Summer Road Trip: Eastern Pilio

Homeland of the mythical centaurs, a summer road trip through the serene villages of eastern Pilio will feel like travelling back in time to a bygone age.


Eastern Pilio is an idyllic destination for nature lovers, especially for those who love to indulge in good food and swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea.

The centuries-old sycamore trees, the vibrant village square and chestnut forest of Tsagarada, the apple groves of Zagora, the gorge and sea caves of Fakistra Beach, and the restaurants serving delicious seafood, “spetsofai” (spicy sausage dish with peppers and tomato sauce) and “tsitsiravla” (pickled shoots of wild pistachio trees) that lie just a few meters from the beaches are just some of the reasons to visit the eastern villages of Mount Pilio – the homeland of the mythical Centaurs.

Sea kayaking, canyoning, and more …

Explore the sea caves of eastern Pilio in a kayak or on a stand-up paddle board (SUP) on a three-hour sea tour from the village of Ntamouchari to Fakistra Beach and back again, which includes a stop for a picnic (for more information visit shakayak.gr).

Test your strength at canyoning with the Mountain Escapes team (for more information visit mountainescapes.gr) in canyons such as “Fakistra A” with its eight rappels (the deepest of which is 12m), which is also suitable for children 12 years and up.

 

If you love hiking, book a tour with Hike Away (hikeaway.gr), a tourist and leisure enterprise founded by Nikolas Melis, where you will learn everything about the village of Tsagarada. Starting from Aghion Taxiarchon Square, the tour makes its way to Aghia Paraskevi Square, passes through the chestnut forest and, from there, returns to Aghion Taxiarchon Square, a route that includes a wealth of information about the region’s history, geography and architecture. Nikolas has also created an outdoor activity area called the Green Mountain Activity Area where you can enjoy various activities such as archery, paintball, flying fox and mythological treasure hunts that are based on ancient Greek heroes such as Peleus, Thetis, Achilles, and the Centaur Chiron.

Age-old sycamore trees

The lush, green landscape of eastern Pilio is covered with sycamore trees. The villages of the area are known for these centuries-old deciduous trees that add to their beauty, offer plenty of shade in the summer, and give a feeling of a bygone age that is known primarily through folklore songs and tales.

The sycamore tree in Aghia Paraskevi Square in the village of Tsagarada, which according to locals is about 1,000 years old, is the region’s most famous sycamore tree, with a trunk that measures 15m in diameter. Those in in the village of Zagora are equally imposing. A walk through the two villages is ideal if you want to cool down from the summer heat and enjoy a cup of coffee or “tsipouro” (grape pomace) under the shade of the trees that have shaped the villages’ physiognomy.

Endless sea

The coastline of eastern Pilio starts from the village of Labinou and extends a bit further north to the village of Pouri. The beaches are lush with vegetation and cool green-blue waters, which is one of the reasons why many people visit Pilio in the summer.

Mylopotamos Beach, with its large rock with a hole in the middle, has thick sand that doesn’t stick to the skin. At Ntamouchari, with its pebbles and sand, tavernas are just a short distance from the beach. At the organized beach of Papa Nero, you can bring your own beach towel and umbrella. The sandy beach at Chorefto is spacious, but the waters are choppy.

 

If you prefer beaches that are less crowded, a little bit to the north, towards the village of Pouri, you will find the quiet beaches of Analipsi and Elitsa.

Local cuisine

The village of Zagora is known for its apples, the harvest of which begins at the end of the summer. Late summer is the time of the year when life in the village revolves around picking, gathering and transporting apples to the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora-Pilio. Stop off at the shop – cafeteria of the Women’s Agrotourism Cooperative of Zagora (Tel. (+30) 24260.235.66) at Aghios Georgios Square and try their apple marmalade, “firiki” (a variety of miniature apple) sweet preserve and – if you’re lucky – apple pie.

Explore local gastronomic dishes at the tavernas of Meintani (Tel. (+30) 24260.226.26) in Zagora, Itamos in Tsagarada (Tel. (+30) 24260.489.69), Aggelika in Mylopotamos (Tel. (+30) 24260.495.88) that specializes in seafood, and Plymari in Analipsi (Tel. (+30) 697.770.6151), which is idyllically located on the beach.



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