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The wild ridge of Mt Kozakias, on the easternmost part of the Pindus mountain range, is calling to you. After all, these towering peaks hide some of the most beautiful secrets of Thessaly… Elati, Pertouli and Neraidohiri – villages ideal for a winter getaway.
Heading up the west side of the mountain, amid a lush landscape of planes and firs, with a view of the river and the little villages across the way, you’ll soon arrive at the picturesque village of Elati. At an altitude of 950m, it’s the largest of the alpine villages in this region and one of the destinations in Greece with a tourist infrastructure fully-equipped for all four seasons. It is the primary base for dozens of journeys in Thessaly, whether they be by road, hiking trail or walking path through the forest. It’s no coincidence that Elati is one of the destinations of choice for Greek alpine adventurers.
This small village is surrounded by the heavenly landscape of the southern slopes of the Pindus mountain range. Thousands of square metres of lush vegetation, natural springs, rushing rivers and seasonal lakes create a surreal sight.
Small in size but big on beauty, Petrouli’s ski resort is served by numerous hotels and restaurants. So young and old can have fun gliding down the snowy slopes or just keeping warm with a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of wine.
This has been a gateway to Trikala’s mountain region for centuries. It was once a Byzantine town – Megala Pyli (Great Gates) – with a spectacular monastery called Porta Panagias. Above this narrow passage, you’ll find today’s Pyli, the primary commercial and transit hub of the area. Its famous arched stone bridge was built in 1514.
Far from the busy roads, the medieval monastery of St Bessarion stands like an impenetrable fortress at the foot of Mt Kozakias. It is one of the most impressive attractions in the area. The huge three-storey building complex has 366 cells (a leap year’s worth) and was built in 1527.
Charming local shops preserve the flavours of Trikalas’ old mountain recipes, especially in Elati where you’ll find sun-dried frumenty with goat’s milk, a selection of organic products (honey, cracked wheat, sun-dried tomatoes), syrupy sweets, marmalade and medicinal herbs.
Where you can enjoy the incredible view above Elati. And for the more daring, there are rock climbing opportunities here. A red-hot experience.