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The Pelion trenáki

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A prime west-Pelion attraction is the trenáki, or narrow-gauge railway, which originally ran between Vólos and Miliés. The 60km line, in normal service until 1971, was laid out between 1894 and 1903 under the supervision of engineer Evaristo de Chirico, father of famous artist Giorgio de Chirico (which accounts for the little trains which chug across several of his paintings). To conquer the 2.8-percent gradient and numerous ravines between Áno Lehónia and Miliés, the elder de Chirico designed six multiple-span stone viaducts, tunnels and a riveted iron trestle bridge, all justly considered masterpieces of form and function. The bridge, some 700m west of the terminus below Miliés, spans a particularly deep gorge and can be crossed on a pedestrian catwalk; indeed, following the entire route down to Áno Lehónia is a popular 5hr 30min walk, with occasional springs en route.

You can ride on one of the original Belgian steam locomotives (since converted to diesel), during weekends and holidays Easter–October (daily July–Aug), and several of the belle epoque stations have been restored. The train leaves Áno Lehónia (city bus #5 from Vólos) on the coast at 11am, taking 95min to reach Miliés, from where it returns at 4pm. Tickets are currently €13 adults, €8.50 kids, one-way or round trip, and go on sale at 10.30am (start queuing at 10am), at either Vólos or Áno Lehónia. However, groups often book out the three carriages, so best make enquiries at Vólos station a few days in advance.

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