Ultimate Travel Guide to Trikala

Discover our complete travel guide to Trikala, a wonderful destination in central Greece, blending history, natural beauty, and warm Greek hospitality.

A model city for not only Greece but all of Europe – in recent years, Trikala has entered the tourist map and the list of interesting destinations in Central Greece, thanks to its environmentally friendly initiatives.

With a wide network of footpaths and cycle paths, the Litheos River running through the centre of town, endless outdoor activities, and a rich history – Trikala is an ideal winter escape. 

Travel Notes

Perfect place for

Couples, groups of friends, and a leisurely winter weekend away. 

Where to stay

In the center of the city is the best place to stay, as you can get around on foot or rent a bike and visit nearby attractions.

Where to sleep

Αnanti City Resort is a peaceful retreat a few minutes by car from the city of Trikala. (Loggaki, Trikala)

Gallery Art Hotel is a modern, boutique hotel, right in the centre of town. (Ring Road, Trikala)

Τrikala River House is a cozy and modern apartment, also in the center of Trikala. (2 Vyronos)

Vintage Suites Trikala are warm and inviting suites that are ideally located halfway between Trikala and Meteora. (EO Trikalon Ioanninon 254, Trikala)

Must See + Do

Bicycle is the trend…

In Trikala, the straight lines of the plain favored the development of the use of bicycles and many residents use them to get around. The municipality offers the possibility to rent bicycles for free for 3 hours at the Infopoint in the central square of Iroon Polytechniou. Get on the saddle and get to know the city through the 8 kilometers of bike paths.

Stroll along the banks of Lithaios River 

…in the company of swans, ducks and families picnicking under the trees. If we had to single out one of the things that give Trikala the atmosphere of a European city, it would be how integrated its river is in the life of the city. 

Go up to the castle…

One of the most accessible castles in Greece, the Byzantine castle of Trikala was built during the reign of Justinian in the 6th AD. century. It is divided into three parts, with five towers and several small battlements between them. What stands out, however, and steals the show is the Clock Tower, now a symbol of the city of Trikala. The 33-meter tower was built in 1936 on the site of an equally large Ottoman clock, dating from 1648.

Walk around the Manavika neighbourhood at night

Perhaps the coolest neighborhood of the city, here you will find some of the best taverns and bars.

Take a tour of Meteora…

Even if your time is limited, the road leads you all the way up – although the walking route is really worth the effort and time if you can spare it.

Cultural Hotspots

In the centre of town, there is the Kliafa History and Culture Center, an industrial museum which, in addition to the old mechanical equipment of the factory, also exhibits a large collection of bottles, labels and caps from all over the world, correspondence, photographs, paintings and old advertisements. In addition, in a separate room, there is a museum of local history in which the recent history of the city is presented through texts, manuscripts, old photographs, and small objects. Finally, on the walls are posted covers of local newspapers, photos of journalists and printers and various interesting collections. (Homer & Themistocles)

The “Research Center – Vassilis Tsitsanis Museum” is housed in the building of the old Trikala prison and here, through the exhibits, you will get to know the life and work of the great Greek composer and lyricist. Photographs, musical instruments, sheet music and personal items will take you on a journey through the fascinating life of Vassilis Tsitsanis. (1 Venizelou & Karditsis Trikala)

Do not miss visiting the imposing mosque of Osman Shah or Kursum. It is on the edge of the city and was built in the middle of the 16th century by the famous architect Sinan Pasha. Tradition has it that Prince Osman Shah, son of Sultan Suleiman, gave the order to build the mosque when he was cured in Trikala of the illness that afflicted him. It is considered a UNESCO monument and is used as a venue for cultural events. (3 Karditsis, Trikala)

Special Christmas Hotspot

During the festive season, the hottest attraction in Trikala is the Mill of Elves, Greece’s largest Christmas theme park. Every Christmas since 2011, this area has been transformed into a festive toy and confectionery factory, where Santa Claus and his Elves welcome guests from near and far, turning the space into a magical kingdom. There you will also find a huge Fun Park with rides, Christmas stores with lots of ornaments, food stalls with a variety of traditional dishes and delicacies from Trikala and a Candy store with lots of delicious sweets.

Eat + Drink 

Breakfast/Brunch

Bonjour ( Canouta & Vironos, Trikala) A cozy coffee shop that serves a variety of quality coffee types and brunch choices (sweet or sour) to choose from.

Sto Spitaki (Lakmonos & Psaron Trikala 421 00) In the centre of town is the best place to start your day with a cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast.

Vesper (9 Karanassiou, Trikala 421 00) A beautiful old house preserved with a warm atmosphere, friendly staff and a menu for breakfast lunch and light meals all day.

Ivy (Kapodistriou 18A, Trikala 421 00) This cozy cafe has a warm and inviting ambiance, with wooden furniture, dim lights, and relaxing music. 

Lunch/Dinner

To Xani (Pylis 2, Trikala) It is considered one of the oldest buildings in the city, also known for its unique modern-traditional architecture. Xani provides traditional flavours and a wide variety of wines. Must try: Pork shank, Fried leeks

Ιl Cucinotto (Karaiskaki 65,4210 0) is a restaurant with authentic Italian cuisine, a warm atmosphere, and a nice garden. Must try: risotto and buffalina con crudo.

Ladofanaro (Ypsilantou & Trikala) cozy traditional tavern with great flavors and traditional Greek dishes. Must try: any of the mezedes with pork. 

Sweets

Narkissos (Ypsilantou & Kaningos, Trikala) Step inside this pastry store and be blown away by the gorgeous displays of decadent desserts and handmade cakes. Drink hot chocolate, try sweets with fresh cream of butter and milk and select sweets placed in pretty jars that you can take away and enjoy!

Drinks

Retous (Byronos 5, Trikala 421 00) An urban-style all-day bar, it’s one of the most popular spots in town and perfect for an unforgettable night out.

Krypti (Patriarchou Office, Trikala 421 00) Perfect spot to have a drink any time of day.

Pero (Stefanou Sarafi 4, Trikala 421 00) Unique bar playing funky music and serving original cocktails. 

Tankoo (Stefanou Sarafi 6, Trikala) One of the best spots to enjoy an aperitivo– great décor, an impressive cocktail list, and jazz-rock music playing.

Discover 

Best view

Climb up to the Byzantine Castle of Trikala and the Clock, a trademark of the city. The red roofs of the houses will stretch out in front of you and the horizon will not reach to accommodate the flat Thessalian plain.

Ultimate day trip

Meteora

One of the largest monuments in the world, protected by UNESCO and mentioned as a “Preservable and Protected Monument of Humanity”, Meteora is the most important (after Mount Athos) monastic centre in Greece. The first ascetics came here in the 11th century. Meteora, however, flourished as a monastic center between the 13th and 14th centuries as many people living in the nearby areas embraced the monastic lifestyle. Nowadays visitors are enthralled by the natural scenery and the fact that it is a place that offers all kinds of activities: from cultural tours and hikes to river rafting and truffle hunting. What you will remember, however, is the mystical, eerie atmosphere of the area that seems to have come out of a fantasy movie. You must see them for yourself to understand the greatness of this unique place. For even more impressive images, we suggest you observe the rocks and monasteries of Meteora at sunset-golden hour.

Pertouli

Pertouli is the picturesque mountain village of the Trikala prefecture. It is a highly recommended getaway for nature lovers as the area provides you with unique experiences that you will hardly find anywhere else. A wonderful ski resort and hiking trails are some of the many things that will enchant you in the area. Another place you must visit when you arrive in Pertouli is the forest which is the University Forest of Pertouli- here you will have the chance to admire a rare species of deer.

Theopetra Cave

The Cave of Theopetra is a unique archaeological monument. One of the most interesting caves in Greece from a historical point of view, it is located a stone’s throw from Trikala. A rocky limestone mass rises above the village of Theopetra, 3 km from Trikala, on the north-eastern side of which is the cave of the same name. It is the westernmost prehistoric site of the Thessalian plain, located at the foot of the Hasia mountain range, which is also the natural boundary between the geographical division of Thessaly and Epirus. The cave is about 100 meters (about 328.08 ft) altitude from the plain’s surface and 280 meters (about 918.64 ft) from the sea’s surface. In front of the cave flows the river Litheos, a tributary of Pinios.

Make sure you take home: local products such as the tsipouro, spoon sweets, pies, handmade pasta, and dried mushrooms.

Essentials

Getting there: About 3.5 hours drive from Athens.

Best time to gο: Autumn/ Winter 

Ideal time to stay: 2-3 days is perfect.  

Getting around: Rent a bike or walk all around the city. Also, we highly recommend you rent a car for daily trips and a Meteora getaway.

What to pack: Comfortable shoes, warm clothes if you are visiting in Autumn/Winter (it gets quite cold in the cooler months), an umbrella for unexpected rain, and a scarf for windy days! Sporting attire if you are planning cycling, hiking, or any other physical activity!

Main Image Courtesy of Tankoo 

5 Magical Christmas Spots in Greece

Christmas is always a special time of the year, no matter where you happen to be in the world. However, some places do just happen to be a little more magical than others during the festive season.

If you’re looking for an extra special spot to spend Christmas in Greece, we’ve rounded up a few winter wonderlands featuring some of the most magical decorations, twinkling lights, shining trees, and an abundance of festive cheer. 

Athens

The illuminated central squares and streets in the Greek capital ring with music and cheer and all corners of the city – including hotels, boutiques, restaurants and bars– are decked with twinkling fairy lights during this time of year. Syntagma Square is the heart of the celebrations, with its wonderful Christmas tree, confectionary stalls and events organised by the City of Athens- putting the whole city into the festive spirit. The Christmas Factory at Technopolis and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre are standouts for their decorations, performances, music concerts, outdoor events, charity bazaars and special Christmas sparkle.

Thessaloniki

Greece’s co-capital is pure magic this time of year with its grand buildings lit up in gold and silver and the streets smelling of wonderful aromas (coming from the bakeries offering Greek Christmas treats), as Thessaloniki is the country’s city of gastronomy after all! The traditional decorated boat takes centre stage in Aristotelous Square alongside the stunning Christmas tree. Here you will find locals gathering each night and strolling around town enjoying the festivities, as well as stopping off for some shopping, dining and drinks at all the beautifully decorated shops, restaurants and bars along the way!  

Trikala

A visit to Trikala at this time of year allows visitors the chance to experience the holiday fairy tale at the Mill of the Elves, the largest and most beautiful Christmas village in Greece that remains open until early January. You should also stroll in the charming alleyways of the picturesque neighbourhood of Varousi; visit Elati and the snowy Pertouli and drive to the beautiful Lake Plastira while you are at it. Definitely, a major winter highlight for the city, the Mill of Elves features various rides, children’s activities and artistic events and of course there is a Santa’s workshop and plenty of Elves spreading Christmas cheer.

Oneiroupoli, Drama

At the central square in the lovely town of Drama, Santa takes up temporary residence in a village straight out of a fairytale. Oneiroupoli is a celebration in eastern Macedonia, which is organised in the city centre and Eleftheria Square. Starting in December right through to the beginning of January, visitors are able to enjoy wonderful events including Christmas concerts, theatre and dance performances; as well as sports activities, games and other special programs. This is by far home to one of Greece’s biggest and most festive Christmas Markets.

Vamvakou, Laconia

In the mountain village of Vamvakou, Laconia the holiday atmosphere kicks into high gear on December 4, with Christmas lights, festive performances, and a live concert by the talented Mariza Rizou and her band. The festivities will continue throughout December, culminating on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Located in the Peloponnese, only a few hours’ drive from Athens, Vamvakou’s idyllic mountain setting on the slopes of Mount Parnon makes it a perfect Christmas weekend destination in Greece. 

Main Images by Blue Mandarin © (Copyright) 

Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

Athens-based fitness coach Aggeliki Koutelekou’s love of sports began at the young age of four and since then the talented athlete has competed in local and international championships where she has represented Greece on numerous occasions.

Today, the stunning 28-year-old is a physical education teacher, a personal trainer, a running coach, and an ambassador for adidas GR. Born and raised in the Greek capital, with her family hailing from Panagia, a remote village in Trikalon, Aggeliki recently spoke with IN+SIGHTS GREECE about her passion for inspiring people to keep fit; shares her tips on working out at home, and reveals her love of travelling around her homeland.

When did your passion for fitness begin?

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

I started playing sports at the age of four, beginning with swimming. Then I was involved in athletics for about 10 years. The stadium became my second home, as I spent much of my daily life there. Very quickly my training became an addiction leading me to local and international championships. As the years went by, my passion continued and I decided to get involved professionally.

When did you start competing? 

From a young age, I remember myself running non-stop! I started at the age of eight in the track and field academies. Sprinting won me over from the first moment I set foot on the track. So, inevitably, it became my race! I participated in many pan-Hellenic track and field championships and in international meetings with distinctions in the 100m race.

Tell us about your work as a coach and fitness trainer?

I graduated from the Department of Science and Physical Education and Sports at Trikala with a major in classical sports. I mainly focus on training ́groups and individuals. Since 2016 I have also been a PE teacher at a private elementary school.

You have also become an ambassador for adidas? 

Yes, for the last three years I’ve been an ambassador of adidas GR and I work with adidas runners Athens as a coach. It’s the largest global running community that brings together people with common goals and a passion for running. We gather every week in the centre of Athens, doing different types of training each time.

How passionate are you about inspiring people to keep fit?

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

The benefits of sports are endless, both in terms of our health and our psychology. What I love most about my job is the opportunity to encourage and inspire my young athletes to recognise the importance of sports and to love it. As for the fitness part, I feel joy and satisfaction when my clients, who had no contact with exercise beforehand, have now made it a way of life. I get excited when I see them feeling better at the end of training.

How do you motivate your clients? 

My motto is: “wherever you are, you can exercise”. No special equipment and space are required. With the will and the right guidance, you can do a complete workout anywhere! The first lesson and meeting with my client are to get an understanding of their lifestyle. To work out what they need and to see what they are physically capable of, and of course to take into account any injuries that they may have. Each of us is different and that’s how I treat my clients. With the right ‘individual’ approach, I encourage them, motivate them, and try to gain their trust.

Do you think social media has influenced the fitness industry? 

Social media in general, and, mostly Instagram in recent years is a medium where you can source anything you want. The immediacy offered by a nice image or a video with a nice background I think can definitely gain attention. I put a lot of emphasis on my posts with both the images and the videos I choose to publish. I believe that aesthetics, colour, and quality are elements with which one can stand out in the hundreds of thousands of profiles that circulate. Both through the photos and the creation of videos, which I have my own personal touch, I try to attract and inspire more and more people to engage in fitness!

How often do you train a week?

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

I run three times a week with the adidas runners Athens and I do full-body training two to three times a week depending on the free time I have.

Do you follow a Mediterranean diet? 

Yes, I mainly follow the Mediterranean diet. During the week and training days, I mainly eat protein, legumes, carbohydrates, fruit, and vegetables. Of course, to be honest, I have a weakness for traditional homemade Greek dishes such as Mosxari Kokkinisto me Kritharaki (beef with orzo) and meatballs with mashed potato.

What Greek sweets do you crave most? 

I have so many favourites I can’t resist! A warm Galaktoboureko, one or two Melomakarona, and also homemade Koulourakia with a Greek coffee.

How can we stay positive and fit throughout the cooler months, when it’s sometimes harder to find motivation? 

Home confinement definitely throws us off psychologically and can affect us negatively. One way that helps us stay optimistic, physically, and mentally is exercise. This increases endorphin levels and secretes hormones that make us feel happy and positive. However, sometimes we have no choice, and staying at home does not mean that we can not stay in shape. By following easy and short fitness programs, we can exercise our whole body and feel better.

What are some simple exercises for home?

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

It is always best to consult a professional who can guide you and create personalised exercise programs, as each of us is different. Some very basic tips for a good general workout is a warm-up to start off with- this is a prerequisite for starting any workout. Begin with some aerobic exercises (jumping jacks, high knees, scissors, running on the spot) in order to prepare for the main part. Then choose easy exercises (not complicated to start off with) that will work your whole body such as squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and our favourite planks. At the end of each workout do not skip the stretching. Always choose to do exercises that are not particularly difficult for you. One piece of advice I always give to my clients is to listen to your body and don’t overdo it.

On another, you also have a passion for photography, can you please tell us about that?

I love the arts and I’m fascinated by everything related to it. Many times I look at something and I have already created the frame in my mind. Through photography, I express and capture what I see with my own eyes. I have a passion for symmetry, simplicity, old buildings, and objects. I recently bought a camera to capture the moments and I now share them.

What are some of your favourite holiday destinations in Greece?

I’m lucky to live in Greece, a place that combines unique landscapes with natural beauty. I love summers on the Cycladic islands with whitewashed houses, the endless blue sky, and the countless beaches. But I also enjoy the winter destinations, where I can get closer to nature, walk on trails, and dance at traditional festivals. The places that first come to mind are Kythnos, Zagorochoria, and, of course, my home village of Panagia in Trikala.

A few of your favourite summer activities- where you can combine fitness with the Greek sun and sea?

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

I love swimming in the sea, running along the beach during sunset, paddleboarding, and playing raketes.

Your all-time favourite beaches in Greece?

That’s a hard one as there are so many beautiful ones in Greece. Some of my most loved are Simos in Elafoniso, Lagousi in Kithnos, Plaka in Naxos and Falasarna in Crete.

What do you love most about Trikala and what do you recommend for anyone planning to visit?

My grandmother lives in the village and every time I go, she greets me with a traditional local pie. If you are in the wider area, do not forget to walk on the river of Trikala, to explore the city by bike, to organise short hiking or climbing trips to Meteora and, of course, to visit traditional taverns and grocery stores or in the surrounding villages where you can try local delicacies.

Finally, do you offer online training and how can people get in touch with you?

I have clients who now live abroad so I started online training, in order to stay close to my existing clients and also to offer training to people who do not live in Athens. I offer personalised online training tailored to personal needs. To contact me and learn more, you can visit my page on Instagram @aggeliki_koutelekou or Facebook.