The coast of Magnesia has one of the mildest climates in the Mediterranean. Cool summers and exceptionally mild winters create ideal conditions for enjoying the sea throughout the year.
The connection with the Sporades islands allows for a quick getaway to enchanting Alonissos, Skopelos or Skiathos, so the traveller can roam these exquisite islands, which are home to the National Marine Park of the Sporades, a refuge for rare birds and primarily for the Mediterranean monk seal – monachus-monachus. Numerous companies rent small boats so visitors can enjoy small, hidden beaches and secret sea caves. The sea caves at Veneto, the submerged city in Alonissos, Poseidon’s cave and many other sea emeralds await explorers. Sea trips are always accompanied by dolphins, a unique experience. The small islets in the Pagasetic Gulf are ideal fishing grounds and meeting points for spear fishermen.
The beaches in the wider area of Volos are among the best loved in Greece. Thousands of visitors flock each year to the beaches of Agios Dimitrios, Anchialos, Alykes, Pigadia and many others, which offer stunning scenery and many recreational facilities.
Volos has numerous swimming and diving clubs; it also has historical sailing clubs. Important open sea sailing meetings are held and the spectacle of the glorious ships skimming gracefully over the water is truly impressive.
At the mouth of the River Anavros in Volos, and on neighbouring beaches, the visitor can enjoy sea sports such as water skiing and windsurfing.
FROM PELIOS TO THE EMERALD SHORES
Pelion, a mountain of relatively low elevation and levels of wildness, is almost an equivalent of the district (prefecture) of Magnesia and of its capital, Volos.
Its highest summit, Stavros, is 1.624 metres, running for approximately 50km. Mount Pelion forms a natural borderline between the district of Magnesia and the Aegean Sea.
The first village you’ll encounter on your way to the top of the mythical Pelion Mountain is the renowned Portaria, one of the most cosmopolitan villages of Pelion, bustling with life as it hosts visitors throughout the year. Situated at the foot of the mountain, it’s the first village one gets to from Volos. Luxurious hotels, traditional hostels, rooms to let, restaurants and tavernas, coffee shops, bars, and shops selling souvenirs and traditional folk art meet all visitors’ tastes and needs. The area boasts breathtaking views of the Pagasitikos Gulf and the nearby villages, while being surrounded by a dense forest and natural springs. Magnificent manors or stone-built houses, narrow streets lined with colourful flower pots, stone fountains, picturesque squares, beautiful churches and old monasteries compose a unique harmonious setting. If you are up for some adventure, then Portaria makes an excellent starting point. Two mountain shelters, one at Agriolefkes and the other at Agios Georgios of Zagora, host weary climbers and hikers just a few kilometres away from the village, where skiing is enhanced by snow-covered scenery. One can then enjoy hiking back on the centaurs’ trail that goes around the village, stop and savour local dishes at tavernas, such as pies made with greens and spetzofai (a local stew with sausages, peppers and tomato sauce).
Trying Pelion’s famous tsipouro and spoon sweets made by the women’s Agricultural Association of Portaria is a must.
From there one can reach some of the loveliest beaches in Greece, which look out over either the Pagasetic Gulf or the endless blue of the Aegean Sea. The beaches of Magnesia are treasures indeed, with their crystal-clear emerald waters and abundance of lush green vegetation.
Beyond the famous Tsangarada on Mount Pelion, descending towards the sea along an emerald-green route, visitors will find themselves in Mylopotamos. It is probably the best known beach in the area. The water is warm even in autumn, and the huge, distinctive rock, sculpted by the power of the sea and the wind, is a true monument to nature.
Also a short distance from Tsangarada lies the beach of Damouchari, a small aquatic retreat with white and pink pebbles. As the waves caress the shore, the pebbles seem to be singing. In fact, some of the scenes in the well-known American movie Mamma Mia! were filmed here.
The seaside village of Ai-Giannis is one of the most popular in the area. It lies just a short distance from Damouchari. The small cove of Ai-Giannis has picturesque little tavernas and one can enjoy the view of the sea while tasting traditional seafood dishes.
The beach at Chorefto, with 2.5 kilometres of magnificent shoreline, is one of the loveliest and longest beaches in the whole of Greece.
The route from Zagora is incredibly beautiful and is a prime example of the combination ‘mountain and sea’. Chorefto (‘dance-able’ in Greek) owes its charming name to the waves that appear to be dancing with the shore. If one wishes to enjoy ‘secret’ beaches, then Parisaina, Analipsi and Agioi Saranta are a must. All three beaches are only a stone’s throw from Chorefto.
All information provided by www.visitgreece.gr, the official tourism web site for Greece, run by the Greek National Tourism Organisation.