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  • Writer's pictureGreen Traveller

Local activities in Pelion, Greece

As we launch our Green Traveller's Guide to Pelion, Clare Hargreaves picks out a selection of local activities in the great outdoors.

Densely wooded mountains criss-crossed by ancient footpaths, crystalline rivers that tumble into turquoise seas … Pelion has all you need for an active holiday: abseil down its Canyon of Centaurs to one of its Aegean beaches; hike or cycle along its cobbled muletracks; jump onto a yacht for a bit of island-hopping; splash along the west coast on horseback; or paddle your way into one of the rugged east coast’s magical caves. Gourmets and nature-lovers can visit one of Pelion’s organic vineyards, join a tour to discover its medicinal and culinary plants, or forage for mushrooms.

Google map: shows the location and details of all the places to stay, local food and drink, nearby visitor attractions and activities in our Green Traveller's Guide to Pelion:

Green = Places to stay Blue = Local food & drink Yellow = Attractions Purple = Activities

Activities in Pelion

Photos: Richard Hammond and Clare Hargreaves

Horse Riding Tours - George Rigakis (pictured above)

Whether you prefer splashing through the waves on a sandy beach or climbing “secret” mountain trails, the back of a horse is a fabulous place from which to explore Pelion. George Rigakis keeps his horses on a farm among the olive groves near Tsagarada and uses his knowledge of the peninsula’s network of paths to arrange customised horse-riding tours lasting one to three hours. As you ride, discover churches hidden in the beech woods, or stop to drink in the views of the Aegean Sea below. In summer, tours are generally early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat.

Horseriding Club

In the land of the mythical centaurs, it’s seems appropriate to trot your way around the peninsula on horseback. And if you’re new to riding, the Horseriding Club, based on a farm near Koropi on the west coast, makes it fun and easy. A guide will accompany you on foot and lead you and your horse along ancient stone paths through the beech forests and olive groves and down to the beach near Kala Nera on the Pagasitic Gulf. Experienced riders can rent a horse and guide for longer outings, and the Club will provide all the equipment you need. (Greek only)

Mountain Escapes

It’s not often that you can canyon your way through lush vegetation to a beautiful beach, while also following in the footsteps of Pelion’s mythical centaurs. For beginners and/or families with children of 10 years or over, a good trip to kick off with is the Canyon of Centaurs A, which starts at Kissos and includes jumps, swims, natural water slides and abseils of up to 26 metres. The trip takes around six hours and the company provides equipment and instruction. More advanced canyoners can tackle the Fakistra, Galanopetra and Kathreftis canyons, on Pelion’s east coast.

Nature Seminars

The ancient Greek poet Hesiod called Pelion “rich in herbs” thanks to the wealth of herbs and medicinal plants on its lush mountain slopes. Happily herbs still abound, and you can learn their properties and how to use them in the home by joining a botany workshop in the pretty southern village of Lafkos. Workshops are led by Maris Zafiriou who studied at the American Farm School in Thessaloniki and moved to Pelion in 2015 to grow aromatic and medicinal plants and keep bees. As well as workshops, she runs four-hour walks, and short courses on apiculture.


Marianne and Filaretos Psimmenos have a well-founded reputation for their foodie boutique guesthouse in the woods (see Places to Stay). But what fewer people know is that they’re also wizards about Pelion’s botanological traditions. Join Marianne for a tour of her herb garden and the neighbouring woods and learn how to use herbs for cooking or healing. Or book in advance and she and Filaretos will give you cookery classes (using recipes from Filaretos’ book). In autumn, join Filaretos to gather mushrooms - from boletus to Caesar’s - then return to the guesthouse for a fry-up, downed with a glass of tsipouro.

Walking Holidays

In the old days Pelion’s mountain villages were connected by a web of cobbled mule and foot-paths, which today provide wonderful walking. Travel with Volos-based Walking Holidays and you can choose to navigate your own way or join a group. Their seven-night self-guided trip starts in the traditional west coast village of Milies, then takes you across the mountains through chestnut forests to Tsagarada and Damouchari on the east coast, before winding back to Portaria via Chania. The company also runs a guided trek that in addition to Pelion includes Meteora and its rock-top monasteries.

Pelion Scout

If you’re new to walking in Pelion and have little ones too, Pelion Scout’s “Lost in the Forest” hike could be just the ticket. You meet at Zagora, on Pelion’s northeast corner, from where the company’s guide drives you to the start, then takes you on a 7km hike through the region’s spectacular beech forests. Pelion Scout also offers boat trips (try their half-day trip to the sea caves of Thetis), sea kayaking, canyoning, horse-riding and biking. Select the trip that suits your level of fitness and if there isn’t one, you’ll probably be able to have one tailor-made for you.

Bike or Hike

Until the sixties, the main way to get from village to village was via dirt track or kalderimia (cobbled muletracks). Roads now connect the villages, leaving the old network of tracks for cyclists, mountain bikers and hikers to enjoy. Portaria-based Bike or Hike will tailor-make a mountain biking tour to suit your fitness and time availability. If you’re up for a challenge, sign up for their 9-dayer from one end of the peninsula to the other. The company also rents out all types of bikes and equipment, and arranges hiking tours too.

Green Mountain Activity Area

Green Mountain, in Tsagarada, is an area you can try your hand at a range of activities, from paintball to archery - with all the equipment provided. There are activities for the kids to do too, and all ages can take part in Green Mountain’s Mythological Treasure Hunt in the chestnut woods. Or simply take it easy and mess around on a bike or mountain bike. In June, the Area’s creator, Nikolas Melis, also coordinates Tsagarada’s four-day Tsagarada Escape Festival, a jamboree of hiking, sea kayaking, horse riding, rock climbing and archery along with live music and talks on flora, fauna and history. Green Mountain:; Festival:

Pelion Secrets

Land on a deserted sandy beach or explore one of Pelion’s evocative sea caves by sea kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Pelion Secrets runs day trips along the peninsula’s rocky east coast, starting from the coastal village of Chorefto. But if you’re still finding your sea legs, book onto the 2-hour “Short Paddle”, and when you feel more confident, take the half-day “East Coaster” trip to Plaka beach. Tailor-made tours are also available. Pelion Secrets also runs hiking trips in conjunction with Pelion Scout (see under Walking).


A natural harbour offering protection against winds and waves, tiny Damouchari (where Mamma Mia was filmed) is the perfect spot to learn to sea kayak or paddleboard. So it’s no surprise it’s the spot Shakayak has chosen as their base. If you’re a beginner, potter around the bay while admiring the ruins of its old Venetian castle. For the adventurous, Shakayak runs full-day tours (picnic included) to the sea caves at Fakistra and beyond, while also showing you the coastal flora, fauna and geology. Or simply rent a board or kayak and do your own thing if you prefer.

Eclipse Sailing

It goes without saying that one of the loveliest ways of exploring the coast of Pelion and its neighbouring islands is by boat. Eclipse Sailing’s yacht Nereida is a classic yacht built in 1984 from iroko and mahogany to a 1944 design by naval architect John Alden. Board this vintage beauty in Volos, then sail across the Pagasitic Gulf to Trikeri island on Pelion’s toe, stopping for swimming and snorkelling en route. Lunch, including Greek salad and homemade pies, is served on board. Eclipse also offers week-long holidays (with skipper and hostess provided).

Sail Aegean

This Belgian-Greek family-owned yacht charter company may have its headquarters in Brussels but its yachts are firmly moored in Pelion’s port city of Volos. Hire one and cross the mirror-calm Pagasitic Gulf to explore Trikeri island or the Sporades to the east. Stop off to swim or snorkle in iconic Tzasteni bay, and eat freshly landed fish in one of Trikeri’s sea-front tavernas. Rent a yacht with a skipper if you’re not experienced and don’t want the worry of navigating. Or hire bareboat (without skipper) if you’re experienced and fancy sailing under your own steam.

Patistis vineyard

Protected by Mount Pelion to the north and cooled by the breezes off the Aegean Sea in summer, this 8-hectare vineyard run by the Patistis family is ideally situated to grow (organically) local grape varieties such as xinomavro, roditis and limnio. Recently it’s also added assyrtiko, used to make its best-selling barrel-fermented Assyrtiko, a white wine with lovely citrus and tea aromas. Also popular are its Idioma red and its Blanc de noir white, both from xinomavro grapes. You can buy its wines from its cellar door shop (book in winter), and tours of its vineyard and tastings are also available. To visit the winery, book in advance.

Milea vineyard

Like Patistis, Milea vineyard in nearby Argalasti, uses organic farming methods to grow its vines - as befits an area that embraces eco-tourism. And like Pastistis, this vineyard (of just six hectares) is family owned and run. But where it differs from Pastistis is in its choice of grape varieties. Milea grows just French varieties - Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay. Its Merlot single variety red is matured in oak barrels for 14 months, producing a robust, full-bodied red with notes of jam, plum, chocolate and vanilla. You can buy wines on site, but for tours and tastings book in advance.


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