Pelion prides itself for its traditional villages which over the years have maintained their authentic charm. Depending on the time that you decide to spend in the region, will set the pace of how you will travel and get a sense of each place. We spent a total of two days in Pelion, in case you missed it you can read all about our first day in my previous post — Sun, Sea and Snow: The Highlights of Pelion.
Discover the traditional villages of Pelion
The beautiful village of Vyzitsa is one of the best preserved settlements in the region. This charming little gem is dotted with noble stone mansions which blend graciously with the natural setting. Our visit to the village was short but we did get to see the Women’s Agricultural Association ‘Esperides’ which is one of the first women’s co-operatives which was founded in the region.
The women of Magnesia use their skills and passion to produce authentic products such as jams, spoon sweets, homemade liqueurs, herbs, pastries and pasta which are available for sale in their store which you can find right next to the main square.
We next visited the village of Milies which translating from Greek means apple trees. The village is built amphitheatrically on the mountain slopes of Mount Dikri, a place which was once home to the famous Centaur Chiron.
In the heart of the village you will come across the three-aisled basilica, the Church of Taxiarchis which was built in 1741. Looks maybe deceiving as from the outside it is rather simple but once you enter inside you will witness remarkable artworks and paintings of the Saints which cover the walls of the church.
The acoustic system inside the church is also unique as the sound is reflected through a specially constructed dome ceiling.
The Folklore Museum is another highlight of the village, located on the main square of Milies it houses historical artefacts that explain the village’s history over the years.
This small summer resort is set on the southern side of Mount Pelion and is a popular family destination. During the warm summer months the fishing village with its numerous fish tavernas and family run hotels becomes a bustling destination.
We stoped for a short coffee break at the Maistrali Hotel which is set right across from the beach. The area was very quiet due to the time of year, yet the view was fantastic indeed.
The village of Ano Lechonia is famous for its historical train, the construction of the route on which it runs dates back to 1892. The steam-moved train crosses a scenic mountainous route from Ano Lechonia to Milies, passing through lush green slopes covered with bushes and trees.
The little train which goes by the name Moudzouris meaning smoky train had seized its operation in 1971 as its operation was deemed uneconomical.
Twenty-five years later and after a substantial amount of effort the train service was reinstated. Today is operates mainly on weekends during high season where guests of all ages may enjoy this scenic ride.
Volos — Tsipouro and meze at Lepi
Our next stop was at the main coastal town of Pelion — Volos which is an important industrial center. The port of Volos provides a link between Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Since it was already lunch time we sat down at the Lepi restaurant to savour the local fish meze accompanied by tsipouro. Among the dishes we tried prawns, crab, salted fish, and other local delicacies.
This traditional style village located 12 kilometers from Volos has been dubbed as the “balcony of Mount Pelion” due to its distinct location overlooking the gulf of Volos.
When we arrived the village was covered with fog which gave it a mystical feeling and despite the low obscurity — it was beautiful.
We walked the narrow cobbled street lined with gift shops selling souvenirs and local products until we reached the main square which is lined with cafes and tavernas.
I am quite sure that it is even more magical during warmer days when you can sit outside and soak in the suns rays.
Portaria — Kritsa Gastronomy Hotel
Portaria is one of the most famous villages of Pelion, and was the last stop of our two-day trip. The village is known for its historical mansions which have been restored and preserved until this day. Here visitors can enjoy scenic walks along the Centaurs’ path and get lost in the natural beauty of the surrounding environment.
Our final stop was at the Kritsa Gastronomy Hotel, a member of the Guest Inn the Greek network of rural accommodation. Located on the main square of Portaria, shaded by plane trees, this cozy little hotel is run by a lovely lady named Eleni Karaiskou and her family. Housed in a 3-storey 19th century neoclassical building the hotel features a fantastic restaurant on its ground floor.
All the meals are prepared using locally grown vegetables and traditional recipes.
We savoured a selection of dishes such as the Kritsa salad made out of cabbage, apple, walnuts and topped with pomegranate seeds, a soothing pumpkin soup, a traditional Pelion dish made of greens with eggs sunny side up, Spetzofai of Pelion which is a local sausage dish cooked with peppers in a tomato sauce, pork cooked in a rosemary cream sauce served with rice, grilled traditional sausages topped with a truffle sauce and for dessert we had a homemade apple pie.
The trip was organised by Spyrou Philoxenia a hotel marketing company specializing in holiday making services in Greece in collaboration with the Hotel Owners Association of Magnesia and the Prefectural Units of Magnesia and Sporades Islands.
Our transportation was organized by Les Hirondelles Travel Agency of Volos.
Have you been to any of these traditional villages of Pelion?