3 days / 2 nights / 2 rides
Difficulty: 4 out of 5
Total Distance: 180km
Total Elevation: 3500m
Bike Types: Road & E-bike
A weekend break full of good cycling, stunning landscapes and a constantly changing nature. Climb up to +1000m and then descend down to some of Europe's best beaches. Pelion is a marvelous cycling destination.
Searching for a place called Pelion, various mapping software display results related to a mountain named liked this. And that is profoundly accurate and correct. According to the Greek mythology, mt. Pelion was one of the places where centaurs had resided for hundreds of years. Those mythical creatures, half-men and half-horse, represented barbarism and unbridled chaos. However, not all of them are regarded as unconventional figures. The most known centaur was Chiron, who according to many cites, he possessed great wisdom and served as an advisor to many kings and significant figures of ancient mythology. Chiron was living in the wild forests of mt. Pelion and it is due to him and his community of other more civilized centaurs, that mt. Pelion was associated with the famous title”the Land of Centaurs”.
Pelion nowadays is used to describe not just a mountain, but a whole peninsula. Pelion Peninsula is midway between Athens and Thessaloniki. It is like a sliver of some other, lusher country latched onto the eastern side of the Greek mainland. Its backbone is a mountainous ridge of forested peaks, mt. Pelion, speckled with the silvery scales of slate roofs; on either side translucent coves have been carved out of the cliffs. To the south, the peninsula curls into the Pagasitikos Gulf, a glassy expanse of sea almost landlocked by the port of Volos and the island of Evia.
Apart from the busy months in the heart of summer, Pelion feels very remote. That element makes cycling in this particular region of Greece extremely satisfying and exciting. The roads are typically empty. The few farmers’ vehicles are barely noticeable, even during the periods when the locals harvest their crops of fruits and vegetables. All people in Pelion, live at an easy and quality pace, making the few drivers here to avoid speeding or adopting a city-like driving style.
The selected routes for this package ensure the riders to become familiar with the unique landscape found here. Cyclists cannot miss witnessing the dramatic changes in the overall scenery. The “inner” side of Pelion, the one oriented towards the Pagasitikos Gulf, offers a smooth, calm, and according to many, an idyllic note of cycling experience. Here the cyclists should ride through gentle slopes, rolling hills found by an exquisite coastal road and enjoy some stunningly beautiful wide open sea views.
The “outer” side, the one oriented towards the Aegean sea, is particularly more challenging, rugged, steep and wild. Cycling here will require a significantly stronger effort, but this will be just a tool for the riders to come closer to the deep forested and verdant nature of Pelion with its clear running waters. A thing that cannot go unnoticed is the number of remote and authentic villages found on this side of Pelion. All of them are “tidy” (an expression used by Greeks), clean and maintain an original character, which seems to be respected by locals and visitors for decades now. Simple things, such as enjoying a coffee at the village’s square, comes with a sense of pure tranquility and fulfillment, a clean signal of what quality of life may mean to some of us.
During our cycling trips in Pelion, we find it irresistible to avoid chatting with the locals. What we discover is that many of them are highly educated, coming from other regions, or even countries, have chosen Pelion to establish their main residence, mainly due the wonderful balance of natural elements, quality of life and rich culture. It came as no surprise to us that a couple, with which we toured in Pelion back in 2017, has decided to do the same.
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