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Larissa

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Thessaly : Larissa
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Larissa (Greek Λάρισα) (Population: 200.000 (2011)) is the 4th biggest city in Greece, situated in Thessaly, between Athens (355 km) and Thessaloniki (150 km). A lively agricultural and university town, it is visited by few tourists. Nevertheless, its sights and energetic cafe and bar scene makes it worth a stop.

Understand

History

Larissa is one of the oldest settlements in Greece with artifacts uncovered dating at least the Neolithic period (6000 BC). The name means "stronghold" in ancient Greek. It was also the head of the Thessalian League during the Hellenistic and Roman era. Today, it's a modern city and is Thessaly's capital.

Get in

By plane

Volos airport (IATA: VOL) [1] is situated in Nea Anchialos, 75 km SW from the city. It is the nearest airfield but only offers service during the warm-weather months. Air Berlin [2] operates every Monday and Friday from May to October (Flights to/from Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Nuremberg, Vienna ). Ryanair [3] operates flights from April to October to/from Hahn (Frankfurt), Bergamo (Milan), Rome and Charleroi (Brussels) airports. Lauda Air [4] operates May to September to/from Vienna. Transavia [5] operates to/from Amsterdam.

There are expansion projects of the airport underway, as well as a rail connection from Volos city to the airport.

There is a bus connecting the airport and Volos bus station. Buses are scheduled based on flights. The cost from the airport to Volos Bus station is 3 €. Then you need to get another bus or train from Volos to Larissa. The bus station in Volos is about 1 km from the train station.

The nearest airport offering year-round international service is in Thessaloniki (SLK) about 2 1/2 hours away.

By international coach

There are buses connecting Larissa with some eastern European cities. FPtravel [6] (Serbia, Hungary).

By regional coach

Interurban coaches ("KTEL" buses) ([7] in Greek) are by far the most convenient way to travel around Greece, as well as for intra-regional travelling. There is frequent bus service from Athens Liossion Station to Larissa about 15 times a day (cost is about €20), as well as from Thessaloniki bus terminal "Macedonia" to Larissa about 10 times a day (about € 13.5). The main bus station is at Georgiadou & Olympou streets (+30 24105 37777) providing service to most cities. KTEL buses have free Wi-Fi and coffee. For service to Trikala and Kalampaka (Meteora) the bus station is on Iroön Polytehniou near the junction with Gazi Anthimou (+30 24106 10124).

By train

Trains (OSE) connect Larissa to other cities in Greece including Athens, Thessaloniki, and Volos. Travelling with ordinary trains can be cheaper, although a little bit slower, whereas choosing a fancy faster Intercity train will cost the same amount of money, or even more than a KTEL bus. The train station (+30 24105 90143) lies just south of the ring road a little less than 1 km from the city center. Also there is an OSE office downtown (+30 24105 90239) at Papakyriazi 35, opposite the town hall.

Get around

By foot

The best way to get around the central district. most streets in commercial center are pedestrianized after all. This area is small enough that most locations are just a few minutes apart.

By bicycle

Larissa is a flat city thus bicycle in a nice way to explore it. The city centre has many pedestrian streets. there are also some streets with bicycle lanes in recent years. These are: Papanastasiou st., part of Kyprou st.

By car

Parking in the central district can be a challenge, especially on-street parking. There are parking lots scattered throughout town.

By bus

There is an efficient public transport system going around the city (ticket price about 1 €), detailed info in the regional bus terminal (called "Astiko KTEL").

By taxi

Taxis in Larissa, as everywhere in Greece are comparably cheap. You should not pay more than € 4 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 not widespread but it still happens, 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 or the train station, and a surcharge if you call for a taxi service on demand.

See

  • Ancient Greek Theater Greek: [8], English: [9] Built by the Macedonian King Philip V in 3rd century BC. It sits at the foot of the ancient Acropolis. The Acropolis during classical times held the temple of Polias Athena and during medieval times the Kastro (Castle). The theater is on the north end of the central district. It is not open to the public but can be well seen from along Elftheriou Venizelou street.
  • Second Theater [10] Dating from the Roman period. Smaller and not as well preserved as the Greek Theater nearby. Two rows of seats remain along with a portion of the stage. The site is not open but can viewed from the streets nearby. It is near the center of town at the intersection of Ergatiki Protomagia and Tagmatarhou Velissariou streets.
  • Archaeological Museum of Larissa [11] Occupying a former mosque (Augoustou 31), this museum contains a collection of artifacts from the Neolithic age as well as from the classical Greek and Roman times and into the Middle Ages.
  • Municipal Art Gallery - G I Katsigras Museum Greek: [12] Contains a collection of modern Greek art (19th and 20th century). (Franklinou Roosevelt 59)
  • Historical & Folklore Museum [13]


  • St. Achilios, the Cathedral of the city. 0030 2410537159, [14].

Architecture

Do

Cinemas

Films shown in original language with Greek subtitles. Cartoons are often translated to Greek.

  • Ster Cinema, (In Pantheon shopping center on south side of city), [15]. Multiplex

Parks

  • Alkazar Park. Just across the river from the town center and along the Pinios River. A nice place to cool down and relax with a large fountain and a statue of Hippocrates who is supposed to have been buried in Larissa.

Football

  • AEL 1964 FC (Larissa), AEL FC Arena (Niapoli District), [16]. Plays in the Greek Football League. AEL's stadium holds over 16,000 seats.

Drink

Winter bars, pubs and clubs, usually close down during summer. Most of them have a different facility for the summer.

All year round

Winter

  • Stage. Often live music venue, mostly rock.

Summer

Tsipouro, Ouzo or Wine, as in the rest of Greece, are good choices. There are many bars downtown, so the visitor is not expected to have any problem finding a place to enjoy a drink.

Buy

There many shops downtown. Be aware that shopping hours vary by the day of the week. Monday-Saturday shops are open from around 9am to 2pm. Monday, Wednesday and Friday they reopen around 6pm and stay open until 8 or 9 pm. On Sundays about the only places open are cafes, restaurants, and kiosks.

Malls

  • Pantheon Plaza, [17]. A big mall with a lot of shops. Among others: Mediamarkt, Fokas. Also many cafeterias and places to eat, e.g. Goody's. Cinema too.
  • GAEA LIFESTYLE CENTER, Αγίας Τριάδας 60, 2410610922. A mall with shops.

Eat

The choices for eating are 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, To-Eat, and Everest.

People in Greece usually eat late in the evening (21:00 - 24:00), during the day most Taverns, Psistaries and Restaurants are closed. However, Fast Food restaurants are open all day long.

Restaurants (Εστιατόριο) and Taverns (Ταβέρνα)

There is a large concentration of restaurants along Filellinon Street on the north side of the central district.

Budget

  • Kimatothrafstis (Κιματοθραύστης), Kentavron 2 (Κεντάυρων 2), +30 2410 256722. The cheap place to eat. Small plate for 3.5€, big for 6€, soup for 3€.

Mid range

  • Nikodimos (Νικόδημος), Karaiskaki 2 (Καραϊσκάκη 2), +30 2410 535042. Nice old tavern with a nice backyard
  • Syndrivani, +30 2410 535933. On south side of Platiea Ethnarhou Makariou, open all day and known for its lamb and moussaka.

Splurge

Psistaries (Ψησταριά) (Grill houses)

Psistaries serve mostly meat, salads and french fries. The meat usually is ordered by weight, and the price is per kilo also. One portion is 330gr of grilled meat.

Sleep

There are many hotels in Larissa. Most are in center. Car parking could be hard to find in the center of Larissa.

Budget

(1 and 2 Stars)

  • Achillion Hotel Larisa, 10 Kentavron, +30 2410 537401, [18]. In center of town
  • Avra hotel.
  • GR Louis Larissa Hotel, 1 Skarlatou Soutsou, +30 2410 535024. In center of city
  • Helena Hotel Larisa (Elena), 13 Oktovriou 28th, +30 2410 287461. Inside ring road on southeast side.
  • Pantheon Hotel, Railway Square, +30 2410 234810. Near the train station.

Mid range

(3 and 4 Stars)

  • Asteras Hotel Larissa, Kouma & Asklipiou, +30 2410 534772, [19]. In center of city
  • Dionissos Hotel Larissa, L. Katsoni & 23th October, +30 2410 230101, [20]. In center of city
  • Grand Hotel, 16 Papakiriazi St. (Tachidromiou Sqr), + 30 2410 257711, [21]. In center of city
  • Hotel Metropol, 14 Roosevelt, +30 2410 537161, [22]. In center of city
  • Park Hotel Larissa, 1 August 31st, +30 2410 257071, [23]. In center of city


Splurge

(5 Stars)

  • Divani Palace Larissa, 19 Papanastassiou, +30 2410 252791, [24]. In center of city
  • Grecotel Larissa Imperial, 182 Farsalon, +30 2810 300330, [25]. On south side of city

Nearby

Metaxochori

  • Archontiko Soulioti, (35 km east of Larissa), +30 24940 22040 (). Traditional settlement in a small village. Offers a great view of the valley and plains of Thessaly.

Get out

Nearby are the famous Meteora, the Mount Olympos National Park, and Tembi Valley. They can be reached by train, bus or car.

Stay Safe

Dial 112 in case of emergency.

  • University Hospital, Mezourlo (southwest side of town), +30 24135 01000, [26].
  • Larissa General Hospital (Koutlimbaneio & Triantafylleio General Hospital Of Larissa), Tsakalof 1 (northeast side of town), +30 24102 30031.



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