Category Archives: VILLAGES

KISSOS

Kissos is a small mountain village situated in a superb location at 520 meters altitude, literally hidden in lush vegetation and almost “invisible”, as it is located about 2 km above the main road. Access to Kissos has improved in recent years thanks to the new road that connects the village with Chania: driving from Chania to the ski center of Agriolefkes, we find on our left a small sign Kissos. Following this indication through some dense forests we arrive in fifteen minutes at Kissos.

The beech and chestnut forests wrapped around the village are so tall and dense that at some points become impenetrable. Ivies of all kinds twist around the tree trunks, giving the village a special uniqueness, while maintaining its traditional color. It is a landscape embraced by the green and the most magnificent view over the Aegean, where you can easily relax and dream. Everybody who has visited Kissos has literally loved it.

Its beautiful cobbled square is dominated by the basilica of Agia Marina, that is considered one of the best and most representative ecclesiastic monuments on Mount Pelion. Agia Marina is famous for its history, its architecture and interior design. Built in 1650, it still impresses visitors with its gilded carved iconostasis inside, the four domes on the roof of the central aisle, painted by Constantine Pagonis and a number of frescoes of Byzantine icons and genre scenes. The first dome depicts Santa Marina and scenes from her life. The second dome depicts the Virgin Mary, the third depicts Christ and the fourth God as a venerable old man. The illustrations are very well preserved and the sacred temple, the famous landmark of the village and attracts many visitors each year.

On July 17th takes place the feast of Santa Marina with traditional dances and songs and with the participation of the entire village, while on September 20 is celebrated the memory of St. Eustatius. In the picturesque square you will come across the bust of Rigas Feraios.

Just outside Kissos, there are areas to visit on a horse or a 4×4, truly seducing paradises with numerous images of wild natural beauty and trails for all hiking lovers. There are small treasures for the traveler who wants to discover something of the unique charm of this landscape.

Kissos is a place to visit throughout the year. During winter (when the mountain is not snowy) you can go up to the ski center of Agriolefkes, located within walking distance. The new road connecting Chania with Kissos is then closed as it becomes a ski slope. In the summer you can go down for a swim at the sandy beaches of Agios Ioannis and Papa Nero or Damouchari, the fascinating beach with white pebbles.

Kissos is a village that gives you a genuine feeling of warmth, peace and tranquility, so it is ideal for both holidays or just a small stop.

 

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Tsagarada

 

One of the oldest Pelion villages, known to most Greek and foreign visitors as the “gem of the Pelion”. It lies at an altitude of 500 m, at a distance of 54km from the city of Volos. It dominates the eastern mountainside of Pelion and is clad with forests of plane trees, beeches and chestnuts. This together with the panoramic view to the blue sea offers a diverse scenery which is rare to Greece.

The history of the place starts in the 16th century and takes its definite form in the 17th. This is a large village and its biggest part is covered in thick vegetation, fruit bearing trees, cultivated plants and flowers.

The key feature of Tsagarada is the centenarian plane tree in the central square. It is a giant tree, measuring over 13 m. in diameter, which gives its shade generously. Tsagarada is found in the center of an area rich in monuments and staggering natural beauty. You will also find a cluster of small restaurants making the best of the local products.

Those who wish to travel to a place with endless beaches, azure waters and orange sunsets knows that Tsagarada is the best destination, since here the charm of nature is present everywhere. The ample options for short trips from here are opportunities to discover an area proud of its great history and traditions. The visitor has the chance of visiting well-preserved churches, walking along picturesque paths and wondering at the traditional architecture of the stately homes. The beauty of the earthly paradise of Tsagarada leaves no one unmoved.

 

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Portaria

Portaria is a very beautiful, traditional mountainous settlement at a distance of just 13 km from Volos. It is built at an altitude of 650 m, near “Panagias tis Portareas” monastery dating back in the 13th century. The monastery gave its name to the area.

The breath-taking scenery, the refreshing fountains and the stately homes make Portaria an attractive destination to those who love peace, quiet and natural beauty. The evidence of human presence blends harmoniously with the splendour of the natural surroundings covered with dense forests. You will discover the charm of the place if you take your time to ramble in the cobbled narrow lanes of the village filled with the fragrance of the thick vegetation. This together with the plentiful water of the area offer a fantastic diversity of natural materials and a palette of colours and history.

Portaria is the village nearest to Volos and that is why it has taken up the role of the “welcoming hostess” to visitors. It used to be the most important trade center among the Pelion villages, while, after 1900, its hotel “Theoxenia” was a fine example of the terrific financial boom that took place, since it was considered the largest and most luxurious hotel in the Balkans. Unfortunately it was destroyed during the German Occupation. Its remnants on the village square are evidence of the importance and the splendour that characterized Portaria in those years.

The area is ideal for both winter and summer holidays as it offers a great variety of alternative sports. In the winter you can visit the winter sports center of Pelion, 12km from Portaria. It attracts many visitors every year who, besides skiing and snowboarding, enjoy the snow covered Pelion scenery and the panoramic view to Pagassitikos Bay. A lot of cultural events are held during the summer: in May the ”World Dance Day”, in July the “World Children Dance Festival” and in August the “World Dance Festival”. During the last week of August the festivities reach their peak with the revival of the traditional Pelion wedding. It is worth buying some home made sweet preserves, some local wine and tsipouro, fresh fruit and folk art handicrafts. The Women Agrotourism Co-operative was established and operates in Portaria. It offers traditional food, homemade sweets, etc.

 

Portaria is beautiful, picturesque and calm at all times of the year and is awaiting to take you to a trip in history and tradition.

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Chania

Chania, a small mountainous settlement perched on one of the highest parts of Pelion, is found at an altitude of 1,200m, surrounded by beech and chestnut forests. It is a idyllic settlement surrounded by unique natural beauty, versatile scenery and with a traditional way of life, inviting you to a trip to the riches and magic of the pure Greek nature. This used to be a rest and supply station for the merchants and other travelers, who found accommodation in the inns, which explains the name of the village (Chania = Inns). Today the village sports several modern guest houses, the shelters of the Association of Greek Mountaineering Clubs being among the best. It is an ideal destination in all seasons, suitable for active escapades with your family or friends and offers a unique experience in nature. The view to the sea, the all green mountain in the summer and the snowy scenery in the winter will create a lifelong impression.

Chania is one of the most popular villages of Pelion and is at its best in winter, since the winter sports center is only 2km from Portaria and 27 km from Volos. The sports center started operating in1967, at the top of Agriolefkes of Magnissia. It is the second oldest winter sports center in Greece and it attracts a great number of visitors every year. There is a cross-country ski run of 5km and 4 downhill runs of 2.5km. The 5 lifts -3 cable cars and 2 funiculars- have an operating capacity of 2,ooo people per hour. There will be training sessions by experienced trainers for beginners, since this ski training center has been designated as one of European standards.

So give yourself the opportunity of discovering Chania for yourself, and relish the enchanting scenery full of plane trees, fir trees, chestnuts, and a view to the green-blue sea of Pagassitikos Bay and the Agean.

 

 

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Milies

Milies is one of the most traditional and picturesque villages in Pelion. It is 28km away from Volos, built at an altitude of 400m, and it has about 1,500 permanent inhabitants. Its incomparable natural beauty invites you to an exploratory tour which will ease your stress and soothe your soul, though the village is a remarkable commercial and financial center.

The ever changing scenery -the crystal clear springs, the narrow cobbled lanes and the old stately homes- blends in with the grey-green colour of the Pelion olive groves, so producing a feeling of peace which makes Milies an ideal holiday destination. Strolling around the village, walking through the gardens of old traditional houses, you will discover countless “hidden” beauties and appreciate the warm smiles of the locals. If you choose one of the many Pelion stately homes-turned-hotels for your stay you will be rewarded with the hospitality of the locals.

The rich history and splendour of the village will command your interest. Milies is the birth place of Anthimos Gazis and Gregorios Konstandas, who founded the PSYCHIS AKOS (cure for the soul) Shool, in 1814. The public library is worth a visit. Today, it contains a rare collection of exhibits such as old manuscripts, letters from the years of the war for independence, books and maps. You will also have the opportunity to see the flag of the declaration of the war for independence. In the Folk Art Museum the exhibits are equally interesting: traditional costumes, photographs of old trades and home made handicrafts.

While in Milies do not fail to visit the train station -the terminal of the small train going up to Pelion- known as Mountzouris (the Smoky = a nick-name from the old times). The construction of this big project started in 1895 by the Italian engineer Evaristo de Kiriko, father of the famous painter Giorgio de Kiriko. With his knowledge, skills and imagination he designed and succeeded in building one of the most beautiful train tracks in the world, using the local craftsmen. The train started operating again in 1996 and now runs regularly between Ano Lechonia and Milies. The train trip will remain unforgettable and will take you back in time. The route is superb, as you can see two-arch, three-arch and four-arch bridges, and lush green hillsides, an ideal scenery for those who wish to spend their holidays near extraordinary human achievements as well as wonders of the nature.

During the summer months you can enjoy a swim in Kala Nera, a fantastic place with plane-trees, poplars and eucalyptus-trees which come down to the sandy beach. Milies is a very good area for hiking, for those who are keen on it, and there are several short and long hiking routes. The Friends of Nature Club of Volos organizes short hiking trips to Pelion. Before you leave the place don’t forget to buy tsipouro (a kind of raki), sweet preserves, jams and home made pasta. Milies is a village you simply must get to know. The peaceful environment, its charming beauty and the view to Pagassitikos Bay are the best gifts to the visitor.

 

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