The Greek peninsula of Pilion in Autumn is a pleasant place if you want to avoid the crowds of tourists.
Here is a Mini-Guide to Exploring Different Activities in this Greek Region:
What Area to Choose:
We chose to stay on the east coast because we wanted to have a mixture of hiking and beaches/bays and swimming in the sea. And our decision was right. Here are lots of great paths and trails to lovely and hidden places. The walks lead through apple trees- and old olive tree plantations or just through shady forest areas.
Where to Stay:
As we knew that the resorts at the beaches would be a bit boring because they are only holiday resorts without real villages or town centers, we decided to stay in Zagora, a mountain village above the beach resort Chorefto.
There are quite a few accomodations available. Of course, it is a bit cooler up there than at the seaside but still warm enough at this time of the year. There is a bus service that runs from Volos to Chorefto that also passes Zagora.
So you can travel with public transport to Zagora but it is very slow because of the narrow and winding roads. So it is best to have your own car, because the rest of the peninsula has only poor public transport. But the bus service is helpful to organize your walking tours.
The beaches are clean but most of them are only pebble beaches or rough sand.
On the plus side there are hardly any visitors and the beaches are almost just for yourselves (at that time of the year). There are many places you can only reach by walking. That, of course, makes them so remote.
Some Hints for Your Walks
Good walking boots and enough to drink and eat are advisable. Because even at the seaside there are no shops.
In Autumn it is also good to wear trousers that you could zip on/off to protect the legs because some of the paths are overgrown with thorns and not so easy to walk along.
Before you go there and do your walking tours make sure you do have maps that you bought already at home because there are no walking maps available in the villages. Even in Volos they need to be ordered.
It is also wise to have your smart phone with you and even more convenient if it has a hiking map with walking paths because the maps are not very correct and it is always good to be able to check where you are if there is the possibility to be online.
The paths will finally all lead you to the seaside but if you are well equipped you can avoid long detours. All paths are marked just with red dots (if they are not overgrown). But you must be prepared that all of the sudden you cannot find any. Then do not panic and try some directions and if you are lucky you find another sign.
Often the paths are old paved donkey tracks. They are great to walk on. But do not rely on them too much. Often they finish somewhere in shrubs.
Three walks I would like to suggest:
- On an old donkey trail from Zagora to Chorefto 2-3 hours walk
- From Zagora to Pouri – Analips – Chorefto 6 hours walk from Zagora
Both walking trips you can do from Zagora and take the bus back from Chorefto in the late afternoon.
- Walk from Beach Damouchari (you need a car to get there) to Fakistra Beach (2-3 hours walk) or you can stretch the walk by walking up to Tsagkarada and and back to Damouchari (make it up to 6 hours). The Beach has a bay hidden in the cliffs with only a little sandy beach. But it is a spectacular place.
In Autumn (September) all the places are free of crowds and very pleasant (even the more touristic sea resorts and beaches at Ioannis). But we were told that it looks different in the summer.