Nobody is pretending that Portaria is undiscovered, but if you wander off the main road to the cobbled streets, you will discover a true mountain village, with small rustic houses, vegetable gardens, and animal pens. Abundance is everywhere. Figs, pears, lemons, tangerines, and chestnuts are hanging down from the trees literally in the middle of the narrow village streets.
Named after the 13th century monastery dedicated to Panagia Portarea whose chapel survives to this day, Portaria is one of the most tourist friendly Pelion villages. Located half-way between Volos and the Pelion Ski Resort at the top of the mountain, Portaria serves mostly as a snowy hub for skiers as well as a gastronomy destination.
Portaria has been a vacation destination since the early 20th century and they sure know how to best serve their visitors. At the plateia of the village stand the remains of the "Theoxenia Hotel" (1892-1944), which was considered the most luxurious hotel in the Balkan region in the early 20th century. Politicians, businessmen and celebrities enjoyed here superb hospitality, exquisite meals and unforgettable cocktail parties. In 1944, Theoxenia was bombed by the Germans. Currently, the Greek authorities are undertaking restoration work in hopes of having the hotel operate again soon. Building on its tradition, Portaria is the only Pelion village with two large 4-star hotels (Pelion is home to hundreds of boutique hotels housed in old traditional mansions).
Pelion is famous for its "spoon sweets" (fruit preserves) and Portaria is one of the best places to buy some. Besides fruit, anything that grows on a tree becomes a preserve: chestnuts, walnuts, pistachios, and even olives. "Spoon sweets" of organic fruit with no added sugar is the latest trend.
Although a small village, Portaria offers a lot to the traveler: peace, a cosmopolitan feel, good food, shopping opportunities, quick access to the city of Volos and the ring road and even a breathtaking trail at the west edge of the village that bears the name “Trail of the Centaurs.”