Pavliani: A Tranquil Weekend Escape in Central Greece

Less than 3 hours from Athens, Pavliani, a picturesque village in the heart of central Greece, is an ideal destination for families and nature lovers.


The village of Pavliani (also called Ano Pavliani to differentiate it from Nea Pavliani, which is 1.5 kilometers lower) is situated at an altitude of 1,040m on the slopes of Mount Oiti. Mountain climbers and hikers have long been familiar with the area, enjoying the National Park and its proximity to Mount Giona and Vardousia. There were few visitors and rudimentary infrastructure but, about thirty years ago, local youth, volunteers, and residents began to maintain the area, establishing the Pavliani Recreation Park at the source of the Asopos River With its quirky signage, miniature bridges, and brightly colored structures that blend in perfectly with the forest, this park brought new life to the village and made Pavliani a popular tourist destination for both kids and adults.

Gradually, over the years, treehouses, trampolines, zip lines for crossing the stream and wooden benches were added to the swings and hammocks already contained within the park, whose entrance is located between the two settlements. The path is easy and perfect for families, with fir and plane trees providing shade. You can walk as far as you like before heading back, but there are also circular routes that may be a little more challenging. One of these leads to the Throne of Zeus, an iron structure built in a location that offers beautiful views – another addition made by residents and volunteers.

Of course, the National Park and mountainous landscape provide numerous opportunities for those who wish to explore and hike further. The Oiti Shelter, located just 8km from Pavliani, features a children’s adventure park as well as a café-restaurant. The route from Pavliani to the village of Athanasios Diakos is another enjoyable drive (28km) through hillsides and dense forests.

INFO

WHERE TO STAY

The Vasilikia Mountain Farm & Retreat (Nea Pavliani, Tel. (+30) 22310.829.92) provides a variety of lodging options, including wood and stone cottages, airstream trailers, country-style homes, and cabins inspired by American nature. Pavliani4rest – Luxury Cabins (Oitis – Nea Pavliani Road, Tel. (+30) 694.759.8012) offers luxurious, triangular cabins made of stone and wood, complete with a kitchen and living room, suitable for four or six people. Mountain Tea is ideal for glamping in the mountains (Pavliani, Tel. (+30) 697.320.1688). The 40 sq.m. dome tents are fully equipped with kitchens, private bathrooms, wood stoves, and other amenities. For more “conventional” lodging, Katerina’s Guesthouse (Pavliani, Tel. (+30) 22310.830.09) provides well-maintained rooms and a good breakfast.

WHERE TO EAT

Litsa tavern (Ano Pavliani, Tel. (+30) 22310.830.39) serves a variety of grilled meats (we recommend the sausage), homemade appetizers, hearty salads, and dishes like roasted lamb or pork shank with potatoes and lahanodolmades (cabbage rolls). At Proedros (Pavliani, Tel. (+30) 22310.825.70), the vegetable pie, meatballs, sausages with eggs and potatoes, and beef steak are all worth trying. In the village of Oiti, 10km from Pavliani, Gardikaki taverna (Oiti, Tel. (+30) 22310.824.44) is known for its warm atmosphere, beautiful view and antikristo lamb, a traditional Cretan recipe. The menu also includes farmhouse pork steak, grilled liver, biftekia (beef patties), and other Cretan delicacies like eggs with apaki (traditional smoked and salted meat).

HOW TO GET THERE

 

From Athens: The 235km drive will take approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes. A round trip from Athens will cost around €94 (€28 for tolls and about €66 for petrol).

From Thessaloniki: The village is 336km away and takes approximately 4 hours to drive to. A round trip from Athens will cost around €130 (€40 for tolls and about €90 for petrol).



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