Between secret beaches, sanctuaries, art and nightlife
The dream sea of the Pelion peninsula, but also the frescoed forests and churches. In addition to the train immortalized by Giorgio de Chirico. And then Rhodes, with its medieval corners, concerts under the stars, trendy beaches and deserted …
Meryl Streep learned how to prepare the dolmades, vine leaves stuffed with rice, in a vernacular taverna of Damouchari. Inlet of blue sea and clear rocks where scenes of the cult movie Mamma Mia !. The only flicker of worldliness in this beautiful and secret corner in the Pelion peninsula that closes the Gulf of Flight. This is so famous, because from here you embark for the Sporades islands, while few know the Pelion, a Greece for connoisseurs, far from the routes of mass tourism, the ugly invasive architecture of the landscape.
Only 90 kilometers of primary Mediterranean forest, oaks, chestnut trees, cypresses, centenarian plane trees, millions of olive trees, cherry trees and the famous apple trees of Zagora that produce red and sweet apples. Then the mountain that reaches 1600 meters, the flowers exported to the Netherlands until a few years ago, the 400 species of medicinal herbs. For the mythology here lived Chirone, the wisest of Centaurs, medicine teacher of Asclepius. Then there is the sea: calm among olive and cypress trees of the Pasasitikos gulf, wild on the Aegean front, with coasts fringed by cliffs, caves, woods and coves, crystal water, dazzling turquoise, blue.
White sand beaches like Aghios Ioannis, where Anthoula is located, a workshop of the classic Greek old woman perennially sitting on the door. She sells woven blankets and tablecloths, hand embroidered cotton curtains in the villages, made in Pelion, not in China. Whites also the beach of Horefto and the tables of the tavern O Petros, almost flush with water, where they seem never to end the lunches based on fresh fish and vegetables: fried shrimps with salicornia and other rock herbs, octopus with zucchini, sardines on aubergine purée.
But the most spectacular beach is Fakistra, one of the ten most beautiful in the world according to the Guardian, never crowded because it is reached with a long walk. It is just 15 km from The Lost Unicorn, a charming hotel in Claire (English) and Christos Martzos (Greek). And the British taste is felt in the prints on the walls, in the well-stocked library of books on Greece and novels, in all languages. From the terrace you can reach the highest branches of a centenary plane tree, so large to host comfortable seats to enjoy a coffee or an aperitif.
Under the hotel, a square invaded by another monumental platano, perhaps millenary. It is in Tsangarada, a country spread in micro villages, in the green. And it feels really suspended over a forest by the pool of the 12 Luxury Resort, an ecological five-star hotel with spa, which organizes wellness weekends and active holidays, horse riding, hiking and archery. In a fraction of Tsagarada there is the chatty pope of the eighteenth-century church Ag. Taxiarchis, who proudly displays the icon with Aristotle and Plato at the foot of the Virgin.
In the mountain villages – stone houses in the shade of plane trees and chestnut trees – churches and stories have the flavor of legend even if authentic. Here is Agia Marina in Kissos and the frescoes from the Bible. But also pedagogical figures of plants and animals: it was one of the many secret schools at the time of the Ottoman occupation, where Greek history and culture were clandestinely taught.
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