If you’ve seen our unmissable villages in Pelion, you’re probably already tempted to explore this extraordinary region of Thessaly that combines mountain & sea and is filled with nature. But wait a minute! Here’s where you find out that the local products, friendly locals, sandy beaches and cave-dwelling centaurs are just the start. Nestled between Mt Pelion’s most famous villages are some hidden gems. So if you’ve already decided which area of the mountain to visit (central, southern or eastern), we’ve got a few bonuses as we explore the unknown villages of Pelion that give a whole new angle to your holidays in Greece
Anakasia – Katichori – Stagiates – Agios Lavrentios
The small and peaceful village of Anakasia, which you come across soon after starting your ascent of Mt Pelion from the city of Volos, hides a real treasure. The Theophilos Museum is dedicated to the famous 19th and early 20th-century Greek folk painter who lived in Pelion. The wall paintings and furnishings of the building (known as Kontos Mansion) will transport you to the time of authentic Greek rural living.
In picturesque Katichori, a little before Portaria village, the Hatzigianni family has gathered everything of value from down the years – from ploughs, sewing machines and black & white period photographs to well-maintained old machinery from the family olive press – and presented it in an exhibition that rolls back the years.
If you want to discover the secret to everlasting life (and keep it to yourself), you’ll find it in Stagiates. The village’s many fountains run with “immortal water” – or so local legend goes. In fact, the village is filled with gurgling water. Stagiates also has a long tradition of sausage-making. The renowned Loukanikades (sausage makers) of the village have modernised their craft but lost none of the unique taste or secret ingredients of their trade. An annual sausage festival is held at the end of summer in the village square. Before leaving, check out the tiny outdoor library in the square.
Maybe it’s because this village is car-free but the locals here seem even more contented than elsewhere in Pelion. Agios Levrentios is a village with an artistic side, which you’ll see in the architecture of the old mansions, in the courtyards and in the locals. And how could it be otherwise, when the Moussiko Horio is held here each summer, a multi-day music festival? Passing the square, you reach the edge of the village at Hatzini Square … except, it’s not a square at all. Instead, it’s a large clearing with handmade benches and a wonderful view of the mountain and Drakia village just opposite! Meanwhile, at the northern end of the village, make sure to visit the Monastery of Agios Lavrentis, which functioned as a ‘hidden school’ during the Turkish Occupation. For a longer walk, there’s an easy 30min path through a chestnut, beech and olive tree forest that leads to Drakia.
Ano Lechonia – Ano Gatzea – Agios Georgos Nilias – Chorto – Trikeri
Heading for the southern slopes of the mountain as you leave Volos along the coastal road, your first Pelion village is Ano Lechonia. This is where the Μoutzouris rack railway starts its ascent. The vividly coloured little train station is an Insta must, designed by Evaristo de Chirico, father of a renowned painter and the chief designer of Mt Pelion’s legendary rack railway line. The train’s ascent is a journey through time, on which you’ll admire the arched stone bridges, colours and landscape of the mountain until you reach the final destination at Milies village. Don’t leave Ano Lechonia without eating something. At the Bakaliko tou Foutzopoulou (part taverna, part delicatessen) you’ll enjoy one of the best brunches you’ve ever had: an omelette made with eggs from the village hens, as well as other delicious dishes made with love.
Ano Gaztzea is a small village and an equally small stop on the Moutzouris railway line, just enough to catch your breath. Right by the station is a traditional cafe, where you can enjoy a spoon sweet with your Greek coffee. For years, this cafe was the soul of the village as everything – commercial products, correspondence and news passed through here first. In the village is the Olive and Oil Museum, a small museum that tells the history of local olive oil production and hosts educational programs for children, olive oil tasting and other such events. Definitely one of Pelion’s unknown villages and a highlight of your holidays in Greece.
Agios Georgios Nilias
At an altitude of 620m, this is the ‘lead’ village of the area, which you can tell from the well-tended mansion houses and neoclassical buildings of merchants who once traded with Egypt. It’s a village that’s cultivated in every way, dripping with olive, apple and chestnut trees and with a Museum of Sculpture. If you’re fortunate enough to visit in August, you’ll be entertained at the annual storytelling event called Folktales and Myths on the back of the Centaur, in the shade of a plane tree. You can enjoy an ouzo at the always welcoming Stefani’s restaurant – or better still a locally brewed tsipouro. And for a walk, the footpath from the village of Agios Georgios to Pinakates is filled with fresh air and wonderful nature that this mountain in Pelion offers so generously.
At first sight, you might be fooled into thinking that there isn’t anything that stands out about Chorto. That’s because most of the village is built below the main road, hidden from sight as you arrive. So park your car and follow one of the narrow little roads that lead to the coastal part of the village. You’ll be amazed... A handsome settlement that has begun to be restored in recent years, houses that resemble seafarers’ mansions, walks and little tavernas right by the water and a pathway built into the rock linking the village with a small neighbouring beach… these are just some of the unexplored treasures of Chorto. They’re all awaiting discovery!
Your final stop in southern Pelion is at the tip of the peninsula. On the way there, the mountain scenery becomes smoother, with alternating olive groves and a rockier landscape. You’ll see small beaches, seemingly inaccessible until you notice the little path to the sea… such as Tzastenis beach, like something from a movie set. Just before you reach Trikeri village, there’s a choice of three roads: one leads to the village at the top of a hill and a second goes to Agia Kyriaki (a fishing village famed for its prawn spaghetti and simple life). A third road takes you to Alogoporos beach, from where you can take a sea taxi to the islet also known as Trikeri.
Trikeri village was created by sailors, a small island on the mountainside. You’ll immediately distinguish the mansions of the seafarers by their colour and architecture. Inside the Church of the Holy Trinity, you’ll find Napoleon’s throne and, during festivals, you still find women wearing traditional dress of Mt Pelion, one of the most beautiful and expensive in Greece. In Agia Kyriaki, it feels like time has stood still. Life here is calm, with the few choices of places to stay (all of them authentic) and the tavernas amongst the best-known in the area.
Meanwhile, the islet of Trikeri is one of the most atmospheric spots in Pelion. It’s car-free and in just 2-3hrs you can walk from end to end. At the top of a hill is the Monastery of Evagelistria, impressive enough to look at but also welcoming, with many famous people (Greta Garbo amongst them) having stayed in the monastery’s cells. The monastery still serves as a simple but hospitable place to sleep, with breakfast served in the courtyard, followed by a swim at one of the island’s pristine beaches. If that’s not the good life, what is…?
Mouresi, Kissos, Agio Ioannis, Makrirachi
You’ll find the village of Mouresi after Tsagarada (heading towards Zagora). It’s a typical Pelion village, much-loved and surrounded by chestnut trees, at a height of 350m. It is also known for its delicious food. Amongst the delicacies are spetsofai (local spicy sausage in a red sauce with green peppers) with galotiri (a soft cheese made of feta, yogurt and milk) … all washed down with local red wine.
Just like the ivy plant after which it is named, Kissos climbs up the mountainside. It doesn’t matter what route you take to get here, the journey to Kissos is amazing. You follow a winding road in the shade of huge trees (beeches, chestnuts, walnuts and firs) that in many places block out the sun completely. From the very first houses, you’ll see the architectural and cultural heritage of a village in which the great 18th-century Greek writer, political thinker and revolutionary Rigas Feraios once taught in the local school. The church of Agia Marina, amongst the most beautiful basilicas of Pelion, takes pride of place in the square, which hosts one of Pelion’s biggest festivals and summer concerts. For coffee and sweets, head to Scholarhio, a landmark of the village.
Tip: Take a detour to Anilio and ask for the Woman’s Cooperative where you’ll find fantastic myrtle marmalades. The taste is indescribable.
Mt Pelion may be renowned for its natural beauty and serenity, but it also has a social side. You’ll find it in Agios Ioannis, just 10 minutes from Kissos and 5 minutes from Agios Dimitrios (a point of interest on the way). Agios Ioannis is the busiest village in eastern Pelion, with plenty of choices for food and accommodation. You can enjoy a drink under plane trees or get some beach time on a sunbed by the Aegean Sea. It’s up to you. Either side of Agios Ioannis are the beaches of Papa Nero and Plaka, with unbelievable golden sand loved by kids and adults alike. And what about a beach party with a night swim? Told you Agios Ioannis would connect you with your social side. Alternatively, another road leads to Damouchari beach.
The village of flowers: gardenias, camellias, hydrangeas… they all find ideal growing conditions in Makrirachi. Unsurprisingly, many residents are involved in cultivation – apples mostly but flowers too. A local women’s cooperative organises a flower show on August 25. Make sure to try bread from the traditional wood-fired bakery in the village square and take a stroll around the village. The church in the square is dedicated St Ioannis Prodromos.
Hidden gem villages of Mt Pelion
Don’t say you’re not tempted. The unknown villages of Mt Pelion offer some of the most relaxing and stress-busting holidays in Greece but you’ll also find something amazing to do with every minute of your day.
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