East Pelion: A land blessed by nature, art and history
Traditional manors in Pelion are easily recognized by an architectural detail – small rooms on the upper levels of the manors decorated with ornate windows that protrude just slightly – the sachnisia. They were formerly the summer rooms and guest rooms. In all the villages of Pelion, the sachnisia are visible. The views from these ornate windows confirm the magic that springs from the wells and the abundance that bursts from the soil.
Each season, Pelion invites us in with different smells and colours. Trees of all kinds abound – from chestnut, linden, plane to beech – laden with snow in winter and verdant in spring and summer. Mountain and sea, nature and historic trails are what make Pelion stand apart. Breathtaking drives through the statuesque villages of East Pelion – Zagora, Tsagarada and Mouresi – overlook the timeless Aegean.
Pelion’s highest peak is Pliasidi. Agriolefkes, another high peak borders on the Chania ski resort. This mountain peaks preside over a spectacular setting of the Sporades Islands only a breath away. Further on the horizon we see the silhouettes of Chalkidiki, Mount Athos, Mount Kissavos, Mount Olympus and the plains of Thessaly, the largest and lushest of Greece. The filigree beaches recline on the Pagassitikos Coast.
Blessed by nature and beauty and endowed with art, history and tradition, Pelion was described, by historic travelers and modern ones alike, as mythical.
Stark contrasts and variations in the landscape create a composition like no other. Mountain and sea, 12 minutes from the mountain peak to the edge of the sea. Winter, summer. Each mid-season wears a different look and offers an assortment of its bounty and its perceptions. Seasons leave their mark in the streets and alleys of the villages, blossoms on the stone walls of manors, gardens, the buds that blanket the trees and streets: winter chestnuts, deep red apples in summer. In the kitchen traditional creations, centuries old – the bond – nature and earth.
On the east coast of Pelion, golden sands and countless beaches of blue-green and fine sand, wait to be discovered. In places such as Chorefto, Aghious Saranta, Aghios Ioannis, Damouchari, Milopotamos, and Fakistra only the high waves of the Aegean take the emerald mountainside of Pelion into its arms and leaving us to gasp at its magnificence.
Most of the beaches have well-maintained paths and old trails that find their beginnings in the surrounding mountain villages: Zagora and Mouresi are nestled in linden trees, while nature and history form a duet of rare beauty in Anilio and Kissos. Picturesque Tsagarada sits in the heart of a forest of chestnut trees. The view is intoxicating like the smells of the hydrangea, gardenias and the camellias. It is no wonder that the ancients called Pelion, the mountain of flowers and medicinal herbs. The residents of Makrirachi have developed flower cultivation as a primary occupation.