Port of Volos
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Downtown Volos is a conveniently short shuttle bus ride from your arrival point. You'll find interesting museums and churches, an array of shops, and a pretty, yacht-lined waterfront with plenty of al fresco restaurants serving traditional Greek dishes. Do as the locals do, and take a volta-- a leisurely stroll -- after your meal to walk off dinner along the quayside. In the surrounding areas, picturesque mountain villages offer scenic views and local products, while centuries-old monasteries perch atop rocky outcroppings. And, if that doesn't appeal, you can always head to a nearby beach for a relaxing day in the sun.
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Where You're Docked
First impressions of Volos are not luxurious. The small and rather makeshift-looking passenger terminal contains nothing more than port police and agent offices with very few traveler conveniences, such as ATM's or Internet cafes.
Don't bother. If you're not heading off on a tour, get into town as quickly as you can.
Good to Know
If your cab runs on a meter, check that the driver is using the Number One rate, used during the day, and not the Number Two, which applies at night and is roughly twice as expensive. If there is any dispute, get a receipt -- the driver has to give one on request, by law -- and say you'll call the tourist police to check it out by dialing 171 on a local phone.
On Foot: The one-mile walk from the dock to the beginning of the waterfront promenade will take about 20 minutes but will seem interminable in the searing summer heat, which can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
By Shuttle: For about $5 each way, ships will offer shuttle buses that will take you to the main harbor.
By Taxi: Well-regulated taxi drivers are happy to negotiate fees for tours of the city and trips to Makrynitsa, a pretty village about 15 miles away. They usually quote about 70 euros per cab, but you should pay no more than 50 if you negotiate. Don't pay more than 4 euros per person to get to the seafront, or you might as well take the shuttle.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
Local currency is the euro, and you'll find plenty of banks with ATM machines near the marina area. For the closest locations, walk one street inland to Iasonos Street, which runs parallel to the waterfront. For the latest exchange rates, check www.oanda.com or www.xe.com.
The locals speak Greek among themselves, but English is also widely spoken.
Food and Drink
Volos is famed for its fish tavernas and believed by some to be the best place for fresh seafood in the whole of Greece. Local dishes worth trying include calamari (deep-fried, battered squid), pastitso (minced lamb with macaroni) and gemista (tomatoes or peppers stuffed with minced lamb and rice). Ouzo is as much an essential part of the Greek dining experience as calamari and stuffed vine leaves. Go easy though -- it may taste as innocuous as an aniseed ball but Ouzo has a sharp kick, especially in high temperatures.
You'll find plenty of waterfront restaurants at Alikos Beach and also lining Volos Marina, where you can look out over the posh yachts as you tuck into your olives and calamari. All the waterfront restaurants looked pretty good -- check out where the locals are eating and take your pick.
If you want a recommendation, Ta Kymata (The Starfish) -- just three or four restaurants down the Volos waterfront from the drop-off point -- serves up calamari and sizzling hot cheese pasties. The service is delightful, and a substantial lunch with white wine and lots of mineral water costs less than 10 euros a head.
If you'd prefer lunch on the hoof, there are lots of fragrant bakeries in this area, their windows crammed with goodies like filo-pastry-and-custard tartlets and substantial cheese or meat pasties costing 3 or 4 euros apiece.
You can pick up Greek icons painted on wood -- using pretty shades of azure, scarlet and gold -- from around 20 euros in the downtown antique shops.
More Cruise Itineraries
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