A short getaway to Mt Pelion

11 Feb
Milies Village, Pelion. Photo Source thepaper.gr

Milies Village, Pelion. Photo Source thepaper.gr

Pelion is a mountain in Thessalia, Greece that in Greek mythology was thought to be the homeland of  Centaurs. Today, the traditional villages of Pelion are an ideal destination for a weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of Athens or Thessaloniki. Keep in mind though that as they are over 20, and the distance between some of them can be long, you either need to choose a couple of them for your weekend or decide to take a longer break to have a better taste of Pelion. Here are the best choices if you decide to stay in the Milies area. Enjoy!

1. Rastoni Traditional Guesthouse 

Built on a hill just outside Vyzitsa, and about 2km from Milies, Rastoni Guesthouse  “is both the ideal departure point and the destination” when visiting Pelion. Each one of the 6 rooms is named after a female heroine of renowned Greek and International novels & poems. Every room has its own traditional fireplace, antique queen size iron bed and breathtaking view.

Rastoni rooms. Photo source: www.rastoni-pelion.gr

Rastoni rooms. Photo source: http://www.rastoni-pelion.gr

But these are not Rastoni’s best features! What makes this guesthouse unique is its owners; Georgia gets up every morning at 5 am and bakes traditional pies with home-made pastry and serves them along with other mouthwatering treats she makes herself with fresh, local ingredients and mountain tea, while her husband Kyriakos will provide you with logs for the fireplace, set the fire and give you the best insider’s tips for what to do and where to eat.

Rastoni rooms. Photo source: www.rastoni-pelion.gr

Rastoni rooms. Photo source: http://www.rastoni-pelion.gr

The magnificent surroundings, warm rooms and their heartwarming personality will make you fall in love with Rastoni from the very first day.

2. Vyzitsa & Waterfalls

Just 200m from Rastoni, you will find the closest village, Vyzitsa. Take your camera along and stroll around the minuscule streets and the central square, then head towards the village entrance.

Vizitsa main square by night. Photo source: drago, treckearth.com

Vizitsa main square by night. Photo source: drago, treckearth.com

There, you will find “Esperides”, the women’s traditional cooperative, where they make and sell delicious traditional local products (spoon sweets, preserves, traditional pasta, spirits and liquors) out of the finest ingredients of Mt Pelion.

Some of the Esperides women’s cooperative products. Photo source: pirouni.gr

Some of the Esperides women’s cooperative products. Photo source: pirouni.gr

If you feel like trekking, ask there for directions to “Argiraika” waterfalls. They may not be the most impressive you have seen but this short wander in the Pelian nature is really energizing and rejuvenating. For a glorious end to your Vyzitsa visit, and to replace the calories you just lost, head towards the main square again, and choose Yiorgaras tavern.

3. Anna, na ena milo

“Anna, na ena milo” in Greek means “Anna, here is an apple”, and it is a phrase that was used in the first Greek primer to teach children the letters m and n, as in Greek it contains these letters several times.

anna tabela pelion web

This little coffee shop in Milies (that means “Apple trees”), is themed after the aforementioned textbook; from the walls to the tableware, everything is about apples and antique primers.

anna

Here you will find a vast selection of traditional warm drinks and desserts that are definitively worth trying, but, surprisingly, the best feature of Anna, na ena milo is the “contemporary” desserts. 

Greek coffee traditionaly served at Anna, na ena milo. Photo source: foursquare.com

Greek coffee traditionaly served at Anna, na ena milo. Photo source: foursquare.com

My personal favourite is the lemon mousse; an exquisite creamy dessert with tingling lemony notes and the ideal amount of sweetness, combined with a crunchy topping of crushed roasted almonds … One of the best desserts I have ever tried.

4. Salkimi

Either you are looking for a place to have a full meal, or just to enjoy a carafe (or two!) of wine or tsipouro, Salkimi is the place for you. Here you will enjoy delicious local dishes, pies, meze and salads at reasonable prices (and really big portions). Our suggestions would be the Pastourmadopita and the Meatballs with tomato sauce.

pastoyrmadopita

And,if you choose to try the local tsipouro, they will offer you a complimentary meze (we had the Kayana (eggs and pepper with spicy tomato sauce) and it was simply delicious) .

5. Paliovigla

Between the villages Agios Georgios and Pinakates, you will find a wooden sign that says “Paliovigla”. Follow it, and you will be pleasantly surprised.

The wooden water fountain at Paliovigla. Photo by Stella Printezi

The wooden water fountain at Paliovigla. Photo by Stella Printezi

Hidden on the top of a hill, you will find a wooden ranch with all kinds of farm animals peacefully enjoying their day, eating and strolling around humans, water fountains, apple trees and euphoric children.

Paliovigla animals. Photo source: Paliovigla facebook page

Paliovigla animals. Photo source: Paliovigla facebook page

In the main wooden hut you will also find a cafe-restaurant where the owners prepare traditional dishes from their farms ingredients. It may not be the absolute gastronomic paradise, but the whole experience and the virgin ingredients make up for the rest.

6. The old train station

Right outside Milies you will find an old train station, with what seems like an antique train that must be placed there for mere decorative reasons.

Inside Moutzouris train. Photo source: kostas1975, flickr.com

Inside Moutzouris train. Photo source: kostas1975, flickr.com

But, wait a minute! There are passengers inside and it is moving?! That’s right, Mountzouris* (yes, it also has a name) is still in use. This historical lilliputian train was once the only means of transport between the city of Volos and the Pelion villages and it was used on a daily basis by commuters, merchants and visitors. Its rail system, still in perfect condition since it was built (1896) is one of the narrowest in the world, with a width of just 60cm.

Moutzouris train. Photo source: blog.gr

Moutzouris train. Photo source: blog.gr

Nowadays, it only departs twice a day and is mostly used by visitors, as its maximum speed is around 20km per hour and it takes about 90’ to cover the distance between Milies and Volos. However, it is totally worth the ride, as you will have the opportunity to admire a wonderful vista of the wild Pelian nature (and, given the speed, you will have plenty of time to take pictures!).

*Mountzouris means Smudgy. The train was called like that because it used to work with coal.

Stella Printezi

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One Response to “A short getaway to Mt Pelion”

  1. ACE of Greece February 12, 2014 at 09:13 #

    Reblogged this on ACE of Greece.

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