The Pelion Peninsula is the mythical home to the Centaurs and unspoiled, undiscovered Greece at its best. Rising from the Aegean coast between Athens & Thessaloniki it is a designated ‘Natura 2000’ area of outstanding natural beauty with clean mountain air, ancient forest, and pristine blue waters.
At a distance from any major city and without one of the ‘star-studded’ Archaeological or UNESCO sites, it receives less international attention. Life continues in its sleepy villages as it always has with little change.
Consequently, Pelion is ideal for those with more days to spare and looking for a real getaway to a more authentic Greece without mass tourism. Family-friendly & with lots to see & do in terms of local excursions & beaches it is ideal for families.
The peninsula can be divided firstly, into Volos & the seaside route along the inner gulf. Here you will find many nice long sandy beaches & fishing villages like Kala Nera and Afissos. Rising up from there several routes head towards the central mountainous & forest areas. With great views, the road meets chains of villages such as the famous ‘Vizitsa‘ with its characteristic mansions, and ‘Milies‘, surrounded by mature forest & final stop for the little train of Pelion.
Continuing North and finally with some winding roads down to the Aegean are perhaps some of the most beautiful of Pelion’s hamlets such as Tsagaratha and Damouchari along with the blue flag beaches & beauty spots of Milopotamos, Horefto, and Ig Ioannis. Or for a trip to the end of the world, just head towards the tip for around an hour of sea views to find Platanias & the last cafes & tavernas & perfect beach spot.
Pelion’s villages are ideal for a base from which to explore the area. Only around 50km long the peninsula with its great natural diversity & many idyllic villages set in mountain & sea locations make touring by road a perfect experience. Our 3-Day Pelion Tour from Athens takes full advantage of this to cover all of the best spots, but for those with more days, our package holidays are based from one beach location with many activity options.
The area of Volos City along the seafront is pretty for a short shopping trip but if you are looking for something a little further in the area we have 3 suggestions; Firstly, the dramatic Meteora Monasteries make a great Day trip; Secondly, the local Island chain of the Sporades are well connected by ferry hopping, or for the ideal sailing holiday; and Thirdly, the Ancient sites of Thermopylae is a great halfway stop from Athens with the Ancient City of Dion, a wonderful day trip for History Buffs in the region.
4 of our most popular Pelion-Tours are listed below, but you can see all Day-Tours, Multi-Day Tours, and Packages from our main menu, & ask us to tailor any further options you like.
Before roads, Pelion’s villages were once connected by a network of donkey tracks. In recent years these have been cleared to make fantastic Hiking paths. This successful activity has helped the area grow and encourage the development of other outdoor pursuits such as Mountain Biking, Canyoning, Sea Kayaking, and diving.
Consequently, the area is ideal for activity holidays. If you are a more active group, we have flexible options for a mix of things. From 7+ day cycling tours for the fittest group to mixed activity packages for Families with flexible options to please everyone. If you are interested in an itinerary just send us a message & see our Activity Page for more.
For wildlife enthusiasts, there are over 20 distinct ecosystems to explore, an abundance of indigenous plants & animals, & very rich bird and butterfly life. At Easter time the bright orange & black fire salamanders are amazing to see dotted along the streams of the area.
The local organic farm of the Koumoutsi family on the main road from Portaria village to Hania shows off nicely much of the best of the local foods. You will discover many types of Honeys, Cheeses, Herbs & locally harvested Mountain Teas. For families with small children especially or for a real Farm-To-Fork experience, the Karaiskos Farm is a must-do!
Many of the villages have collective groups producing a preserved sweet fruit called ‘γλυκό του κουταλιού‘. Support the local industry & try one of the many varieties from carrot to watermelon.
Hotels & Restaurants
Most accommodation is of small size but there are some nice friendly & high-quality boutique guesthouses & costs are low in this area. In Portaria, we recommend the ‘Lotus Tree’, in Tsagaratha the Lost Unicorn, and in Ig. Ioannis, Hotel Kelly is good. For dining, all of the villages have central squares ‘platia‘ where you can enjoy the local dishes under enormous ‘Plane’ trees – many hundreds of years old. The family-run ‘Kritsa’ being one of the best with healthy country style portions & a traditional menu.