Hotel Helydorea was one of the first charming little places that I discovered after moving to Greece. We went for a winter weekend and stayed in a suite for the four of us. In awe of the country-style decoration and the warm and easy-going feeling atmosphere of the hotel, we came again a few months later with friends. We booked for the following Christmas with two other families and I have been back several times since. Over the years, I saw the village develop from a sleepy place with only a few traditional restaurants and not much else, into a popular mountain destination. Fortunately, Helydorea itself has not changed much and still has the same laid-back feel that seduced me in the first place. It offers a choice of lofts and suites with fireplaces and some smaller double rooms. With wood or stone-paved floors, bare stone walls, traditional furniture and small bathrooms, the style is rustic and charming; you get comfort without extras. Owners Stathis and Eleni believe in sincere, easy-going hospitality. Rather than worrying about providing luxury or fussy service, they serve a really good breakfast (mostly local produce) and their focus is on friendliness and providing things to do. Eleni organises yoga, tai chi and meditation retreats, and Stathis has a whole range of outdoor activities to suggest.
I will always have a weak spot for this little hotel in the mountains of the Peloponnese which inspired me to start looking for similar charming small hotels in Greece!
There have been a few instances where maintenance and service by local staff was slacking, but now that Stathis and Eleni spend most of their time at the hotel – which also had a recent makeover by the Coco-mat company (famous for its amazing mattresses) – I expect this is a thing of the past.
3 double rooms
1 junior suite for 2 persons
1 junior suite for up to 3 persons
1 studio for 2 persons
3 studios for up to 4 persons
4 suites for up to 4 persons
En-suite bathroom (bath or shower)
Telephone Internet access
Television (with DVD in some of the rooms)
Refrigerator (not in all rooms)
Fireplace (suites only)
Sitting/dining room with fireplace
Meeting/events room (in garden house)
Yoga, tai chi and meditation retreats
Hotel Helydorea does not have a restaurant, but live-in staff can cook simple meals on request and of course there are also several places to eat in the village. For breakfast you will find a buffet (from 8 am to midday) with a good choice of mostly local, traditional products. Meals can also be arranged for group meetings and events.
The Trikala area is great to go to with children, and so is Hotel Helydorea. Children are welcomed with wide open arms (sometimes literally) and the quadruple rooms and suites are very comfortable for families. We stayed at Helydorea several times when our kids were pre-schoolers, and they always had a great time.
Walking and hiking
Explore the mountains on foot; the walks are beautiful. The choices are endless and some walking routes are signposted. Ask for suggestions at the hotel. Keep a day to drive to (mountain) Lake Doxa (40 km from Helydorea). It is a mesmerizing spot in the midst of forests. Walk around the lake, go and see the little chapel that stands on a small peninsula, and make a detour to visit the 17th century monastery of Agios Giorgios. Starting from the lake, there are also possibilities for longer hikes in the mountains as well.
A few km from Trikala there’s a ski centre, well, sort of. The Ziria Sports Centre has one lift (plus a baby lift) and one run. Not bad if you are a beginner: you can rent equipment and take a skiing and snowboarding lessons. There are also beautiful trails for cross-country skiing. A bit less peaceful, but great fun: you can also take a snowmobile tour through spectacular mountain scenery.
Go to the neighbouring village of Rethi for horseback riding. The equestrian club offers lessons for those who are new to the sport, and if you have some experience they can take you on beautiful horse riding treks through the mountains.
More outdoor activities
Rent mountain bikes and follow the dirt roads and trails through the mountains. For even more thrills, climb to the summit of Mount Ziria (with certified guides) or make a descent into the Flambouritsa Gorge.
Eleni occasionally organises “women-only” weekends which include activities such as yoga, meditation seminars, tai chi, dancing, drawing and cooking. You can contact Eleni for more information.
Hotel Helydorea is situated in the mountains of the northern Peloponnese, in the (middle, mesaia) village of Trikala. It is a quiet location with nice views over the mountains.
Follow the national road between Patras and Cornth (Korinthos). Turn off at a town called Xilokastro (about 30 km from Korinthos or 105 km from Patras) and follow the road signs for Trikala. The hotel is on your left in Mesea Trikala (middle Trikala, there also are Ano, or upper, and Kato, or lower, Trikala) about 24 km from where you get off the national road.