Our next stop in our journey was the village or Portaria. While the official elevation for this village is 600 metres above sea level, that’s probably the elevation of the town square. The village is on the slope of Mount Pelion, and you exit at a higher level than you entered when driving up from Volos. We did not spend a great deal of time in Portaria, but it is certainly a place I would love to return to and explore a bit more.
When we arrived, we were met with magnificent scenery of both the city of Volos down below at sea level and the surrounding mountainous landscape – we just had to stop to take photos. While the latest official available figures (2011) say that the population of the village itself is 566, you’d think it might be more with all the hustle and bustle that is going on in the village. Of course, much of this is due to tourists and travelers going through the village in order to reach other parts of the region.
Getting to Portaria was not that difficult although you need to be aware of the windy road as you “climb” up Mount Pelion. In Greece, road maintenance does not always seem to be a high priority and while you will encounter dare devil type drivers, it’s best to keep your own good pace that you are safely comfortable with. On many of the roads, especially in mountain areas, there can be many “hairpin” corners where it is impossible to see what might be coming around the corner in the opposite direction – suddenly you meet a vehicle going the other way who is taking up half of your lane.
Keeping to your own lane can be difficult at times though, as Greek roads can be very narrow with lots of overgrown brush, tree branches, and even fallen rock debris in your path. For some reason, trees and bushy plants are rarely trimmed along the sides of Greek roads and you have to deal with that.
When I drove into Portaria, the view in my rear view mirror was simply stunning so we stopped as soon as we could find a parking spot (that’s another interesting ‘problem’ in most parts of Greece) and we strolled on foot some meters in order to take photos of the view:
Later, walking back up the road past where we had parked, we had this view and you can see the road – and how difficult it must be for large vehicles to navigate their way through. In fact, at one point while driving, we were requested to stop our vehicle and pull over as much to the right as we could in order to allow a large transport type truck pulling construction vehicles on a trailer to get through. Keep in mind, this is the main road from the city of Volos through to other parts of Pelion.
There is a BP filling station (gas station) in the village and it must be tough for the fuel trucks to arrive and fill up their tanks. At the time we were there, the price for a litre of fuel was 1.638 Euros – for Canadian readers, that’s $2.39 a litre.
Portaria Village Square
In Greece, traditions live long, and considering that there are so many villages outside of Metropolitan areas, old village traditions continue to this very day. You will hear the main church bell ringing throughout the day, marking each hour and half hour. If there is some significant event to occur, or even the passing of a life of a resident, the occasion will be marked by bell ringing.
The village square, (or ‘platia’) is an important place for people to gather informally, with various “tavernas” and other merchants located there. You an sit outside and enjoy a drink whether it’s a tsipouro (or ouzo, beer, wine, etc), or a coffee, and even have a meal.
The village square of Portaria is especially beautiful, and while we did not spend much time, we did take photos:
A Shop, A Hotel, And A House Of Portaria
Portaria is known for what is called “Pelion Architecture,” and while we did not stay long enough to understand exactly what this means, I did take photos of a few interesting “buildings” in the village. I have no clue if these are examples of Pelion Architecture but nevertheless, they were interesting to me and I wanted to have photos.
First was a small cafe we walked past that serves coffee and drinks:
We walked up the “alley” and had this exterior view of the hotel:
This house had an interesting (and beautiful) exterior:
Views From Portaria
As mentioned at the beginning, the views from this village were simply stunning! If we had no other plans for a destination beyond the village, we probably would have tried to find accommodation and stayed in the village for at least another day to drink it all in while exploring this quaint village. If you live in Portaria, and want to make a new friend, drop me line – so I can come visit you! 🙂
I realize that I’ve posted quite a number of photos that have a large file size (but I have so many more that I also could post but that would mean it might take you an hour just to download to your browser!), so I’ll end this post on our quick trip to Portaria with some of the views that we breathed in. The photos really don’t do them justice, and of course, neither does an amateur photographer like me. But they are my photos and my experience.
If I make it back to Portaria, The Lotus Guesthouse will most certainly be on my “short-list” for places to stay! That’s of course assuming no one from Portaria gets in touch and offers to be my friend so I can come visit regularly 🙂 .
The views from here amazing, and from another angle, a view of the village of Makranitsa:
As mentioned, I’d love to go back here and spend more time – we did actually have a chance to view sunsets from this village later in that day, during our return trip – I’ll post those later. But we did have a further destination on this day that we wanted to get to.