Pelion, in particular, never sleeps.
Its infrastructure with lodgings, multiple and alternative forms of tourism, its customs and traditions, its local delicacies, its endless stretches of beach on the Pagasitiko Gulf and the Aegean Sea, and its natural beauty, always leave the visitor with the best impressions in his baggage.
For these reasons, do most prepare them once and twice a year, all year, with the final destination, the mythical mountain of the Centaurs!!!
History of Pelion
From mythological times, Pelion constituted an ideal holiday destination, for, according to the myth, it was the summer residence of the twelve gods of Mt. Olympus! The Centaurs lived in Pelion [horses with human form], including wise Chiron, whose students included Achilles and Hercules, whilst Asclepius was taught here medicine.
How to Get to Pelion
To visit the picturesque villages of Pelion and its endless beaches, you must first pass through the city of Volos. The road network to Pelion is in quite good condition. In winter, the authorities ensure that the roads are maintained open.
Two, are the main roads that lead from Volos to the villages of Pelion: the eastern road, which passes through the villages of Pagasitikos [Agria, Kala Nera, Ag. Laurentio etc.] and continues towards southern Pelion [Afissos, Argalasti, Xinovrisi, Lefokastro, Milina, Horto, etc.,] ending up at the most mountainous of them, Trikeri. At Neohori, there is a junction which leads towards eastern Pelion, with the last stop being the village Pouri [Tsangarada, Milopotamos, Ag. Ioannis, Milies, Vyzitsa etc.,] The northeastern road leads to Hania. From here, you can continue on towards Zagora and Horefto. If we follow the same road, and before reaching Hania, we will encounter Agio Onoufrio, Stagiates, Anakasia, Alli Meria, Portaria and Makrinitsa [the right junction once we enter the village of Portaria]. Attention is needed a little before the last turn on the road before Makrinitsa. The mountain hinders visibility.
Attention! Do not speed as the road is narrow and windy in many sections.
Also keep in mind that during peak tourist seasons and especially during the summer weekends, when the residents of Thessaly go Pelion you may encounter substantial traffic. From Volos, you may travel from and towards the villages in Pelion with regular timetables of the KTEL Volos. The KTEL terminal is situated at the entrance of the city, Zachou street No. 5. The city office is located on Sp. Spyridi- Iasonos streets, in the center of town.
You may reach Volos:
- From Athens via the National Road Athens-Lamia. The distance is 324 kms, and it is covered by regular timetables of the KTEL, in 4 hours. You may also choose EXPRESS timetables [which do not stop at Almiro and Neo Achialo]
- From Thessaloniki, [216 kms]. KTEL transports you to the city of Volos in 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- There is also a connection with KTEL from Patra, Ioannina, Igoumenitsa, Kozani and of course, Larissa.
Useful Telephone Numbers: KTEL [Bus], 800-11-35555 [toll free]
- Volos Station: 24210 33254, 24210 25527
- Athens Station: 210 8329585, 8317186
- Thessaloniki Station: 2310 595424, 2310 595491
- Larissa Station: 2410 537777
- Patra Station: 2610 23886-7-8
- Ioannina Station: 26510 30006
Call – 24210 61000, 24210 27777
The trains [From Athens-Thessaloniki] stop in Larissa. There you will have to board another train to Volos. Generally, the travel from and to Volos, with train is a bit of a bother. Al the timetables are via Larissa, whilst a direct connection between Athens-Volos [that is, without having to re-board at the station in Larissa] had been restricted to one per day. The direct route departs from Athens (Larissis Station) at 15:53 and arrives at Pelion at 20:25. From Volos the train departs at 6:21 in the morning and arrives in Athens at 11:15. The ticket price is 11,30 euros per person.
Nevertheless, if you insist on taking the train, you may contact these tel. nos: 1110 [fee one local call] 24210-28555, 24056 [Mon-Fri 07.30-14.30]
From Athens to Skiathos in 35 minutes. From there you can choose the flying dolphin, [the hydrofoil] or the ferry boat, and you will be at Volos harbor in 90 minutes or in 2 hours and 30 minutes, respectively. Keep in mind that the ferry timetables are not very regular, so it is better if you organize your departure beforehand. If one were to get stranded however, in Skiathos, even for a little while, it wouldnt be such a bad thing at all.
There are direct international connections from some countries via charter flights to the Nea Anchialos and Skiathos airports.
Useful telephone numbers:
- Olympic Airways : 24210 20910, 24210, 24910
- Nea Anchialos airport : 24280 76886
- Skiathos Airport : 24270 22954, 24270 23300
- Flying Dolphins Hellenic Seaways, Sporades Travel 24210, 23400, 23415, 35843
- Ferry Boats : 24210, 31059, 34210, 31060, 24210 22501
Where to Stay/ Accommodation
In all of the villages of Pelion may you be accommodated in traditional guest-houses, hotels, mansions, rental apartments, which provide many comforts, as well as at organized camping sites during the summer months.
The prices vary according to the season and category of the lodging. Make sure you secure your room early enough, because occupancy always reaches 100%, especially during the peak seasons [Christmas, Easter, Apokries Carnival]. A good choice at Portaria is the hotel Alkistis. Without lacking any comforts, it appears to be forgotten in nature and in tranquility! In Makrinitsa, the Karamarli Mansion distinguishes from the others.
Even if you decide to stay elsewhere, visit its lounge with a view to Volos and Portaria for coffee and a sweet. In Hania, a good choice is the hotel TASIA.
- List of Cheap Hotels in Pelion
- Magnesia Hotel Union: 24210 20273
- Magnesia Rental rooms association: 24280 93260
Not to be missed
Most definitely plan an excursion to Anakasia, to visit the Kontou residence which hosts several of the frescoes masterpieces, of the famous painter Theofilos. Also of great interest are the Folklore Museum of Makrinitsa, housed in the Topali Mansion , and the Nanopoulos School in Tsangarada , which houses the primary school of the village.
Also found in Pelion are many churches, chapels and monasteries, which present much interest, as such from an architectural point of view as well as being devout places of worship.
The worshipper, who lights a candle in the low and dark-lit chapels, which have been standing there for centuries, comes nearer to God, and finds tranquility from this exclusive co-existence of God with the divine nature of the region.
Where to Eat
The choices are numerable! In every village you will find many restaurants which serve local specialties and not only! Many locals who keep guest-houses, attend to them themselves, and also do the cooking [local dishes, pies, sweets, etc.,] for their restaurants.
Wherever you end up eating, make sure you sample spetzofai [sausage with peppers], boumbari [homemade sausage], gemista [stuffed tomatoes and peppers], and kolokitholoulouda [stuffed zucchini plant leaves] and fasolada [bean soup]!! If you find yourselves by the sea, enjoy the fresh fish of the Pagasitikos Gulf and the Aegean, in company of the saint tsipouro [local liquor]!
Local Customs & Traditional Products
Rich is the history of Pelion, and many are its traditions and local customs which are revived every year in its villages. We recommend the re-enactment of the Pelioritico wedding in Portaria, during the second half of August, the May custom, which symbolizes the regeneration of nature in May, at Makrinitsa, the Klidona tradition at Afetes and Mouresi in June.
Many are the religious festivals which are celebrated on the same day as the celebration of local saints: Taxiarchon Tsangarada and Milies [08/11], Ag Vlassiou at the village with his name [11/2], Agia Marina at Kisso [17/7] etc.
The local products are also celebrated appropriately: The tsipouro at Katichori in August, the sausage in Stagiates in July, the apple in Zagora in September, whilst the flowers bloom at Alli Meria in May.
Do not leave Pelion without having in your luggage, fruit from the local trees [the famous apples from Zagora, pears, chestnuts, cherries] and jars of preserved fruit [chestnut, apple, rose leaves, quince etc.,] You will find them everywhere. Prefer those from the local women’s association. Do not forget to buy herbs [mountain tea, herbs for all sorts of ailments, aromatic oregano, etc.,] we. buy regularly from the stalls in Makrinitsa from polish, by descent, Mr. Giorgo. He is very kind, and no-one leaves without receiving their present [if you like tea, ask for the tea cocktail as well as his mixtures for soups and roasts Gourmet cook Mamalakis is shaking in his shoes!]
At the foot of the mountain in the area of Agio Onofrio [the turn towards Koukourava] you will find the restaurant Nea Remvi offering excellent dishes and hospitality. The restaurant situated at the main square in Makrinitsa also offers good food and panoramic views over Volos. In Portaria, good choices are the small but savory restaurants of the hotels Kritsa and Xenia.
Pelion as a winter destination
Pelion is a holiday destination twelve months a year. During the winter months, the Ski Resort of Pelion, Agriolefkes [1500m] operates, providing three circuits, and whatever is needed to facilitate and entertain the day trippers. Unforgettable are the evening parties which are organized at the ski center.
The Country Center for Athletic and Recreational Activities also operates in Hania: Hiking in the forest, horse-riding, mountain bike, archery, rock climbing [Koukourava, Milopotamos, Agria] and target shooting are some of the activities you may endeavor during your stay at the mountain of the Centaurs. The cobblestone paths and walking paths offer hiking/walking tourism [29 mapped stone paved routes].
You must, most definitely, attempt the route from Tsangarada to the beach at Damouchari. You will enjoy an exceptional walk [2 hours and 30 minutes] amongst dense plane trees, running waters and sea views. This stone paved route ends up at one of the most beautiful beaches.
Pelion as a summer destination
Canoeing, underwater fishing, water jet ski, sailing, scuba diving, sea parachuting are just some of the summer sports which will satisfy even the most discerning visitors. There are many organized companies on the beaches which can provide you with the necessary equipment and also provide the assistance of specialized trainers.
Where to swim:
One of your choices is the green-blue waters of the Aegean: at the sandy and kilometer long stretches of beaches at Horefto and Ag. Giannis [which are preferred by the local residents of Volos during the summer months].
The beach at Milopotamos is enchanting, and with an untamed beauty. From one point and onwards, it is only accessible on foot.
The beaches at Pouri, Papa Nero, Fakistra, Lambinou, Palisti, Ag. Giorgos, famous Damouchari, but also the beaches at Ag. Saranta, Potistikon, Katigiorgi and at Platania, will compensate you with their dense vegetation which reaches as far as the waves of the Aegean, whilst also offering you many possibilities for water sports.
Tsagarada’s BeachQuieter although equally enchanting are the beaches of the Pagasitikos Gulf, offering more family orientated vacations: Agria, Malaki, Kato Gatzea, Afissos [very busy at weekends!], Lefokastro [this quiet fishing village a paradise haven], as well as Horto, Milina [a much loved, quiet destination with blue-green sparkling clean waters]
And a small secret: Although the road that leads from the center of the village of Afissos towards Lefokastro is not in the best condition and is particularly narrow, it will lead you to small bays, which have still not been discovered by many!
Accessibility for the disabled
This is where it gets difficult. As Pelion is a mountainous region which is characterized by many cobbled roads, uphill and downhill roads, and accessibility to many beaches is only via walking paths or by steps, the transportation for persons with mobility disabilities is by our evaluation, difficult, but not restricted!