Mamma Mia

We decided that as we couldn’t do much on the boat whilst they were painting the decks that we would go away for the weekend. We set off around 1030 on Friday towards the Pelion coast in the north, between Volos and Thessaloniki. The beaches there were supposed to be gorgeous with small villages that somehow have been forgotten. It would be at least a five hour drive but on the toll roads so pretty easy driving.

Our hotel for the weekend. The blue dot is Olympic Marine

We arrived in Volos around 3pm having stopped a couple of times for the loo and changing drivers. Volos is famous for being the city where Jason and the Argonauts left on their quest and since then has become a thriving commercial port. Consequently, the town is a working rather than a picturesque place but the town quay reminds us of Prevesa in the Ionian where people stroll in the evening with bars and restaurants. Seems a good stopping off point to the Sporades or further north.

Volos Town Quay

We then had a lovely drive up to our destination on the other side of the peninsula near to Milopotamos. The drive up and over the mountain was wonderful, if a little hairy at times!

Overlooking the Gulf of Volos. Even the animals need shade!

The Hotel Faro is really off the beaten track with the last 600m unpaved road at a steep decline but so worth it. Set into the hillside with its own sea pool. We had booked a table at a nearby taverna, Aggelika, which was 100m away. What the map didn’t tell you was that it was on the next headland so it was actually a descent of 100m followed by a climb of 100m. However, the freshly caught dorado was exquisite. Washed down with the usual half a litre of house wine (€4) and the journey back didn’t seem as bad.

Sunrise from our balcony

We woke up to an amazing sunrise and decided to stay at the hotel and relax. The sea pool was something special – crystal clear, turquoise water with no sea weed, jellyfish or sea urchins. Bliss.

The sea pool at Hotel Faro. Can you spot Liz?

However, Liz couldn’t keep still for too long so we went for an explore as there looked to be a secluded beach about a mile away on another headland. As we walked down the track a couple of cars passed us but I definitely would not have wanted to put the suspension of our little Kia Picanto to the test! We were rewarded with a gorgeous beach with very few people on it. We were even able to find our own secluded spot to while away a couple of hours.

Limnionas Beach

Sundowners from another beach bar next to the Aggelika taverna, Cafe del Mare, and then dinner at the hotel. We really didn’t want to leave our idyll which was also a bargain at €50 per night for the room. Breakfast was €7 each with pretty much everything on the menu homemade from the yogurt, cheese, jams and honey. On Sunday we thought we’d explore the coastline further north before wending our way back to Lavrio. This meant going back into the mountain and then back out to the coast so 4km as the crow flies took an hour by car. Still, we were treated to a number of cute villages, including Damachouri where its harbour was used in the 2008 Mamma Mia film.

The temporary pontoons used in the film have long since gone

As we had a long drive back, we were back on the road by 1pm. We were amazed to see acre upon acre of apple trees all being harvested and transported down the mountain to waiting large trucks. We must have counted at least 50 pickup trucks in about an hour. Once we were at Volos and off the mountain roads, the driving was easy so we were back at our apartment by 7pm. There is a restaurant just south of the marina and on the way to Cape Sounio called Artemis that we found in 2019. We thought it was different and delicious back then so we were keen to try it. As it’s near to the end of the season they are only open at the weekends so Sunday evening was our last chance to eat there this time. They did not disappoint. The Prawn Saganaki and Risotto Veruna with prawns and truffles were both scrumptious. A perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

The restaurant Artemis did not disappoint

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