It is not the first place that comes to mind when you think of summer vacations, yet Pilio has been welcoming more and more visitors in recent years. The fact that it combines mountain and sea experiences is not the only reason. The beaches of eastern and southern Pilio are being featured in travel magazines and the lists of the most beautiful beaches of mainland Greece.
The plethora of activities on offer attracts a variety of visitors: from families who appreciate the long, spacious beaches to groups of youngsters in search of adventure via hiking and extreme sports experiences. Its large expanse also offers many options – from south Pilio for quiet times and the east for its great beaches, to central Pilio if proximity to the sea is not a great concern.
Walking in nature
Pilio is known for its dense network of footpaths, which were used by locals to navigate the area before the construction of roads. Easy, downhill hiking trails begin from Tsagarada heading towards Fakistra beach and Damouhari. Get an early start in the morning to avoid the excessive heat. Alternatively, you can walk around the village of Tsagarada, under the beautiful plane and chestnut trees.
Meet me at the canyon
Pilio is also ideal for canyoning, essentially traversing canyons and gorges on foot. The cool mountain spring waters and the unique natural setting will invigorate you on this unforgettable experience. Seek out the expertise of seasoned guides at Canyoning Mountain Escapes (Tsagarada, Tel. (+30) 693.241.8001).
Everyone eats in Tsagarada
Tsagarada is the place to be for food. Make note of Itamos in Aghioi Taxiarches, (Tel. (+30) 24260.495.83), Paradisos taverna (Tel. (+30) 24260.492.09) and the Lost Unicorn in Aghia Paraskevi (Tel. (+30) 24260.499.30).
Diving into the Aegean
Mylopotamos is one of the most well-known beaches of Pelion; the large rock with its characteristic hole that divides the beach in two is the ideal selfie spot. Head to Fakistra if you like wild landscapes and beaches without sun loungers, while you will appreciate the size of the beaches at Horefto and Aghioi Saranta, as it makes them less crowded even at their busiest.
Under the plane trees
When the temperature rises, seek out the plane tree. Almost all the villages of Mount Pelion have main squares dotted with centenarian plane trees; these are the ideal spot for spending hot summer days, sipping on your coffee or enjoying your meal in Vizitsa, Milies, Portaria, and in Aghia Paraskevi square in Tsagarada.
The footpath on the left side of Horefto beach leads to two magical beaches – Parisena and Analipsi. The first is large and sandy, with fine sand, small pebbles and rich vegetation, the second is smaller in size with deep blue waters. Both will have fewer people than the other, more famous beaches in the area.
Open only during the summer months, this taverna is a well-known secret among locals and repeat visitors. At Ta 5 Platania (Tel. (+30) 24260.321.40) in the village of Aghios Dimitrios you will find delicious and well-grilled meats.
Located in the lesser known square of Aghia Kyriaki in Tsagarada, you will only locate the Anapodo Platani (Tel. (+30) 697.194.2152) with sustained effort and the assistance of your GPS. Nestled under the trees, it serves select wines from all over Greece and features a small food menu.