You may have never heard of Pelion Mount and Makrinitsa in Greece before but Pelion is one of the most impressive, and magical places in Greece.
Imagine a deeply forested peninsula with 28 traditional, beautiful villages full of old mansions and monuments, trees laden with pears, apples and chestnuts, planes, streams and centuries-old bridges.
As if that was not enough, the peninsula is surrounded by endless golden sandy beaches, some of the best in Greece. The movie Mama Mia was filmed on Skopelos island, in the area of Pelion.
Mark my words, you visit Pelion once and it stays in your heart forever!
Whichever season you decide to visit Makrinitsa Pelion, you will be rewarded by the abundance of its natural beauty, the many culinary local choices, the original and traditional architecture of the village, the various outdoor activities, and the many interesting sites you can visit and see in the village.
Makrinitsa is located in mid-eastern Greece on the beautiful, green slopes of Mount Pelion ( altitude 300-800 m), 16 km from Volos town and 3 km from Portaria village.
According to the plaque at the entrance of the village, Makrinitsa was founded in 1204.
Pelion Mount was Centaurus home, according to Greek Mythology. Centaurus were mythical creatures, half men half horses.
Makrinitsa Pelion is a strikingly beautiful village at 630 m, with traditionally built richly decorated stone mansions, a village offering tranquility, natural beauty, and peace to the visitors.
Makrinitsa’s nickname is ‘balcony of Pelion’ because of its amazing view of Volos town, especially in the evening.
Makrinitsa is an excellent starting point for exploring the Pelion peninsula.
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What to Do in Makrinitsa Pelion in Winter
If you are visiting Makrinitsa during the Greek winter you have to be prepared that you may have to deal with fog, chilled weather, and even perhaps some heavy snow, especially in January – February. Or you may have nice, sunny days that will make all the wintry colors of the forest come alive.
One of the best things to do in Makrinitsa Pelion in winter is to stroll its picturesque kalderimi (cobble-stone alleys) with the small iconic shops selling syrupy local sweets, herbs from the mountain, and jams. Pelion mountain is very fertile and produces a lot of fruit, herbs, and chestnuts.
You should stroll by the lovely main square with the centuries-old plane trees and with a panoramic view of Volos and the Pagasetic Gulf.
Central Church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos
Makrinitsa is divided into small neighborhoods, each one centered around a church or a monastery with always an elaborate fountain nearby offering freshwater from the Mount Pelion springs. There are about 50 fountains scattered around the village.
Agios Ioannis Prodromos (Saint John the Baptist) is a very beautiful small historical church on the main square of Makrinitsa, which is the center of the village’s social, commercial, religious, and touristic activities.
Visit the Exquisite Churches in Makrinitsa
As you walk by Makrinitsa you come across various churches, which have a richness of icons to show, historical items and a lot of architectural interest. Some of the churches are:
- Agios Gerasimos Monastery
- Saint Maria Magdalini Holy Orthodox Church
- Church of holy Trinity
- Church of Metamorphosis of the savior
Find more information on the Makrinitsa churches HERE
Related Article: Visiting the Black Orthodox Saints Icon in Milies Pelion
Go to Extrordinary Cafe Theofilos
Find the community cafe ‘Theofilos’, right on the main square in Makrinitsa, and admire the famous wall painting (1910) by the naïve folkloristic artist Theofilos. The painting depicts a Greek hero revolutionist against the Ottomans back when Greece was under the Ottomans.
In the cafe, you can have a small selection of local traditional dishes like spetzofai ( local sausage in tomato sauce and vegetables).
Other cafes: Ask for directions for the Art Cafe or the Aeriko Cafe, they both have large yards with stunning views of the sea and Volos. You will find them very easily, Makrinitsa is a small village.
Visit the Folklore Museum of Makrinitsa
If you like folklore art and you are curious to see how Greek used to live in their everyday life then you should definitely visit the Folklore Museum.
The museum is housed in the three-floor Topalis mansion, close to the main Makrinitsa square. The mansion was built in 1844 and contains a wonderful selection of traditional costumes, old photographs, kitchen vessels, and items of daily use.
Between 1st of November – 31st of March the museum is open from 8.30 am to 3.00 pm. For the rest of the months, it is open in the afternoons as well.
Admire the Icons in Makrinitsa Byzantine Museum
For a small place like Makrinitsa, the Museum of Byzantine Art and Culture is of high importance, exceptionally renovated with a rich display and collection of post-Byzantine works dating from the 17th through 20th century.
Find the museum on the Makrinitsa main square. For more info, you can visit the museum’s website: makrinitsamuseum.gr
Go to Paschalis Art House and Cafe
If you like art and paintings then you must visit Paschalis Art House (Gallery) to see some Greek painters art and sculpting and have a coffee in an artistic environment.
Paschalis Art is housed in a traditional building dating from 1830 and for many years used to be the workshop of the painter Paschalis ( Paschalis Aggelidis ).
You can enjoy their coffee and homemade cakes while looking at the pieces of art around you or the magnificent views from the balcony.
Find Paschalis Art 60 metres away from Makrinitsa main square.
Pelion Ski Resort Agriolefkes
17 km far from Makrinitsa you can find yourself skiing at an altitude of 1.471 m right on top of Chania village.
The Ski center is 2 km from Chania, has 6 routes to choose from, for beginners and advanced, with medium and high difficulty. It also has 3 aerial lifts, 1 sliding, and 1 for children. If you do not want to carry your own equipment, no worries, you can rent it at the base of the ski center.
More info on Makrinitsa Ski Resort Facebook Page HERE
What to do in Makrinitsa in the Summer
You should hit the nearby beaches!
Drive towards Volos town and the western side of Pelion facing the Pagasitikos gulf and cross lovely seaside villages and the perfect beaches of Agria, Karnagio, Platanidia, Kato Gatzea.
After your dive, find a nice seaside tavern and enjoy the fresh fish and the local vegetables, which are delicious!
Hike Centaurs’ Famous Trail
Although hiking in Pelion is absolutely fantastic all year round, the Centaurus trail is suggested as a summer hike because it is a short and easy uphill trail. It is just 1900 meters long and follows one of the many streams that surround Makrinitsa.
The beginning of the trail is between Makrinitsa and Portaria villages and there are signs indicating the starting point.
You follow the signposted trail, cross little wooden bridges with small pools of water, and in about 30-40 minutes later you have finished the trail. You can come back using the same path or you can go towards the paved road that crosses Portaria nearby village.
The trail is ideal for new hikers and all ages as it is very easy.
Where to Eat in Makrinitsa
I was in Kardamo Oinomageireion in the 2019 summer and I was lucky to find a table at the terrace with a stunning view.
The cuisine is mostly Greek traditional, with many vegetarian and vegan choices
- Peliades Eatery & Drink: This is another food option, for more sophisticated Greek Food, very easy to find in Makrinitsa. Just ask around and they will point it out to you (travel the Greek way!!)
Would you like to taste affordable Quality Greek Food in the area you live? Check out my Small In-house Quality Shop with deals from the Amazon Store.
Where to stay in Makrinitsa
Selina Centavrus Pelion (mid-range). I really like Selina because of the colorful rooms, the youthful style, the sparkling clean facilities and the ultra helpful staff. Check availability and prices on Booking.com HERE
Archontiko Melanthi (mid-range). A wonderful hotel, with very beautiful and traditional rooms, amazing views, and the warmest and most hospitable hosts. Check availability and prices on Booking.com HERE
Hotel Adam (Budget). With views towards the mount Pelion and the sea of Pagasitikos, featuring a fireplace and tastefully decorated rooms this is one of the best budget hotels in Makrinitsa. Check availability and prices on Booking.com HERE
How to Get Around Makrinitsa
Cars are not allowed inside the village. There is a parking lot at the entrance of Makrinitsa where you can leave your car. For the rest of your exploration, you will have to walk.
The cobblestones are at times very slippery, so you better wear anti-slippery shoes.
How to Get to Makrinitsa
My personal view is that the best way to see a place is by renting a car. You can rent a car from Athens or from Volos town and remember to bring your international driving permit with you. Check out my favorite: Best car rental prices – Guaranteed. RentalCars.com
There are public buses going to Pelion from Athens and from Thessaloniki, at affordable prices and in excellent coaches with AC. Find info at: http://ktelattikis.gr/en/
*** ATM: There is no ATM in Makrinitsa but you can find one in Portaria which is only 3 km far from Makrinitsa.
*** In Portaria there is a Rural Clinic and can be reached at +30 24280 99106
These are some of my Favorite Travel Resources for Greece
- All the archaeological sites in Greece can be found on the official Greek Ministry’s website here. If you are an EU member, you might be eligible in reduced or free entrance.
- Map of Athens Metro here
- Booking.com: I use Booking.com because I can get the best deals, have info on hotels and Airbnb’s alike, with breakfast or not, free cancellations, and great prices!
- Ferries: Book your ferry transfer with FerryHopper, and get the best price in the market with no hidden fees
- World Nomads Insurance: I feel insecure traveling to another country without having even the most basic of insurances. Insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations
- Best car rental prices – Guaranteed. RentalCars.com
- iVisa: For any questions, you may have about your documents, passport if you need a visa, a new photo, or any visa-related matter, iVisa is your man (or woman!)
- Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
- Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100
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