Blessed with a magnificent nature and an advantageous geographical location, the region of Volos has been a popular destination since the early years of tourism development in Greece. In his travelogue La Grèce d’aujourd’hui [Greece Today] (1890), French traveller Gaston Deschamps praises the Hotel de France in Volos as one of the world’s best. Renowned for its luxury and famous guests, Theoxenia Hotel operated in Portaria since the early twentieth century. Up to the 1940s, a time when holidaymakers preferred mountains to the seaside, Pelion was firmly at the top of their list.
After 1950, Volos played a leading role in Hellenic Tourism Organisation (EOT) campaigns to promote tourism in Greece. It became the headquarters of the Tourism Directorate of Thessaly and Central Greece, run by the tireless Stavros Vasardanis for 20 years. No less than five Xenia hotels were built in the Magnesia Prefecture – more than in any other prefecture in Greece – and, since 1976, dozens of remarkable listed properties in Pelion have been preserved thanks to EOT’s interventions and are reused as guest houses, giving a new lease of life to Pelion traditional settlements.
Nowadays, hotels and tourist accommodation facilities cater to all tastes and budgets. The sea gate to Thessaly and the Northern Sporades, the port of Volos is a popular port of call for cruise ships in the Mediterranean. The Nea Anchialos Airport has assumed an important role as the only passenger airport in Central Greece. The availability of appropriate specialised infrastructure facilitates growth in cultural, sports and conference tourism; several organised events cater to many different forms of alternative tourism.