Travel tips: autumn in Greece, plus deals of the week - Halong Junk Cruises

Travel tips: autumn in Greece, plus deals of the week

Peaceful Milina, on Greece's Pelion peninsula
Peaceful Milina, on Greece’s Pelion peninsula. Photograph: Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

Take me there: Pelion, Greece

Why go?
Unlike the Greek islands, which shut up shop in September, the beautiful Pelion peninsula on the mainland has year-round appeal. Autumn is the perfect time to explore the stone-built villages on the slopes of Mount Pelion, linked by kalderimi, donkey trails which wind through sun-dappled forests of chestnut and oak. Old mansion houses, with slate roofs and overhanging balconies, are being converted into boutique hotels and the traditional tavernas are the place to taste authentic Greek home-cooking.

What to do
Makrinitsa, with its sweeping views over the Aegean, and Tsagarada, known for its 1,000-year-old plane tree and lovely shady squares, are two of the most rewarding villages to visit. At weekends enjoy the mountain views from the “trenaki Pelion”, a narrow-gauge steam train which chugs between Ano Lehonia and Milies. For uncrowded beaches, travel south to Platanias. From Damouchari take a half-day kayaking trip to the sparkling bay at Fakistra with Pelion Secrets ( finishing with Greek coffee and apple pie in Victoria’s café on the harbour.

Where to stay
The Lost Unicorn is a genteel and quirky guesthouse run by Anglo-Greek couple Clare and Christos in Tsagarada. The open fires and homecooked meals make it a great base for an autumn walking break (from €90,

Where to eat
The tiny island of Trikeri, reached by water taxi from the south coast of Pelion, is the place to head for fresh seafood. Admire the paintings and sculptures in Paschalis Art House while nibbling on mezze and cakes at this art gallery-cum-café in Makrinitsa (

Insider tip
The Friends of the Kalderimi ( is run by mostly British expats who restore the ancient donkey trails, says Dudley der Parthog of Sunvil ( “It has lots of downloadable walking routes and maps for the whole peninsula.”

Give me a break

On the hop: beer and walking holiday in Sussex.
On the hop: beer and walking holiday in Sussex.

Home: sipping on the South Downs Love beer? Love walking? Sussex is bringing the two together with its new Coast & Country Walking Festival (27 September to 5 October, It kicks off with the Two Breweries Tour, which combines a seven-mile walk on the South Downs with tastings at breweries en route. Sleep it off at the YHA South Downs Hostel, beds from £20, rooms from £45 (

Cool Lisbon: stay in a 17th-century townhouse.
Cool Lisbon: stay in a 17th-century townhouse.

Away: Summer nights in Lisbon Enjoy three nights for the price of two in Lisbon this August at Chiado 16, a gorgeous 17th-century townhouse converted into 10 stylish rooms and self-catering suites in the lively Chiado district. A three-night break now costs from £123pp (reduced from £185pp) on a room-only basis. The deal is available until the end of August, excluding Bank Holiday weekend (

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