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Mt. Pilion (Pilio, Pelio) Magnesia Prefecture Page 3

Portaria

1808 painting by Edward Dondwell of PortariaThe resort of Portaria is on the road that cuts east across the northern part of the island. Though it has a nice old main square with big plane trees, it isn't such an appealing place, having overdone the tourism a bit, but there are some nice old arkhondhika (old upper-crust mansions) converted to tourist rooms as well as hotels, and a frescoed church. From here one begins the three and a half hour climb to Pliasidhi at 1548 meters (5,077 feet) one of the main peaks in the Pilio range.

Makrinitsa a village with 600 inhabitants on a side-road to the north, is an exceptionally beautiful place sited on a vegetated slope facing in towards the bay to the west, Evia to the south, and Thessaly to the north, with lovely stenakia (narrow lanes) to wander in, a fine main platia (square) with a fountain and plane trees and the most beautiful of the village's six fine churches, Aghios Ioannis. There are restored arkhondhika in this town, an eighteenth-century monastery - Panaghia Makrinitissa, with beautiful marble work inside, Greek inscriptions and Byzantine carvings. There are Theophilos frescoes in a café near the church. A five-hour walk will take you to a deserted monastery with frescoes, the monastery of Sourvias. There is a shorter route as well. Ask the locals to point the way.

East from Portaria, you the road climbs to the Hania Pass, at 1200 meters (3,937 feet) with spectacular panoramic views. There is a chair lift from here up to Mt Pliasidhi and the Agriolefkes ski resort (open Jan-March (sometimes even into April). After the pass the road descends through chestnut,oaks, planes and beech forest to the orchards below.

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