350 kilometers / 220 miles north of Athens, the Pelion region promises a breath of fresh air in the midst of a pristine nature. With its contrasting landscapes, its ancestral traditions, its creeks and its idyllic beaches, this peninsula, which has remained off the beaten track, is one of Captain Ulysses’ favorites in Greece!
Follow the guide!
💡 Insider Tips 💡
Are you on the hunt for accommodations in Greece? Captain Ulysses wholeheartedly recommends these meticulously curated selections of hotels that offer exceptional value for money: in Pelion, in the Peloponnese and Athens.
Pelion in a few words
In Greek mythology, Pelion is the land of the centaurs, half-man half-horse creatures with a strong character! It’s also known to be the birthplace of Achilles, son of the nymph Thetis and the king Peleus, who was brought up by the centaur Chiron.
Legend has it that Pelion was also the summer residence of the gods of Olympus… How we understand!
Brief history of Pelion
Pelion is a land where Greek traditions are deeply rooted, and there’s a reason to that!
Following the Ottoman conquest of Greece in the 15th century, Pelion became a haven for religious communities and intellectuals determined to preserve Greek Orthodoxy. Nowadays, the peninsula has kept a special attachment to the ancestral traditions, hard protected over the centuries.
Pelion is a peninsula located in the region of Thessaly, southeast of the student city of Vólos and 350 kilometers / 220 miles to the north of Athens.
The peninsula is famous for its spectacular and contracted topography, with, in the north, the Mount Pelion, culminating at 1624 meters / 5,328 feet of altitude, and to the south, Mediterranean landscapes lined with ancestral olive trees and enchanting coves.
Getting around Pelion
There’s only one way to explore Pelion: the car.
Pelion is crisscrossed with small, winding and picturesque roads that are truly spectacular!
🚘 Visiting Greece by car 🚘
If you’re planning on exploring the Peloponnese on your own, Captain Ulysses strongly recommends renting a car: it is by far the most practical way to get around the peninsula. Not to mention that car rental in Greece is on the whole very cheap!
To find THE best deal, the Captain recommends Rentalcars, which compares offers from a host of rental services.
One last piece of advice: the Pelion is crisscrossed with small mountainous roads, so you should definitely opt for a fuel-efficient car, even if it is a little more expensive to rent!
Visiting Pelion in Greece
Between its spectacular landscapes, its picturesque villages and its crystal clear waters, Pelion is definitely not lacking in attractions! You will easily find plenty of things to do to fill a program rich in discoveries and in emotions!
The picturesque villages of Pelion
- Northern Pelion and its mountainous villages
In the north of Pelion, the green landscape is dotted with mountain villages with stone façades and roofs made of lauze. Among these, the Captain particularly recommends exploring:
A piece of advice: take the time to leisurely explore these charming villages, and stop for a drink while enjoying the breathtaking landscape.
- Southern Pelion and its beautiful coast
In the south of Pelion, the landscape is more arid and dotted with olive trees, taking on a decidedly Mediterranean air. The villages are for the most part organized around small ports and sandy or pebble beaches.
When exploring the southern part of the peninsula, don’t miss the villages of:
- Agios Ioannis
Hiking in Pelion
With its contrasted topography and its landscapes in places mountainous, in places Mediterranean, Pelion is heaven on earth for hiking enthusiasts. You’ll find a plethora of paths, some easy to hike, some reserved for more experienced hikers.
👉 If you’d like to hike in Pelion, the Captain recommends downloading an app like ViewRanger on your phone. If you’d rather go on a guided hike, you can also contact a local association like this one. It is also possible to opt for a horseback ride. Find out more here.
Kayaking in Pelion
Why not kayak to discover the enchanting coast of Pelion? As an accomplished sailor, Captain Ulysses can of course only recommend exploring the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea!
👉 Click here to find out more about the schedules and rates for kayak tours in Pelion.
Canyoning and via ferrata in Pelion
Attention, all thrill seekers! To raise the adrenaline levels,what best than canyoning in the middle of natural waterfalls lost in the mountains? This activity is accessible to children over 8 years old.
Be warned, if you’re afraid of hights, better abstain!
👉 Find out more about schedules and rates, here.
Small train ride
On Saturdays and Sundays, a small steam train (put into service in 1895) invites travelers to embark on a ride through the green landscapes of Pelion. The tour departs from Milies (3pm) or from Ano Lehonia (10am).
- adults : 10 € for a one-way ticket and 18 € for the round trip
- children (4 to 12 years of age) : 6 € for a one-way trip and 10 € for the round trip
👉 You can to buy your tickets in advance in a Trainose agency, on the internet, or on site up to 10 minutes before the train departure.
Discovering sea caves
Pelion reserves countless surprises to visitors looking for adventure and discoveries! Sea caves line the coast of the peninsula, especially in the north. Boat excursions are the perfect way for visitors to explore the caves.
👉 Find out more about tour rates and schedules, here
Mount Pelion ski resort
If the vast majority of visitors come to in Pelion in the summertime, the peninsula is also a winter sports destination. Mount Pelion has its own ski resort, perched at 1,471 meters / 4,825 feet of altitude. It counts 4 tracks in total.
Pelion’s ski resort is mainly frequented by Greek skiers: few foreigners set foot in the region in winter. The official website of the station exists only in Greek.
Like many regions in Greece, Pelion is a land of gastronomy! Discovering the peninsula also means taking the time to sit down in a small restaurant to taste the local specialties, accompanied by a small glass of tsipouros or retsina. Among the typical food in the region, you should definitely try:
- spetzofaï (made of spicy sausages and peppers)
- fasolada (bean soup)
- tiropsomo (bread with feta cheese)
Among the most famous addresses in Pelion, the Tavern of Paris, located in Kala Nera, is quite unavoidable: it has been tested and approved by the Captain himself!
You should also stop in the villages of the seaside (in Mylos for example) to taste delicious fish dishes, octopus and seafood. Delicious!
Pelion is also known for its flower-based sweets (hydrangea, camellia, gardenia…), which you can buy in the small artisanal stores of the peninsula.
Staying in Pelion: hotels & accommodation
Family cottages, seaside pied-à-terre, luxurious and exclusive hotels… there is plenty to choose from. You can check out a selection of accommodations here.
👉 During his escapade in Pelion, the Captain stayed at Alkifron Hotel, which offers excellent value for money.
Getting to Pelion
To get to Pelion, you need a car. The peninsula is located a little off the beaten track, but the detour is most definitely worth it:
- from Athens : 3h40 ~ 4h20 / 350 km / 220 miles
- from Meteora: 2h20 / 165 km / 100 miles
- from Delphi: 2h50 ~ 3h10 / 225 km / 140 miles
- from Thessaloniki : 2h40 ~ 3h / 230 km / 140 miles
How long to stay in Pelion?
2 days are the bare minimum to explore Pelion: if you don’t lose time, you’ll be able to discover most of the treasures of Pelion.
But the Captain recommends staying in the region a little longer: 3 or 4 days if you can.
Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions in Greece!
🛏️ Accommodation: to book your accommodations in Greece, Captain Ulysses highly recommends Hotels.com. From youth hostel to luxury boutique hotel: everything is there!
🚌 Local transportation: to get around the Peloponnese, Captain Ulysses can only recommend renting a car. He also advises you to use the Rentalcars platform, which compares offers from a host of brands, including Hertz, Avis, Europcar and trusted local agencies.
If you prefer to avoid driving, the websites GetYourGuide and Civitatis offer a selection of excursions in the Peloponnese.
📍Circuits: if you prefer to entrust the organization of your trip to a travel agency, Captain Ulysses recommends you very warmly Evaneos. This French agency works in collaboration with local agencies to orchestrate customized and personalized stays.
✈️ Flights: to book your flights to Greece, Captain Ulysses warmly recommends the Skyscanner comparator. You’ll be able to compare countless offers to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.