On our drive through the Vale of Tempe on our way back from Meteora our bus stopped for what I thought was a bathroom break. We parked at a small widening on a two-lane road that went through a gorge. There, in the middle of nowhere, we ran into some stairs that went beneath the road. At the end of the subterranean passage there was a live little market selling souvenirs for something we have yet to see. The narrow paths between the vendors were crawling with tourists.
Then, out of the forest at the end of the small bazaar, a white suspension bridge was rising high up that leads across the Pineios river. Suddenly the long-awaited bathroom break became an adventure. Even though we knew the road was only 30 meters away we couldn’t see or hear any cars because of the dense trees. In the bottom of the canyon, surrounded by huge mountains we walked the giant steel bridge to the other side.
When we crossed we came to a concrete oasis in the middle of the woods. A plateau is paved here on the river bank for family picnic and other outdoor activities. But this is not randomly placed here. Behind the giant rock lies a hidden church dedicated to St. Paraskevi. Well, actually, it’s not a church it’s more of a cave decorated like a church, which makes it even more stunning. Next to the small cave/church is another cave with a spring of what is believed to be holy water.
Although this place is so secluded in the forest near the busy road, the whole place was full of tourists from every part of the world. I was amazed by the untouched nature and its beauty that was all around (giant, white, steel suspension bridge not included).
I highly recommend this sight for everyone that is passing through the Tempe Valley. It is perfect place to take a break and enjoy the perfect scenery. There is also a restaurant on the river. Just one advice: get away from the bell tower when it’s about to ring. I mean it. Go really far away. The sound is so loud that it destroys all the beauty of the place. Just remember that it rings every half hour and run if you want to able to use your ears for the next 30 minutes.
Because the place can so easily be missed here is a map to it. It is so well hidden that I couldn’t find anything about it on Wikipedia and even Google. The map is my best guess where this wonderful place is.