Pelion, or Pilio in Greek, is a mountainous peninsula in the shape of a hook, located near the town of Volos
. It belongs to Magnesia
, one of the administrative units of Thessaly
region which includes not only Pelion, but also a large area around Volos. Pelion is known as the Land of Centaurs because according to Greek mythology, it was home of Chiron the Centaur. The mythical Cave of Chiron is supposed to be 1 km away from Millies village.
Pelion is a beautiful combination of mountain, sea and traditional villages with preserved old houses. There are 24 villages on the peninsula, with authentic architecture and stone buildings. Each village has the so called plateia (πλατεία) which means "square" - it is a small spot closed for cars, usually next to a church and with taverna(s) and cafe(s). There is no chance to miss it when the road passes by it, or in some cases you will see signboards leading to the plateia and the tavernas, especially in small villages where the square is away from the main road and sometimes accessible only on foot. Most of the houses are functioning as boutique hotels or guest houses and many of them have the word "Archontiko" in the name, which means "mansion". Some of the small seaside settlements are not considered villages as they are inhabited only in summer and have only hotels and tavernas. Foreign tourists were not acquainted with Pelion until recently, maybe because it is difficult to travel, because it is not an island, or because it was not much developed to attract mass tourists. Today however, you can meet people from all countries though not as much as on the islands. The most popular villages are Makrinitsa
, Millies and Vizitsa
The main road which connects the east and west side of the peninsula is away from the sea and has many curves and hairpin turns, that is why even small distances take more time than expected. The highest settlement of Pelion, Chania
, is built at an altitude of 1300 meters and 2 km from it is Agriolefkes Ski Resort. The east side is more picturesque and rocky, with deeply indented coast and lots of coves and blue water beaches. The beaches have mainly pebbles or stones but some of them are among the most photogenic beaches of Greece, like Mylopotamos and Fakistra.
A car is highly recommended for your holiday in Pelion otherwise it would be very difficult to explore it. The beaches on the east coast are accessible via steep roads with no public transport between them. Hiking trails are available in some areas to connect a couple of beaches but they also take a lot of time to cover and steep hills to conquer.