You may have heard of the “Grand Tour of Pelion.” In the 80’s it was the absolute trend in the domestic vacation adventures of the Athenians. It included an obligatory stop at Chania for spetzofai, a quick dip in the crispy waters of Agios Ioannis, and a bunch of car-sick passengers in the back seat. The full day trip on the Pelion slopes lingered in everyone’s memory as an adventure of epic proportions – sea and mountain, swimsuit and jacket, frape coffee and mountain tea, all in one day. Having experienced the magnitude of the task, they were all boasting “We did the Pelion Grand Tour!”
“The volume of the mountain.” If you want to know how this expression translates in our region, take off for the Grand Tour of Pelion. Leaving Volos behind, you will head to Milies, then Tsagkarada, pass by Zagora, go up to Chania, and then go down again to Portaria and the port of Volos. That’s how you get to know the mountain, its sheer volume, magnitude, and “pride” as the Greek poet Drosinis would say. You will be able to understand a lot about Pelion’s history - why the Centaurs lived in its slopes and caves, the necessity for the Zagora ships, the reason why the Ottomans never lived on this mountain, and why Pelion became the third in importance monastic community in the country after Mount Athos and Meteora.
Even today, there are a lot of people who come to Pelion with this same objective – the Grand Tour. Individual travelers in comfy SUVs, young couples on motorbikes, big families in campers, groups of tourists loaded in old buses, depart daily for the Grand Tour of Pelion. Despite the exhaustion and the long hours of driving, the twisty road, and the continuous elevation change, in some magical way Pelion never fails to mesmerize them all.
There is, however, the other, the Pelion “Small Tour,” for those who prefer to get acquainted not with the mountain itself but rather with its villages, the locals and their lifestyle, their architecture and food. For this less demanding tour, you leave Volos and start heading east, turn left at Ano Lechonia and take the road up to the mountain. The “Small Tour” will lead you to four spectacular villages, each unique and different from the others and you will decide which one will become your favorite: Agios Georgios, Pinakates, Vizitsa, Milies. Incredible mountain and sea views will accompany you along the way. Enjoy the steep slopes, the remarkable variety of architectural styles, the picture-perfect village squares, centuries-old monasteries, marble fountains, and gastronomic surprises - you choose what you will do in each village. After Milies, take the road down to the seaside village of Afissos, and end your day with a quick swim or a drink. The vistas, the smells, and the flavors of the “Pelion Small Tour” will linger with you for a long time.