Afissos • Lefokastro • Kala Nera - Horto - Milina Transfer time 1½-2 hours from Volos Airport
The western side of the Pelion has lovely views (and gorgeous sunsets) over the Pagasitic Gulf to the mountains of the mainland. Although heavily wooded, like all Pelion, the west is more typically Mediterranean: here olive and cypress predominate over oak and chestnut.
Although the name Kala Nera ('Good Water') originally referred to the many springs in the area, it could equally apply to the very clean sea here.
Directly on the gulf some 18 kms to the south of Volos, the village has lush wooded surrounds and backs a gently shelving sand/shingle beach. Kala Nera's long tree-lined promenade shades an array of restaurants and cafes, perfect spots from which to admire the sunsets here for which the area is famed. It is also not far from the start of the very scenic railway which runs at weekends from Ano Lehonia up the mountain to the gorgeously traditional village of Milies.
As everywhere in Pelion there are good walking opportunities - perhaps along the coast to the beach at Boufa. Kala Nera is a relaxed seaside village with a very Greek atmosphere, a good choice of authentic restaurants and small shops, with some life to it (in a 'bustling taverna' kind of way), especially in season.
Afissos is a small, quite smart little resort village and popular with local Greeks from Volos at weekends as it boasts three good beaches. It is said that Jason called in here for freshwater supplies before setting sail on his epic journey.
The village has a small fishing harbour at its entrance. Its long seafront is where most of the dozen restaurants are to be found, along with a few cafés, mini-markets and bakery. At its heart is a shady central square with attendant church.
Gently shelving beaches lie to either side, a mix of shingle and coarse sand, which get very busy at weekends and in Greek holiday periods - there are several beach clubs, each of which offers free sun beds to its patrons.
Both Afissos and Kala Nera have a reasonable bus service to Volos. Last year excursions ran around the Pelion by coach, and there was also a popular 'around the gulf' boat trip.
An hour’s beautiful walk (or a ten minute drive) south along the narrow country lanes through the olive groves brings you to Lefokastro. this seaside hamlet is pretty as a postcard – a delightfully tranquil wooded bay, with a ribbon of houses fronting the water and a safe fine-shingle beach. Last summer a pair of local tavernas operated, joined by a third in high season.
Lefokastro offers an authentically Greek ‘away from it all’ holiday in unspoilt green surroundings, with good swimming and fewer visitors. the countryside is hilly and full of olive trees, so offers fine walking (gentler than in the east).
Horto is also very small and quiet for much of the year. the hamlet has just three tavernas, two little beaches and a quirky local shop but does possess an authentically sleepy Greek charm.
Milina further to the south is larger (not difficult!), albeit still pretty and quiet. The village enjoys fine views over a crystalline sea to the small islets of Alatas and Prasouda, each of which is home to an old (now deserted) monastery. Milina's long promenade above the sea is lined with a good choice of tavernas and cafes, and the village has a number of small shops. Narrow shingle beaches lie to either side. There is a bus service to Volos (up to 5 times daily in season), and a car will enable a visit to Trikeri island (known for its fish tavernas) just off Pelion's southern tip, as well as a thorough exploration of the beautiful south, which hides some truly spectacular beaches on its eastern side.