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Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Highlights

  • Follow ancient cobbled trails through the Pelion Peninsula
  • Immersing yourself in the Greek folklore of the Centaurs
  • Staying in typical “arhontika”, traditional stone houses in stunning locations
  • Sitting in a taverna and sample the delicious local specialities of fasoladha and gyropsomo
  • Swimming in the inviting turquoise bays of the Aegean Sea
  • Walking through beech forests that cover the higher areas like a bright green blanket

Explore the walking paradise of the Pelion Peninsula in mainland Greece, named the “Land of the Centaurs”, due to its associations with Greek mythology. Walk from village to village on old mule paths through a lush green mountainous interior and on trails overlooking the glittering Aegean Sea.

The Pelion Peninsula has recently been declared a new cultural heritage destination by the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO. It is little wonder as this area offers sites of unparalleled beauty, rich gastronomy and a heritage rich in myths, legends and traditions.

Explore a green wonderland where trees heavy with fruit grow alongside olive groves and forests of oak, eucalyptus, walnut and beech. Wander through villages characterised by whitewashed, half-timbered houses with flower-filled balconies and grey slate roofs.

DAY 1: Arrive in Portaria

Portaria is located on the Pelion Peninsula, a little-visited area of Greece and a walker’s paradise! This area is accessible from either Athens or Thessalonika with good train or bus links.


Arrive in your 4* hotel and relax by the pool, relishing in views over Volos and the Pagasitic Gulf. This evening why not amble into the village and admire the square with its typical Pelion architecture with the windows and doors of the houses painted in a variety of colours.


Overnight: Portaria


DAY 2: Portaria Loop via Makrinitsa

Today you begin by walking to the traditional mountain village of Makrinitsa, which has characterful stone houses with slated roofs. You’ll follow the trail through the maquis shrubland scented with thyme and oregano as you walk to an idyllic church. Ascend through a forest and then via a track towards Portaria, whilst enjoying views over the city of Volos en route. Before reaching Portaria you will enter and walk through a lush green gorge.


Overnight: Portaria


Walk: 13km, 550m elevation gain and loss


DAY 3: Walk to Hania

This morning depart from Portaria and follow a beautiful path upwards and through conifer trees under ‘Aidonaki’, a mountain in the western peaks of the Pelion. After a while the scenery changes and you walk through a beech forest. Just before reaching the highest hamlet of Pelion, Hania, you pass by the ruins of an old sanatorium lost in the forest. Here begins the ski resort of Hania at an altitude of 1250 m and where the air is cool and fresh. Stay overnight at a spa resort.


Overnight: Hania


Walk: 7km, 560m elevation gain, 35m elevation loss


DAY 4: Walk to Agios Ioannis

Begin today with a transfer to the start of the kalderimi (paved stone mule path). Upon arrival descend on this ancient path through a beech forest and then on alternate tarmac and kalderimi paths until you reach the picturesque village of Kissos. After a lunch break in a local taverna continue on a pretty track to Mouresi village and then descend to the Aegean coast and arrive in the small and quaint resort of Agios Ioannis. Take an evening stroll on the long beach that is covered in white stones that resemble pearls.


Overnight: Agios Ioannis


Walk: 7 or 11km, 300m elevation gain, 1100m or 650m elevation loss


DAY 5: Walk to Tsagarada

After breakfast on the hotel’s terrace walk along the coast on a very pleasant cobbled path. Before too long you reach the hamlet of Damouchari, a small fishing village located in a pretty bay. Though this place is tiny, in the past it was of great strategic importance as it was the only natural harbour on the entire coast between Volos and Katerini. Today the bay provides a natural swimming pool with a pleasant pebble beach.


From Damouchari you continue along the coast to Fakistra beach where there is a possibility to visit the the cave of Krifo Scholio, which was used during the Turkish occupation as an illegal school! From here walk uphill on a path eventually reaching Tsagarada, a wide village with numerous churches and squares and with a panoramic view over the Aegean Sea. From theterrace of your characterful accommodation you can see the village square with its 1,000 year old plane tree. It has an incredible diameter of 14m!


Overnight:  Tsagarada


Walk: 8km, 700m elevation gain, 300m elevation loss


DAY 6: Across the ridge to Milies

On today’s walk you’ll cross the mountain range at 700m elevation towards the south of the Pelion. First walk explore the pretty village of Tsagarada, where you have just spent the night and pass old churches and squares. Ascend through forest via old mule tracks that were mainly built to allow the transportation of supplies from village to village. Now descend to the picturesque mountain village of Milies, whilst enjoying great views over the Pagasitic Gulf. In the lovely village of Milies you will find many old olive groves.


Overnight: Milies


Walk: 12km, 350m elevation gain, 400 m elevation loss


DAY 7: Loop Walk from Milies via Koropi

Descend from Milies towards the coast enjoying great views all the way. On the last section before reaching the coastal village of Koropi you walk on dirt roads and through olive groves. From Koropi walk to the nearby village Kala Nera, where it is possible to have a sustaining lunch in the shadow of the five huge plane trees in the village square.


Ascend via cobbled paths through a small hamlet until you reach the narrow gauge railway tracks, that you follow all the way back into Milies. These tracks are 200-300m above sea level and you will pass many engineering features from the past, plus a cave where, according to mythology, the centaur Cheiron taught Asklepios about medicinal plants and herbs.


Overnight: Milies


Walk: 12km, 450m elevation gain and loss


DAY 8: Onward Travel

This morning after breakfast make your way to the airport to fly home.

Accommodation

Your 8 day Secrets of the Pelion Peninsula self-guided walking tour includes 7 nights in 2*, 3* and 4* hotels.



 

 


 





Hotel Despotiko

The central building of this impressive hotel dates back to the 19th century when it was built as a private mansion. It has recently been fully renovated and an outdoor swimming pool added. During colder evenings in spring and autumn you may relax beside the cozy fireplace in the lounge. The spacious rooms are nicely furnished and decorated in warm and inviting colours.


 

 

 


 

 


 





Manthos Hotel Resort and Spa

This accommodation is a ski resort in the winter and a haven of peace in the spring, fall and summer. It has a cosy, traditional ambience and is surrounded by lovely woodlands. The 40 rooms have been designed in the local architectural style.


 

 

 


 

 


 





Hotel Sofokles

Located next to the beach, this lovely property offers comfortable rooms overlooking the deep blue Aegean Sea and an outdoor pool, bar and a shady terrace.


 

 

 


 

 


 





The Lost Unicorn Hotel

This hotel has a fantastic location overlooking the Agia Paraskevi Square and occupies a 19th century mansion. Alll the rooms are furnished with antiques, some of which have a balcony. It also features a restaurant (the food is made from local produce), a library and games rooms where you may relax.


 

 

 


 

 


 





Hotel Dryalos

This hotel is newly built but in the traditional style of the Pelion. Relax on the terrace, swim in the outdoor pool and appreciate the stunning views and surrounding scenery. The rooms have large windows, balconies and are all tastefully decorated.


 

 

 

Alternative accommodation

During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Meals

7 Breakfasts are included. For lunches you can buy local cheeses, meats and bread in local markets and shops or perhaps stop in a taverna en route. For dinner you can either eat at your accommodations or find local restaurants in the villages and towns where you are staying.


Navigation

You will be provided with detailed route notes and maps with the daily walks outlined to help you find your way. The routes are not normally way-marked so you will have to keep focused on the route notes as you walk!


Experience & Fitness

This tour is suitable for people that are in good physical condition and it is rated moderate due to the elevation gains and losses. The Pelion has a hilly interior and has a ski resort so it is quite high. We therefore recommend undertaking some walks with elevation gains before you depart. Generally walking trails in Greece tend to be quite rocky so you do have to be careful with your footing when negotiating the trails.


Equipment

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


Time of Year

Spring and Autumn are great walking seasons as the temperatures are milder. You can walk in the summer months but the recommendation is too begin walking early so that you miss the heat of the day. In the spring the countryside will be full of spring flowers. Please note that at the very beginning and end of the season (early April and end of October) any swimming pools at accommodations may be closed and restaurant offerings may be more limited during this time.


Navigation

You will be provided with detailed route notes and maps with the daily walks outlined to help you find your way. The routes are not normally way-marked so you will have to keep focused on the route notes as you walk!


Experience & Fitness

This tour is suitable for people that are in good physical condition and it is rated moderate due to the elevation gains and losses. The Pelion has a hilly interior and has a ski resort so it is quite high. We therefore recommend undertaking some walks with elevation gains before you depart. Generally walking trails in Greece tend to be quite rocky so you do have to be careful with your footing when negotiating the trails.


Equipment

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes the standard gear we advise.


Getting to Portaria and from Milies

The best way to get to Portaria and from Milies is to take flights into either Athens or Thessalonika, then buses or trains to Volos, then buses or taxis from Volos to Portaria and from Milies to Volos. Here is some more detailed information.


By Air - It is possible to fly into either Athens or Thessalonika to access the beginning and end points of this tour. Many airlines fly into Athens companies such as Easyjet, Aegean Airlines and Ryanair fly into Thessalonika.  


From Athens Airport there are frequent public buses to Athens bus station and there are 10 buses daily from Athens Liosson bus station to Volos. Check out the following website for information: http://www.ktelvolou.gr/ It is also possible to take a train from Athens Airport. You may travel by train to SKA and connect onto the Athens-Larissa line. Or you can transfer from the Athens Airport to the centre of Athens and get on the Larissa line from here. Trains depart approximately every couple of hours and the journey takes about 5 hours.


From Thessalonika Airport there are frequent public buses to Thessalonika bus and train stations. There are 8 buses to Volos daily. Please check here for schedules http://www.ktelvolou.gr/ You can also take trains from Thessalonika to Volos with a connection in Larissa to Volos. Trains leave approximately every 1-2 hours and take around 2 hours, depending on the connection.


The best way to get from Volos to Portaria is to take a taxi which costs around €20 per taxi. It is also possible to take a bus which costs around €1.60 and takes around 20 minutes. Please check the bus timetable here at Magnesias.


On your return journey you can either take a taxi from Milies to Volos which costs around €45 per taxi, or a public bus which costs around €2.60 and takes approx. 40 minutes.


It is also possible to fly on charter flights to Volos, but they are only seasonal and not very frequent.


It is also possible to book transfers through Macs Adventure in advance. Please ask your Destination & Adventure Specialist for details.


Included

  • 7 Nights in 2*, 3* and 4* hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Baggage transfers
  • Route notes and maps, and detailed information pack
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our area manager in Greece and our office

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Portaria
  • Lunches & Dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the tour
  • Single room supplement if single room required.
  • Solo traveller supplement

How fit do I need to be?

The walking is graded easy to moderate, however it is more towards the moderate grading on some of the walks so you will need to be used to some elevation gains and losses. You will enjoy the holiday more if you already enjoy an active lifestyle and have a good level of walking fitness.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised.

What equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack, warm clothing in the early/late part of the year and hats etc during the summer. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack. 

When is the best time of year?

Spring and Autumn are great walking seasons as the temperatures are milder. You can walk in the summer months but the recommendation is too begin walking early so that you miss the heat of the day. In the spring the countryside will be full of spring flowers. 

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.Your accommodation or local supplier will be able to help you with this.

What a way to explore a new part of the world

4

We really enjoyed the holiday. Some stretches were strenuous, some of the instructions did not appear to fit . Most of the accommodation was fine.

Louise and Poly

Windsor

Yes

Greece's Tuscany - a secret worth discovering

5

This trip gave us the best of both worlds - independence and the logistics (working out an interesting route 2) finding and booking good places to stay and 3) moving our luggage daily to free us up so we could really enjoy the walking) all done for us. Although this area has been discovered by some discerning ex-pats it hasn't been overrun by tourists. The welcome from local people couldn't have been warmer and it was a thoroughly enjoyable holiday.

Trailblazer

Hindhead, Surrey

Yes

A great trip - organisation top notch

4

This was the only walking holiday in the Pelion Peninsula that I could find and it surpassed expectations. The accommodation, without exception, was excellent and the careful directions, with diagrams, made following the route easy except for one day when the route had probably recently been changed. Congratulations to Macs and their local operator, S-Scape for organising this unique holiday in such a varied and beautif7ul landscape.

HB

Devon

Yes

Our Pelion Penninsula Walk this Mahy

5

My husband and I loved the uniqueness of the Pelion Penninsula - during most of our walks the Aegean and the Bay were in sight - weather in Greece in May is perfect. We added two days in Athens to see the sites which was totally worth it. We'd do this walk again!

Richard and Sarah

Vermont, USA

Yes

The Pelion Peninsula is a remarkable secret indeed

5

The walking was excellent, although sometimes a bit more demanding than "Easy to Moderate". The written instructions for the walking were very good and very accurate, so it was easy to find one's way. The hotels were good, especially the Lost Unicorn, which was exceptional although sadly not providing dinners at the time we were there, as we were out of season. What was a lovely surprise was the charm and friendliness of the locals (in the hotels, restaurants, cafes, buses, taxis etc), who could not do more for us and went out of their way to make our visit a pleasure. The only (slight) problem was the time it took to get to the Pelion Peninsula, as it's a nearly 3 hour bus journey from Thessaloniki to Volos with a bus or taxi ride up to the first hotel and even longer from Athens. However, this is only a small gripe, as the holiday was well worth the long journey.

I don't have one

Brussels

Yes

Off the beaten track in Greece

3

This is hotel to hotel walking based on old donkey routes. Excellent route notes and non challenging walking with good hotels for overnight stays. In total a relaxing holiday. Much of the the walking is in woodland limiting views. The area is reached by bus from Thessaloniki or Athens which was awkward and time consuming due to the non integrated transport system. There were very few other tourists in the area and the experience had a real off the beaten track feel about it. An extra night in the Aegean town of Aghios Ioanis would have been good - there are opportunities for local walks or lazing on the beach and we could have spent more time visiting beautiful Damouchari where they filmed scenes in Mama Mia!

Mrs Walker

London

Yes

Beautiful Pelion worthy of exploring

5

Unusual places to visit and walk. Fabulous scenery. Authentic Greek way of life. Small villages, churches, rivers, beaches, mountain areas and lots more besides. This is off the beaten track, although far from isolated and not at all threatening. Greece is much underrated as a holiday destination. Good food, very generous, kind and hospitable people.

The hillers.

Wales

Yes

Secrets of the Pelion Peninsula

4.4 7

100.0

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