Imagine a traditional village whose stone and wood houses are built in harmony with the rich greenery and running waters, thanks to a global initiative that fosters sustainable development. Within this stunning environment, the Vasilikia farm with its organic garden, pond, assortment of animals and wooden watch tower will captivate you and bring you face to face with a much more ‘real’ way of life.
Dreamy cottages on the mountain
Families are going to adore staying here in one of the three abodes. Two wooden cottages called Huck and Becky – each with a double bed for two people – come together to form one big house. They can be rented separately or together, if you’re a group or a family, especially since the larger one has an extra single bed. Then there’s a country house with a fireplace boasting two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a children’s attic with two more beds (fits six in total).
While the cottages remind you of European mountain houses, the materials used (local stone and wood) are very Greek. That said, the country house boasts a distinct British farmhouse ambiance that surprisingly feels very a propos in this mountain wilderness, while the Huck and Becky were named after Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, adding a touch of Anglo-American familiarity. Make no mistake though, you’re in the very heart of Mainland Greece, and beyond the comforts of your cottages – which come complete with hiking sticks – you’re set to enjoy a fabulous time in this mountainous Mediterranean countryside.
Activities that will take your breath away
Hike through the Oiti National Forest, climb up to the region’s highest traditional village and meander through the remains of the old castle, cross the Mornos river over a historic stone bridge, take in the energy of the highest waterfall in the country and bathe in the hot thermal springs of Kallidromo. This is just a taste of what you can do in the region.
You’ll also be impressed with the underground cave of Nerospilia, the Sperchios forest full of plane trees, the mineral springs of Thermopylae and a hike through the Asopos gorge. The fantastic thing about Greece is that even if you’re in a seemingly remote mountain area, there’s always an attractive beach not far away. From Vasilikia, you can drive to Asproneri beach if you decide you want a complete change of scenery.
Activities-wise, there’s a formidable rock climbing area near the village of Sykia that even comes with negative slopes that are some 1,500 meters high. Experienced hikers might consider hiking through the Dounos gorge, while amateur hikers will enjoy the signposted ‘railway trail’ that runs beside the train tracks, built in the olden days to help the rail builders. Worth mentioning two is the old Fokis Mining Park (Vagonetto) now far away, representing a theme park that children love to explore.
Closer to home there are mountain biking routes that will impress you with their nature and stunning landscapes. In a nutshell, the area also offers horseback riding, birdwatching, river trekking, mushroom picking and canyoning, while in the relatively mild Greek winter you might want to opt for snowboarding and cross-country skinning.
Lastly, while the cottages are perfect for making light meals after stocking up from the local grocery, you’re going to find yourself happily trying the dozen or so hearty restaurants and old cafés in upper and lower Pavliani. There’s even a traditional pastry shop that will whet your appetite. The fine local gastronomy is really the cherry on the cake in this great experience.