Pelion Peninsula - Greece
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The Pelion Peninsula is unique, still largely unknown to foreign visitors, but long recognised by the Greeks as a national treasure to be appreciated and preserved. One can recognise the Pelion on the map as the long peninsula with a claw like promontory at its southern end that divides the Aegean Sea from the Pagasitic Gulf.

Cut off in the North by the Pelion Massif, the only easy access by land is a narrow corridor from the great plain of Thessaly to the West at the head of the Gulf through the city of Volos. The mountains, snow covered in winter (there is even a ski resort on the flanks of Mount Pelion), feed the many rivers and streams. The region is one of the most fertile and verdant in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Pelion is famous for its fruit, particularly apples. In the springtime when the blossom appears and the native chestnut, oak and beech trees are bursting into leaf, the colours and textures are simply breathtaking. In the full heat of summer the tree cover means that the temperature is at least five degrees less than out in the open. One of the great pleasures of a holiday here is to be able to enjoy lying in the sun on a beach with the clear Aegean waters lapping at your feet, before moving to relax in the cool shade of an ancient chestnut tree. September is apple picking time, the orchards are laden with fruit of every colour, whilst the cooler nights turn the forests above into a sea of russet and gold.

The inhabitants of the Pelion, despite a long tradition of independence from the ‘mainland’, are extremely hospitable and friendly. It is the only region in Greece that remained autonomous throughout the centuries of foreign intervention. Even the usually fearless Ottomans left these mountain villages well alone. Standing on the beach at Milopotamos, the mouth of a narrow and precipitous ravine, one can easily understand how even the fiercest Turkish general would think twice about committing his warriors to an assault up the twisting steep and narrow trails. By the 19th century, they had not only survived but many had become prosperous through selling their produce to the increasing population of Volos, a fast-growing port and industrial centre at the head of the Pagasitic Gulf. Wealthy merchants built distinctive large mansions in villages such as Vizitsa and Makrinitsa, each trying to out do their neighbour with colourful embellishments on the upper walls and ornate stained glass windows, enjoying an exclusive eagle’s eye view over the Gulf and the Thessaly Plain.

By the early years of the 20th century, roads were built up into the hills and a railway line was constructed linking Volos with the important village of Milies. Designed by an Italian engineer, Evaristo de Chirico, the narrow gauge line with its graceful viaducts and arches later figured in the work of his son, Giorgio de Chirico, the famous surrealist painter who was born in Volos. The line remains in use to this day as far as Ano Lehonia on the coast, and is a deservedly popular tourist attraction. Small family-run hotels can be found along both coastlines, taking advantage of the many coves and quiet bays, each with beaches of white pebbles or sand. Or, if preferable, one can choose to stay in the mansions in the hills.

There are a wide variety of tavernas and restaurants which have opened, many offering such delicacies as wild boar and desserts based on the local fruit. The infrastructure of the Pelion is improving steadily, but money exchange and ATM machines are still often hard to find outside the larger towns, so be prepared!

Perhaps the best way to explore this fascinating region is on foot, using the ‘kalderimia’ mule track network. Although by car the recently improved roads leading into the mountains are no longer a driver’s challenge. Although, as one local put it, when asked about the road up to the apple centre of Zagora, ”Ah, it’s ok, but it’s like a politician, many twists and turns!”

The Aegean coast though rugged, has a number of delightful small villages. Some are no more than a cluster of silver roofed stone cottages above a small cove which make a perfect base for exploring gentler paths that often follow the shoreline past pristine beaches. The Pagasitic Gulf coast is more sheltered and typically Mediterranean, with olive groves and pine trees overlooking the sand and pebble beaches. Exploring this coast by small boat is a delight, or one can take a caique cruise down to the ‘claw’ of Pelion at Trakeri, with its small island and monastery.

Even in July and August, when people from Athens and Thessaloniki arrive to escape from the summer city heat, the Pelion never seems overcrowded, nor loses that sense of being a world apart. Those who live here are determined that it never will.
4488 - (Sleeps 20)
Nowhere else can you be so much part of the nature neighbouring with sand, sea, lush mountains, running creeks, gentle slopes, snow...
22136 - (Sleeps 2)
Seven one and two bedroom detached villas right by the sea and with their own private mooring. Peaceful, right on the sea and...
10853 - (Sleeps 2)
The small village and harbour of Afissos is renowned for the absolute clarity of its sea and beautiful beaches. Mythology tells us...
24381 - (Sleeps 3)
This well-kept small unit is towards the entrance of the village, just a couple of minutes’ flat walk from Platanias’s seafront. Accommodation is...
15252 - (Sleeps 3)
This villa set amongst olive trees overlooking the Pagasitic Gulf, over an hours drive from of the city of Volos. Sitting beside...
24382 - (Sleeps 4)
If you are looking for the best in Afissos, with view to match, you have have found it! The Agnanti Apartments combine...
16512 - (Sleeps 4)
The end of the “claw” of the dramatic Pelion peninsula almost seems to be seeking to reach out and clasp the mainland...
16513 - (Sleeps 4)
The end of the “claw” of the dramatic Pelion peninsula almost seems to be seeking to reach out and clasp the mainland...
16515 - (Sleeps 4)
Despite their long and often violent history of warding off uninvited guests, the latter day inhabitants of the Pelion are renowned for...
13388 - (Sleeps 4)
This is one of the most tranquil places in Pelion, with the peaceful ambience of a mountain village. Set in a charming...
10851 - (Sleeps 4)
In the Pelion region villas with private pools are scarce so we were very excited when our local agents Thekla and Marios...
10852 - (Sleeps 4)
As you travel into Afissos, past the small fishing harbour and into the village with its long seafront, you get to a...
24318 - (Sleeps 13)
This exclusive private Villa is set in a privileged location, in the area of Tiantaros, in the south of the island. From...
24317 - (Sleeps 14)
This beautiful Villa is set in a stunning location, at the head of the bay of Lefokastro on the Pelion Peninsula. There...
4488 - (Sleeps 20)
Nowhere else can you be so much part of the nature neighbouring with sand, sea, lush mountains, running creeks, gentle slopes, snow...
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