Zagora, Pouri, Chorefto, Agii Saranta, Makrirrachi, Ovrios are in Northeast Pelion. Since these villages are close to each other, they are considered as a single travel destination.
Zagora, Chorefto and their surrounding villages and beaches are a year-round destination. As tourism is not the lifeblood of these mainly agricultural settlements, visits at any time of year can be rewarding. Zagora and Pouri provide fine food and accommodation even in the winter months, with an increased sense of coziness. In summer, the beaches spring to life with a rewarding but populist spirit, far away from the glitter of Mykonos. Festivals that last until early morning are common in July and August.
Zagora, one of the main villages of Pelion, developed around a monastery that was founded in 1160 (but was destroyed by fire in 1887). Zagora's growth benefitted from privileges granted by the Ottoman authorities. In the 1700s and 1800s, through its port of Chorefto, Zagora's merchants became prosperous from trading local silk and woolen fabrics and developed extensive links throughout Europe and the Middle East. Zagora's famous Hellenic schools were established with the fruits of local traders' prosperity and global experience. These schools educated some of the leading individuals of the 18th-century Greek Enlightenment, which foreshadowed the 1821 Greek Revolution. The visitor can see the prosperity of that era in the stately archontika (mansions) of Zagora and the surrounding villages and their churches, some lavishly decorated, that were built typical Pelionic style.
The economic life of these villages today is dominated the Agricultural Cooperative of Zagora-Pilio, one of the oldest agricultural cooperatives in Greece. The cooperative places on its fruit a trademarked "Zagorin" sticker, which has become an EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for apples. Recently, the farmers in the region have become major producers (and exporters) of kiwi fruit.
Just below Agios Giorgios plateia is an information board with a helpful map that shows the locations of historic archontika, accommodation and tavernas.
- 1 Public Historic Library of Zagora, Zagora (on the main road through Zagora, just below the Agios Giorgios plateia follow a ramp with a sign marked "ΠΡΟΣ ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΙΚΗ" up to the library), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-13:30 M, Tu, Th, F; 09:00-17:00 W. The Public Historic Library of Zagora was an important resource for the education of some of the leading figures of the 18th-century Greek Enlightenment that preceded Greece's 1821 Revolution. The library was founded in 1762 and is known for its collection of about 3,500 old and rare books. The library's contemporary collection that serves today's community contains over 10,000 books and magazines. Key early contributors to the library were John Prigos (1725 - 1789), a merchant who travelled through Europe and the library's founder, and the Patriarch of Constantinople Callinicus IV. There are often small, interesting exhibits (although signage tends to be in Greek only). Free.
- 2 Popotech Workshop (The Orchard of Fools), Zagora-Pouri Road, Pouri (traveling north from Zagora to Pouri, on the left, about 3.5 km after Agios Giorgios plateia), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A whimsical garden that is the fruit of a transplanted Dutchman's metalworking. The couple also makes and sells interesting jewellery.
Swim at one of the major beaches of the area (from north to south): Parisena, Chorefto and Agii Saranta.
- 1 Parisaina Beach, Chorefto (on the main beach road in Chorefto, head north from the intersection from Zagora; park before the road begins a sharp ascent on the left; you will see a path around a headland that will take you to the beach). Wide and devoid of any permanent development and (before late afternoon) shade, but often full of campers, Parisaina beach attracts many naturists. In summer a primitive, communal atmosphere takes hold. Silence, distance and appreciation of nature in these crystalline waters.
- 2 Chorefto Beach, Chorefto (at the end of a winding, sometimes narrow 8-km road from Zagora). Stretching for 1,650 m, from a rocky outcrop in the north to the jetty for Chorefto's small port, Chorefto Beach is one of the longest on the Aegean side of Pilion. There are plenty of hotels and rooms to let, along with camping, along the main beach road, and plenty of places to park. The middle third of the beach is the most developed, with tavernas and stores along the street, as well as serviced loungers and umbrellas on the sand (available for a small fee). For much of the beach, there are simple showers and changing cabins for public use. The sandiest parts of the beach are the northern two-thirds, with the southern third having larger, but smooth-worn, rocks both on the beach and on entry to the water. Chorefto's clear waters can vary from completely flat to very rough, even during the summer. In summer, there is a lifeguard station at about the mid-point of the beach, with a (green / orange / red) flag that alerts as to safety conditions.
- 3 Agii Saranta Beach (from Chorefto, follow the beach road south, around the camping and up the steep incline, a signed road 250 m after the road levels leads to Agii Saranta; from Makryrrachi, between a church and small supermarket, take the signed road from the main road ; this road is rough in part, but you will find the road leading down to Agii Saranta in 2.6 km). One of the most beautiful beaches in Pilio. Clear waters and fine sand surrounded by a lush forest that forms a gorgeous amphitheater. There are some pleasant tavernas and bars, serviced umbrellas and even some rooms to let. On weekends in the summer, crowds from Volos ensure parking near the beach is full (often before noon); consequently, access can be problematic, as for a portion of the descent only one car can progress in either direction around a blind hairpin turn. This will often lead to a queue of cars needing to reverse up or down a steep incline. Best solution is to park at some of the wider lay-bys on the descent and walk down.
There are agencies, mainly based at Chorefto, that rent kayaks, canoes and paddle boards, accompanied and non-accompanied, including Pelion Secrets, Chorefto Kayak & Sup Rental and Pelion Scout. Pelion Scout will also arrange canyoning, cycling and hiking trips. The Athletic Club of Zagora (the Centaurs) will organize beach volleyball and beach football tournaments on Chorefto beach throughout the summer; these are publicized on posters throughout the region as well as on their facebook page.
Less developed beaches should also be considered:
- 4 Analipsi Beach (from Pouri, follow signs down a very steep road to Analipsi Beach; park at the road's end and walk along the stony beach; the boulders become just large pebbles as you move further south). But for the shower in front of the Plimari Taverna, Analipsi is visibly undeveloped. You can walk to more secluded, and sandier, coves (including Tourkopigi Beach) if you are athletic enough to scramble over the large rocks at the south end of the beach. You can certainly get away from the crowds here.
- 5 International PelionFestival, Zagora (most events occur in the auditorium of the school that sits below Agios Giorgis Plateia; others occur throughout East Pilion), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Music and arts festival that started in Zagora in 2000. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival sponsored mainly classical musical events in and around Zagora in the late spring and early summer. Guidance on the 2021 festival has not been released as of late April 2021.
- Feast of the Metamorphosis, Metamorphosis (Sotira) Church, Zagora. Dining, dancing and singing takes place on August 6, the Orthodox feast day for the 19th-century church that has replaced the original 12th-century monastery around which Zagora grew. You will often hear the revelry continue past daybreak on the 7th.
- Apple Festival, Agios Giorgios plateia, Zagora. Every first (ok, sometimes second) weekend of September, a festival showcasing Northeast Pelio's most famous export is held.
- 6 Viemedela, Odos Kassaveti, Zagora (on Zagora's main road, after the Chorefto road intersection, 50 m before the Zagorin supermarket), ☏ . Professionally run spa providing massage, facials and alternative therapies. Olga speaks English and Russian in addition to Greek.
For basic provisioning:
- 1 Zagorin Supermarket, Zagora (on the main road through Zagora, the supermarket is just before the KTEL bus stop at Agios Giorgios plateia). Well stocked, but not encyclopedic, supermarket. Open year-round.
- 2 Zagorin Supermarket, Chorefto (on the Chorefto beach road, 250 m south from the intersection of the Zagora and the beach roads). The summertime-only branch of the supermarket that is run by Zagora's farmers' cooperative. Most of life's necessities are here, but don't expect Roquefort or tofu.
For life's luxuries:
- 3 Sindetiras Jewels, Zagora (Agios Giorgios Square is just above Zagora's main road; while walking, take a sharp right after the cafe that is in the far right corner of the square as seen from the stairs that ascend from the main road to the square; the store is 30 m after the cafe). Very good value modern jewellery hand made in this workshop and store.
- 4 Gi Anatolís (Land of the East), Agios Giorgios Plateia, Zagora (Agios Giorgios Square is just above Zagora's main road; Gi Anatolis is in the far right corner of the square as seen from the stairs that ascend from the main road to the square), ☏ . A small shop selling local herbs, teas and handmade goods, including jewellery, souvenirs and toys and dolls.
Places to eat in Pouri:
- 1 Plimari, Analipsi Beach, Pouri (from Pouri, follow signs down a very steep road to Analipsi Beach; park at the road's end and walk along the stony beach for 50 m), ☏ . An isolated seaside restaurant in front of Analipsi Beach, with tables scattered under shady trees. Spyros and Anna serve well-crafted, fresh taverna food, with most ingredients sourced from their gardens or by Spyros from the sea. Excellent, often ambitious, cooking and friendly service attract locals. Seasonal, so check if open if you're visiting from September to May.
- 2 Polidroso (on the main road from Zagora, 30 m prior to the main village parking, a road and stairs ascend to a square; it is best to park and walk up), ☏ . In summer, the tables are set amongst the plane trees in a plateia with a panoramic view of the Aegean. In winter, the tables are in a stylish, compact room above the square. The food is attentively cooked. Open year-round.
Places to eat in Chorefto:
- 3 Dovas Home Cooking, Horefto (on the beach road in Horefto, just before the Horefto branch of the Zagorin supermarket), ☏ . Well-cooked seafood and complex stews are their specialties.
- 4 Petros Taverna (O Sogabros), Chorefto (on the beach road in Horefto, just before the Horefto branch of the Zagorin supermarket), ☏ . 09:00 to 01:23 daily. Released beachfront taverna with a large menu and a great view. Clean, friendly and dependable. Has serviced umbrellas and loungers on the beach.
Places to eat in Zagora:
- 5 Meintani Taverna (Niki's Taverna), Zagora (500 m north of Zagora's Agios Giorgios plateia), ☏ . Very friendly, Niki runs a dependable and warm space, with a magnificent view from the back balcony. Open year-round.
- 6 Stou Psilou Traditional Steakhouse, Agios Giorgios Plateia, Zagora (Agios Giorgios Square is just above Zagora's main road; while walking, take a sharp right after the cafe that is in the far right corner of the square as seen from the stairs that ascend from the main road to the square; the restaurant is 10 m after the cafe), ☏ . A newer addition to the Zagora scene, this grill produces good value pork and beef chops and wraps, along side other Greek fare. A young crew provides enthusiastic service in a pleasant outdoor setting above the Agios Giorgios plateia or inside in a traditional fireside atmosphere. Open year round.
- 7 Taverna O Patis, Polimeri, Zagora (on the main road through Zagora, about 100 m to the south of Agia Kyriaki plateia), ☏ . Warm, well decorated taverna that has a small balcony overlooking the Aegean. The food is well-produced in a very clean kitchen. Very gregarious and proud proprietor.
- 8 Thraka, Zagora (on the Agia Kyriaki Plateia (Square), which is on the main road through Zagora), ☏ . A very dependable grill and perhaps the most popular restaurant in Zagora. Nikos and his wife Dona serve well-grilled local meats and other regional specialties. Most of the year, you will sit in the plateia that faces the historic Agia Kyriaki church, which dates from 1740 and has a very stately campanile. Open year-round.
Places to drink in Chorefto:
- 1 Dwende Seaside Escape & Restaurant, Chorefto (on the Horefto beach road, just after the Horefto branch of the Zagorin supermarket), ☏ . The seaside "sister" to Zagora's Ylien brings a little bit of Mykonos style to Pilion. A contemporary bar / cafe with serviced loungers on the beach. Well made, bar-style breakfasts, lunches and dinners can be had with coffees, beers or cocktails. Seasonal, so check if open if you're visiting from September to May.
- 2 Kripti Beach Bar (after arriving on Parisaina beach from Chorefto, the path to Kripti is about 200 m on the left). An alternative space that could bring you back to the 1960s, but with better beer and long drinks. A cool, shaded, terraced spot to hang after a few hours without clothing on Parisaina beach. Seasonal, so check if open if you're visiting from September to May.
Places to drink in Zagora:
- 3 Ylien Cafe, Agios Giorgios Square, Zagora (Agios Giorgios Square is just above Zagora's main road; Ylien is next to the stairs that ascend from the road to the square), ☏ . Ylien's serves coffee, local teas, long drinks and beers with food in a restful corner of Zagora's plane tree-shaded Agios Giorgios plateia (square). Stylish and more sophisticated than you'd expect for Pilion. One of few places in area that consistently shows football matches on its TV. Open year-round.
- 4 Kafeglykopoleio (Cafe of the Women's Agrotourism Cooperative of Zagora), Agios Giorgios Square, Zagora (Agios Giorgios Square is just above Zagora's main road; the cafe is in the far right corner of the square as seen from the stairs that ascend from the main road to the square), ☏ . The Cafe of the Women's Agrotourism Cooperative of Zagora sells and serves coffee, teas, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages with their homemade traditional pastries, jams, liqueurs, and spoon sweets. Much of what is served at the cafe is also available for purchase. Open year-round.
- 5 Pazar Cafe, Odos Kassaveti, Zagora (on the Agia Kyriaki Plateia (Square), next to Thraka Taverna, which is on the main road through Zagora), ☏ . A cafe / bar that shares much of the plateia (square) in front of Agia Kyriaki church with its sister restaurant, Thraka. Its tables are under large, shady plane trees and enjoy spectacular open vistas down to the Aegean. In the winter, coffees and drinks can be enjoyed in its cozy interior. Open year-round.
- 6 Zagoraion Cafe, Polimeri 1390, Zagora 370 01 (on the main road through Zagora, about 300 m after the EKO petrol station as you drive from Volos), ☏ . Year-round bar (with pizza and other bar foods) that is very popular with the younger locals. Open year-round.
- Archontiko Amalia, Zagora, ☏ . A 4-key accommodation, which consists of two traditional houses of 266 m² at in 0.8 ha of land.
- 1 Archontiko Stamou, Char. Voutzara str., 37001 Zagora (take a sharp left turn when the main road through Zagora passes by Agios Giorgios Square; ascend 200 m to the hotel on your right), ☏ . A recent renovation puts this nine room hotel amongst the best in Zagora.
- 2 Camp Chorefto, Chorefto (on the main beach road in Chorefto, head south from the intersection from Zagora; the camp is in 1.2 km, where the road turns right away from the beach at the port's jetty), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Recently improved, the very well-located campground now provides "glamping" accommodation, while still providing for those who wish to bring their own tent.
- 3 Archontiko Gkagianni (Mansion Gkagianni), Kassaveti, Zagora (on the main road through Zagora, it is 250 m after Agios Giorgios plateia as you drive north), ☏ . Wonderfully restored Ottoman era archontikon truly transports guests back in time.
- 4 Zagora Hotel, Odos Kassaveti, Zagora (on the main road through Zagora; 250 m past Agios Giorgios plateia as you drive north), ☏ , ✉ info@zagorahotel. 15 room hotel with modern amenities and a swimming pool.
- The Public Health Center of Zagora (☏ ) serves the East Pilion region and handles most basic medical emergencies. Advanced treatment is arranged by ambulance transfer to the General Hospital of Volos.
- At certain times, the open waters of the generally unprotected beaches of East Pilion can have strong waves and currents. Do not swim too far out from shore, and try to swim with a companion. Some beaches, such as Chorefto and Agii Saranta will, at certain times of the year and at limited times during the day, have lifeguards. The jetty protecting the small port at Chorefto offers calmer waters for swimming when more open waters are too rough.
- Drive cautiously and considerately. The roads in this area are often narrow and have a surprising number of hairpin turns and blind corners. Farmers of apples, kiwi and olives will often park their pickups partly in the road at inconvenient spots, especially from late August to early October. Pedestrians, including school children and the elderly, are frequently on the road at all times of year. Cyclists are becoming more common. The KTEL coaches and the double-trailered lorries from the Zagorin cooperative also operate on these narrow roads.
Most of the bars, restaurants, taverns and cafes offer free wi-fi for their guests.