Pelion is the land of the legendary Centaurs and the site chosen by the ancient gods for their weddings and celebrations.
A panorama from Pelion offers views of the valley, the mountains of western Magnesia, Mount Olympus, the plain of Thessaly and its nearby mountains, Mavrovouni, Euboea, Central Greece and the north Sporades islands.
Pelion is considered to be one of the most beautiful mountains in Greece, thickly forested, mainly of beech, oak, maple and chestnut trees. It is a popular tourist attraction throughout the year: hiking trails and stone paths give access to springs, coves and numerous beaches, sandy or pebbly, set among lusciously green slopes.
There are twenty-four villages in Pelion all preserving their traditional architecture with buildings in stone expertly carved of local grey, blue, or green slate and red clay. Built on terraces on the slopes they offer amazing views of the surrounding slopes and the sea. The houses have usually three floors with tall windows and painted ornamentation. “Lordly” mansions (the archontika) and towers, with exquisite visual characteristics, have been built during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Most significant of the Pelion villages are: Agios Georgios Nileias, Agios Lavrentios, Argalasti, Makrinitsa, Milies, Mouresi, Portaria, Tsangarada, Vyzitsa, Zagora.
The distinctive traditional architecture of the old houses with their narrow windows and decorated walls, stone stairways and roofs of grey or greeny slate; the Byzantine churches with wonderful wall paintings and icon screens; the winding cobbled paths, sculpted fountains, courtyards with basil and gardenia; squares paved with huge flag stones where the cheerful bubbling of a little brook is never absent -are typical features of a Pelion village.
The peninsula of Pelion hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece with crystal clear waters and surrounded by steep green mountain slopes. The best beaches are located at the eastern side of the peninsula. Agios Ioannis is the most popular and one of finest beaches, surrounded by amazing natural beauty, it is also touristicaly developed. Right next to Agios Ioannis, is the long and sandy beach of Papa Nero. With crystal water and lush greenery around, this is a gorgeous beach to relax. The long and sandy beach of Horefto located on the eastern side of Pelion provides many tourist facilities.
The higher elevations of the mountain receive enough snowfall so as to host skiing facilities that operate from Christmas to Easter. The Ski Center Agriolefkes, at 1471 meters, is 18 km away from the village of Agios Ioannis. There are five ski routes (tracks) with a total length of 15 km. Several amenities are provided: shelter, refreshments, restaurant, ski classes and skiing equipment. Pelion is also ideal, with its several trails, for all kind of cycling all year round.
Local cuisine specializes in charcuterie, its most famed dish being “spentzofáï”. Pelion is also renowned for its orchard fruit, the famous apple variety “firíki”. There is also wide cultivation of plums, especially mirabelles and greengages. Traditional home made sweets, especially spoon sweets and jams, are prepared and served as a warm welcome to visitors and guests.
A narrow gauge (60 cm) locomotive hauls a small train from the railway station of Ano Lechonia (12 km from Volos) to Miliés. The Pelion railway, dates back to 1892–1903 and was designed by the father of the famous painter Giorgio de Chirico, who was born in Volos. The train operates from Spring to Autumn.
The gateway to Pelion is the city of Volos, the capital of Magnesia, the coastal port city of Thessaly and the cultural and economic center of the area. It is situated midway on the Greek mainland, about 320 km north of Athens and 215 km south of Thessaloniki. With a population of about 150000, its port provides a bridge between Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Volos is served by a small airport located in Nea Anchialos with both regular and charter flights mainly during the tourist season. A new highway connects Volos to the Athens-Thessaloniki highway. Volos can be reached from the Athens and Thessaloniki airports in 3 hours and 30 minutes and 2 hours and 30 minutes respectively. For travelers wishing to use their own car there are Ferry Boat lines, which connect daily the ports Venice, Ancona, Bari, Brindisi in Italy with Igoumenitsa, 371 km from Volos.
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