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A view of the harbor at Port Volos in Greece

Volos, Greece

Vólos boasts a nautical history that stretches back into mythology—it was from here that Jason and his Argonauts set sail to recover the Golden Fleece. Nowadays it boasts a handsome waterfront, looking into the Pagasetic Gulf, and a lively atmosphere, mainly due to the students at the University of Thessaly. Vólos itself provides an authentic view of Greek town life, offering bustling markets and excellent cuisine. The town's chief interest to visitors is its proximity to two of mainland Greece’s best attractions, Pelion and Meteora. Nearby Pelion, a hilly, wooded peninsula, was the fabled home of the centaurs (mythical half-human, half-horse creatures who trained many famous Greek heroes, including that local boy, Achilles). The area’s woods hide traditional villages, great beaches and superb walks. Further inland is the astounding landscape of Meteora. Here, tall pillars of rock soar skyward like pointing fingers. They would be stunning enough on their own, but many of them are also topped by formerly inaccessible monasteries that date to medieval times.