliorcetes, King of Macedonia, in 293/92 BC. In 197 BC Romans annexed Demetrias.
To the west of Volos there are the Neolithic settlements of Dimini with a ruined acropolis, walls and two beehive tombs dated between 4000-1200 BC and Sesklo with the remains of the oldest acropolis in Greece (6000 BC), as well as the foundations of a palace and mansions, among the most typical examples of Neolithic civilisation.
During Byzantine empire, emperor Justinian I in 551 fortified Palea hill. In 1423 Ottomans annexed Volos. Volos during the Ottoman empire was a hamlet, build on the hill in Palea district. The hill was fortified with walls. Today just a few parts of the walls can be seen near the Tsalapata building.
After its annexation to Greece from the Ottoman Empire in 1881, it had a population of only 4,900 but rapidly grew within the next 4 decades. Houses were built outside the walls and the main area of Volos by the sea was built up. Merchants, businessmen, craftsmen and sailors moved to Volos from the surrounding area. In the 1920s there was a large influx of refugees in Volos, especially from Ionia, but also from Pontus, Cappadocia and Eastern Thrace. In the 1920 census, Volos had 30,046 inhabitants but according to the 1928 census, its population had grown to 47,892.
Volos, unlike other towns of the Thessalian plain, enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with can-be-hot-but-bearable summers (though a little bit humid) and mild winters. Spring and Autumn are the best times to visit the city itself, Winter is the time to be on the Pelion mountain villages, and Summer should definitely be dedicated to the numerous beaches of the region on the Pagasetic gulf and the Aegean Sea.
Being privileged to be situated on the foothills of Mount Pelion, the mythical mountain of the centaurs, and bounded by Goritsa Hill to the Southeast, Volos sports nice weather all year long, with the sea and mountain breezes dominant in all city areas.
It also operates weekly charter flights during the summer, directly from Amsterdam, the UK and Germany.
There are expansion projects of the airport underway, as well as a rail connection from Volos city to the airport. The new airport building is in use since November 2010.
There is a bus connecting airport and Volos bus station (). Buses are waiting to pick up travelers after a plane lands, the cost form the airport to Volos Bus station is 5 €. Travellers of charter flights are transfered to their accommodation by their travelling agency.
If you have a car, the airport parking area charge 8 €p/d 47€ p/w.
Generally, intercity coaches ("KTEL" buses) (KTEL Volou (site in Greek)) are by far the most convenient way to travel around Greece, as well as for intra-regional travelling. This is doubly true for travelling to Volos from Athens, where the train takes five hours as opposed to three on the coach.
There is frequent bus service from Athens Liossion Station to Volos about 15 times a day (cost is about €27 single ticket, €47 return ticket), as well as from Thessaloniki bus terminal "Macedonia" to Volos about 10 times a day (about € 12). Volos is also connected with daily direct routes to Patras, Ioannina, Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa and to many more places in continental Greece via Larissa. Interurban Bus Terminal is opposite to "Volos info center" near the City Hall, the Railway Station and the Port, on a major hub.
Trains (OSE) connect Volos to other cities in Greece via Larisa. Travelling with ordinary trains can be cheaper, although a little bit slower, whereas choosing a faster Intercity train will cost the same amount of money, or even more than a KTEL bus.
The train from Athens, whilst travelling through some of the most attractive parts of the country, takes approximately five hours and involves a change at Larissa - it's really not worth it! All the locals travel from Athens by intercity coaches. If you are travelling from Thessaloniki or elsewhere in the north, there's not much to choose between the coach and the train in terms of duration or cost. The train wins on comfort, with space to get up and move around.
WARNING: Don't think you can rely on using the internet to find out travel details - Greece is late to the online party! You will either need to call KTEL or download an incredibly basic schedule app for iOS or Android.
There are twelve bus lines going around the city (tickets cost €1.10 for inner city routes, whilst using inner city buses for close destinations outside Volos costs €1.50), detailed info in the regional bus terminal (called "Astiko KTEL"), directly adjacent to the Interurban Bus Terminal ("Yperastiko KTEL"). Details on buses, can be found online here
Bus routes in and around Volos
Νο 1 Anavros - N. Ionia (Αναυρος-Ν.Ιωνία)
Νο 2 Ampelokipi (Αμπελόκηποι)
Νο 3 Anavros - N. Dimitriada - N. Ionia (Αναυρος-Ν.Δημητριάδα-Ν.Ιωνία (ΜΕΤΚΑ))
Taxis in Volos, as everywhere in Greece are comparably cheap. You should not pay more than € 7 if you hail a cab (silver colour) on the road to take you anywhere in the city. Note that taxi meters have two rates - rate 1 applies from 5am till midnight, and rate 2, the double rate, from midnight to 5am. Taxi fare fraud is rather rare but it could still happen, so make sure the rate is correct. If you feel you have been overcharged, ask for a receipt (they are obliged to give one) and take the plate number, then phone the tourist police to report the driver on 171. Expect to pay € 1 or € 2 extra if you take a taxi from the bus station, the train station or the port, and a surcharge if you call for a taxi service on demand. Note, also that the minimum charge is 3.39 euros.
Most of Volos is quite flat, that makes it very easy for cycling, and a lot of locals do cycle. Especially the waterfront is the best area for cycling. Generaly, cycling is a recommended way to move around. Volos recently has developed a network of bicycle lanes, however the lines are often blocked with parked cars and hardly anybody use them.
Several streets at the center of the town have been recently pedestrianized, mainly around Ermou Street and St. Nicolas church. Along the pedestrianized streets there are a lot of cafe places.
The waterfront is also an excellent area for walking. When the weather is good it's packed with people walking around and enjoying the sun.
Volos tourist office has plenty of useful information about Volos, plus a free town map, a free Volos travel guide and many more. Volos tourist office is located opposite the bus station in Palea district.
Archaeological site of Ancient Dimini, Dimini. Tues - Sun: 8.30AM - 4.30PM, Mon: closed.. Ancient Dimini was a neolithic village which has been excavated and uncovered. Of particular interest are the well preserved House N, where a pot was discovered beneath the floor with the burnt remains of a child (an ancient resident as opposed to a more recent one!) and the Tombi grave, similar to that at Mycenaea, which is buried deep into the ground near the fortified town, but with a caved in roof. Shade is spare, so make sure to visit early in the morning. Adjacent to these ruins, and to be opened soon (although how long this has been the case is not said!) are some Mycenaean ruins, which include a large palace. These ruins, whilst not open yet, can be viewed from behind a limit, and are expected to be part of the as-of-yet-undiscovered ancient city of Iolkos, the home of Jason (of Argonaut fame!) There is an interesting audio guide tour available for free in both Greek and English.€2 per person, students free. Ticket includes free entry to archaeological site at Sesklo. edit
Archaeological site of Ancient Sesklo, Sesklo (Take the road to Sesklo, then look for the turn-off to the left that goes down the hill before the start of Sesklo (it is signposted, but keep an eye open for them.). Sesklo is a more impressive site in terms of its location, but is less impressive in terms of the remains. It's far larger, and is perched on top of a hill from where it can see all around the local area. It was either a local trading partner, or the main rival to nearby Dimini. Archaeologists aren't sure. Worth a visit, but it's not as interesting as Dimini.€2 per person, students free - entrance included in tickets to Dimini (and vice versa.). edit
The Athanasakeion Archaeological Museum of Volos 1 Athanasaki Str., Τ.Κ. 38001, Volos telephone: +30 24210 25285 fax: +30 24210 28563 email: email@example.com, open Tuesday - Sunday: 08:30 - 15:00, admission full: €2, reduced: €1; for free admission days see web site [], is one of the best smaller museums in Greece and should on no account be missed.
At first glance, Volos City Center doesn't seem particularly interesting for the traveller, but a walk in the town streets might change your first idea. Ermou street is a long paved road parallel to the promenade, Argonafton str, offering a wide variety of shops for any taste, plus a selection of "hidden" bars and cafes, especially around St.Nikolaos Square, the city cathedral, dedicated to patron saint of the sailors, St. Nicholas. There is a seaside park between the university "Papastratos building" and "Agios Konstantinos" church on the promenade. Anavros Park starts directly behind Agios Konstantinos and extends to the east all the way till Anavros beach, an open municipal strand, offering clearwater to the swimmer during the summer (and winter for the brave).
For those that have a car, there is also Alykes municipal beach, a 5-minute-drive from the center to the southwest, in the more easygoing Alykes district of Volos, having cafes and bars offering sunbeds on the sand during late at night, where you can enjoy your cocktail and take a swim as well. The municipal beach in Alykes has an entrance fee of € 1 during the day, offering a lifeguard, showering facilities, clothes-changing chambers and a beach bar. You can easily go to Alykes with city bus (blue bus) number 6 from the city hall.
There are acceptable beaches towards the southern end of the city at Anavros. To get there, follow the coastal promenade south from Argonafton St or park in the roads behind the city hospital. Most locals, however, head to beaches the other side of the giant cement works on the outskirts of the city, to beaches at Agria (20 mins by bus) or further down the coast. Generally, the water is clearer and cleaner the further away from Volos' port. But, Anavros is acceptable and many many locals do swim there. But seriously, if you do have a car and you want to go to a beach, it is well worth getting out of the city limits and beyond - some of the best beaches on the Greek mainland can be found on Pelion.
There are several cinemas in Volos. Films are shown in original language with Greek subtitles, whereas cartoons are dubbed. In the summer make sure you get to one of the open air cinemas (Θερινό σινεμά).
Village cinemas, Gianitson (Γιαννιτσών) 29, Tel: 8011009191, 2108108080. Has 4 halls, so you can choose between 4 films.
Lido, K. Kartali (Κ. Καρτάλη), Tel: 2421024311. Has 2 halls, so you can choose between 2 films.
Metaksourgio (Greek: Μεταξουργείο) , every Friday at 21:30, 2.00€. Art movies.
Αββαείο (Abbey), N. Votsi, ☎ +30 24210 33130, . Huge variety of beers. Beer from 5€ to 12€, Spirits 7€. Serves food, nice mostly german disches, food on the expensive side.
Cafe Santan, Tsalapatas district, ☎ +306980384693, . Rock, Jazz, Blues Bar, one of the most famous bars in Greece. Has been around for almost 30 years and is known for its place in the Greek Rock History as most of the famous Greek rock singers have sometime played there, along with worldwide famous blues and jazz artists.Beer: 5.0€, Spirits:7.0€-10.0€. edit
Anemos (Άνεμος). in Soutrali, Agria 5km from Volos. Small venue, on a jetty with lovely view of Volos. Beer 3€, Spirits 6€.edit
Layal. in Soutrali, Agria 5km from Volos. Beer 5€, Spirits 7.5€-8.5€.edit
Rivera. in Kato Gatzea 15km from Volos. A little far from Volos, but excellent summer choice which gathers many people from Volos. Open all day, by the sea, popular for swimming also. There is a dinner section. Beer 4€, Spirits 7€.edit
Volos specializes in "Tsipouradika" (Greek Τσιπουράδικα) (also called "Ouzeri" (Greek Ουζερί)) where ("Tsipouro") (local Greek spirit) is served with a huge variety of tidbits. There are plenty of "tsipouradika" along the waterfront near the port. Cheaper choices can be found in Nea Ionia area.
The choices for eating are Tsipouradika (Τσιπουράδικα or Ουζερί) where seafood is served, Taverns (Ταβέρνα) where mostly meat dishes are served, Restaurants (Εστιατόριο) where Greek dishes can be found (there are Italian and Chinese restaurants also), Psistaries (Ψησταριά) (Grill houses) where the main dish is grilled meat, Fast Food choices are local Souvlatzidika (Οβελιστήριο or Σουβλατζίδικο) where souvlaki is served, and typical fast food chains such as Goody's and Everest. Souvlatzidika is the cheapest option if you are on a budget.
People in Greece usually eats late in the evening (21:00 - 24:00), during the day most Taverns, Psistaries and Restaurants are closed. However, Tsipouradika and Fast Food restaurants are open all day long.
Restaurants (Εστιατόριο) and Taverns (Ταβέρνα)
Gea (Γαία) (Traditional Greek cuisine), Argonafton 15 (Αργοναυτών 15) (at the seafront near the port), ☎ +30 2421034153. Cheap, traditional Greek restaurant. One of the best options if you want to try Greek cuisine.edit
La Marimba (Mexican restaurant), Nikotsara str (Νικοτσάρα), ☎ +30 2421071167, . Romantic tone, has a wonderful courtyard with a lot of trees. One of the best mexican restaurants in Greece. Delicious foods, great drinks (try their margaritas, or caipirinhas and mojitos). Have to book ahead during peak hours (21:00 - 23:00) (Evening only)- Closed on Mondayedit
Most of tsiouradika have a fixed price for tsipouro with meze, the price may vary from 3€ - 3,5€ per 25cl, usually it's the same price in every tsipouradiko. The difference in price comes when ordering extra dishes. Meze vary from tsipouradiko to tsipouradiko also, some serve one meze per 25cl, while some in the center serve one meze per 50cl of tsipouro. Tsipouro is served in open bottles or closed bottles of 25cl, bottled is 0,5€ more expensive but the standard quality may be worth it.
Naftilia (Ναυτιλία) (Tsipouradiko), Argonafton str (Αργοναυτών). Seafood. At the waterfront. 25cl tsipouro with meze 3.5€, 25cl bottled tsipouro with tidbit 4,0€, serves 1 meze per 25cl of tsipouro. edit
Papadis (Παπαδής) (Tsipouradiko), Solonos 1 (Σόλωνος 1), ☎ +30 2421 029360. Seafood. At the waterfront. 25cl tsipouro with meze 3.5€, 25cl bottled tsipouro with meze 4,0€, serves 3 meze per 4x25cl. edit
Kalloni hotel (Καλλονή), (N. Pagases), ☎ +30 24210 88240, . edit
Park hotel (Παρκ), Deligiorgi str., ☎ +30 2421 036511, . edit
Philippos Hotel (Hotel Philippos), 9, Solonos, 38333, Volos (At the city center), ☎ +30 24210 37607 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +30 24210 39550), . Hotel Philippos is a two-star city hotel right in the city center of Volos, close to the main commercial road of Ermou and just a block away from the Port road. It has well equipped rooms ideal for travellers, all with an air-conditioner, a private safe, a mini-fridge, a mini-safety box, a private WC with a Shower, an L.C.D. TV, a private balcony and Free highspeed WiFi internet access.(39.361959,22.943197)edit
Domotel Xenia Volou Hotel, 1, Plastira Street, 38221, Volos, ☎ +30 24210 92700 (email@example.com), . Enjoy your stay at one of the best hotels in Volos, Domotel Xenia 5 star hotel in Volos. The rooms and suites of Domotel Xenia Volou have been created to serve functionality. edit
Volos Palace, Xenofontos & Thrakon Streets (Behind city hall, near waterfront and train station), ☎ +30 24210 76501, . Very nice new hotel with breakfast buffet, bar and restaurant. Modern, comfortable rooms (half with sea view). Ballroom and conference rooms available for conventions, wedding receptions, special events. Helpful staff -- most speak English.edit
Valis Resort, Pelion Street & Democratias Avenue (At the city end, on the waterfront, 5.5km from the city centre), ☎ +30 24280 97260 (fax: +30 24280 97260), . New luxurious hotel with three restaurants at the sea front, two bars and spa. Modern, comfortable rooms (half with sea view, half with pelion view). Ballroom and conference rooms available for conventions, wedding receptions, special events. Parking.edit
Finding Intercity coach stops
Iperastiko (intercity) coach stops are harder to spot than the Astiko (innercity) stops. Don't just wait at a bus shelter, instead look out for a blue sign saying KTEL Iperastiko at the top of the pole by the side of the road. Tickets can be bought on the bus from a conductor, and only one-way tickets are available.
You'll most definitely want to take the opportunity to visit the close mountain villages of Portaria and Makrynitsa, offering you a splendid specimen of the renowned traditional architecture of the Pelion mansions. The city view from Makrynitsa is magnificent.
One of the greatest secrets that the Greeks have kept from the world, Mount Pelion, is close to Volos. It can easily be reached by bus or car. Pelion has wonderful beaches, fantastic hiking routes, and pretty villages. There are far fewer tourists than there should be, simply because it is a peninsular and not an island.
The nearby Sporades Islands are great during the summer. Ferries and hydrofoils connect Volos with the islands.
There are nice, close(ish) beaches at
Agria, approximately 20 mins bus journey from the centre (board a blue and white astiko bus on Iasonas street in the centre.) Approximately €1.50 for a single ticket.
Kala Nera, approximately 45 mins bus journey from the centre (board a green iperastiko coach on Iasonas street in the centre.) Approximately €1.70 for a single ticket.
Consulate of the Germany, Konstanta 154, ☎ +30 24210 35988. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +30 24210 35989edit
Consulate of Italy, El. Venizelou 80, ☎ +30 24210 40452. Ms Maria Arfe, e-mail: email@example.com
Vice consulate of The Netherlands, ☎ +30 24210-37714. edit
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