#3. Hike, climb, ride, ski!
The many soft slopes and easily accessed peaks make Pilio a popular destination for hiking lovers and weekend mountain climbers. Visit one of the two mountain shelters, Agriolefkes or Agios Georgios of Zagora, to rest your weary knees from hiking or climbing. In Agriolefkes, near Hania, you will also find a neat and organized (albeit a bit small) skiing resort for winter enthusiasts, whereas the abundance of mountain routes and trails make Pilio ideal for mountain biking and horseback riding.
#4. Ride the steam train (Mountzouris)
This historical train that used to connect Volos and Milies, is literally running on the tracks of history. Its construction began in 1892 and was completed around 1903. The chief engineer of the project was Evaristo De Chirico, father of the acclaimed painter and sculptor Giorgio De Chirico.
This little steam train now crosses the mythical routes of the Centaurs and the Olympian Gods as, according to Greek mythology, Pilio was their summer habitat.
The train operates typically from spring to autumn. During this period you can get aboard for a cyclical trip in the mountainous part of the line, from Ano Lehonia to Milies, the only segment currently in operation. The running time is 1h 30m of landscape excellence, and it includes a 15m stop at the quaint station of Ano Gatzea, where coffee, local “tsipouro” and refreshments are available.
#5. Try the local cuisine
The area of Pilio benefits from a rich natural bounty. The mountain is most famous for its crisp red apples, but it also produces pears, quince, chestnuts and delicious wild mushrooms. Many of these are available as confitures or spoon sweets and when picking them up, don’t forget to add a few jars of mountain honey to your basket as well.
Pilio’s local cuisine is based on rustic fare such as sausage, game and wild boar. Specifically, the local dish of spetzofai (a sausage, pepper and tomato dish), was the kind of food meant to feed farmers and workers.
Humble yet delicious, the region’s food has developed in interesting ways, especially now that the younger generation has taken over the culinary helm.
Best of wishes for a wonderful stay at Pilio, the Mountain of the Centaurs!