In April 2015, I travelled to the amazing Montanema Handmade Village together with Family Goes Out. It was an amazing stay in a luxury accommodation surrounded by a pine tree forest at a unique place in Greece. This post is an adjusted version of my first article for Family Goes Out. Montanema Handmade Village cannot be missed on this blog. The resort offers family experiences in the broadest sense of the word in a traditional setting but with 5-star luxuries. It represents the hand-picked accommodations that this blog loves to promote.
Montanema Handmade Village
The houses of Montanema Handmade Village lies in the dense forest and high in the mountains, located in the gorge of the Agrafa Mountains. These mountains are part of the Pindos Mountains in Central Greece. The nearest town is Karditsa (35km). The village is truly handmade. It took almost 10 years to construct the resort. The village is built around its natural environment. No tree was cut to construct the accommodation. Traditional building techniques and materials, together with respect for the natural surroundings were key concepts in the building period. The resort is completely eco-friendly and sustainable. Wherever you are in the resort, you will see green, impressive mountains and endless views.
Montanema Handmade Village currently consists of 33 different types of stone houses. Together with the Family Goes Out team, I tried a family house. A spacious and comfortable accommodation with bathroom and fireplace.
Hand-made ecological cosmetics were available. The children’s room had playful details and bed linens for kids. All rooms were connected with doors to the bathrooms and living area. The kitchen was fully equipped, all are in the houses in Montanema Handmade Village, and therefore suitable for self-catering.
Breakfast is included in the room price and offered in Fournia restaurant but coffee and tea are available in the room upon arrival. There are also snacks and drinks in the fridge. There are baby cost and baby high chairs available. The water in the resort is potable and comes from a mountain spring nearby. We noticed an immediate effect on our hair and skin. For families, it is convenient to know that there is no need to buy bottled water in this resort. Sleep in Montanema is wonderful. The combination of good quality mattresses and the total silence outside left everyone to sleep like a baby.
Other houses in Montanema Handmade Village that are suitable for families are the maisonettes. They have an open-plan and offer single beds on the second level (open stairs therefore not suitable for young children). Check out the website of Montenema Handmade Village to find detailed floor plans of all the houses in the resort.
Not only are the houses beautifully decorated, the communal areas, both in – and outdoors are decorated with great style and class. There is a perfect balance here between inside and outside and the natural surrounding complement the art inside and the other way around. History and modern details are combined in a spacious salon with cosy sitting corners and a fireplace. There is a bar with modern details. Interesting artefacts are on display, there are books, family games, children s books and toys. All this in an atmosphere of total relaxation.
There is also a pool (but no children’s section in the pool) a spa, a conference center, wine cellar, playroom, fitness center and shop. Outside in the gardens are swings and hammocks overlooking the Antohori Canyon and the Pindos Mountains. The paths in the resort are stroller accessible and inside the communal areas is an elevator to move between floors.
We found that Montanema Handmade Village is suitable for families with babies that cannot yet walk. The paths in the resort are stroller accessible and inside the communal areas is an elevator to move between floors. Staying here with toddlers would be a bit more challenging but for children starting from around 5-6 years old it is great. If you are visiting with a very young child keep in mind that the nearest medical care is at a 30 min distance.
The Restaurant Fournia
Although self-catering is possible, I don’t think you will cook your own family meal here during your vacation. The food in the resort’s restaurant Fournia is of excellent quality, all traditionally cooked with locally produced products. Delivery at your cottage is optional. Bread and butter are homemade. The open-plan kitchen and in- and outdoor ovens and grills let your children take a look inside. Meals for the children can be arranged to your needs. This, together with the healthy choices, large wooden tables and high chairs, the relaxed atmosphere, the friendly staff and the panoramic view over the valley makes Fournia a top favourite family restaurant in the area.
Montanema is for families that appreciate the outdoors, true food, beautiful nature, quiet surroundings and spending quality time together. If your family likes adventure, there is much to see and to do in this area. The resort is suitable for short get-aways and holidays in both summer and winter.
Have a look at the animated website of Montanema Handmade Village with its story and vision.
To do at Montanema Handmade Village with Kids
The area is very suitable for a family hike. We joined a hike with a professional local guide, Mr. Konstantinos. The tour started right there, in the gardens of the resort and from there on we walked straight into the forest. Konstantinos told us everything about the area, more specifically, about the great variety of herbs. This part of Greece is very popular among herbalist. We had the opportunity to stop often and admire special plants and flowers. The hike led us downhill into the gorge of Anthohori and followed a waterfall with the same name. The first half-hour of the tour took us over an easy path in the shade of the pine trees. Nearer the waterfall, it became steeper and more challenging.
The views were breathtaking, we could see as far as the villages in the valley below us. At some point, we were so close to the waterfall that we could jump in it. In the summer, swimming in the waterfall is possible although the water remains very cold throughout the year. We consider the hike safe and easy for inexperienced but healthy adults.
For children that enjoy walking it would be possible from about 6 years old. At some points, a helping hand from a parent would be necessary. Good shoes are required! Babies could be carried in a baby back carrier. The whole path down to the waterfalls isn’t suitable for strollers but the first part of the forest is. Konstantinos also offers mushroom collecting hikes in autumn.
Waterfalls the lazy way
Besides this beautiful hike starting from the top, there is another way to visit the waterfalls; drive to the village of Anthohori and start your hike at the end of the gorge. Walking back into the gorge from that end is easier; the path is smooth and less steep and one would still get to see the best part of the waterfall.
Exploring Agriculture and Tradition
The resort also organized an agricultural excursion for ur. We visited a small farm with sheep, chickens and turkey’s near the town of Karditsa. This was going to be a ‘collect your ingredients and make your own fresh traditional food’-tour. The farmer showed us how to milk the sheep and we also collected eggs. With the milk and eggs we left the farm and continued our tour to the traditional flour mill of Pyrotzello. We met with the owner of the mill; his family business goes back 5 generations! His explanations on the traditional process of grinding all kinds of flour were fascinating and educative. The Pyrotzello Company uses one unique flour grinding machine of which there are only 400 worldwide. Equipped with the milk, eggs and the flour, we finally ended at the Kargouna factory in Karditsa. There we had a small break and after that, the lovely owners showed us how ‘hilopetes’ are made, traditional egg-based Greek pasta.
Lake Plastira, also called Tavropos reservoir, is an artificial lake fed by the Tavropos River. It can be found at a 4,5 km distance and an approximate 30 min drive from the resort. There are many activities organized at the lake.
Some of our fellow TBG travellers tried horseback riding at the lake. Kids love horseback riding and it is a great family activity to do at Saloon Stables. Marissa Tejada from MyTravelMyGreece wrote her experience in this article about her Thessaly horse.
Prices for horse riding:
10 Euro/15 minute ride
15 Euro/30 minute ride
Saloon also rents out paddle boats and archery is another option.
Saloon Stables: Tel: 244 109 2855, 694 593 1270. Directions: On the 220 km mark of the Karditsas-Kerasias road. It is located between the Morfovouni and Krioveri villages in the northern area of Lake Plastiras. Opening times vary per season. Call in advance for exact details.
Trekking Hellas West Thessaly is another company that organizes activities at the lake :
The trip includes a visit to the islands and fjords of the lake and children can play among the trees of the bank that is submerged in water. Age Minimum: 5
Browse through forest roads, meadows or at the specially designed biking path along the banks of the lake. A comfortable and very beautiful route through the green area. (The bikes that are used are 21 speeds hard-tailed/ front suspension) Age Minimum:8
There are single and double or quad family bikes. Enjoy the calm lake and the unique view with these easy to ride boats. Age Minimum: 5
Guides will offer you a course in this Olympic sport first. Then, it’s just; aim at the center and test your skills! Age Minimum: 5. For more information: www.trekkingpindos.gr.
Visit Meteora with Kids
Meteora is a worldwide attraction and a must-visit when nearby in Greece. The monasteries built on the top of impressive rocks in the villages of Kalambaka and Kastraki will excite the entire family.
Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Children will be amazed by the view over the monasteries on top of the strangely shaped mountains. And there is an excellent and unique interactive natural history museum in Meteora. Have a look at my blog post about visiting Meteora with Kids.
Meteora is relatively close to Montanema Handmade Village and I would advise to consider a visit when you are there. By car, it will take you approximately 1,5 hours to get to Meteora. But you can also consider taking the train from Karditsa to the train station of Kalambaka. The route takes 40 minutes. For more information about the train schedules in Greece, click here.
To make the most out of your day visit to Meteora, you could consider a day trip excursion by minivan picking you up from the train station in Kalambaka and showing you around the area. During this 4-hour afternoon excursion, your family will visit the magical rocks, the interior of two monasteries and explore the hermit caves of Badovas.
How to get to Montanema Handmade Village
By car: Athens – Montanema Handmade Village : 330 kms – 3 hours 30 minutes. Karditsa – Montanema Handmade Village : 35 kms – 40 minutes. We drove from Athens to Montanema Handmade Village, a great road trip passing Lake Plastira.
Please note that the last kilometres before the resort are a 20 min drive on a dirt road.
By bus: Athens – Karditsa: 4 hours or By train: Athens – Karditsa: approx. 6 hours
By plane: Via the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki or Volos as your starting point. A pick up can be arranged by the resort.
*I was invited by Montanema Handmade Village. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission. It costs nothing extra to you but helps keep my site running. Thank you for supporting me in this way*