northeast of Volos, the road bisects the charming suburb of
Ano Volos (5 km.), with the steep hill of Episkopi demarching
its eastern side. At the nearby villages of Anakasia and Ali
Meria, where there are some wall paintings by Theophilos, it
is worth stopping to admire the panoramic view of the
Pagasetic Gulf and the plain of Thessaly while seated in one
of the district's picturesque restaurants.
the ascent up the slope of the mountain, after Anakasia the
road leads to Portaria (13 km.,alt. 600 m.), a lovely summer
resort with abundant crystalline water and a number of hotels.
The village's delightful main square and the chapel of the
Panagia of Portaria with 16th century frescoes are sure to
make their impression. From Portaria west a fork in the road
winds up at a flat area filled with shady plane trees through
which the beautiful traditional village of Makrinitsa (17 km.,
alt. 750 m.) can be seen. Built amphitheatrically up the side
of the mountain, it offers a splendid view of the gulf below.
The flag stone lanes link its unique buildings, which because
of the steep slope are three story's on one side and only one
on the other. The higher facade is adorned with the wooden
balconies so typical of Pelion. Some of these old houses have
been restored by the Greek National Tourism Organization and
are operated as guest houses under its supervision. Try the
tasty local delicacies, bean soup and "spetzofai" -
a spicy concoction of sausages and peppers- served in the
traditional restaurants ("tavernakia") in the
square. And if you visit the area on May Day, you may see some
wild revels very reminiscent of ancient Dionysian rites.
up the mountainside past a series of stunning ridges, the main
road climbs up to Hania (26 km., alt. 1200m.), which has
become a winter sports centre thanks to the development of
Agriolefkes, where there is a refuge, ski lifts, a big slope
for experienced skiers and a separate area for beginners,
along with all the comforts of a modern ski resort.
the road starts to descend, weaving in and out of forests of
oak and chestnut trees to arrive at Zagora (47 km . from
Volos,alt. 480m), Pelion's largest village. If you can take
your eyes off the fantastic view of the Aegean Sea, pay a
visit to the famous school where many of the spiritual fathers
of the Greek Revolution studied, the historic library with
rare books and manuscripts, and the Byzantine churches of St.
Georgios and St. Kiriaki which contain richy carved icon
screens. You would be fortunate indeed if you happened upon a
traditional Pelion wedding celebrated in one of them. Don't
forget to refresh yourself with the sycculent apples of the
km. from Volos), the port of Zagora, lies 8 km. further east,
an irresistible spot with shining sea and a lovely beach,
while 6 km. to the north the road ends in Pouri (63 km. from
Volos, alt. 400 m.). Known as the "Balcony of the
Aegean", its three-tiered, three filled square has an
extraordinary view; on a clear day you can see as far as
Halkidiki. Heading south from Zagora, you come to the village
of Makrirahi (46 km. from Volos, alt. 300 m.). A deep dramatic
ravine seperates it from its neighbour Anilio (means without
sun), a typical Pelion hamlet.
south it is worth taking the secondary road off to the right
to climb up to Kisso (52 km. from Volos, alt. 550 m.), one of
the most mountainous villages on the eastern flank of Pelion,
drenched in a riot of greenery. Or you might prefer to take
the left hand fork and descend to the summer seaside resort of
Agios Ioannis (57 km. from Volos), where the green of the
mountain blends with the blue of the Aegean. You can swim for
miles along its enormous coarse - sandy beach and feast on
fish at the tavernas by the shore.
the main road, you next come to Mouressi (59 km. from Volos,
alt. 370 m.), built amphitheatrically amidst apple orchads and
chestnut woods. Of interest here is the wooden icon screen in
the church of the Vergin Dormition. From Mouressi, it's a
simple matter to get down to the pebbled beach at Damouhari.
Five kilometres after Mouressi, still driving through thick
forest, you arrive at Tsangarada, on the spine of Pelion (54
km. from Volos, alt. 450 m.). One of the most enchanting
summer resorts in Greece, it has ample hotels hidden among its
plane and chestnut trees. The villages houses, which are
divided into four levels, are strung out along the
mountainside and covered with lush vegeration. Characteristic
features of the village are its many old mansions, flag stoned
piazzas, picturesque cobbled alleys and a superb view of the
Aegean Sea, not to mention its emblem -the thousand year old
plane tree in the main square whose diametre measures 14
metres. Don't miss as well the chance to taste the local
specialities, "spetzofai" and "fasolada"
road takes you down to Milopotamos, the port of Tsangarada, 8
kilometres away. After following a series of steps cut out of
the rocky coast, you come to its sheltered beach composed of
lovely smooth round stones. Not far from Milopotamos there is
another beach in a bewitching setting - Fakistra.