Pelion or Pilio in Greece caters to all kinds of travelers – from the mountaineers to the sun worshippers, it offers an endless choice of activities for each tourists all throughout the year. Famous for its sunny beaches during the summer and also a popular destination for skiing during winter. Pelion is the name of the mountain dotted with traditional villages and on its shore, pristine beaches. I recalled a conversation I had with my sister who is the complete opposite of myself. She prefers outdoor activities like hiking during her holidays while I am happy and contented by just lounging around by a beautiful beach with a drink in hand. I thought Pelion would be a good destination for us if in case we travel together.
I’ve never heard of this place before, of course having a local with you when you travel to a foreign land is always an advantage – in Greece, of course it’s The Greek Mister who’s giving me the tour of this beautiful country. Pilio was our first stop for our 3-week Greek holiday. It was close to his city, Thessaloniki and also close to the port where we’re going to take the boat to go to our next destination. I must say that the beauty of this place is much more enhanced by the kindness of the people living here. I wasn’t sure if it was just me as a tourist who thinks this way but when I was speaking to the Greek Mister he told me that he too, thinks that the people of Pelion are much kinder than anywhere else we’ve been to in Greece.
Where We Stayed in Pelion:
It was all The Greek Mister’s decision-making in effect for this holiday which is normally the case whenever we go to Greece. I’m not really fussy about accommodations, I can stay wherever as long as there’s running water and it’s clean. Location is not really a priority for me when we travel to Greece since The Greek Mister always rents a car whenever we go there so exploring the area is never a hassle. Our accommodation in Pelion however is right in the middle of where the action is – Agios Ioannis beach. On top of that, it’s extremely clean and the owner is very hospitable and accommodating. It’s called Maria Rooms located in front of Agios Ioannis beach itself. The room was quite small but it has everything you need – a kitchenette, cable TV, air-conditioning (which is not very normal in Greece), bathroom and a small veranda. On top of all that, Maria the owner cleans the room 3 times a day. The Greek Mister and myself were joking that she must have an obsessive compulsive disorder of keeping the place clean which the two of us are suffering too. Lol. It was EUR40 per night.
Where We Ate in Pelion:
Greece is famous for its fresh and very tasty cuisine, it’s impossible not to gain weight when you’re in holiday in Greece. I know this for a fact since I always come back with a few more inches added to my waistline whenever I finish a Greek holiday. We had our first dinner at Pelion Plaza, a taverna fronting the beach of Agios Ioannis. We had of course a Greek seafood feast and I was so happy to have a taste of my favorite Greek dish, Gavros Marinatos which is marinated anchovies. The anchovies are raw and marinated in vinegar, much like a ceviche of South America. The total bill of our dinner was EUR48.30 including alcoholic drinks.
We drove up to a mountain village called Kissos on our second day and decided to have our dinner at one of the tavernas there. The really great thing about Greece is since most of their dishes are sourced out from their own locality, each places have their own specific dishes they are specializing in. You will never find a seafood dish when you’re in a mountain village and although there is no scarcity of meat when you eat at a beachfront taverna, their specialty is mostly focused on seafood. In Kissos, we decided to eat at a very charming taverna called H Klimataria. Their veranda gives you a view of the lush, green forest which is somehow a welcome treat for our eyes which have been used to seeing the blues and greens of the sea. We had cooked lamb and rooster, both extremely tasty and good. The total bill for our dinner was EUR30 including a small pitcher of local wine.
On our last night, we had our dinner at one of the tavernas in Damoucharia beach. It’s called O Mparmpastergios which offers an amazing view of the Damoucharia cove. Again, we had a Greek seafood feast and it is here that I had the most amazing calamari so far for this holiday. I can still taste it as I write this entry. Yum!
Things To Do in Pelion:
We only stayed for 4 days and 3 nights in Pelion so we didn’t really have enough time to explore much of the area. We did of course stayed for at least 3 hours in each of the beaches that we were able to visit while there.
Agios Ioannis Beach
Although we were located in Agios Ioannis beach, we didn’t really spend time there. In fact, we didn’t even manage to go down to the beach area as we were always either just walking along the pathwalk or eating/drinking at one of the bars/restaurants with Agios Ioannis beach as the view. It’s not that it’s not beautiful, it’s just too busy for us.
Papa Nero Beach
Very close to Agios Ioannis is Papa Nero beach which is famous for campers. A huge camping ground is available in this area. We didn’t spend much time there in fact, we actually just passed by it since it was full of kids (read: teenagers) and it wasn’t really for us.
From Agios Ioannis, we hiked through big boulders of rocks to get to the other side which is called Plaka beach. After the 10-minute hike (probably only 5 minutes for normal and fit people who doesn’t have a slight fear of heights), diving into the waters of Plaka beach was extremely refreshing. There is a bar at the top of the mountain overlooking the sea which I forgot the name. Shame on me! Anyway, if you find yourself there – do visit this bar as the views from up there was fantastic!
Mylopotamos Beach made it to my favorite beaches of all time. I like a beach which has a character and the natural door carved through the rocks of the mountain surrounding this beach which leads t another cove made me fall in love with it. The sea during the time we visited it was quite rough though and since I’m not a very good swimmer, I just had fun playing with the waves like what a kid would do.
This beach looks like a setting for a Hollywood movie, which as it turns out – it actually is. It’s one of the places where the very famous Mamma Mia movie was filmed. You’ll see all sorts of tourist information guide plastered onto the walls of Damouchari village to give you a glimpse of what it was like when the cast and crew of the film spent 3 full days in this area. It’s absolutely lovely! I specially love the small cove where tavernas are lined up.
Kissos Mountain Village
Pelion is famous for its charming and picturesque mountain villages and I was very lucky that The Greek Mister was up for a short drive from the beach to go to the nearest mountain village called Kissos. Up there, there is a drastic change in temperature. We just came from the beach when we went up there and our clothes were still wet from all the swimming, so as soon as we arrived in Kissos – the drop in temperature made us shiver. It wasn’t until we finished our meal did it become unbearable so I’m glad that we were able to enjoy our short stay somehow.
We didn’t even scratch the surface of what Pelion has to offer so I’m pretty sure that we’ll have to go back there at one point or another to explore it even further.
Tips for visiting Pelion:
* If you are going to drive going to Pelion, be ready for the numerous toll gates that you’re going to pass through. From Thessaloniki, I think we’ve passed through about 6 toll gates with fees ranging from EUR1.5 to EUR4.00 each. The travel took us about 4 hours with a stopover for some snacks.
* Staying in Agios Ioannis was a very good decision for us. Although the beach is not the best there is in Pelion, it is where the action is. So if you’re like us who would like to have a drink or two in the evenings before going to bed, it’s the best place to base yourself in in Pelion.
* The beaches that we’ve visited are mostly organized with beach umbrellas, beach chairs, shower and a restaurant/bar/cafe nearby. Be ready to pay EUR5 – EUR8 if you’d like to rent your own beach umbrella. They don’t provide beach towels though.
* There are some taxis available in Pelion however, the best way to explore this place entirely is by having your own car or maybe even a moped. Should you decide to rent a car, do get something small and compact as the roads are narrow and steep. Parking is also a bit of a hassle specially in famous beaches.
Related Blog Posts:
PHOTO BLOG: From Thessaloniki to Pelion. From a City to a Paradise.
Papa Nero Beach, A Camper’s Haven in Pelion, Greece.
Starting Our Greek Holiday in Plaka Beach, Pelion
A Breathe of Fresh (And Chilly) Air in Kissos Mountain Village in Pelion, Greece.
Damouchari Beach in Pelion, An Underrated World-Class Beauty
Awaken Your Senses in Agios Ioannis Beach, Pelion.