Trikala has never garnered much attention. Not until the town began experimenting with sustainable and eco-friendly solutions to urban problems. In the last 7 years a string of high profile and high yield programs were enacted to improve the quality of life for its residents as well as the environment. From self-driving buses to a centralized monitoring system for traffic congestion, Trikala is making all the right noises and people are starting to take notice. It doesn’t hurt that the town itself is picture perfect and pretty. Its long history and traditional character are an obvious magnet to culture vultures, while its proximity to forests, mountains, waterfalls and lakes attracts nature lovers, families and day trippers from nearby towns.
One can set off for Meteora and be there in less than an hour. Alternatively, Lake Plastiras is a stone throw’s distance. In addition, Mount Koziakas is ripe for hiking and exploring. Of note are the many traditional stone bridges that dot its periphery. Mushroom picking is a thing, so there’s that also.
Trikala seemingly has it all; a thriving student population, a progressive mayor and all the visceral joys one can expect to enjoy in such a bucolic setting.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
The town is looked over by the impressive 6th century AD castle built by none other than the Byzantine emperor Justin I. Even though it was originally part of an earlier acropolis and the Byzantine structure razed by the Ottomans and rebuilt, it stands testament to the town’s resilience. This is after all the birthplace of the God Asclepius as legend has it. And as is customary in Greece a set of fallen pillars and stones marks the spot of where the Asklepion was. The Ottomans did leave a few things behind, notably a clock tower and a few mosques, of which several have been looked after. The best looking one is the Koursoum Mosque from the 16th century BC.
More interesting architecture awaits in the districts of Manavika and Varosia. Lively tavernas and boutique shops all coexist inside traditional sahinisia type manors. The cobblestone roads are ideal for long strolls that meander through the town and may lead to unexpected places. The River Lithaios is never too far. It traverses the town and is a focal point of social life, with bars and cafes on the embankments. During summer chaise longs are set up along its edge, which provides all the bare necessities. The river banks are pedestrianized, with bike lanes available for cyclists, which considering how flat Trikala is, must be one of the best towns in Greece for that means of transport.
FOOD & DRINK
With so much pasture, rolling hills and available farm land, Trikala is almost self-sufficient and its produce lets you know exactly how well one eats here. From sausages and meats to the local galotyri cheese eating in Trikala is a sensory orgy. Local tsipoura and raki make the meals all that easier to digest.
Trikala combines healthy outdoors activities and history, a booming culinary scene and a zest for life that is unparalleled. A robust civic movement that embraces the otherness and fresh ideas on how to improve everyday life are enough for any city. In Trikala that is just the icing.