Pilio (or Pelion) … The legendary mountain that is, according to Greek mythology, the summer residence of the Olympian Gods and the land of the Centaurs. The evergreen mountain of Pilio is unanimously considered to be one of the most beautiful parts of Greece.
Picturesque villages with unique architecture build on mountain slopes or hidden in green valleys. Steep trails and roads that end up in beautiful sandy beaches with crystal clear waters or snow filled vistas of the Aegean. Pilio is indeed an ideal destination for all four seasons!
A bit of mythology
In Greek mythology, Mount Pelion (which took its name from the mythical king Peleus, father of Achilles) was home to Chiron the Centaur, tutor of many ancient Greek heroes, such as Jason, Achilles, Theseus and the legendary Hercules.
It was here, near Chiron’s cave, that the marriage of Thetis and Peleus took place. The uninvited goddess Eris was seeking revenge for being kept on the outside and brought a golden apple with the inscription “To the Fairest.” This caused strife between goddesses Hera, Aphrodite and Athena, ultimately resulting in the Trojan War!
Things to do and see in Pilio
#1. Explore its villages
Visiting Pilio is an exhilarating experience all year round. Tour its picturesque villages, whether it’s in mid-winter when everything is covered in snow, or in spring when colorful wildflowers cover its slopes, which are full of fir, chestnut, oak and beech trees.
Portaria is perhaps the most cosmopolitan village in Pilio, mainly due to its proximity with Volos. It’s quite popular as a travel destination offering plenty of options to both to a skiing resort or the sea. Luxurious hotels, traditional hostels, rooms to let, restaurants and tavernas, coffee shops, bars, and souvenir shops will cover your every taste and need.
Zagora is the biggest village on the eastern side, boasting a great view to the Aegean Sea. A densely-populated village, Zagora revolves around the central square of Ag. Georgios that features a small church, famous for its altarpiece. Zagora is most famous for its internationally known apple orchards and the agricultural cooperative that manages to export them around the world.
Tsagarada is a low vibe, sparsely populated village located within an incredible forest. You can explore this wild and verdant natural wonder in a dozen different ways following the village’s iconic stone-paved streets. In spring, the damsons and apple trees are in full bloom, and the flowers will leave you with the sweetest of smells.
Milies is the starting point of the legendary steam train of Pilio, the so-called “Mountzouris” (meaning smudgy). This cozy and idyllic village is the starting point of many walking trails and tracks of unparalleled natural beauty. During winter, when the train stops operating, you can walk along its rail track and admire the iron bridge constructed by Evaristo de Chirico, father of the surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico. Or, you could take the path heading towards Vyzitsa and enjoy panoramic vistas of the Pagasetic Gulf.
Makrinitsa is the village known most for its panoramic views to Volos and the Pagasetic Gulf. It has retained Pilio’s traditional architecture, so you can admire its renovated lordly mansions, its romantic stone-paved alleys, its elaborate fountains, beneath super centenarian plane trees, all of which make Makrinitsa a breathtaking stop.
There are also many interesting art cafes and galleries revealing a somewhat localized artistic notion.
Pinakates, is a small village almost untouched by man, on the southern slopes of Pilio, looks like a little-hidden secret. People hardly knew of this magnificent place up until 1999. Its majestic nature, its serenity, its small central square sheltered under a big plane tree combined with its authentic scenery will make you think you’re in heaven.