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In Central Greece, at an area called Thessalia and near the town of Volos there is mountain Pelion. Pelion was considered to be the home of the Centaurs. It is a unique place to visit all year round. The villages on mountain Pelion are very picturesque with great architecture and incredible nature. In the region, one can do a lot of activities like hiking, horseback riding and skiing. In the summer months. one can also visit the incredible beaches of the area.
A Guide to the Best of Pelion, Greece
How to get to Pelion Greece
The town of Volos is the capital of the Magnesia region in Greece, and it is in that area that Pelion is located. From Volos, you can start your exploration to the beautiful villages of Pelion.
You can go to Volos by car: From Athens, it’s 326 km north, and from Thessaloniki, it’s 215km south.
You can take the bus (ktel): There are a lot of buses that go to Volos from many towns around Greece. For more info click here.
By air: You can either arrive in Athens or Thessaloniki’s international airports and then get to Volos with one of the above ways, or you can get to Volos airport called Nea Anchialos where some low-cost airlines operate. For more info click here.
Once you are in Volos, you can drive around Pelion or take the local buses.
Best villages to visit in Pelion
Portaria is only 12km away from the city of Volos. It offers panoramic views of the city and the Pagasetic Gulf. It is a picturesque village with traditional houses and mansions. There are many traditional guesthouses along with hotels that cover every taste. Also, there is a variety of restaurants serving local food, as well as cafes and bars. In the narrow streets of the village, one can find shops selling souvenirs, folk art and spoon desserts made from local fruits.
One of the things that is worth doing is walk the path of Centaurs. It is a 3km walk that starts from the church of Agia Marina at the entrance of the village and goes around it passing through beautiful churches, mansions and incredible nature. It is worth visiting the museum of folk art in the Zulia mansion and the little squares around the village.
As you climb further up the mountain you will arrive at another traditional village called Makrinitsa only 3 km away. You can do that on foot as well, it takes less than half and hour and it’s a very pleasant walk.
Makrinitsa is also called “The balcony of Pelion” due to the incredible views from the village. The village has many traditional houses and mansions and along with the villages of Vizitsa and Pinakates has been declared as a preserved village. Just as in Portaria, here you will find beautiful guesthouses and many choices for food and drink. There are also some shops selling traditional products.
One of the major sites in the village is the Pelion Museum of Folklore and History located in Topali mansion. There you will see more than 1500 artifacts from the everyday life in Pelion.
Another thing worth doing is to stroll through the pebble roads of the village and discover the beautiful churches, the little fountains and the central square. Under the old Platanus, you can enjoy a refreshing drink or your meal in one of the taverns. There you will also see a big fountain known as “Lions” which was constructed in 1809.
In the villages of Pelion, there are some museums that you can visit, but the most beautiful thing is to admire the architecture and the incredible nature.
Hania is another beautiful village known for its ski resort. It is located 13 km away from Portaria and 26 km away from Volos. What makes Pelion unique is that you can ski and in 20 minutes you will be in front of the sea enjoying a tsipouro with seafood.
Tsagarada village is 49 km away from Volos. It is one of the most popular villages in Pelion, and it is scattered around the forest, It consists of four regions, all named after the church that can be found in each square. There is Agia Paraskevi region, Agioi Taxiarches, Agia Kyriaki and Agios Stefanos.
- Visit the square of Agia Paraskevi to see the impressive one thousand-year-old plane tree and the homonym church built-in 1909. You can grab a coffee or a meal at the square.
- Visit the Agioi Taxiarches square with the big plane tree and the homonym church which was built-in 1786, and it’s the oldest in Tsagarada,
- Have a walk in one of the many pathways that take you around the village through the forest and see little streams and little wooden bridges on the way.
- On your walk through the village admire the Nanopouleio School which has been declared as a world of art and was built-in 1863 and the Achilopouleios commercial school which was built-in 1864 and now houses the digital folklore museum.
- Have a coffee in the Art Cafe in Tsagarada, a small cafe on the central road of Tsagarada between Agia Paraskevi Square and Agioi Taxiarches square , with the most welcoming and polite owner I have ever met.
- Admire the view of the Aegean sea throughout the village
Mouresi village is 56 km away from Volos and next to Tsagarada village. It is the oldest village of Pelion built within lush vegetation and with great views of the Aegean sea.
- It is worth visiting the central square of the village with the plane trees and the Aghia Triada (Holy trinity) church
- Again there are a lot of pathways through the forest worth exploring.
Kissos village is 37km away from Volos and next to Mouresi village. It is much quieter than the other villages with dense vegetation and beautiful views of the Aegean sea.
- Visit the central square of Kissos village and the impressive church of Agia Marina built-in 1650 with the incredible interior decor.
- Have a coffee at the square just opposite the church in a traditional cafe called “Sholarheion” (old school)
- Eat at the taverna called Synantisi where we had one of the best food in Pelion. See where to eat in Pelion below for details.
- Explore the many paths around the village.
Ntamouhari village is located 57 km away from Volos. It is a small seaside village with a beautiful little harbour, where scenes from the movie Mamma Mia were filmed. Apart from the harbour, there is a nice beach white big pebbles and a few restaurants. Also on the hill overlooking the sea stands the ruins of an old castle.
Zagora Village is located 45 km away from Volos in Eastern Pelion. The village of Zagora with its traditional houses is the largest in Pelion. It is built on the side of mount Pelion and overlooks the popular Horefto Beach. The village is known around the world for the production of apples. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the school of freedom-fighter Rigas Feraios along with some impressive churches.
Hiking in Pelion
Pelion is a great hiking destination. It has some great paths through the woods very easy to follow. On my recent visit in the area with Travel Bloggers Greece and with the guidance of Trekking Hellas we hiked from Tsagarada village located on the mountain down to Ntamouhari beach, a very popular and beautiful hike inside the forest with breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea.
Best beaches in Central Pelion
The area is not famous only for the traditional villages and green forests. It has a number of amazing sandy beaches with crystal light blue waters just a 10-minute drive from the above villages.
- Ntamouhari Beach – located on the other side of the small harbour and has big white pebbles. It is not organised but there is a taverna to grab some water and food.
- Mylopotamos Beach – the most impressive beach in my opinion, with small white pebbles and sand divided in two by a big rock with a hole in the middle. You need to descend for 5 minutes in order to reach the beach. A part of Mylopotamos beach is organized.
- Papa Nero Beach – a long sandy – tiny pebbled beach, organized with a lot of cafes amd tavernas.
- Agios Giannis Beach – with tiny white pebble – sand is very popular for families. There are a lot of shops and restaurants on the road above in this organized beach.
- Plaka Beach – a very beautiful beach very easy accessible on foot from the one end of Agios Giannis beach. It is divided by some rocks. It has tiny pebbles and crystal clear waters.
Here are some beaches near Zagora village:
Horefto Beach – a big sandy beach near the village of Zagora with clear blue waters. It is an organized beach with a couple of hotels and restaurants nearby.
Agioi Saranta Beach – another beautiful beach near Horefto. It is a sandy organized beach very popular in the summer.
Omvrios Beach – if you are looking for a secluded – virgin beach that is for you. It is located just 8 km away from Zagora but the road is really bad and you need to have a 4X4 in order to get there. It took us 45 minutes to do the 8km with the regular car.
Where to eat in Pelion
Generally the food is very good in Pelion and wherever we ate the food was nice. One place was astounding though and I totally recommend that you try it. It is a taverna called Synantisi at the central square of Kissos village. We were sent there by the owners of Oriades guest house. They serve traditional greek food with a gourmet twist. The servings are big, the prices are very good and you should definitely try the Greek Salad.
Another great place to eat this time in Zagora village, is taverna Patis. It has a great veranda for the summer and a beautiful inside space for the winter. It serves delicious traditional food from the area.
Where to stay in Pelion
The Kritsa Gastronomy hotel is located in the central square of Portaria village in a 3-storey neoclassical building from the 1900s and offers traditional rooms with breakfast.
Kritsa is really well known in the area not only for the hotel but for the restaurant that is housed on the ground floor. I had the chance to eat there on my recent trip with Travel Bloggers Greece and I loved it. The restaurant offers traditional food of the area, it has impeccable service and great prices.
Manthos Hotel Resort & Spa is a luxurious hotel located close to the ski resort, offers spacious rooms, a restaurant where we had a coffee break, an indoor swimming pool and a spa.
Aglaida hotel has 33 independent apartments with a fireplace which is great for the winter and air-conditioning for the summer. Some of them are also equipped with a small kitchen. Other hotel amenities include a beautiful swimming pool that operates during the summer months with breathtaking views of the Aegean sea and the lush forest.
Our room was amazing with a lot of amenities including great wi-fi signal, fridge, air-condition, a beautiful veranda under the trees, friendly owners and home-made breakfast.
On the mountain in Tsagarada, about twenty minutes walk from the beach is a cute and cosy inn called Odos Kentavron. This charming hotel is quaint, with a small bar and restaurant. Rooms have balconies that overlook the countryside.
The 12 Months Luxury Resort is a sumptuous resort and spa in the mountains, about 4km from Tsagarada. Leisure facilities here include tennis, a Turkish-style hammam, a billiards room, and a traditional, farm-to-table local restaurant serving exquisite meals.
Oriades is a delightful hotel in the mountains near Mouresi. In addition to the well-equipped rooms and the organic breakfast, Oriades also offers bicycles to its guests. The grounds have a small fire pit and barbecue, as well as a playground for younger guests.
Hotel Manthos Blue also sits right on the beach in eastern Agios Ioannis – request a sea view room! – and has an onsite bar and cafe which serves coffees, cocktails, and light snacks. The rooms are spacious and modern.
If you prefer to be closer to the sea, but still near the quiet village of Zagora, consider staying at the Flamingo Hotel Pelion in Chorefto (a 15-minute drive from Zagora). The rooms at the Flamingo Hotel Pelion are fully-equipped with a small kitchen, en-suite bathroom, and air conditioning. The family-run guesthouse is a good choice for anyone who has a car and would like to explore both the mountains and the sea.
Have you been to Pelion?
I was an invited guest of Spyrou Philoxenia, on behalf of Travel Bloggers Greece, to discover the region of Pelion during winter. As always opinions are my own.