Pelion walking holiday in Greece

“Enjoy a week of walking in amongst the foothills of Mount Pelion where ancient forest footpaths lead to remote monasteries, white washed chapels and untouched Aegean beaches. ”

Highlights

Kastraki | Meteora | Kalambaka monasteries | Mount Pelion | Milies | Tsagarada | Damouchari | Agios Ioannis | Aegean beaches | Makrinitsa village | Chania | Optional hikes to Agriolefkes |

Description of Pelion walking holiday in Greece

Follow in the playful footsteps of the gods as you embark on a walking holiday in Greece that combines the traditions of mountain and beach communities with the dense forested slopes of Mount Pelion in central Greece.

Once the home of Chiron the Centaur and renowned as the playground of the gods who resided on Mt Olympus, Pelion is an extremely important site in Greek mythology and certain to enthuse walking holiday makers interested in unspoiled natural landscapes.

Several traditional mountain villages feature prominent stone built properties and characterful central squares with walks to hidden beaches and crystal clear coves providing a spot of sunshine away from the shade of the dense beech, oak and chestnut forests that stretch up and away from the coast.

Pelion holidays are perfect for walkers who love breathtaking sea views, peace and solitude; with villages, such as Makrinitsa, the ‘Balcony of Pelion’, providing all of the above alongside traditional tavernas where beef, bean and oven baked pasta dishes offer hearty sustenance after a good morning spent outdoors.

This walking holiday in Greece can be undertaken either as part of a small group or as a private journey with significant historic sites, such as the monasteries of Meteora, adding to the enjoyment of smoothed stone paths and spectacular views over the Pelion Peninsula.

Throughout the walks you’ll be accompanied by experienced and officially qualified mountain guides who offer a mine of information on all things Greek not to mention which regional menu items come highly recommended.

What’s included on this Pelion Peninsula walking holiday:

- Seven breakfasts, two lunches, four picnics and seven dinners
- Seven nights double en-suite room accommodation
- Luggage transfers between hotels
- Airport transfers [Thessaloniki] and all overland transportation
- Sightseeing tours (depending on time)
- English-speaking guide/escort throughout
- Activities mentioned within the itinerary, and local taxes

Additional info:
- Minimum age: 12 years old
- Anyone under 18 years must be accompanied by an adult
- This Pelion Peninsula walking holiday itinerary is subject to change at the discretion of the tour leader to account for weather conditions and exceptional circumstances

Accommodation details:
All guest houses and hotels have been hand-picked to represent the character and hospitality of local life on the Pelion Peninsula. In general you’ll be staying in smaller, independently owned properties that are run by local families who will be happy to discuss their own personal walking routes and the secret spots that are well off the tourist radar.

Accommodation has all been personally inspected and experienced by qualified team members with en-suite facilities, including: shower, WC, air-con, telephone and TV, adding to comfortable double room sleeping arrangements.

Departure dates:
This tour can be tailor-made to any reasonable date although there are several small group dates that are guaranteed for April, May, September and October; please get in touch for more information.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Meet your guide at Thessaloniki Airport before transferring to the village of Kastraki which is situated amongst the sandstone pillars and rock monoliths of Meteora. Settle into your guesthouse accommodation before enjoying your first evening meal at a local taverna in Kastraki.
Day 2:After breakfast at your hotel looking out across to the rocks of Meteora you'll head off with your guide on your first hike; you'll walk between the rocky pinnacles of the famous monasteries, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The traditional and the best way to explore the beauty of this unique area, avoiding the tourist crowds, is on foot so you'll walk on the same old trails as the monks did in centuries past, experiencing the sanctuaries built on these natural sandstone rock pillars. Along the way you will spot some of the earliest stages of occupation by the monks, simple cave dwellings and more elaborate "monasteries" hundreds of feet up the side of the rocks. Ample time will be given for photography and at the end of the tour you will depart for the picturesque village of Milies in Mount Pelion.
Day 3:Today you will hike on an old stone path as you follow the old steam engine train route from Milies to the train station of Pinakates and continue on to the village of Kala Nera. As you hike through the olive orchards you'll have a stunning view of Pagasitikos Bay. Upon arrival in Kala Nera you'll swim and have lunch at a quaint fishing taverna before hiking back to Milies.
Day 4:Today’s hike will take you to the opposite side of the mountain. From Milies, which is on the south west side of the mountain, you'll travel north-easterly to Tsagarada and Damouchari through an enchanting forest road teeming with tall chestnut trees and other greenery. In Tsagarada you'll see the oldest plane tree in Europe, more than 1750 years old, and enjoy a pleasant picnic beside a charming white chapel along the hillside. After lunch descend to Damouchari beach crossing of one of the most beautiful old stone paths and walk through the lovely seaside village which may be already familiar to those who have seen the movie “Mamma Mia” since many scenes from the movie were filmed here in 2007.
Day 5:The destination on today's hike is the isolated beach of Fakistra with its crystal clear blue water. Following the coastal path with magnificent views of the Aegean Sea, you can enjoy a refreshing swim followed by a delicious picnic lunch. Late in the afternoon you will return along the same path to Damouchari.
Day 6:Today's hike begins at Damouchari taking the shoreline path to Agios Ioannis and the breathtakingly white sandy beach of Papa Nero. It would be a crime not to leave ample time for a splash in the turquoise waters before beginning the ascent to Chania.
Day 7:Today you will follow the same path that was used, according to Greek Mythology, by the Centaurs. The centaurs were half-horse half-human creatures that constantly struggled with their two natures, one beastly and one civil. The best known however of their breed and a notable exception was Chiron, famous for his modest and learned ways. He was known for his medicinal skills and teaching abilities and was the tutor of a number of mythical Greeks such as Achilles an Asclepius. This path, which begins in Chania at an altitude of approximately 1200 meters and overflowing with Mediterranean vegetation, leads you to the village of Portaria. In the afternoon discover yet another incredibly beautiful village of Pelion – that of Makrinitsa or “the balcony of Pelion”. With its historic old mansions and stunning view of the Pagasitikos Bay and the city of Volos below, hence its nickname, the beauty of Makrinitsa will become etched in your memory forever.
Day 8:Depart Makrinitsa after breakfast and transfer to Thessaloniki Airport in order to meet your scheduled flight back home.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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02 May 2019
£915
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20 May 2019
£925
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30 May 2019
£945
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07 Sep 2019
£925
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01 Oct 2019
£905
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Pelion walking holiday in Greece

Environment

Our aim is to promote ecotourism and sustainable adventure holidays at the same time as providing a unique travel experience and allowing you to enjoy the fantastic nature and scenery of this wonderful part of Greece, a world away from busy tourist resorts.

Our treks and holidays throughout Greece, encompassing National Parks, Protected Environmental Areas, Archaeological Sites, Caves & Hot Springs - places that have great natural, geological, cultural, and historical value, and the local guides provide further information about the environment and the benefits of sustainable adventure holidays. All staff have a wide knowledge of local areas that you visit during the trips and, most importantly, they know how to protect them.

On this tour we use a Hyndai mini van with natural gas fuel (currently this is the most environmentally friendly fuel source for vehicles); and we keep our groups to a maximum of 8 persons to avoid excessive trampling on the sensitive coastal paths, in particular. In all of our tours we try to avoid as much driving as possible. So we walk. Just this fact helps makes our tours more sustainable. Especially during the spring time, we see a lot of orchids in Pelion. Although for all of our visitors it is obvious, we inform them that orchids are rare and protected. More interested visitors get details about the Greek Flora and Fauna which is one of the richest in Europe.

We strongly believe in the need to protect and enhance the places we travel to, and in the potential of responsible tourism, to be a positive force in environmental and cultural conservation. Our guides provide lots of information to our clients and encourage them to research and support the two specific NGOs:

1. Archelon - The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece
2. Arcturos - The Society for the Protection of Wildlife in Greece (with current emphasis on the Brown Bear and Wolf).

For 2016 & 2017 they plan to donate a percentage of the tour price to maintain ancient paths in the Zagoria area (Vikos National Park) and Pelion.

We ask all our customers to respect the fragile mountain environment by, for example, taking their litter away with them. All our trips are either in very small groups or tailor made for individuals to minimise the impact of large groups on this mountain region.

Community

100% of our guides and drivers in Greece are local people. We firmly believe that a local licensed guide can offer more insight into the countryside and region as a whole as well as enhancing the local economy. Their expertise and local knowledge will enhance your experience and understanding of the historical context and the environmental impact of your visit. This is preferable, in our opinion, than sending a guide from another country or even from elsewhere in Greece. All food on the included trek is bought locally, which provides employment for local shops.

The accommodation used on the tour is in small, family run establishments which have been in business for many years. Many of these hotels are traditionally built, respecting the local architecture and surroundings. Of course at the same time, these enterprises have to offer high standard of quality in dining and accommodation. Food in the hotels is primarily sourced locally. Last, but not least, we have a personal relationship / friendship with all of our providers.

In Meteora we stay in Hotel Dellas, which is owned from the family Dellas; they have 5 more employees, all locals from Kastraki and Kalambaka. We have our lunches and dinners at the Restaurant Paradisos, a family run (couple serving and mother is the cook) with 2 more employees. In Pelion, we mainly stay in Hotel Triantafiles, operated by the same family who owns the restaurant Kritsa at the village's main square. In Milies we use the family run Hotel Dryalos and our favourite restaurant on the whole trip is there - the “Panorama”. Depending on arrival and departure of the flights, we visit two more family run restaurants. One is a small fish taverna in Platamonas by the sea named “To Kaiki Tou Saki” (our head guide says it maybe the best fish restaurant he ever ate in) and in Veria a traditional taverna named Aggelikon.

In all of these villages, the main income of the locals is tourism. Since the economic crisis in Greece, the number of the Greeks visiting the area reduced dramatically. There are no official reports to support this statement yet, but we know it. Greeks used to be the majority of the tourists in the area now only some Greeks can afford a trip there.

3 Reviews of Pelion walking holiday in Greece

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 24 May 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Meteora in the mist, ancient plane trees in Village Squares, magnificent temperate rain forests, warm and generous hospitality from our hosts,the walk to and swim at Fakistra beach (dancing snakes included), quirky Damouchari and of course the delicious and abundant food.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


A reasonable level of fitness and good walking boots help. Oh, and a large
appetite a must!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. Most of the walks were on ancient paths currently being maintained by local conservation groups. Accommodation was in family run Hotels and we ate at local family run Tavernas.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Overall, a wonderful experience. We were sad to leave the breathtaking and
mystical area of Meteora. The Pelion delighted with it's ancient walking
tracks and it's ever changing verdant Springtime scenery. Our guide Alex
proved to be a friendly, knowledgeable, patient and understanding guide. We shared lot's of laughs and really appreciated being picked up and dropped off at Athens. Generally a paradise for walkers and food lovers alike.

Reviewed on 16 May 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Every walk was in itself memorable.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?




3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It benefited local people for sure and supported conservation, as the guide is for sure taking care of the condition of the paths within his possibilities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Among the group organized holiday, this is the best I have ever had.

Reviewed on 17 May 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Our guide Thanasis Pantes who runs walking holidays in this part of Greece (Pelion peninsula) was simply outstanding. He was a mine of information about all things Greek: culture, politics, food, history, mythology etc. He grew up in the area and knows all the footpaths, local restaurants, best items on the menu to choose and so on. The views of the monasteries in Meteora, the walks along
the cliffs overlooking tiny unspoiled beaches were particularly memorable.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared to experience a variety of accommodation--it isn't all 5 star! But even the simplest had something to offer like a wonderful location, and our favourite the Triantafillies guest house in Portaria had the best breakfast!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely. For example, Thanasis used locally-owned restaurants which might have been overlooked by tourists.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Memorable! I particularly enjoyed trying all the wonderful Greek food.

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