Pelion, the Mountain of Centaurs
Pelion is one of the most beautiful mountains and holiday resorts in Greece at 1.624 metres above sea level. In Greek mythology it was the summer home of the gods and the homeland of the Centaurs.
Important things to see in the Pelion area are: the architecture of Pelion, the churches, the beaches, the little train of Pelion, the Ski Centre.
Mouresi is one of the oldest villages of Pelion and is located at a distance of 45 km from Volos (through Portaria) or of 43 km going through Milies and it is at 360 metres above sea level. For 12 years it served as the capital of the Municipality of Mouresi, until the 31st December 2010.
The village has a view of Kissos, Agios Dimitrios, Agios Ioannis and the deep, blue Aegean Sea, while its seaport is that of Damouchari. When the village of Mouresi was founded and by whom remains unknown. However, it is almost certain that there was a settlement there in ancient times and the ancient grave discovered in 1934, very close to the church of Agia Paraskevi, supports this view.
The church of Agia Paraskevi was built in 1792, but the oldest church is that of Agia Triada which is located at the centre of the square of Mouresi (Konstantis Rentsos Square), in the shadow of three huge linden trees. In the church of Agia Triada you can admire the wonderful “perforated iconostasis”.
In the old days, Mouresi was built on the coast of Damouchari and from approximately 1600 onwards the residents began to move upwards, to the area of the current village. From here you can walk along paths that lead towards Tsagarada and Damouchari in the incredible, lush forest. Mouresi’s geographical location makes it the ideal hideaway for both winter and summer leisure breaks.
Beaches of Eastern Pelion
The beaches of Pelion on the side of the Aegean Sea as well as the side of the Pagasetic Gulf, are renown for their clear, blue waters and many have been awarded the blue flag by the European Union. There are beaches to suit all tastes: quiet or busy, with sand or pebbles.
Between the beaches of Agioi Saranta and Agios Ioannis, lies the beach of Plaka with clear, blue waters and small pebbles. It has beach umbrellas as well as a bar.
A long, sandy beach with facilities, located in the settlement of Agios Ioannis. There are many restaurants, bars, cafés, bakeries, mini markets and souvenir shops and for this reason it attracts many tourists in the summer months.
A beautiful, long, beach with tiny pebbles, located next to the beach of Agios Ioannis. There are beach facilities, restaurants and cafés.
The beach of Damouchari is located by the settlement of Damouchari. Uniquely picturesque and marked by a wild beauty, the beach of Damouchari is essentially cut in half by a headland that protrudes out to the sea. The beach of Palia Damouchari is a nice beach with pebbles while Kainourgia Damouchari has a natural harbour – the only on the eastern side of Pelion, the historical “Skala” of Magnisia, an area busy with shipping and commerce in the past. The beach is ideal for snorkelling due to its rocky seabed. There are restaurants, cafés, souvenir shops. It was here that some of the filming for the well-known film “Mamma Mia” took place. A cobblestone path connects it to Tsagarada.
Fakistra and “Krifo Scholio” (Secret School)
The beach of Fakistra is unique and possibly the most beautiful beach of Pelion. It is small in size, isolated, sandy and with small pebbles and turquoise waters. It is below Tsagarada. You can park your vehicle where the road ends and then follow the path down to the beach (about 200 metres). The sight will surprise you! There are no beach facilities. In the parking area there is also a path that leads to the cave where, during the Turkish occupation, “Krifo Scholio”(Secret School) operated. Don’t miss it! There are relevant signs to guide you.
A very beautiful and well-known beach of Pelion with sand and pebbles. The distinctive and oft photographed rock, imposingly towers between the two coves of the beach. There are beach facilities, bars and restaurants.
A very small, sandy beach with facilities, located in the settlement of Labinou. You have to leave your vehicle where the road ends and walk a little to reach the beach.
Limnionas is located between Mylopotamos and the beach of Labinou and is sandy with small pebbles. Access is not very easy since in a number of places there is only a dirt road.
The seaport of Zagora, it lies along an extensive, wide, sandy beach. There are beach facilities, many restaurants and cafés. Centuries old plane trees line the coastal road of the settlement, which is built in an area densely planted with olive trees.
It is located at a 3 km distance from Chorefto, a sandy beach with distinctive rocks. It has beach facilities.
Villages of Eastern Pelion
The largest of the main villages of Pelion, it comprises four districts: that of Agia Paraskevi or Perachora, that of Agia Kyriaki, that of Agiou Georgiou and that of Sotiros. Zagora was built around the historical Monastery of Metamorfosis tou Sotiros which was founded in 1160, and reached its peak in the 17th-18th centuries.
It is worth visiting the Ellinomouseio of Zagora, the churches of Agia Paraskevi and Agia Kyriaki. In the three-aisled basilica of Agios Georgios you can see the gilded, wood carved iconostasis and the intricate pulpit, both true works of art.
Make sure you visit the Women’s Agrotourism Cooperative of Zagora to purchase “spoon sweets” (sweet fruit preserves) and various delicacies made with great care and artistry from traditional recipes handed down from generation to generation.
The neighbouring village of Pouri is located at 450 metres above sea level. A traditional mountain village surrounded by a forest of chestnut and apple trees, it is separated from Zagora by a verdant creek and it is the last village on the road network of eastern Pelion.
In the village square, known as the “Balcony of the Aegean Sea”, visitors can enjoy their meal with a view of the beach of Chorefto and, if they are lucky and the horizon is clear enough, they may be able to see Chalkidiki in the distance. The beaches of Elitsa and Analipsi are located at a distance of 3km from Pouri, and at a distance of 8km, Ovrios. All are secluded beaches, ideal for swimming. Pourianos Stavros, the highest peak of Pelion at 1615 metres above sea level, is also found here. The picturesque chapel of Panagia tis Rasovas (13th century) can be found approximately halfway on the route from Zagora to Pouri.
You can visit Makryrrachi and purchase the renown flowers of Pelion: gardenias, camellias, hydrangeas, weigelas. The village was named Makryrrachi (“long ridge”) because it is built on a long ridge that reaches the sea.
Today, Makryrrachi also has a Women’s Agrotourism Cooperative which is active in the field of local product cultivation and trade (flowers, aromatic plants). Agioi Saranda is located at a distance of 3km from Makryrrachi: a beach with golden sand and clear, blue waters.
Hidden behind the mountain ridge, Anilio (“sunless”) probably owes its name to the fact that “in the winter the sun almost never reaches it”.
Visitors here should visit the small picturesque square where the church of Agios Athanasios is located. The church is an important religious monument, with one of the best wood carved, baroque iconostases of Pelion. Aside from the tourism services, the presence of the local Women’s department of the Agricultural Cooperative is noteworthy as it promotes the locale through traditional delicacies, sweets and drinks.
Kissos is the village with the highest elevation amongst the villages of Eastern Pelion. It is uniquely picturesque, surrounded by the greenery of a beautiful landscape, it is hidden from the “uninitiated”.
The three-altar, three-aisled basilica of Agia Marina, evidence of the village’s former prosperity and a celebrated landmark, can be found at the equally beautiful village square. It is considered one of the finest religious monuments of Pelion and one of the best examples of its type. This renown church is fully renovated, and was decorated with the best wood carved iconostasis of Pelion in the second half of the 18th century. It also boasts religious and genre paintings as well as crisp landscape paintings. The church of Agia Marina houses the Ecclesiastical Museum of the village in one of its chapels, where old paintings and ecclesiastical archival documents can be found.
A picturesque village which lies on a verdant ridge descending to the sea. Its name is taken from the old monastery, which has given way, in recent years, to today’s magnificent, metropolitan church. Scattered in the greenery, with noteworthy frescos and iconostases, are the chapels of “Ai-Giannakis”, Agios Georgios, Panagias and Sotiros. The village is emerging as a holiday destination and has significant tourism infrastructure which is constantly evolving. Visitors can follow the well-maintained cobblestone paths to reach the beach of Ai-Giannis.
Situated across the Aegean Sea, and comprising four districts named after saints (Agion Taxiarchon, Agias Paraskevis, Agiou Stefanou and Agias Kyriakis), Tsagarada is immersed in the lush greenery of an area of immeasurable natural beauty. Visitors would be remiss not to visit the picturesque, shady squares with their remarkable churches: Agias Kyriakis, Agion Taxiarchon and Agias Paraskevis. The ancient plane tree towers over the later – a renown landmark of the area.
Following the “kalderimia” (cobbled paths), visitors will come across manors, old traditional buildings and ornate stone fountains.
The village is located on a verdant plateau, and it is here that the ravine of Koutra, the deepest of Pelion, begins. Visitors will be awed by the wild beauty of the landscape. Art enthusiasts should visit the picturesque church of Koimisi tis Theotokou, likely built in the 17th century, which has since been renovated with interesting post-Byzantine religious icons and a noteworthy wood carved iconostasis. Hikers should cross the old bridge, which connects Xourichti with Tsagarada.
Pelion has a large number of trails which are ideal for leisurely hiking, horse riding and mountain biking. The cobbled paths (“kalderimia”) of Pelion, along with the Volos – Milies rail-road, were, until the 1950s, the sole communication route between the villages themselves and with Volos. Despite the passage of time, many of the paths are in very good condition thanks to the care of the local communities, affording visitors the opportunity to safely explore the mountain up close.
The Little Train of Pelion
The ascent to the beautiful hillsides of Pelion to Milies begins! One of the narrowest rail-roads in the world (60 centimetres) hosts the four carriages of the legendary “Moutzouris”, as the little train of Pelion was once called to highlight the smoke left in its wake. From Ano Lechonia to Milies, the route is mountainous, crossing the verdant hillsides, dense with plane trees and kermes oaks.
Pelion – Information
- Volos – Nea Achialos: +30 24280 76886
- Taxi Services: +30 24260 49204 Mobile: +30 6947 674 071
- Volos (OSE): +30 24210 28555 / 24056
- Athens (OSE): +30 210 5240646
- Thessaloniki (OSE): +30 2310 517517
Intercity Bus Stations:
- Volos (KTEL): +30 24210 33253 /25527
- Athens (KTEL): +30 210 8317186
- Thessaloniki (KTEL): +30 2310 543087
- “Skiathos Water Taxi”: From Skiathos to Karigiorgi/Platania, Pelion: +30 6980200200
- Port Authority of Volos: +30 24210 28888, 38888
- “Hellenic Seaways”: from Volos to Skiathos/Skopelos/Allonisos: +30 24210 23400 / 23415
- Mouresi: +30 24260 49557
- Anilio: +30 24260 31290
- Xourichti: +30 24260 49579
Pelion – Emergency Services
- Police: +30 24260 49222
- Tourist Police: +30 24210 76987
- Fire Brigade: +30 199
Hospitals – Pharmacies – Local Community Clinics:
- General Hospital of Volos: +30 24210 94200-20
- Health Centre of Zagora: +30 24260 22222
- Agios Ioannis Pharmacy: +30 24260 49549
- Tsagarada Pharmacy: +30 24260 49464
- Kissos Pharmacy: +30 24260 31929
- Makryrrachi Pharmacy: +30 24260 32100
- Local Community Clinic of Kissos: +30 24260 31210
- Local Community Clinic of Tsagarada: +30 24260 49208
- Cardiology and Diagnostic Centre of Anilio: +30 24260 32053 Mobile: 6985019944
Friday: 9:00-13:00 / 17:00-21:00
- Mouresi: +30 24260 4921
Banks on Pelion
- Eurobank in Tsagarada: ATM
- Piraeus Bank in Tsagarada: ATM
- Emporiki Bank in Portaria: +30 24280 99946
- Piraeus Bank in Zagora: +30 24260 22500