Halkidiki

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The Archipelago of Paradise

The Birthplace of Aristotle: Turquoise Waters, Lush Vegetation & Picturesque Villages

Halkidiki holds the reigns of one of the most exotic destinations of the country! Endless golden sandy seashores with emerald and turquoise waters will take your breath away on this paradisiacal corner of Greece. Whether you choose Kassandra or Sithonia Peninsula, or even the peninsula of Mount Athos, your eyes will definitely be impressed from the almighty beauties of Halkidiki. Overshadowed from the massif forests of Cholomontas, the extraordinary terrain of Halkidiki hides millions of mysteries; from the monastic state of Athos, the Cave of Petralona and the island of Ammouliani to the valuable archaeological site of Olynthos, the lovely villages of Nea Fokea, Nikiti and Vourvourou and the steep cliffs of Porto Koufo, Halkidiki has it all. As we say, there is no other place like Halkidiki. From lovely Arnea with its magnificent Macedonian mansions, the olives of Polygyros and the honey of Nikita to the magnificent forest of Cholomontas with its herbs and its mushrooms, the sandy seashores covered with pine forests and the magnificent rocks of Kavourotrypes, Halkidiki hides one million faces. Turquoise waters, countless bays and superb beaches, lush vegetation and picturesque villages create an idyllic landscape. Under the scents of the fresh pine trees and the breeze of the summer, Halkidiki seems like it has jumped out of a fairytale. Enjoy the silence at the deserted beaches with the emerald waters before you find yourself in the strongest beach party of your life! Praised for its exotic sceneries and its turquoise waters, Halkidiki will leave you speechless. Crystalline waters and natural coves seem like they have sprung up from the Ionian Sea! Verdurous routes and interesting paths reveal the mysterious atmosphere of Halkidiki and cosmopolitan beach bars and deserted seashores invite the travellers to find their own corner of paradise. All this beauty spreads on the three “peninsulas” of Halkidiki namely cosmopolitan Kassandra, natural Sithonia and religious Athos! Kassandra or Sithonia is the constant dilemma of the travelers; if you want to enjoy the cosmopolitan spirit of northern Greece, you should definitely visit Kassandra while Sithonia is for you if you pursuing for Zen isolation with wonderful beaches of utmost serenity! White sandy beaches, of the most beautiful of Greece, with emerald waters and pine trees spread over a coastline of more than five hundred kilometers. The dreamy sceneries of Halkidiki transforms as the direction of wind alternates; from utmost silence to heartbeat blast, this is what makes Halkidiki unique in its kind. Although Halkidiki is famous for its spectacular beaches, the mountainous terrain of Halkidiki is an ideal place reserved for the ones who want to escape from everyday life. Indeed, the charming villages and the pristine nature of mountainous Halkidiki promise an exciting experience out of the ordinary. Covered with dense chestnut, fir and oak forests, the images of mountainous Halkidiki alternate with meadows with wild flowers and breathtaking views to the vastness of the Aegean Sea. However, we saved the best for last; the peninsula of Athos. Officially known as Ayion Oros, the Holy Mountain occupies the entire eastern part of the three peninsulas of Halkidiki. The holy peninsula of Mount Athos, which distinguishes for its towering rocky peaks with the magnificent twenty monasteries, is the sole independent monastic complex of Christian Orthodoxy. From priceless relics of the Byzantine Empire and illuminated manuscripts to impressive frescoes and miraculous icons covered with precious metals, it is definite that Mount Athos is a must visit for the masculine gender as Constantine Monomachos prohibited entry to the feminine gender since 1043. It is said that Virgin Mary was brought to Athos by accident from Ephesus, having blown off from a devastating storm, and she decreed that it be venerated as her own special place. Since then, this story has become the rationale for keeping out all women but the Virgin herself. As we said, Halkidiki hides millions of faces. At the end, you will discover all the beauties of Halkidiki and you will understand why we say there is no other place like Halkidiki, the archipelago of paradise!

Discover Halkidiki

Best of Halkidiki

The Capital of Halkidiki

The Town of Polygyros is the lovely capital of Halkidiki located on the central part of the prefecture. Set among the farmlands and woods of the southern foot of Prophet Elias, part of Holomontas mountain, Polygyros is a mountain village that can serve as an ideal starting point for your excursions to the entire prefecture of Halkidiki. Worth visiting sights include the archaeological museum of Polygyros, one of the most important archaeological museums of Halkidiki, the folklore museum of Polygyros with exhibits that have been donated from the residents and citizens of Polygyros showcasing the traditional house of the nineteenth century, the town hall of Polygyros and the six fountains of the village, the landmark of Polygyros. Polygyros is famous for its carnival celebrations attracting visitors from all around Greece. During the summer, the town hosts the annual summer festival of Polygyros featuring a series of cultural events.

The Beach of Kavourotrypes

The Beach of Kavourotrypes is a long rocky coastline located on the east side of Sithonia peninsula. Interrupted from tiny enclaves of well-hidden sandy beaches, Kavourotrypes create an astonishing natural environment especially when explored by boat. Keep in mind that access is difficult from the road since there are no signs.

The Mount of Athos

The Mount of Athos, else known as Holy Mountain, is a self-governed part of the Greek State, administrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, which has been included in the World Heritage Sites List of UNESCO. Mount Athos, the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, consists of twenty Orthodox monasteries standing on the eastern peninsula of Halkidiki. Mythology has it that Giant Athos threw a massive rock to god Poseidon that fell into the sea and became Mount Athos during a fight between the Gods and the Titans. Another legend, however, says that Virgin Mary’s hip was blown and docked on the peninsula of Athos while on her way to Cyprus; she was so amazed from the beauty of the peninsula that she blessed it. Subsequently, Mount Athos is called the Garden of Virgin Mary. The first monks to inhabit the region arrived on Mount Athos during the 5th century AD. The government body of the Holy Mountain is the Iera Kenotita, which literally translates to Holy Community, constituting of representatives from the twenty Holy Monasteries. Seventeen monasteries are Greek while the other three are Serbian, Bulgarian and Russian. Apart from the monasteries, there are twelve communities of monks and many solitary hermitages. Life in Mount Athos is simple and monastic. The monks believe that the way of man to find God is through solitude, prayer, exercise, obedience to the Spiritual Father, service and fasting. Women are not allowed to enter Mount Athos, only men. Both monks and visitors leave a simple life, without any modern facility. They eat small quantity of food, every day, mainly bread and olives, because they want to exercise their body in deprivation. They stay in the monastery cells or in caves, pray to God and do agricultural works.The monasteries are rich storehouses of medieval history. You can see paintings from the 13th century AD, music manuscripts from the Byzantine era, marble sculptures of columns, turrets, chalices, icon screens and exquisite miniatures in gold and silver dating back to the 12th century. Approximately one quarter of all the Greek works in the world are collected there in the form of more than fifteen thousands books and handwritten manuscripts. Mount Athos is approached by ferry from Ouranoupolis or Ierissos. Visitors must obtain their diamonitirion, a pass entrance, from the Agio Oros office in Thessaloniki. Apart from their passport, foreign visitors must possess a letter of recommendation from their embassy in Athens or consulate in Thessaloniki. Another required document for them is the entry permit from the Administration Division of Church Affairs at the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens or Administration of Foreign Affairs at Ministry of Northern Greece in Thessaloniki.

The Tower of Prosforio

The Tower of Prosforio is the symbol of Ouranoupoli, the typical postcard everyone boarding the ship to Mount Athos. It is the largest and best-preserved tower of Halkidiki that was constructed from the monks of the Vatopedi Abbey in Mount Athos in order to protect the region from enemy invasions in the 14th century. Prosforio Tower used to belong to the dependency of Prosforion, today’s Ouranoupoli, the original core of which already belonged to the Vatopediou monastery in 1018. Among the most remarkable features of this construction the diversity of its origins, since the bottom part belongs to the Byzantine period while the second and third floor date from the Ottoman domination (1585), and the interior is made of wood from the 19th century. Prosforio Tower is also quite remarkable since it constituted the home of the Loch couple, who supported the refugees at that time. However, the Prosforio Tower was the object of several restoration works, the most recent of which was performed from the 10th Inland Revenue of Byzantine antiquities and it certainly assured its best maintained status.

The Village of Arnea

The Village of Arnea is one of the most beautiful mountain villages of Halkidiki located on the region of Sithonia. Perched under the highest spot of Holomondas Mountain, this picturesque village will give you a glimpse of the local Macedonian culture. Traditional stone houses and narrow alleys with the charming square with the plane tree and the flowing waters made this village a preserved and historical settlement from the Ministry of Culture. In fact, the majority of the houses have been restored retaining elements of the traditional Macedonian architecture. Worth visiting sights include the Folklore Museum of Arnea where you will learn about the rich folklore tradition of this area, the wonderful building of the Town Hall as well as the Museum of Weaving Art that Arnea is famous for, as these masterpieces have been even mentioned from foreign travellers of the 18th century. Sit at the central square of the village to chitchat with the locals in order to learn about the long beekeeping tradition of Arnea and the unique tsipouro style of mountovina, else known as the raki of beekeepers. The mountainous scenery of the village combines with the endless blue of the sea; fourteen beaches of the wider area, including Ierissos, Ouranoupoli and Agios Pavlos, have been awarded with the national award of the Blue Flag. From Arnea, you can escape into the woodlands of the wonderful Taxiarchis nature reserve for a hike or a picnic. One of our favorite routes hikes up to the 5th century AD ruins of the castle of Neposi while if you head to the forest, you will meet some beautiful waterfalls. If you have you own transportation, combine your drive up to Arnea with a tour of Stagira, the birthplace of Aristotle, as well as the Park of Aristotle.

The Village of Parthenona

The Village of Parthenonas is one of the most beautiful villages of Halkidiki located on the peninsula of Sithonia. Built at an altitude of 350 meters, Parthenonas is a quaint historical village that distinguishes for its authentic spirit and its traditional character. In fact, Parthenonas has been characterized as a preserved traditional settlement from the Greek state. Worth visiting sights include the church of Agios Stefanos, one of the oldest churches of the peninsula that was built in 1837, the Folklore Museum of Parthenonas with an interesting collection of folklore items and the distiller of the village that brews the local brandy of tsipouro, a Greek alcoholic spirit. If you are visiting Parthenonas, make sure to hike up through the hiking trails within the olive groves to the mount Itamos for a magnificent view of Mount Athos to the east and Mount Olympus to the west, or, even better, if you are a lover of adventure, go for an exhilarating downhill with your mountain bike. Parthenonas offers panoramic vistas towards the gulf of Toroneos and the isle of Kelyfos. Parthenonas will definitely give you a refreshing change from the beach, something very special in Sithonia.

Archaeological Sites

The Archaeological Site of Akanthos was the most important town of northeast Halkidiki and one of the most significant ports of the Northern Aegean located close to the settlement of Ierissos. Its important geographical position and its rich soil were the main factors that played a vital role in the development of Akanthos. Archaeological excavations have brought to light various scattered building remains of the Classic and Hellenistic periods, the Byzantine church of the Nativity of the Virgin and elements of diverse historical character up until 1932m when the settlement perished by a devastating earthquake.

The Archaeological Site of Olynthos is built on two hills between the Kassandra and Sithonia peninsula at the Gulf of Toroni, ten kilometers away from Potidaea. Dating back to the 7th century BC, Olynthos was originally inhabited by the Macedonians. The structure of Ancient Olynthos is really interesting, as it is placed on two rounded hills. Although Olynthos was attacked and slaughtered from the Persians in 479 BC, it was declared as the capital of Halkidiki after forty-five years. However, King Philip II of Macedonia destroyed the entire city, and Olynthos never recovered from this disaster remaining quite forgotten for the remaining period of history. Archaeological excavations conducted from an American delegation brought to light important findings including the Hippodamean town planning systems and impressive mosaic floors, one of the oldest known in the entire country. Important findings from the archaeological excavations are exhibited in the Archeological Museum of Olynthos.

The Archaeological Site of Stagira is the birthplace of world-renowned Aristotle, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great, and one of the most important archaeological sites of Macedonia found in the village of Olympiada. Ionian settlers who came from the island of Andros founded the city in 655 B.C. Although Xerxes I of Persia occupied it in 480 BC, Ancient Stagira joined the Delian League, led by Athens, until 424 BC. When the Peloponnesian War broke out, in 424 BC the residents of Stagira revolted and sided with the Spartans, which angered the Athenians. In 349 BC, as Philip the Macedon was making great gains in the northern territories, he besieged Stagira and had it destroyed. Since Aristotle was the tutor of his son Alexander, Philip II later had the city rebuilt in honor of Aristotle and had the enslaved inhabitants freed. According to Strabo, a first century historian, the city owed it’s existence to Aristotle and he was honored for this. Unfortunately the city would never regain its footing after the destruction by Philip II and by the first century, Strabo writes about Stagira being deserted. In 1968, excavations projects uncovered the ruins of the byzantine walls, remnants of the citadel, scattered classical houses built into the bedrock, the marble column bases of the ancient agora, and ruins of the tower of ancient Stagira. Entrance to the site is free.

Castles & Fortresses

The Castle of Neposi is the largest castle of Halkidiki situated on the top of a fortified hill in the village of Paleohori. The area of castle covers fifteen thousands square meters surrounded from fortifications of an area of one thousands meters with five meters in height. The wall appears to have undergone three building phases, distinguishable with respect to height and serving as evidence of its reconstructions and destructions. Neposi Castle was constructed in the 5th century AD, in a location populated at least as far back as 1500AD. The only route up the hill to the castle is a narrow and precipitous footpath. Undeniably, the castle offers wonderful views to the hinterland of Halkidiki!

The Tower of Agios Pavlos is one of the most remarkable towers of Halkidiki situated in Nea Fokea. The tower was constructed in 1407, and it used to be a dependency of the Agios Pavlos (St Paul) monastery while it served as the headquarters of Emmanuel Papas in the uprising of 1821.

The Tower of Galatista stands imposingly at the center of the tiny town of Galatista. The tower was built in the beginning of the 15th century. Although the tower follows the Venetian fortification style, it is classified in the Byzantine period. In the 1990s, the 10th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities performed a series of works that included the housing of the monument with a wooden roof, externally hidden, a partial floor restoration, as well as the placement of wooden steps for access into the tower.

The Tower of Krounas is one of the most important sights in the region of Ierissos. According to historical data, the tower was named after the alteration of the word Koroni while it was constructed in the 15th century. In 1765, it was recorded as destroyed dependency Korona of the Hilandariou monastery. During the 19th century, the dependency still belonged in the properties of the Hilandariou monastery. Nowadays, the tower is twelve meters in height. It is said that it had an additional floor that collapsed. Many sources refer to it with its full name, Tower of Krouna of Hilandariou monastery.

The Tower of Olynthos, else known as the tower of Mariannon, is one of the greatest samples of Byzantine towers in Halkidiki situated two kilometers away from the present settlement of Olynthos. The tower was constructed in 1374, and it used to be of a dependency and defense center of the Dohiariou monastery. Today, Mariannon Tower is twelve meters in height with three floors, whose entrance is located two meters from the surface of the earth secured from a wooden staircase. The tower of Olynthos provides excellent views to the entire valley until the Gulf of Kassandra, the water house of Olynthus River and the road leading from northern Halkidiki to the peninsula of Kassandra.

The Tower of Prosforio is the symbol of Ouranoupoli, the typical postcard everyone boarding the ship to Mount Athos. It is the largest and best-preserved tower of Halkidiki that was constructed from the monks of the Vatopedi Abbey in Mount Athos in order to protect the region from enemy invasions in the 14th century. Prosforio Tower used to belong to the dependency of Prosforion, today’s Ouranoupoli, the original core of which already belonged to the Vatopediou monastery in 1018. Among the most remarkable features of this construction the diversity of its origins, since the bottom part belongs to the Byzantine period while the second and third floor date from the Ottoman domination (1585), and the interior is made of wood from the 19th century. Prosforio Tower is also quite remarkable since it constituted the home of the Loch couple, who supported the refugees at that time. However, the Prosforio Tower was the object of several restoration works, the most recent of which was performed from the 10th Inland Revenue of Byzantine antiquities and it certainly assured its best maintained status.

The Tower of Sani, else known as the tower of Stravonikita, is located on the gulf of Thermaic Gulf at the peninsula of Kassandra. The fortified tower used to be of the dependency of Stravonikita monastery bought from Patriarch Jeremiah A’ in 1543. According to historical data, the tower was constructed in the beginning of the 15th century, along with many other towers of Halkidiki. It survives in good conditions with a height of ten meters. Currently, the tower is situated within the premises of the complex of Sani Beach Resort.

Churches and Monasteries

The Chapel of Apostle Paul in located in the village of Nikiti. The chapel was built on the site of an older chapel with a monumental fountain of 1713. According to tradition, Apostle Paul arrived there and was thirsty. He hit the rock and the water that came out of it flows constantly since then.

The Church of Agios Nikolaos is a true jewel dominating the heart of Polygyros town. It is a traditional long basilica with a nave, two aisles and a seven-arched porch along with a wonderful bell tower with four clock faces and a blue domed roof. According to a marble plaque, the clock was donated from Dimitri and Olympia Mareti in 1953. Agios Nikolaos is the patron saint of Polygyros. On December 6, a traditional celebration takes place in honor of the saint.

The Church of Agios Dimitrios is located in the village of Afytos. Agios Dimitrios is a three-aisled basilica with a dome that is considered to be the jewel of the village dominating the center of the main square. Visitors should admire the unique architecture of the church, with its old icons and stone reliefs on the exterior.

The Church of Agios Athanasios dominates the northern hill of the village of Sykia. It is an imposing stone church that was constructed in 1814. However, Agios Athanasios church had bad luck as it was destroyed in 1854 from the Macedonian chieftain Tsamis Karatasos, who blocked and burnt alive the Ottomans who dominated the village until then. Of great interest is the wooden ceiling and the sculpted shrine of the church, that allegedly were made within the Holy Mount Athos.

The Church of Agios Nikitas is one of the oldest religious monuments of Agios Nikitas Village. It was constructed in the middle of the 19th century, and its history is interwoven with the historical evolution of Nikiti, the passions, the joys and the dramas of the people. According to oral tradition, part of the original core of the residents came from the region of Elias on the southern side of Nikitas, where today have been found ruins of a church that was used during the Byzantine era. It is reasonable to assume that the saint protector of these people was Nikitas and that is why the toponym of the place has survived until today. So when there was a question of choosing a saint to devote the new church, people originating from the old village of Nikitas, managed to persuade the others to choose their beloved saint. Within the church, there are wall paintings of the 17th century and an impressive wood carved temple. From the church of Agios Nikitas, one can admire panoramic views to the surrounding area.

The Church of Archangelos Michael is one of the most beautiful churches of Halkidiki found in Taxiarhis village. The holy temple, cruciate from a wonderful dome, is constructed on an older temple of royal rhythm, which was put on fire and restored in 1914. The new temple was built from 1970 to 1977 with the voluntarily construction and financial help of the residents of the village. The Temple is entirely built with Stone from the Holomonta Mountain. The Miraculous Icon of Archangel Michael is situated in the place that the local people name “Throne”, in the left part in the church. It is a very old Byzantine icon, whose chronology is not known. Because of the damages that created the Turks in their failed effort to burn it, and at which the Icon was miraculously saved  and found by the residents at their return from the Holy Mountain in which they had resorted in order to be saved by the fury of Turks, the residents placed silver “shirt” in the Archangel, and new face, both of which were made in Russia. In the down part of the “shirt” exists a sign that says: “Miraculous Icon of Archangel Michael”, which is dated in 1872.Many miracles are reported from Taksiarhis, such as the treatment of an insane young person from the village “Agios Mamas”, treatment of a paralytic child from the village “Kalyves”, treatment of a schoolteacher from Polygyros whose name was Vasilia, and of a 14-year-old girl from the village “Barbara” and a lot of others. For this reason many persons from Halkidiki and generally from the North part of Greece come to our Church faithfully and “they greet” the Icon of Archangel and deposit on him their problems and sorrow.    Within the church, you will also find an interesting ecclesiastic museum with icons, utensils and books that date back to the 18th century.

The Monastery of Agia Anastasia Farmakolytria stands at the mountain slopes of Andrianos, one of Mount Hortiatis’ summits. According to tradition, the monastery was founded from Empress Theofano in 888 AC. However, there aren’t historical records for the existence of the monastery during the byzantine years. In 1522, monk Agios Theonas constructed the monastery on the spot of a tiny chapel, which blossomed and gained tremendous dependencies and real estate in Halkidiki and the Balkans. However, the monastery was burnt and the monks were slaughtered from the Ottomans in 1821. After its renovation, the monastery belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and it is one of the few surviving examples of post-Byzantine painting in the area of Halkidiki. It celebrates in honor of Agia Anastasia on December 22.

The Monastery of Panagia Philanthropini, Center for Social Advancement and Medical Prevention and Research, is large monastic community located near the town of Ormylia. The mother monastery, with over 120 nuns from various nations the majority of whom hold university degrees, is a dependency of the Monastery of Simonos Petras on Mount Athos. Founded by the Elder, Very Reverend Archimandrite Father Aimilianos, the mission of the Center is to comfort and alleviate the suffering of human beings with emphasis on the poor and working class public without preference to race, nationality, gender, or creed. The Ormylia Art Diagnosis Center was founded in 1996 by the sisterhood of the women’s monastery to study and research with scientific methodology and adequacy the hagiographic tradition of the Orthodox Church, in order to decorate the Monastery Catholicon.

Monuments

The Cultural Center of Ierissos is housed in an impressive building in the center of Ierissos. Founded in 2004, the center was approved from the European Investment Bank as a center for the promotion of the Athonite heritage and the promotion of the Mount Athos area with the use of modern technology. The first successful attempt of the center’s partners was the creation of a high-resolution video titled Travelogue in Mount Athos. In 2010, other movies were also filmed such as the SeaWorld and the Aesop’s Fables

The Lighthouse of Poseidi stands at the end of the beach of Poseidi. It is an old whitewashed lighthouse that was constructed in 1864. Although the seawater used to stand near the lighthouse, it has now backed away while the sand stretch was formed from piling up of sediments. The colonial style of Poseidi Lighthouse is still in use today. Pine trees surround the lovely lighthouse on this beautiful setting.

Museums

The Archaeological Museum of Olynthos is located right next to the archeological site of Ancient Olynthos. The museum exhibits an interesting collection of findings from the excavations while there is also a room dedicated to the restoration process and life in Ancient Olynthos. Photographs and brief texts describe the domestic organization and the economic life of the city.

The Archaeological Museum of Polygyros is one of the most important archaeological museums of Halkidiki situated close to Heroon Square in Polygyros. The museum hosts a wide collection from archaeological excavations all around Halkidiki. More specifically, the exhibits cover a period of time ranging from the Bronze Age to the Roman period that come from ancient Stagira, Toroni, Pyrgadikia, Afytos, Poliyiros, Ierissos, and Stratoni, as also from the ancient city of Olynthos. The most important exhibits include an unfinished kouros of the Archaic period, weapons and jewelry of the Late Archaic and Classical periods, a marble head of Dionysos from ancient Afytos, a black-figure column crater from Vrasta, and two marble grave statues from the heroön at Stratoni.

The Anthropological Museum of Petralona is one of the most interesting museums of Greece located in the village of Petralona. The museum displays findings from the Petralona Cave, in which the oldest European hominid skull was found. The museum was constructed and financed froim the Anthropological Society of Greece in 1978 with the purpose to showcase the findings of Petralona cave, the prehistoric culture of Greece, and finds representing the entire palaeo-anthropological area of Greece.

The Christian Collection of Ouranoupolis is housed in a stone building next to the tower of Ouranoupolis. Ouranoupoli is the village where visitors and pilgrims embark for Mount Athos. Constructed in the 18th century, the building of the museum was the boat-house opf the monks of Vatopedi Monastery. The museum hosts an interesting collection of icons from the Early Christian, Byzantine and post-Byzantine times, wall paintings from the churches and various ecclesiastical vessels.

The Folklore Museum of Afytos is located in the central square of Afytos village. It was established from Nikos Paralis and the local Folklore Club in 1980. The museum is housed in a traditional stone building from the 19th century donated from Alevras family, for this special purpose. Stone and wood dominates in the interior decoration of the museum, which typically represents a traditional mansion of Halkidiki. The majority of the exhibits were donated from the villagers including various daily life objects such as utensils, tools of traditional jobs (baker, beekeper, cooper, winemaker, fisher, horseshoer, carpenter, shepherd and other professions), old costumes and photographs. The museum also hosts works of the sculptor Vassilis Pavlis. During the summer, various art and photography exhibitions take place within the premises of the museum.

The Historical and Folklore Museum of Arnea is located in the center of the town of Arnea. The museum is housed in a two-storey mansion of the 18th century, previously owned from Konstantinos Katsangelos, who exhibited the folklore collection of the region. Following its renovation, the museum opened with the sole purpose of displaying artifacts of the popular culture of Arnea and the surrounding area. The museum exhibits a wide collection of typical examples of the architectural heritage of Arnea, agricultural implements, folklore instruments, bread making, carpentry and bee-keeping equipment, and tools and utensils for everyday use.

The Folklore Museum of Poligyros is located in the center of the town of Polygyros. It is housed in the renovated two-storey residence of the former mayor of Polygyros, Mr Karaganis, who donated it for this purpose. All of the exhibits have been donated from the residents and citizens of Polygyros showcasing the traditional house of the nineteenth and early twentieth century of Polygyros village. Authentic costumes from the wider area of Poliyiros are displayed in various corners of the house. On the ground floor, visitors may admire agricultural implements used for threshing, olive harvest, and sowing.

The Museum of Fishing Vessels and Tools is one of the most interesting museums of Halkidiki found in the village of Nea Moudania. It exhibits an interesting collection of ancient anchors, cotton nets, and harpoons on sea urchins, hooks and much more. Moreover, there are three-dimensional representations of fishing techniques, models of vessels and rich illustrations.

Natural Beauties

The Canal of Xerxes is the largest technical project that took place in Halkidiki during the ancient years. According to Herodotus, Xerxes, the king of Persians, wanted to lead his huge fleet from Akanthos to Thermi avoiding the danger of the Athonite circumnavigation in 480 B.C. So, he ordered the opening of a canal that extended from today’s Nea Roda to Tripiti and connected the gulf of Ierrisos to Siggitikos bay where the cities Assa, Piloros, Siggos and Sarti that had been already subjugated to Persians were located. Nowadays, in the landscape there is nothing to remind the huge, ancient construction, apart from a small valley in the center of the isthmus. The canal is 2 kilometers in length and 30 meters wide. Its maximum depth is estimated to be 15 meters. It is visible from a high altitude, since the place has been suffered subsidence. (Source: dimosaristoteli.gr )

 

The Cave of Petralona is one of the most important caves of Greece located near the village of Nea Moudania. Petralona cave is world-famous for the fossilized skull and bones of the Archanthrope of Petralona as well as for its stalactite and stalagmite decorations. The cave was discovered in 1959 from a villager of Petralona called Filippos Hatzaridis. Six years later, in 1960, the anthropologist and founder of the Anthropological Association of Greece, Aris Poulianos, started systematic excavations on the site. The excavations brought to light a series of Paleolithic tools, bones and fossilized animals that date thousands of years ago. The famous archanthrope of Petralona was discovered in 1960 by another villager namely Chistos Sarrigiannidis, and dates from 700 thousands years ago. The cave is open to visitors every day from 9 a.m. until one hour before sunset.

The Forest of Taxiarhis is a publicly owned forest estate found in the central part of Halkidiki on the mountain slopes of Holomontas. Broad-leaved species that grow in Greece prevail in the area of the university forest. They are regenerated naturally and, when weather conditions are adverse, they are artificially regenerated. The systematic and sustainable management of the forest over the last decades has encouraged local populations to continue to reside in their villages. The main forest products include oak, beech, pine firewood and charcoal. Fir trees are very important to the region; they are planted from villagers in order to sell them as Christmas trees. Villagers have been trading Christmas trees for 30 years. There are more than 2 million fir trees in the area, offering income opportunities to villagers, protecting the land and providing shelter to wildlife. The area is also home to rich fauna, including large populations of wild boars. The animal species displayed in the museum can also be found in the forest. Villagers coexist harmoniously with wild boars and refrain from poaching. The Forest Museum is also housed in the building facilities of the University Forest. Native flora and fauna, as well as natural resources are displayed within the premises of the museum. (Source: University of Thessaloniki)

The Island of Ammouliani is the sole inhabited island of Halkidiki with permanent population. Situated in the gulf of Mount Athos, Ammouliani distinguishes for its dreamy emerald beaches. A rich sea bed with a lively underwater life, challenging those who love underwater fishing and diving. The green color dominates all over the area, since the island is verdant with olive plantations. Paths inside the island give the opportunity to wander around the authentic nature of the island. Ammouliani is accessible through a boat trip from the harbor of Tripiti.

The Isle of Diaporos is an uninhabited isle located across the bay of Vourvourou in Sithonia peninsula. It has a length of 3.2 square kilometers with a huge natural bay of 700 meters, which serves as a mooring place for the boats and yachts when the sea is stormy. The bay end in shallow waters, remaining always warm suitable for winter swimmers. The majority of the land of Diaporos isle is covered from a dense pine forest.

The Isle of Kelyfos, else known as the turtle island, is a pristine island located opposite the bay of Neos Marmaras. Kelyfos is full of wild goats best known for its spectacular seabed. Kelyfos is accessible through a boat trip from the harbor of Neos Marmaras.

The Lake of Polychrono is a place of immense natural beauty of high ecological importance located in the village of Polyhrono on the west side of Kassandra peninsula. The picturesque sweet water lake has a total expanse of two thousand square meters, created from the geological subsidence on land reclaimed from the sea. Polychrono is also a nature reserve for a kind of water turtles, the Testudinata Turtles. A true delight for nature and wildlife enthusiasts, the lake is extremely beautiful and has been preserved with utmost care. Its location in the forest of Polihrono makes it ideal for one-day excursions in order to discover the nature of Halkidiki.

The Mount of Athos, else known as Holy Mountain, is a self-governed part of the Greek State, administrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, which has been included in the World Heritage Sites List of UNESCO. Mount Athos, the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, consists of twenty Orthodox monasteries standing on the eastern peninsula of Halkidiki. Mythology has it that Giant Athos threw a massive rock to god Poseidon that fell into the sea and became Mount Athos during a fight between the Gods and the Titans. Another legend, however, says that Virgin Mary’s hip was blown and docked on the peninsula of Athos while on her way to Cyprus; she was so amazed from the beauty of the peninsula that she blessed it. Subsequently, Mount Athos is called the Garden of Virgin Mary. The first monks to inhabit the region arrived on Mount Athos during the 5th century AD. The government body of the Holy Mountain is the Iera Kenotita, which literally translates to Holy Community, constituting of representatives from the twenty Holy Monasteries. Seventeen monasteries are Greek while the other three are Serbian, Bulgarian and Russian. Apart from the monasteries, there are twelve communities of monks and many solitary hermitages. Life in Mount Athos is simple and monastic. The monks believe that the way of man to find God is through solitude, prayer, exercise, obedience to the Spiritual Father, service and fasting. Women are not allowed to enter Mount Athos, only men. Both monks and visitors leave a simple life, without any modern facility. They eat small quantity of food, every day, mainly bread and olives, because they want to exercise their body in deprivation. They stay in the monastery cells or in caves, pray to God and do agricultural works.The monasteries are rich storehouses of medieval history. You can see paintings from the 13th century AD, music manuscripts from the Byzantine era, marble sculptures of columns, turrets, chalices, icon screens and exquisite miniatures in gold and silver dating back to the 12th century. Approximately one quarter of all the Greek works in the world are collected there in the form of more than fifteen thousands books and handwritten manuscripts. Mount Athos is approached by ferry from Ouranoupolis or Ierissos. Visitors must obtain their diamonitirion, a pass entrance, from the Agio Oros office in Thessaloniki. Apart from their passport, foreign visitors must possess a letter of recommendation from their embassy in Athens or consulate in Thessaloniki. Another required document for them is the entry permit from the Administration Division of Church Affairs at the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens or Administration of Foreign Affairs at Ministry of Northern Greece in Thessaloniki. (Source: Greeka.com )

The Mount of Itamos is the biggest mountain range of Sithonia peninsula. The highest elevation of Itamos is located at an altitude of 811 meters. Itamos is a protected region with significant flora and fauna where typical mammal species reside including foxes, rabbits and wild pigs. The forest is ideal for hiking excursions and mountain biking daytrips . From the top of the mountain, one can enjoy magnificent views over Sithonia, Kassandra and Mount Athos. Itamos Mountain is easily accessible from the hamlet of Parthenon village.

The Park of Aristotle is dedicated to the life of this great philosopher at the village of Stagira. Aristotle Park is a superb example of a theme park perched on the southern slopes of Stratonikos Mountain. The statue of Aristotle stands at the center of the park. Aristotle Park was created in 2004 with the sole purpose of hosting a series of important instruments that show the phenomena of nature including solar clock, lens, compass, pentaphone, optical discs, pendulum, water turbine, inertia spheres and parabolic reflectors.

The Thermal Springs of Agia Paraskevi are located on the peninsula of Kassandra. The settlement of Loutra was named after the curative springs. The baths are located in the southern edge of Kassandra peninsula, in a magnificent spot, at the top of a hill with a view to the sea. The sea, the pines, the amazing natural scenery of the area composes a unique picture of beauty. The temperature of the water is 34,5 o C that is characterized as slightly radioactive curative water. They have healing properties for various treatments including rheumatoid arthritis, spondylitis, slipped disc, myitis- myalgia, tendonitis, old fractures, cervical syndrome, seborrhea dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, eczemas, urinary and gynecological ailments. In the first years, a small hydrotherapy center with two rooms was created in the location of the springs. In 2000, the new modern building was built. It has two mixed pools, one outdoors and one indoors, and ten individual tubs with curative water at a temperature of 34,5o C. Furthermore, in order to rejuvenate, the facilities have sauna, Turkish bath, douches, Jacuzzi (group and individual). The baths function throughout the year, seven days a week. Visitors can find rooms to rent and hotels for their accommodation in the surrounding area.

The Waterfalls of Varvara are two amazing waterfalls in a forest full of taxus, alders, lindens, beeches and wild hazels. Both the location and the feeling of calmness and serenity will make you feel like you have discovered a small paradise. You will notice the two waterfalls entering the ravine, after you have parked your car. The water leads to Mavrolaka, a river that is the boundary between Olympiada and Varvara. You will see the first waterfall from above, whereas in the second one you will feel its momentum even in the summer. It takes a short walk (5-10 minutes) to discover this wonderful place. Both the wooden bridges and the proper marks on the path contribute to the enjoyment of the unique scenery. It is ideal for families with kids who will be thrilled! (Source: Dimosaristoteli.gr)

Promenades and Villages

Arnea is one of the most beautiful mountain villages of Halkidiki located on the region of Sithonia. Perched under the highest spot of Holomondas Mountain, this picturesque village will give you a glimpse of the local Macedonian culture. Traditional stone houses and narrow alleys with the charming square with the plane tree and the flowing waters made this village a preserved and historical settlement from the Ministry of Culture. In fact, the majority of the houses have been restored retaining elements of the traditional Macedonian architecture. Worth visiting sights include the Folklore Museum of Arnea where you will learn about the rich folklore tradition of this area, the wonderful building of the Town Hall as well as the Museum of Weaving Art that Arnea is famous for, as these masterpieces have been even mentioned from foreign travellers of the 18th century. Sit at the central square of the village to chitchat with the locals in order to learn about the long beekeeping tradition of Arnea and the unique tsipouro style of mountovina, else known as the raki of beekeepers. The mountainous scenery of the village combines with the endless blue of the sea; fourteen beaches of the wider area, including Ierissos, Ouranoupoli and Agios Pavlos, have been awarded with the national award of the Blue Flag. From Arnea, you can escape into the woodlands of the wonderful Taxiarchis nature reserve for a hike or a picnic. One of our favorite routes hikes up to the 5th century AD ruins of the castle of Neposi while if you head to the forest, you will meet some beautiful waterfalls. If you have you own transportation, combine your drive up to Arnea with a tour of Stagira, the birthplace of Aristotle, as well as the Park of Aristotle.

Afytos is the most picturesque seaside village of Kassandra peninsula perched on the edge of a huge rock. Characterized as the balcony of Halkidiki, Afytos offers breathtaking views of the bay of Toroneos. Cobblestone alleyways and traditional houses create a fine example of the Greek folklore architecture. Worth visiting sights include the church of Agios Dimitrios, the sole domed basilica of Halkidiki, as well as the Folklore Museum of Afytos housed in the building of Aletra, with an interesting collection of household items, agricultural tools and figurines of shadow theatre made from Eugene Spatharis. It is highly advisable to wander around the location of Vrahos, a wonderful spot to admire the panoramic view to the peninsula of Kassandra, visit the Hatzebeika region that distinguish for its traditional houses and walk to Koutsomylos, the acropolis of the settlement, to appreciate the history of this place. The beaches of Afytos are considered to be some of the cleanest of Halkidiki with white sand and emerald waters ideal for tranquil dives in the Aegean; these include the beaches fo Varkes, Liosi, Moudounou, Aristotelis and Valopetres. If you are visiting Afytos in summer, don’t miss the various cultural and religious events taking place at the central square of the village.

Agia Paraskevi is a mountainous village located on the northern side of Kassandra peninsula. Surrounded from a dense pine forest, Agia Paraskevi is one of the quietest villages of Halkidiki distinguished for its tranquil spirit and its authentic aura. The central square with the chapel of Ai Giannis is the heart of this lovely settlement. A quite notable celebration takes place in the village on July 15, the annual feast of honey with various happenings. It is highly advisable to wander around the stone houses to feel the genuine identity of this settlement and hike up to the hill with the church of Agia Paraskevi to enjoy the views, which, according to tradition, was destroyed and rebuilt three times before and during the Greek Revolution of 1821. The inhabitants of the village are simple and welcoming, happy to initiate the visitors into the secrets of beekeeping, their main occupation along with the cultivation of olives. In Agia Paraskevi, you will find tiny traditional taverns with authentic Greek cuisine, always accompanied from local ouzo and raki. Five kilometers away from Agia Paraskevi, you will find the settlement of Loutra with the hot springs famous for their healing properties.

Agios Prodromos is a mountainous village located on the central part of Halkidiki. Perched on the mountain slopes of Holomontas, this village famous for its souvlaki all around Greece, a favorite attraction for those looking for culinary delights. In fact, Agios Prodromos was awarded from the government of New Zealand for its contribution to the world gastronomy heritage! The picturesque location of the settlement, standing on Olynthios River that flows through the village, with the traditional stone houses and the restored church of the Assumption (1851), makes it an ideal destination for those looking for a more tranquil environment. The river that crosses the village gives a special sense of coolness especially during the summer. On the other hand, the winter climate will make you want light the stone fireplace in order to warm up in in the traditional sense of Macedonian hospitality. It is worth noting that the inhabitants of the village maintain the customs and tradition of their homeland; one of these is the eve of Epiphany and the Great Friday of Easter, where the young girls are dressed in black and sing the passions of Christ.

Galatista is a mountainous village located on the central part of Halkidiki. Built on the mountain slopes of Hortiatis, this settlement has a picturesque atmosphere with narrow alleys, traditional mansions and beautiful churches. Of particular interest are the tradition and customs of Galatista including the wedding custom of Manios accompanied from traditional music on January 7 and the festival of Agapios on August 17 where grilled meat is served to the visitors. Galatista is also offered for hiking lovers since the Trail O4 passes through the village towards Livadi in a dense forest overlooking the valley Anthemounta. The route usually takes three hours and fifteen minutes and it is of moderate difficulty. Ten kilometers east of Galatista the magnificent monastery of Anastasia Farmakolytria that belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and it is one of the few surviving examples of post-Byzantine painting in the area of Halkidiki.

Gerakini is a seaside village of Halkidiki located at the beginning of Sithonia peninsula. Sandy beaches and crystal clear warm Mediterranean water all to a backdrop of pine forests covering mount Holomontas create an idyllic destination for summer. Its location between Kassandra and Sithonia peninsulas makes it an ideal base for excursions to the incomparable beauty of the nearby beaches and the mountainous villages of Halkidiki. The landscape of the broader area captures the imagination all the senses with a spectacular combination of natural vegetation and the sea. Olive groves, forests of pine trees and oaks overlooking with the endless blue of the Aegean provide a basis for an excellent vacation. Travellers can enjoy the golden beaches of the area and the mountainous volume of Holomontas with meadows full of wildflowers. There are 37 hiking and biking paths through beautiful landscapes, designated areas of the European Network of Natura 2000. Clos to the village of Polygyros, you can visit the picturesque village of Taxiarhis with the wonderful view to the peninsulas of Halkidiki. What’s more, you can explore the islet of Ammouliani with a sense of the past. Sithonia is like a paradise with endless beaches and lush landscapes that reach the turquoise waters of the sea. From Gerakini, you can also visit the settlement of Psakoudia, the beach of Ormylia, Metamorfosi and Nikitis.

Geroplatanos is a mountainous village located on the central part of Halkidiki. Perched on the mountain slopes of Holomontas, the village owes its name to the perennial plane tree with a height of twenty meters, which has been declared as a monument of nature since 1976.The central square of Geroplatanos is the most picturesque spot of the village filled with traditional taverns under a huge old plane tree. The chapel of Panagia (Our Lady) on a wooded area filled with plane and walnut trees is one of the most noteworthy sights in the village. Geroplatanos is an idea destination for those looking for tranquility and isolation within mountainous Halkidiki.

Ierissos is one of the most largest seaside towns of Halkidiki located at the beginning of the peninsula of Mount Athos. Ancient Acanthus, as it is else known, is one of the most popular holiday resorts of Halkidiki ideal for those travelling during the summer. Ierissos can also serve as an ideal base if you are visiting the monasteries of Mount Athos. Furthermore, fish from the Ierissos bay are famous for their taste. Orkini, a species of tuna found in the area from May until early June, stands out. The residents were considered to be great shipbuilders, carrying on an ancient craft from generation to generation. The shipyards of Ierissos were some of the most significant in Greece, with famous shipbuilders. You will notice the old “karnagia”, as they call the shipyards, when you drive from Ierissos to Nea Roda. Worth visiting sights include the archaeological site of Akanthos, one of the most important ancient ports in the north Aegean, the tower of Krouna as well as the interesting aquarium that is home to several species of fishes. Those wondering what else can they sightsee, head to Ancient Stageira, the homeland of Aristotelis, which is considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites of Macedonia found in the village of Olympiada. The majority of Ierissos beaches distinguish for the purity of their waters; some of the most beautiful include the long sandy beach of Kouri, Kakoudia with its impressive granite rocks and the verdant green beaches of Gourgourous, Zepko, Vina, Kefala and Sykia.

Kallandra is a traditional mountainous village located on the southwestern part of Kassandra peninsula. It is one of the few mountainous villages of this region occupying a large area full of olive groves and pine trees. Kallandra’s existence is inextricably tied to the ancient site of Mendi, the city flourished in the 6th century. BC due to the manufacturing of the famous mendaiou wine, the first and only white wine of antiquity. One of the most important sights of the region is the Lighthouse of Poseidi surrounded from a lovely setting overlooking the entire valley. Head to the bay of Fourka and Poseidi beach to enjoy a unique sunset!

Kassandra is the western peninsula of Halkidiki trident, the most densely populated of the three peninsulas, offering an endless indented coastline with crystal waters and a vibrant nightlife atmosphere. It is the most developed peninsula of the wider region with magnificent hotels and luxurious resorts and nightlife choices. The peninsula is characterized from white sandy beaches and rocky pine-covered promontories. Kassandra is also famous for the major Sani and Siviris cultural and musical festivals. However, Kassandra is known for its beautiful beaches, its wonderful wetlands protected from the European network Natural 2000 and the famous cave of Petralona with its great archaeological importance. From an insider’s point of view, Kassandra’s forested interior is a delight for road trips, mountain bike tours and unfussy thermal baths. Kassandra is connected to Halkidiki through the bridge of Nea Potidea, as the peninsula is separated from the mainland by Potidea canal, which offers spectacular sunset views.

Kassandrino is a mountainous village located on the western end of Kassandra peninsula. Situated in a verdant valley at the center of the peninsula, Kassandrino is a traditional old village that was named after the neighboring Kassandreia because the cattle-breeders kept their corrals there. The peaceful and beautiful valley was populated since the the Byzantine years. Unfortunately, Kassandrino was completely ruined from the Ottomans during the Greek Revolution of 1821. However, its reconstruction started off in 1826 by those who survived and returned to their land. The main monument of Kassandrino is the main church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary that stands at the central part of the settlement; it is worth mentioning that the church celebrates in honour of Virgin Mary with a huge feast on August 15. The surrounding region of Kassandrino is offered for off-roading excursions and hiking lovers.

Kryopigi is a semi-mountainous village located in the heart of Kassandra peninsula. If you are looking for a peaceful and quiet settlement to enjoy ultimate relaxation, Kryopigi is the right village for you. The place is blessed with an extraordinary healing climate that will definitely revitalize you with a perfect combination of mountains of pine tree forests and beautiful beaches. Built on a pinewood hill, Kryopigi promises an exhilarating experience of hospitality.

Nea Fokea is a seaside village located at the beginning of the peninsula of Kassandra. Built in a wonderful location with crystalline waters, Nea Fokea offers an exceptional beauty with isolated beaches and huge pine trees that almost reach the sea water. The village was founded from refuges from Asia Minor. The most important monument of the village include the imposing Byzantine tower with a height of seventeen meters that was built in 1407, which belongs to the monastery of Agios Pavlos, which served as the headquarters of the revolution leader in Halkidiki, Emmanuel Papas. Nea Fokea’s most important tradition feast takes place on June 29 and 30 in celebration of Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter while some cultural events within the Kassandra Festival take place within the tower of Nea Fokea. Nea Fokea is famous for its tasteful seafood taverns that can satisfy even the most demanding visitor. The village can serve as an ideal starting point for excursion around the beautiful region of Halkidiki.

Nea Roda is a seaside village located on the peninsula of Athos. The village is built on the narrowest point of Athos peninsula, where Xerxes opened a canal for his fleet to pass in 480 BC. Archaeological ruins, charming houses with colorful yards and picturesque fishing boats create the most beautiful images of Nea Roda. The golden sand of the beach will accompany you all day welcoming you with colors of mystery at each sunrise and sunset. The sunset from Nea Roda beach should not be missed, as the view of the surrounding region in the astonishing colors of the sunset is a great spectacle. If you are looking for something more special, go uphill to the tiny chapel to gaze the unimaginable beauty of the village; the view will definitely reward you!

Neos Marmaras is one of the most cosmopolitan villages of Halkidiki located on the peninsula of Sithonia. Beautifully situated upon three hills along the western coast of the peninsula, Neos Marmaras is the heart of Sithonia. The people of Neos Marmaras are an ancient people in a new setting.  Originally coming from the island of Marmaras in the Bosphorus by Istanbul, the locals of Neos Marmaras were uprooted in 1922 after thousands of years of inhabiting their home island. They were scattered around the world, but many ended up in Thessalonica and Neos Marmaras. Upon their arrival, they found a harsh wilderness to tame, but because of their persistence they created the beautiful town that it is today. Seaside landscapes combine with mountainous sceneries in the most mysterious way. Neos Marmaras offers panoramic views towards the pine-covered uninhabited isle of Kelyfos. Wander around the bustling center of the village and enjoy your cocktail in one of the vibrant clubs of the rich nightlife of Neos Marmaras. With an abundance of restaurants and bars lining the Main Street and waterfront, Neos Marmaras is one of the most vibrant centers in Halkidiki. Visit the Domaine Porto Carras, one of the largest wineries of Europe, and enjoy hiking and cycling tours in the pristine beauty of the surrounding area. Don’t forget to go for golfing, the best golf course in Greece! If you are looking for something different – head up the mountain to the historical village of Parthenonas. There, you can enjoy a picture perfect sunset over the Kassandra peninsula, as you dine in an outdoor taverna or restaurant. This adorable settlement is just minutes from Neos Marmaras. (Source: Sithoniagreece.com )

Nikiti is a seaside village located on the peninsula of Sithonia. Built at the beginning of the pen insula, Nikiti distinguishes for one of the longest beaches of the country. To this extend, an international swimming marathon takes place on that beach every year at the end of July. The contestants start in Kassandra (the first Halkidiki peninsula) and end at the Sithonia peninsula in Nikiti, swimming some 26 kilometers across the Toroneos Gulf. Things of interest in Nikiti include the Basilica of Sofronios, one of the oldest Christian churches of Macedonia, which was built during the 5th century AD. It is worth visiting it to admire the mosaic floor that is virtually intact. Wander around the old town of Nikiti, a historical settlement where the local people still live, and enjoy your coffee at one of the old taverns of the old square imagining how life could have been years ago. In the center of the village, you will find the big church of St. Nikitas, from which you get a good view. The church was built in 1867 and the village was built around it. No one could ever forget however the exquisite honey of Nikiti, as the village has been a beekeeping center for more than six hundred years. In fact, Nikiti is one of the largest honey producing centers in Europe. (Source: Sithoniagreece.com )

Olympiada is a seaside town located on the northeast part of the peninsula of Athos. Stretching on the edge of a natural harbor, surrounded from the evergreen mountains, Olympiada has managed to blend the natural sceneries of the country in the most elegant manner. Built from the Greek refugees from Asia Minor in 1923, Olympiada is situated next of Holomontas Mountain, one of the most beautiful mountains of Greece. The neighboring beaches a are characterized from the sparkling turquoise color of their waters and the spectacular backdrop of the vibrant green nature. Worth visiting sights include the archaeological site of Ancient Stagira, the birthplace of world-renowned Aristotle, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great, which is considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites of Macedonia. If you are looking for a place to enjoy relaxing and tranquil vacations, then Olympiada is the right village for you. Away from mass tourism, Olympiada has managed to keep her genuine character and authentic identity intact.

Ouranoupoli is a seaside village located on the northwest part of the peninsula of Agion Oros. Often characterized as the gate of Mount Athos, Ouranoupoli is a divine destination combining mountainous sceneries with sea landscapes, promising unforgettable memories especially for travellers seeking relaxation. Ouranoupoli welcomes pilgrims and prepares them for their spiritual journey to Mount Athos. Besides, Ouranoupoli literally translates to the city of heaven! The most important monument of the village is the tower of Andronikos that was constructed in 1344 from the monastery of Vatopedi as a protection from pirate invasions. Ouranoupoli is also quite famous for its traditional fish taverns caught in the gulf of Mount Athos. Ouranoupoli is surrounded from a wonderful forest offered for walks and exploration with panoramic views to the village and Mount Athos. Also, visitors can hop into the traditional boats in order to visit the tiny islands of Ammouliani and Drenia with its exotic beaches. Inevitably, Ouranoupoli is the last stop for all pilgrims who wish to visit Mount Athos since they have to collect early in the morning the Diamonitirio, a written authorization and the ticket for the ferryboat.

Ormos Panagias is seaside village located on the peninsula of Sithonia. Built in a wonderful location, Ormos Panagias is considered to be one of the most cosmopolitan resorts of Halkidiki. The fishermen are proud for the freshest fish, calamari and octopus of the day while the local restaurants are famous for their fresh seafood with splendid views of the bay and the natural harbor. The locals of Ormos Panagias are known for making traditional tsipouro, the local alcoholic spirit that is traditionally made with old methods from October till November. One of the most important events takes place in this village, is the Diaporos Regatta, featuring races from windsurfing to canoeing. The most foremost reason, however, that travellers visit Ormos Panagias is to visit the glorious monasteries of Mount Athos. Before you leave, make sure to visit Ammouliani island, the sole inhabited island of Halkidiki.

Paliouri is a semi mountainous village located on the peninsula of Kassandra. Perched on the southern point of Kassandra peninsula, the village has managed to preserve an authentic color with its traditional houses and its cobblestone alleys. Paliouri spreads amphitheatrically around Toroneos Gulf. The verdant forest that surrounds the village is offered for hiking excursions. Some of the most beautiful and secluded beaches of Paliouri include Agios Nikolaos/Kanistro, Pefkodasos and Ambara bay. Paliouri is famous for its excellent honey and its virgin olive oil; so make sure you buy some before you leave!

Parthenonas is one of the most beautiful villages of Halkidiki located on the peninsula of Sithonia. Built at an altitude of 350 meters, Parthenonas is a quaint historical village that distinguishes for its authentic spirit and its traditional character. In fact, Parthenonas has been characterized as a preserved traditional settlement from the Greek state. Worth visiting sights include the church of Agios Stefanos, one of the oldest churches of the peninsula that was built in 1837, the Folklore Museum of Parthenonas with an interesting collection of folklore items and the distiller of the village that brews the local brandy of tsipouro, a Greek alcoholic spirit. If you are visiting Parthenonas, make sure to hike up through the hiking trails within the olive groves to the mount Itamos for a magnificent view of Mount Athos to the east and Mount Olympus to the west, or, even better, if you are a lover of adventure, go for an exhilarating downhill with your mountain bike. Parthenonas offers panoramic vistas towards the gulf of Toroneos and the isle of Kelyfos. Parthenonas will definitely give you a refreshing change from the beach, something very special in Sithonia.

Polygyros is the lovely capital of Halkidiki located on the central part of the prefecture. Set among the farmlands and woods of the southern foot of Prophet Elias, part of Holomontas mountain, Polygyros is a mountain village that can serve as an ideal starting point for your excursions to the entire prefecture of Halkidiki. Worth visiting sights include the archaeological museum of Polygyros, one of the most important archaeological museums of Halkidiki, the folklore museum of Polygyros with exhibits that have been donated from the residents and citizens of Polygyros showcasing the traditional house of the nineteenth century, the town hall of Polygyros and the six fountains of the village, the landmark of Polygyros. Polygyros is famous for its carnival celebrations attracting visitors from all around Greece. During the summer, the town hosts the annual summer festival of Polygyros featuring a series of cultural events.

Porto Koufo is a seaside village located on the peninsula of Sithonia. Porto Koufo has been characterized as the safest and deepest natural harbor of Greece. In fact, it has been often called as the deaf harbor, as it was the ancient port of Toroni, since ancients believed that because of it being so well protected that you couldn’t hear the sound of the sea. It is worth sharing that German submarines were stationed here during the Second World War because of the bottomless depth of the harbor but also because of its geographical location that offers direct access to the Aegean Sea. The beach of the village will offer you moments of relaxation and tranquility. The view of the amazing fjord of Porto Koufo from the top is breathtaking. Huge rocks and cliffs surrounding the harbour give you the feeling that you are in a village on the shores of a mountain lake. The bay of Porto Koufo is offered for scuba diving in the deep harbor with its numerous caves, such as the 12 meters Erika’s cave, as well as the wall of the harbor’s entrance that distinguishes for its biodiversity, reserved only for the experienced divers. Travellers can also venture out from Porto Koufo on boat tours that will take them diving or fishing around Sithonia. What’s more, there are humorous hiking trails on the southern tip of Sithonia. In Porto Koufo, travellers will have the opportunity to enjoy the freshest fish in Halkidiki. In September, Porto Koufo comes alive when many come together for their annual Tuna fishing festival. Undeniably, Porto Koufo is a must visit if you are visiting Halkidiki.

Sithonia is the central peninsula of Halkidiki trident, which distinguishes for its natural beauty, offering diverse sceneries for everyone being in love with nature. Sithonia represents the authentic face of Halkidiki ideal for the travellers seeking for relaxation and tranquility. The peninsula has managed to preserve its genuine natural beauty. Pine trees, deserted sandy beaches with emerald, quaint fishing villages, picturesque bays, green meadows and dense forests compose the beauty of Sithonia.

Sarti is one of the most beautiful resorts of Halkidiki located on the peninsula of Sithonia. Sarti has managed to combine the beauty of the mountains with the sceneries of the sea; from white sandy beaches to secluded rocky coves, the travellers will be enchanted! The beach of Sarti, which has been awarded with a Blue Flag, is magnificent with crystalline waters, and it is considered one of the most beautiful of the country and one of the longest beaches of Sithonia. Extending over an area of three kilometers, Sarti beach is organized at certain points while it features also isolated places ideal for those looking for seclusion. The view of Mount Athos and the glorious sunrise create memorable images hard to forget. Undeniably, Sarti is a place of incomparable beauty. The surrounding natural environment is ideal for excursions to Itamos Mountain which and the numerous rocky bays. There are also daily cruises to Mount. Athos; the ships circumnavigate Athos peninsula at close distance providing magnificent views of the monasteries and the stunning natural environment.

Sykia is one of the oldest villages of Sithonia located on the southeastern side of the peninsula. The old settlement is an excellent example of traditional architecture of the 19th century. Above the homonymous town, there are remnants of the old fortified settlement of Koukos dating back to the Early Iron Age. Lovers of adventure can hike up there to admire the remains of this historical monument while admiring the views. Other monuments worth visiting include the two old windmills. Characterized as one of the most tranquil places of Halkidiki, Sykia distinguishes for its long sandy beaches and its wonderful coves. It is worth mentioning that the main beach of Sykia has been awarded with a blue flag ideal for families and nature lvoers.Pigadaki is one of your best choices famous for its seafood taverns and Kriaritsi beach distinguishes for its tranquil environment and its crystalline waters.

Taxiarhis is a mountainous village located on the central part of Halkidiki. Perched on the mountain slopes of Holomontas Mountain, Taxiarhis is one of the most genuine villages of mountainous Halkidiki with its cobblestone alleys, its traditional houses crowned from its hospitable inhabitants. This village is famous for its mushrooms and its Mushroom Festival taking place in the middle of every autumn, where the women of the village fry mushrooms, collected from Holomontas Mountain, and bake mushroom pies. Taxiarhis can serve as an ideal base for exploring the region of mountainous Halkidiki since there are many forest trails for hiking, mountain biking and off-road driving.

Toroni is a seaside village of Sithonia located on the southwestern side of the peninsula. Archaeological evidence shows that Toroni has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. In fact, the archaeological site of Toroni is an interesting region worth visiting that showcases a cemetery from the Iron Age. Situated before the charming village of Porto Koufo, Toroni distinguishes as one of the most beautiful summer destinations of Sithonia. Some of the most charming beaches include the beaches of Destenika, Tristinika, Sarti and Kalamitsi. In a close distance, you will find Porto Koufo, the largest and safest natural harbor in Greece, which is famous for its tasteful seafood taverns.

Vourvourou is a seaside village of Sithonia located on the east coast of the peninsula. Characterized as one of the most popular summer resorts of Sithonia, Vourvourou, with its tiny archipelago of nine isles, will reward you with a relaxing feeling of escape. It is worth renting a boat to visit the charming island of Diaporos and the Blue Lagoon with its aquamarine waters and it is a must to explore some of the most secluded beaches in Sithonia. S0me of the most beautiful beaches of Sithonia include the beaches of Karydi, Talgo, Bahia, Lovers of explorations can visit Mount Athos, the oldest surviving monastic community in the world, where all-day cruises depart on a daily basis from Vourvourou.

Sunset Spots

Spot: Beach of Fourka, Western Kassandra

Spot: Beach of Karydi, Eastern Sithonia

Spot: Beach of Kelyfos, Western Sithonia

Spot: Beach of Posidi, Western Kassandra

Spot: Beach of Sani, Northwest Kassandra

Spot: Canal of Potidea, Northern Kassandra | One of our favorite spots |

Spot: Village of Neos Marmaras, Western Sithonia

Spot: Village of Ouranoupoli, Northwest Athos

Spot: Village of Pefkohori, Southeast Kassandra

Spot: Village of Polygyros, Central Halkidiki

Excursions

Road Trip: The Mount of Athos, else known as Holy Mountain, is a self-governed part of the Greek State, administrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, which has been included in the World Heritage Sites List of UNESCO. Mount Athos, the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, consists of twenty Orthodox monasteries standing on the eastern peninsula of Halkidiki. Mythology has it that Giant Athos threw a massive rock to god Poseidon that fell into the sea and became Mount Athos during a fight between the Gods and the Titans. Another legend, however, says that Virgin Mary’s hip was blown and docked on the peninsula of Athos while on her way to Cyprus; she was so amazed from the beauty of the peninsula that she blessed it. Subsequently, Mount Athos is called the Garden of Virgin Mary. The first monks to inhabit the region arrived on Mount Athos during the 5th century AD. The government body of the Holy Mountain is the Iera Kenotita, which literally translates to Holy Community, constituting of representatives from the twenty Holy Monasteries. Seventeen monasteries are Greek while the other three are Serbian, Bulgarian and Russian. Apart from the monasteries, there are twelve communities of monks and many solitary hermitages. Life in Mount Athos is simple and monastic. The monks believe that the way of man to find God is through solitude, prayer, exercise, obedience to the Spiritual Father, service and fasting. Women are not allowed to enter Mount Athos, only men. Both monks and visitors leave a simple life, without any modern facility. They eat small quantity of food, every day, mainly bread and olives, because they want to exercise their body in deprivation. They stay in the monastery cells or in caves, pray to God and do agricultural works.The monasteries are rich storehouses of medieval history. You can see paintings from the 13th century AD, music manuscripts from the Byzantine era, marble sculptures of columns, turrets, chalices, icon screens and exquisite miniatures in gold and silver dating back to the 12th century. Approximately one quarter of all the Greek works in the world are collected there in the form of more than fifteen thousands books and handwritten manuscripts. Mount Athos is approached by ferry from Ouranoupolis or Ierissos. Visitors must obtain their diamonitirion, a pass entrance, from the Agio Oros office in Thessaloniki. Apart from their passport, foreign visitors must possess a letter of recommendation from their embassy in Athens or consulate in Thessaloniki. Another required document for them is the entry permit from the Administration Division of Church Affairs at the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens or Administration of Foreign Affairs at Ministry of Northern Greece in Thessaloniki. (Source: Greeka.com)

Activities

Agrotourism: The interest for agrotourism is constantly growing, as many travellers want to discover the urban lifestyle of Greece. The development of rural tourism in Halkidiki is based on agricultural activities of the region while adequate accommodation infrastructure is provided compatible with the natural environment. There are farms that provide fresh products and the opportunity to experience an alternative way of living. In Halkidiki, the travellers will have the opportunity to observe the animal life up-close and participate in traditional events including tsipouro-making. Various lodges exist in the regions of Athos, the villages of Arnea, Parthenonas and Taxiarhis.

Bicycling: The countryside of mountainous Halkidiki is an ideal place for cycling lovers. There are numerous bicycle rentals on Halkidiki where you can rent a bicycle and discover the beaches and villages of Halkidiki. One of the most interesting parts for cycling include the 17 cycling trails that pass through Holomontas Mountain protected areas of the European Network of Natura 2000. Moreover, there are 17 cycling routes of varying difficulty levels all over Halkidiki. Of the most interesting include the ones passing from the southern extremes of the Kassandra peninsula, the coast to the beekeepers’ village of Nikiti, to the highest point on the Sithonia peninsula and to Ouranoupolis and the Athos boundaries. Discover more information from Official Website of Halkidiki!

Camping: Camping brings your vacations in a whole other dimension. Pitch your tent or settle your caravan and rejuvenate your body, mind and soul! In Halkidiki, you will find various campsites mainly on the peninsula of Sithonia including the regions of Ammouliani, Armenistis, Kalamitsi, Sykia, Toroni and Tristinika amongst Athens. It is highly recommended to protect the environment and make sure you carry all the necessary provisions with you.

Climbing: The wild topography and rocky terrain of Halkidiki makes it an ideal destination for the lovers of climbing. The rock climbing area of Loutra on the peninsula of Kassandra offers beautiful bouldering opportunities and longer climbs of up to 100m right above the sea for those who want to stimulate their adrenaline! Discover more information from the Official Website of Halkidiki!

Diving: The varied coastline of Halkidiki offers numerous exciting explorations for diving enthusiasts. The three peninsulas of Halkidiki offer very interesting diving sites with beautiful reefs, underwater caves and old shipwrecks. The underwater reef of Bahia Beach, the rich underwater fauna of the island of Kelyfos, the rocks and reefs of Porto Elea, the marine life of Alonaki, the Mytilini German motoship shipwreck, the underwater world of Porto Valitsa, the rocky sides of Koursaros Bay, the shipwreck of an old iron Turkish ship and the underwater cave of Erika are some of the most interesting diving sites of Halkidiki. Various diving centers exist at the regions of Nikiti, Ouranoupoli, Pefkohori, Sani, Neos Marmaras, Kallithea, Paliouri, Ormylia, Sarti,

Golf: Blessed from perfect climate conditions and lots of sunshine, Greece is an ideal destination for golf enthusiasts. Although golf in Greece is not so popular, there are numerous sites dedicated golfers can practice their swings. Porto Carras Golf Course on Sithonia is one of the most popular golf courses of Greece open all year round.

Hiking: Halkidiki is an ideal destination for hiking lovers as it has 17 trails combining elevated spots for breathtaking views, forests and beaches. Undeniably, Halkidiki is a must for nature lovers as there are trails for beginners and experienced hikers well documented and published widely.There are twenty marked trails in the regions of Kassandra, Sithonia, Athos and Holomontas. In Kassandra, of particular interest is the (1) one that starts from the tower Stavronikita in Sani, passes through magnificent forests and wetlands in the region N. Fokea and ends back in the tower, the (2) one that starts from the beach of Poseidon and passes through the forest road to Kallandra, and ends back at the beach, the trail is easy but very beautiful as well as the (3) one that starts from Kriopigi directed towards the picturesque village of Kassandrino through a beautiful forest. In Sithonia, of particular interest is the (4) route that starts from the harbor of Porto Koufo towards the Boar in the southernmost tip of the peninsula, from where, when the weather is clear, you can see the Sporades islands and the (5) one that starts from Porto Carras to the vineyards of the area by walking along the coast to beautiful beaches and bays with splendid view of Toroneos Gulf. In Athos, of particular interest is the (6) tour of the island of Ammouliani and (7) the trail that begins on Ouranoupoli and passes through olive groves and vineyards to reach back to Ouranoupoli. In Holomontas, of particular interest is (8) the route that starts from Polygyros continuing in the hills around in a lovely natural setting with spectacular views and (8) the route that starts from the mountain village of Archangelos towards the village of Vrastama, a wonderful route all year round.

Horse Riding: The pine forests of Halkidiki offer a great variety of special trails and paths, making the region ideal for lovers of horse riding. Whether you are looking to get off the beaten track and head off into the verdant hillsides, or trek along the stunning coastline, horse riding is a great way to admire the region’s natural beauty. There are several riding school the region of Agios Nikolaos of Sithonia and the region of Athos.

Kayaking: The opportunity to practice kayak in Halkidiki is definitely an unforgettable experience. You will find various water sports schools at the beach of Vourvourou.

Mountain Biking: The rich natural diversity of Halkidiki is highly suitable for mountain and road biking. Exciting trails from rural roads to specially designed cycling routes are available in various parts of Halkidiki, especially on the peninsula of Sithonia. Some of the most interesting mountain biking trails exist at the following locations; Porto Carras vineyards, Vourvourou ridges, Porto Koufo and Sykia, Neos Marmaras, Mount Itamos and Nikiti.

Off Road: Lovers of off road driving can follow the dirt roads leading to the mountain of Itamos in order to explore the mysterious beauties of Halkidiki. Itamos Mountain is the sole mountain of Sithonia with an elevation of 800 meters. The cross from the north to the south is 40 kilometers, and all of the dirt roads are passable, in most parts, as they are used as a firewall zone and have many road signs. Make sure you always check the maps of Sithonia before you get into your car!

Sailing: Halkidiki is a paradise for sailing enthusiasts as it holds 500 kilometers of coastline, the longest shoreline of the country. The perfect climate conditions create one of the most favorable Greek destinations for sailing, an amazing experience! The two main marinas of Halkidiki are the marina of Sani Resort on Kassandra peninsula and the marina of Porto Carras Resort on Sithonia peninsula. Some of the most popular anchorages include the well-protected cove of Sykia, the port of Porto Koufo, the largest natural harbor of Greece, the peaceful bay Agios Nikolaos, the bay of Mesopanaya and the bay of Koumourades.

Thermal Springs: Halkidiki has one of the natural healing thermal springs in Greece. Agia Paraskevi is home to a state-of the-art spa, famous for the rare therapeutic properties of its waters, offering treatments and cures for people of all ages. It is set in a uniquely beautiful landscape of sand, rocks, pine-trees and crystal-clear sea. All around the majestic beauty of the landscape with the caves winding through the mountains and the pine-trees growing down to the water’s edge – a picture of unparalleled natural harmony. The facilities include pools, saunas, steam baths, showers and hydro massage for individuals and groups. The spa provides relaxing and rejuvenation treatments, a relief from the stress of a fast-paced modern lifestyle. All services are offered within a superb environment, with medical advice and support available. In this area Greek mineral water is saturated with hydrogen sulphide and has a temperature of 39 degrees of Celsius compound sodium, chlorine, potassium amongst other elements. They have healing properties for various treatments including bone and muscle diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, attractive osteoarthritis, myositis, myalgia, tendonitis, cervical syndrome, psoriasis, acne, urological and gynecological diseases, and chronic cystitis.

Beaches

Ai Giannis is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the village of Nikiti on Sithonia peninsula. It is an organized beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas, water sport facilities and beach bars.

Armenistis is a sandy beach with emerald waters located on the east side on Sithonia peninsula. The beach is a well-organized beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas, water sport facilities and beach bars. On the beach of Armenistis, you will also find one of the most organized campsites of Greece.

Azapiko is a long sandy beach with turquoise waters located near the village of Neos Marmaras on Sithonia peninsula. It is a secluded beach ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation. Make sure to bring with you all the necessary provisions in terms of food and beverages.

Diaporti is a sandy and pebbled beach with crystalline waters located near the resort of Porto Carras on Sithonia peninsula. It is one of the quietest beaches of Halkidiki ideal for those looking for relaxation. If you are a lover of adventures, visit the isolated beaches of the isles of Gerochristo. Make sure to bring with you all the necessary provisions in terms of food and beverages.

Elia is a sandy and pebbled beach with blue waters located near the village of Nikiti on Sithonia peninsula. It is one of the quietest beaches of Halkidiki ideal for those looking for relaxation. A forest of alternating pine and olive trees climbs down Mt. Itamos and meets the sea in Elia. The trees bend over the narrow coastline creating a dramatic landscape. Make sure to bring with you all the necessary provisions in terms of food and beverages.

Kalamitsi is a long sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the southern side on Sithonia peninsula. Kalamitsi is a place of exceptional beauty. Rocks and low vegetation are dominant, however there are also trees. The sea is green-blue as always and the sandy beach is embraced from white rocks. The natural environment reminds that of the Aegean islands further to the south in its distinctive own way.

Kalogria is a sandy beach with crystalline waters located near the village of Nikiti on Sithonia peninsula. Surrounded from a dense pine forest, as it lies at the foothills of Itamos Mountain, Kalogria beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches of Sithonia peninsula. On the northwest side of the beach, you will find two beach bars offering cool drinks and snacks.

Karagatsi is a sandy beach with emerald waters located on the west side of the island of Ammouliani. It is a quiet beach ideal for those looking for tranquility. The distance to the capital of Ammouliani is about two kilometers. Make sure to bring with you all the necessary provisions in terms of food and beverages.

 

Karidi is an exotic sandy and rocky beach with turquoise waters located on the eastern part of Vourvourou on Sithonia peninsula. Surrounded from verdant pine trees, Karidi is considered to be one of the precious jewels of Sithonia, a must visit if you are visiting Halkidiki.

Kastri is a tiny sandy beach with emerald waters located at the outskirts of the village of Nikiti on Sithonia peninsula. Characterized as one of the best-kept secrets of Halkidiki, Kastri distinguishes for its intact natural beauty and its calm atmosphere. The sunset from Kastri beach should not be missed, as the view of the surrounding region in the astonishing colors of the sunset is a great spectacle. If the weather is clear, you may see Mt Olympus breaking the horizon line.

Kavourotrypes is a long rocky coastline located on the east side of Sithonia peninsula. Interrupted from tiny enclaves of well-hidden sandy beaches, Kavourotrypes create an astonishing natural environment especially when explored by boat. Keep in mind that access is difficult from the road since there are no signs.

Koviou is a sandy bay with turquoise waters located near the village of Nikiti on Sithonia peninsula. The place embraces you at the moment you get yourself into the water. The rocks with their low vegetation and the sporadic young pines match perfectly with the sandy beach and the calm water. The beach is quite secluded ideal for those looking for relaxation and tranquility. The beach features a splendid sunset during late afternoon.

Lagomandra is a long sandy beach with turquoise waters located near the village of Neos Marmaras on Sithonia peninsula. It is one of the most popular beaches of Sithonia that distinguishes for its austere natural beauty. Along the beach, there is a pine tree grove which offers its shadow during the hot summer months. If you are keen on exploration, you will discover some mysterious stone ruins in an olive grove at the bigger of the two capes. There is no information sign or any kind of protection, except perhaps of some snakes dwelling in the ancient stones. (Source: Visitsithonia.gr)

Lagonisi is a sandy beach with emerald waters located near the village of Ormos Panagias on Sithonia peninsula. Characterized as one of the most beautiful beaches of Sithonia, the beautiful bay is surrounded from Mediterranean vegetation. It is an organized beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas, water sport facilities and beach bars. Those who wish to explore the beauties of the Sithonian mountainside can go hiking on the pine forest trails on the mountains.10

Livari is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located north of the village of Vourvourou on Sithonia peninsula. Livari beach starts from the mainland and curls out into the water as a sand peninsula. Driving by you see tourists baking in the sun on this thin strip of sand, which divides the bay forming a lagoon. Keep in mind that the sea bottom of Livari has sea urchins.

Paradisos is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located near the village of Neos Marmaras on Sithonia peninsula. Paradisos beach has been awarded the European Blue Flag. The beach is a well-organized beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas, water sport facilities and beach bars. This is a true paradise with long stretches of golden sand, blue waters and low mounds draped in lush vegetation giving the place an exotic touch.

Planititsi is a sandy beach with blue waters located close to village of Sarti on Sithonia peninsula. It is about a wonderful, sandy beach, divided in the middle by a stream. The beautiful green and blue waters along with the view to Mount Athos just opposite will leave you speechless. The camping provides a great organization on all levels in order to enjoy your stay there and swim.

Porto Karras is the region of one of the most popular resorts of northern Greece. The wider area is embellished with tiny beaches and creeks with white sand, pine trees and blue waters.

Porto Koufo is the largest and safest natural bay of Greece located on Sithonia peninsula. It is a protected bay from currents and winds constituting the best shelter for fishermen and visitors with boats. However, Porto Koufo has a big and a wonderful beach a bit further from the picturesque port with the fish restaurants. Turquoise waters and very fine sand dominate in this long sandy beach. The view is inviting with turquoise waters turning into a dark blue, as the water gets deeper.

Sani is a sandy beach with crystalline waters located close to the village of Nea Fokea on Kassandra peninsula. The coast is embellished from a long tuft of trees that provide nice shade to the visitors. Sani is a well-organized resort with modern facilities and plenty of accommodation options. Festivals are frequently organized on this beach while various environmental activities take place in summer, especially on the Day of the Environment, when seminars are held in order to inform people on the importance of keeping beaches clean.

Sarti is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the village of Sarti on Sithonia peninsula. It is one of the longest beaches of Sithonia, which is well-organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, beach bars, restaurants and much more. Sarti beach offers panoramic views to the spectacular sceneries of Mount Athos.

Spathies is a sandy and rocky beach with turquoise waters located near the village of Nikiti on Sithonia peninsula. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Sithonia that distinguishes for its natural beauty and its clean waters. As it is one of the best-kept-secrets of Halkidiki, it is an ideal destination for those looking for tranquility.

Toroni is a long sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the region of Toroni on Sithonia peninsula. It is one of the longest beaches of the peninsula that distinguishes for its sandy bottom and its clean waters. Toroni beach is well organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, beach bars and restaurants. If you want isolation, head to the northern end of the beach.

Trani Ammouda, else known as Livroho, is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the village of Ormos Panagia on Sithonia peninsula. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Sithonia that distinguishes for its fine smooth sand and its crystalline waters. On the northern end of the beach, there is a tiny cape with the remains of an old Byzantine tower. Trani Ammouda beach is an ideal beach for nature lovers. Make sure to bring with you all the necessary provisions in terms of food and beverages.

Tristinika is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the southern tip of Sithonia peninsula. Famous for its outstanding scenery and breathtaking beaches, Tristinika beach is partially organized with sunbeds, umbrellas and a great beach bar.

Coffee Corners, Gastronomic Delights and Cocktail Inspirations

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Coffee Corners 

Angels: Coffee & Drinks, Kallithea

Glykia Massalia: Coffee, Nea Fokea

Peponaki Karpouzaki: Coffee & Pastries, Sarti

Remezzo: Coffee & Drinks, Nikiti

Senso: Coffee & Drinks, Neos Marmaras

Spitaki: Coffee & Ice Cream, Kallithea

To Spitaki: Coffee & Drinks, Nikiti

Gastronomic Delights

Bilis: Grill & Meat, Agios Prodromos

Christoforos: Seafood, Posidi

Gorgona: Seafood, Vourvourou

I Plateia tis Anthoulas: Greek Cuisine, Kryopigi

Kazanis: Seafood, Nikiti

Kymata: Seafood, Neos Marmaras

Marigoula: Greek Cuisine, Polygyros

Marina: Seafood, Potidea

Massalia: Ouzo & Meze, Nea Fokea

O Kritikos: Greek Cuisine, Ouranoupolis

Ovelix: Pizza & Italian Cuisine, Vourvourou

Sakis: Souvlaki, Agios Prodromos

Sogabros: Grill & Meat, Arnea

Sousourada: Greek Cuisine, Afytos

Cocktail Inspirations

Angels: Coffee & Drinks, Kallithea

Aqua Music Bar: Cocktails and Drinks, Kallithea

Ethnic Beach Bar: Cocktails and Drinks, Tristinika Beach

Kohi: Cocktails and Drinks, Porto Karras

Koutsomylos: Cocktails and Drinks, Afytos

Manasu Beach Bar: Cocktails and Drinks, Vourvourou

Molos Beach Bar: Cocktails and Drinks, Hanioti Beach

To Spitaki: Coffee & Drinks, Nikiti

Local Products & Specialties

The local products of the Halkidiki include a series of fresh products that are cultivated in the fertile land of this region of Greece; among them, the most popular are olive oil, cheese made from goat milk, one of the most delicious products with great taste, honey, as its natural environment is offered for the production of honey (a long tradition that began thousands of years ago), fresh fruits , wines full of aromas as well as tsipouro. Halkidiki is also famous for its weavers made with traditional embroideries using the wooden loom, an ancient tool for the art of weaving.

The local specialties of Halkidiki include goat seasoned with lemon, cock with frumenty, lentils with octopus and rice, stuffed squids, louvidia with onions, a local variation of green beans, pigdopiti, a pie with full fat of pork meat, and shepherds’ rizogalo, a special rice pudding made with rice, sugar and milk poured with cinnamon. Furthermore, Halkidiki is known for its homemade spoon sweets and traditional fruit jams made from local women’s’ cooperatives,

Events & Festivals

Every summer, the Kassandra Festival takes place in Halkidiki. A series of cultural events take place from the beginning of July until the end of August.

Every summer, the sailing boat races of ITENBA take place in Pefkohori.

Every summer, the Sea Festival takes place in the village of Nea Moudania, where a series of cultural events take place in the wider region.

Every summer, the Sani Festival takes place in Halkidiki. It includes musical concerts, theatre performances, lectures and many art exhibitions.

Every summer, the Sani Gourmet Festival takes place in Halkidiki. It is an annual gastronomic celebration that brings together some of the finest chefs from Greece and around the globe, along with some of the rising stars already starting to make a name in their field. Each year Michelin-starred chefs join the acclaimed line-up set at Sani’s top restaurants to create contemporary dishes that astonish and delight the visitors. Over the ten days, guests are also treated to a number of workshops, presentations and wine tastings. Sani Gourmet is on its way to becoming a world-renowned culinary festival.

Every July, the traditional celebration of Prophet Elias takes place in the village of Vavdos.

Every July, the Arnea Cultural Festival takes place in the village of Arnea, where a series of cultural events culminate for ten days beginning on July 17.

Every July, the Exhibition of the Byzantine Tower of Palaiologos takes place in the village of Nea Fokea, where a series of cultural events including art exhibits, theater and concerts culminate from July to September.

Every July, the Kalithea Festival takes place in the village of Kallithea, where a series of folklore, cultural and sports events are held from July 27 to July 30.

Every last Sunday of July, the crossing of Toroneos Gulf takes place in Halkidiki. The swimmers, who come from all over the world for the event, start in the morning from Kallithea in Kassandra and finish in the afternoon at the beach of Nikiti. Their finish is celebrated with a big public feast.

Every August, the annual three-day Sardine Festival takes place in the village of Nea Skioni. The festival is held during the first weekend of August, where the visitors are treated on fresh sardines and wine.

Every August, the Cultural August Festival takes place in the village of Polygyros.

Other than the above mentioned festivals there are many other religious and cultural celebrations and regional festivities taking place in Halkidiki all year round including the Saugages Festival (February in Polygyros) Olive Festival, the Sardine Festival (July in Nea Moudania), the Raki Festival (mid August in Vrastama) Mushroom Feast (Mid September in Taxiarhis) , the Mussel Feast (6 July in Olympiada) and the Cherry Fair as well as the so called “Panigyria” which are the celebration of local saints usually accompanied my music, traditional dances, local food and wine. (Source: Cycladia.com)

History & Mythology

Mythology

According to mythology, the fierce battle of the Titans, one of the most important battles of the mythology, took place in Halkidiki. The Titans, sons of Gaia from the blood of Uranus, were defeated during their attack against Zeus and the Olympian Gods. Furthermore, Kassanda Peninsula was named after Kassandros, king of Macedonia while Sithonia Peninsula was named after Sithona, son of Poseidon, and Athos Mountain was named after Athos the titan.

History

Archaeological excavations at the Cave of Petralona proved that human life existed in Halkidiki since 700 thousands years ago. The first inhabitants of Halkidiki were the Thracians and the Pelasgoi who created organized societies including Acanthus, Olynthus and Stagira that flourished in the western and central Halkidiki around 4th century BC. During the 5th century, Halkidiki took part in the Persian Wars that resulted in the terrible siege of ancient Olynthus. After the victory of the Greeks in the naval battle of Salamina in 480 BC and the original defeat of the Persians from central Greece, the inhabitants of the two big cities of Olynthus and Potidea revolted against the enemy and drove them out of their land. After the Persian Wars, the big cities of Halkidiki became members of the Athenian Alliance and participated into the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 BC), which led to the destruction of a powerful town of Halkidiki, ancient Mende. In 348 BC, Halkidiki became a part of the Macedonian kingdom, under Philip’s control. With Alexander the Great, the cities of Halkidiki increased in number. Among the new cities were Thessaloniki, Cassandria, Ouranoupolis and Antigonia, to the north of modern Nea Kallikratia. In 168 BC, Halkidiki came under the Roman domination. During the 9th century AD, the first monastery was built on the peninsula of Athos while the peninsula of Athos was given the name of “Holy Mountain” by a decree of a Byzantine emperor during the 11th century. The Byzantines also built many castles and fortresses to protect the area from invasions including the architectural marvel of Prosforio Tower in Ouranoupolis. However, in 1430, the Ottomans took over Halkidiki from the Venetians. The first call for freedom was made in May 1821 at Polygyros, Karyes and Kassandra. Some attempts of revolution also took place in various parts of Halkidiki but the Turks stopped them. During the beginning of the 20th century, many of the inhabitants of Halkidiki joined the forces of Pavlos Melas and other fighters for freedom. Finally, Halkidiki was set free of the Ottomans in 1912 and became part of the Greek province of Macedonia. In 1921, Greek refugees from Asia Minor (after the Asia Minor catastrophe), Eastern Thrace and Bulgaria moved to Halkidiki, bringing a new economic and political strength. They founded thirty new villages and small towns. Today, Halkidiki is a vivid area that keeps its history alive, in the memory of its people and the historical monuments that you will find spread along its countryside. The recorded history of Halkidiki is traced back thousands of years ago leaving a great number of treasures. (Source: Greeka.com)

Travel & Transport

By Air: Although there is no airport in Halkidiki, the closest airport is the Macedonia International Airport of Thessaloniki. Located 15 kilometers from the center of Thessaloniki, the airport receives daily flights from Athens, the Greeks Islands and abroad. The journey from Athens usually lasts forty five to fifty minutes to one hour.

By Bus: Halkidiki is accessible by bus from the city of Thessaloniki. There are daily KTEL buses from the city to various locations in Halkidiki including Ouranoupolis, Nea Moudania, Arnea, Kallithea, Pefkohori, and Polygyros amongst others. Thessaloniki is connected with bus and train to Athens and other towns of Greece. These buses arrive in Macedonia KTEL Station where Bus 45 serves the route KTEL Macedonia to the New Railway Station and the station of KTEL Halkidiki.

By Car: In order to arrive in Halkidiki by car, you will have to follow the National Road of Athens to Thessaloniki and follow the signs to Halkidiki. No need to enter the city center of Thessaloniki, just follow the signs to Halkidiki from the ring road of the city.

By Train: Train routes operate daily from Athens to the city of Thessaloniki. The journey usually takes four to five hours.

Mysterious Greece Tips

A for Athos: Reserved for the Religious Pilgrims

Have you ever wondered if you can visit a region entirely dedicated to male religious pilgrims? Renowned as the Holy Mountain, Mount Athos is a self-governed part of the Greek State, administrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, which has been included in the World Heritage Sites List of UNESCO. Mount Athos, the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, consists of twenty Orthodox monasteries standing on the eastern peninsula of Halkidiki. The first monks to inhabit the region arrived on Mount Athos during the 5th century AD. The government body of the Holy Mountain is the Iera Kenotita, which literally translates to Holy Community, constituting of representatives from the twenty Holy Monasteries. Seventeen monasteries are Greek while the other three are Serbian, Bulgarian and Russian. Apart from the monasteries, there are twelve communities of monks and many solitary hermitages. Life in Mount Athos is simple and monastic. The monks believe that the way of man to find God is through solitude, prayer, exercise, obedience to the Spiritual Father, service and fasting. Women are not allowed to enter Mount Athos, only men. Apart from their passport, foreign visitors must possess a letter of recommendation from their embassy in Athens or consulate in Thessaloniki. Another required document for them is the entry permit from the Administration Division of Church Affairs at the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens or Administration of Foreign Affairs at Ministry of Northern Greece in Thessaloniki. Unquestionably, a visit to Mount Athos is an experience of a lifetime!

All About Halkidiki: Sithonia VS Kassandra

Kassandra peninsula beats for exciting nightlife and cosmopolitan atmosphere while Sithonia peninsula is synonymous with tranquility and exotic natural beauties. If you are looking for the genuine spirit of nightlife and the cosmopolitan moments, Kassandra is the right peninsula for you! Located on the western side of Halkidiki, Kassandra is the most developed “leg” of Halkidiki with dozens of hotel complexes and hundreds of bars and clubs. However, the inhabitants of Kassandra’s hinterland are farmers who follow a traditional lifestyle, worthy successors of the principles of Greek hospitality. The endless piney beaches, turquoise waters and rocky promontories are the main features of the landscape of Kassandra. If you are a nature lover, Sithonia will surely blow your mind! Pine forests reaching the crystalline waters of the Aegean Sea and hidden coves with white sand will travel you to the genuine nature of Greece. The charm of tranquility, the picturesque seaside villages and the magical beaches will offer you the most tranquil vacations ever! It is a must to visit traditional Nikiti for its genuine Macedonian hospitality, cosmopolitan Neos Marmaras for its monuments from Asia Minor and alternative Vourvourou with its turquoise waters. Sithonia is an ideal place for a peaceful and relaxing holiday, especially for nature lovers. In Sithonia, travellers will have the opportunity to admire breathtaking landscapes with picturesque coves, deserted sandy beaches, some of the most beautiful beaches of Chalkidiki, which have been awarded many times with the blue flag secluded coves next to lush forests, traditional fishing villages and stunning architecture in homes and churches. Although Halkidiki is associated with the beaches, the mountainous part of the peninsula that spreads around the mountain is an ideal place for those who want to escape from everyday life and connect with nature. The majority of the mountain is covered from dense forests of fir trees, chestnuts, oaks and beeches, which has breathtaking hiking routes.

A Visit to the Mount Athos for Women

If you want to visit Mount Athos, an ark of Christian Orthodoxy and an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most important religious monuments of Greece reserved only for men, and the numbers are strictly limited. The Virgin Mary, it is said, was brought to Athos by accident from Ephesus, having been blown off course by a storm, and she decreed that it be venerated as her own special place. This story has since become the rationale for keeping it off-limits to all women but the Virgin herself. . You must apply for a permit at the Holy Executive of the Holy Mt. Athos Pilgrims’ Bureau in Thessaloniki several months in advance. However, women who want to visit Mount Athos have the opportunity to make the circumnavigation of Mount Athos by a boat that sails steadily 500 meters from the seashores of Athos.

Best Time to Visit Halkidiki

If you want to enjoy the unique nightlife of Halkidiki and the beach parties, July and August are the best months to visit Halkidiki. However, September is preferred from families and solitude seekers when waters are warmer and the crowds disappear. Spring is also an ideal season to visit Halkidiki when nature blooms in the most beautiful colors of nature!

Cycling Lovers VS Hiking Enthusiasts

Lovers of action will find more than 20 hiking trails in Halkidiki and approximately 17 cycling routes that pass through Holomontas Mountain and natural protected areas of Natura 2000.

Discover the Isles of Halkidiki

Although Halkidiki is famous for the longest peninsula coastline of Greece, travellers will have the opportunity to explore 9 islands, of which only one is inhabited, magical Ammouliani, an idyllic combination of fine golden sand, aquamarine sea, vegetation and giant rocks, which is connected with frequent ferryboat routes that last only 10 minutes to Tripiti, the beach located across the island. Drenia, else known as Donkey Islands, are located opposite Ouranoupolis; these 7 islands have beautiful sandy beaches, amazing blue waters and an enchanting landscape untouched from human presence. Tigani and Pontiki distinguish for their wonderful beaches located just off the isle of Ammouliani. Kelyfos, else known as the Turtle Island due to its shape, is situated across Neos Marmaras, and it is full of wild goats while it is best known for its spectacular seabed. Diaporos is a magnificent island situated on a private bay surrounded from a natural forest, one of the last unexploited areas of Halkidiki, a fact that explains its astonishingly pure beauty. Diaporos is right across Vourvourou village in Sithonia peninsula. The bay is deep enough for large yachts and the natural beauty of the location is astonishing. Spalathronisia is a cluster of islets almost opposite Porto Carras Grand Resort. Although they are very close to the land, they are isolated enough for private visits. At last, Punta is situated 9km after Porto Carras Grand Resort, turning left towards the sea, you will see a very small peninsula which is called “Diaporti”. When the sea pulls away, a sandy path which leads to Punta island is being revealed. Punta has four beaches ideal for swimming.

Discover the Shipbuilding Tradition of Halkidiki

Ierissos is a picturesque seaside town with a rich tradition in shipbuilding, where travellers will have the opportunity to discover one of the last shipyards that continue to operate! The shipyards belong to brothers Ioannou who learn this exquisite art from their father, and him from their grandfather. Orders for new vessels have fallen, however the brothers work for the maintenance of old vessels!

Driving Explorations

Grab your keys and start driving! It’s time for driving explorations in the seaside villages of Kassandra and Sithonia and the mountainous part of Halkidiki within the verdant forest of Taxiarhis and the barren landscape of Itamos!

The Journey Around Kassandra is also quite spectacular! It starts off from Agios Pavlos with the winery of Evangelos Tsantalis and continues towards the famous cave of Petralona and the Museum of Fishing Vessels and Equipment in Nea Moudania. Further away, you will find the bridge over Nea Potidea Canal with its spectacular views as well as the Byzantine tower of Agios Pavlos in Nea Fokea that stands on the hill. Take the turning for Afytos, you will discover one of the most traditional of all the Halkidiki villages, with stone houses and cobbled streets. Half a kilometer outside the village you will see on your right a sign to Kassandria (+4.7km), where the road leads you over the western coast of the peninsula. You will now arrive at Kallithea, a village with excellent vista from the main square of the village where you can also visit the sanctuary of Zeus Ammon, with its links to ancient Afytos. Five kilometers on from Kallithea and you come to Kryopigi, built on a hillside just 1.200m from the sea. Polychrono is buzzing with life in summertime, and 3km to the west of the village is Lake Mavrobara, a site of keen ecological interest. Another busy summer resort is Hanioti, built on the site of the ancient city of Aiyi. Pefkohori, also known as Kapsohora, is believed to be the site of the ancient city of Neapolis. At the south-eastern end of the peninsula is Paliouri, said to have been the site of the ancient city of Theramvos, mentioned by Herodotus. After driving through pine trees for 6km, with a great view of the western and southern coast of Kassandra, you come to Agia Paraskevi, famous for its healing springs. About half way along the road from the springs to Nea Skioni (after 3km) you should definitely stop at the Chapel of Panayia Faneromeni, with its supposedly miracle-working icon of the Virgin.

The Journey of Sithonia is amazing! Starting from Thessaloniki, you will come to a sign for Agios Mammas, and then a turning left to Olynthos where you can visit the prehistoric settlement of Agios Mamas. At Olynthos, you can visit the site of the ancient city, the most important political centre in Halkidiki in classical times. Drive through Kalyves and head towards Polygyros , the capital of Halkidiki. Drive on past signs for Psakoudia, Ormylia and Metamorfosi and you will arrive in Nikiti, essentially the starting point for the tour of the peninsula. Two kilometers along the road you come to a junction with roads leading to the eastern and western coasts of Sithonia. To the right the road heads west to Neos Marmaras (+18km), Porto Carras (+20km) and Porto Koufo (+44km), while straight ahead the road takes you east to Agios Nikolaos (+8km), Vourvourou (+11km), Sarti (+40km) and Sykia (+51km). Taking the road to the western coast you will drive past a number of beaches and small resorts until you arrive at the busy town of Neos Marmaras. Five kilometers outside the town you can drive up the hillside to the traditional village of Parthenonas. Two kilometers along the main road you come to the Porto Carras hotel complex, and another 14 kilometers alogn the coast road, through air rich with the fragrance of pines, a landscape that ravishes the senses, a magical scenery to be enjoyed with the car roof down, drinking in the sights and scents of the glorious landscape. Eventually you arrive upon a small sign for the beach at Tristinika, while carrying on along the main coast road will bring you to Toroni. Just two more kilometers and you have arrived at the beautiful natural harbour of Porto Koufo. Another 11km of beautiful coast road brings you to the sign for Kalamitsi. You are now approaching the eastern side of the peninsula. Passing Kriaritsi and Klimataria you come to the beach of Sykia. The village itself is 2km from the coast road. The next stop is bustling Sarti, full of visitors every summer. From now on the road runs through lovely pine forest, with dirt tracks turning off to magical beaches. As you approach Vourvourou you will be struck by the amazing view of the nine islands. You now come to the picturesque harbour of Ormos Panayias, the embarkation point for daily cruises, and another 3km of road brings you to Agios Nikolaos, one of the oldest settlements in Halkidiki. Continuing east you pass by the Salonikiou beach and arrive at Pyrgadikia, where you can take the road up into mountain Halkidiki and the villages of Mt. Holomondas. The distance to Arnaia is 35km, and then another 16km through the magical mountain landscape will bring you to Taxiarchis.

The Tour of Mountainous Halkidiki is absolutely fantastic! Starting from Thessaloniki, take the road towards Polygyros until you come to Palaiokastro (55km). At that point, you should leave the main road and turn left, drive through Palaiokastro and then uphill along the winding road through the forest. After 9.5km you will find to a junction, where the road ahead takes you to the villages of Taxiarchis (4km) and Polygyros (12km). Before you turn right, make a stop to Taxiarchis (+3km) at the little rest area, where there is a chapel and some wooden benches for forest picnics. There is also a path that leads to the little Chapel of Agia Paraskevi. On the right of the main road, there is also the forestry office and the facilities of the Forestry Department of the University of Thessaloniki. The road to the right at the junction leads to the center of Taxiarchis, to the left the road goes to the villages of Riza and Palaiohora, and the beautiful location of Agios Panteleimonas with its little chapel. If you continue straight on, the road heads up Mt. Holomontas towards the village of Arnaia (+16km). Leaving Taxiarchis behind, we set out on a magical mountain drive. After a while, you will find Psili Rahi, with a cafe and taverna, and then after two kilometers, you will find the Chapel of the Prophet Elijah, the scene of a local festival on 20 July, attended by people from all the villages around. There are two tavernas here. As we drive farther on, there are signs pointing to mountain trails and paths through the forest. After 9km we come to a rest area, ideal for picnics. All along the route the trees grow close to the road; the forest scenery is magnificent at any season of the year.

Emerald, Sapphire & Turquoise Waters

Discover 61 different beaches with crystal clear waters and golden sand, bays, little islands – like Ammouliani – and green landscapes that will make your dream vacation come true! If you prefer an exotic camping vacation in the arms of nature, next to clear blue waters then why not try the beaches Zepko, Vasilitsi, Diavorvoro, Marmari, Ierisos Camping, Alykes Camping and Megali Ammos where you will enjoy peaceful times and relax away from the hectic city rhythms.Sunbathe by the crystal clear waters of Arsana and Chiliadou (shingle beaches), Kakoudia, Mousiou, Tratovoli, Faka, Kastri, and Kouri (sandy beaches). You can also enjoy the peaceful pine landscapes that reach up to the sea at Sykia, Kefalas and Nea Roda – Metaleio beaches.If you are looking for turquoise beaches offering facilities such as sunbeds, changing cabins, showers, bars, and restaurants, visit one of the following: Chrysi Akti, Vina, Gourgourou, Stratoni, Ierissos, Nea Roda, Megali Ammos, Agios Georgios, Alykes, Xiro Potami (Gomati Area), Develiki and Pyrgos.Ride the waves on Kozi, Copa Cabbana and Eagles Palace Resort & Spa beaches.Dive and explore the amazing underwater life of Porto, Eagles Palace Resort & Spa and Faka beaches. Enjoy the breathtalking view from Proti Ammoudia, Eagles Palace Resort & Spa, Theoxenia Alexandros Palace Hotels & Suite, Limani (Ammouliani) and Janis (Ammouliani) beaches.Rejuvenate yourselves by the cool waters at Limani (Nea Roda), Komitsa – Camping, Komitsa – Ktima Hatzi, Drenia, Penna, Artemi and Gialakia. If tropical white sandy beaches are your thing, try Kampos, Petalidi, Tigani (Ammouliani), Karagatsi (Ammouliani), Komitsa, Kleisouri, Karvounoskala and Zougla beaches!

Even Halkidiki has an Authentic Face

It’s easy to say that even Halkidiki possesses authentic attractions, even if the locals have not found a way to market these. To seize you by the shoulders to say that this is Aristotle’s birthplace; that you must, whatever you do, visit his statue in Stagira or sit in the old village of Nikiti and taste a fresh coffee while glancing at the pine forests of Mount Itamos, which conceal the world’s ‘oldest living tree’. Or take a walk along Tristinika beach behind Porto Carras, or see the ruins of old Lerissos or Xerxes’s canal. These are pleasures you must seek out for yourself!

Find More Information

If you want to find more information about Halkidiki, visit the Official Website of Sithonia and the Official Website of Aristotelis Municipality!

From Halkidiki With Love: Nikiti Honey

The village of Nikiti is considered to be the first beekeeping village of Europe since the inhabitants of Nikiti are engaged in apiculture more than 500 years! Before you leave from Sithonia, you should definitely buy a vase of pine honey from Nikiti from the Beekeeping Cooperative “Sithon”! The cooperative was founded from the local beekepers in 1952, and, in the future years, they created cooperation with producers of other villages of the region where they built the largest factories in the industry of Europe.

Just For Golf Aficionados

Blessed from perfect climate conditions and lots of sunshine, Greece is an ideal destination for golf enthusiasts. Although golf in Greece is not so popular, there are numerous sites dedicated golfers can practice their swings. Porto Carras Golf Course on Sithonia peninsula is the best golf course of Greece open all year round. The course covers 77 hectares and was designed by Geoffrey Cornish and William Robinson as a 9 hole course. It was redesigned in 2003 by Roy Machary and opened in 2004 as an 18 hole course. The newly designed course utilizes Seashore Paspalum-Warm season grass. It is an 18hole, par 72 course with four par 5, and four par 3 and 10 par 4 holes. The Porto Carras Golf Course offers a brand new clubhouse, 2-practice range, 1 putting green, 1 chipping green and 1 bunker.

In the Music Rhythms of Sani Festival

The Sani Festival is one of the most popular cultural events of Greece, the only private-sector initiative international festival in Greece with such a significant presence both at home and abroad, a valued institution in our country’s cultural setting with its uninterrupted 23 year existence. Rarely has a private-sector initiative cultural institution reached such a level of completeness, originality and innovation, with regard to the choice of artists, as at the Sani Festival. Its ever-faithful public, outstanding participants, excellent organization, international impact, and ongoing renewal bear witness to this. The objective is the same every single year: communication and interaction between artists and public within a broad social context – with the special features of the event allowing it to bring together under one roof people of many different backgrounds and cultures.

It’s A Must: The Round of Sithonia

The Round of Sithonia is a must! It begins off from Nikiti, one of the most beautiful villages of Halkidiki, which distinguishes as the first beekeeping village of Greece, and it continues towards Vourvourou, a magical location that offers seaside sceneries with exquisite characteristics of a lake surrounded from a verdant mountain and nine wonderful islands. Travellers will have the opportunity to visit Diaporos, the largest of the islands of Vourvourou, through a short boat road where they will swim in the clean aquamarine waters of Ksifara Peninsula and the secluded cove of Karydi. On you way to Sykia, you will find the location of Sarti; the beauty of nature with the turquoise waters and the wonderful beaches protected from the picturesque rocks will amaze you. One of the oldest and most beautiful villages of Sithonia, namely Sykia village, has managed to maintain the traditional character and the authentic identity of the region; seek for the stone church of Agios Athanasios to admire the views from the hill! Don’t miss Porto Koufo, the largest and safest natural harbour of Greece, an incredible scenery that looks like a lake with a tiny opening to the sea that is barely visible. South of the port exit, you will find Kartalia, the southern tip of Sithonia, an impressive region that enchants the visitor with its stepp rocky shores. In the western part of the peninsula lies Neos Marmaras, the most cosmopolitan village of Sithonia, which combines relaxation and entertainment toall ages. A walk down the tree-lined path that unwinds next to the sea gives the visitor a unique view to the uninhabited island fo Kelyfos!

It’s Sunset Time

Head to the village of Parthenonas, one of the most beautiful villages of Halkidiki, which distinguishes for its authentic Macedonian architecture mansions with spectacular views to Toroneos Gulf! Whn the atmosphere is clear enough, you will have the opportunity to admire a magical sunset behind Olympus Mountain!

Just for Camping Lovers

Are you in love with nature? Camping brings your vacations in a whole other dimension. The biggest camping spot of Halkidiki is located on the beaches of Armenistis with beach bars, relaxed entertainment and naturalistic pleasures! Pitch your tent or settle your caravan and rejuvenate your body, mind and soul!

K for Kassandra: Reserved for the Nightlife Enthusiasts

Kassandra peninsula beats for exciting nightlife and cosmopolitan atmosphere! If you are looking for the genuine spirit of nightlife and the cosmopolitan moments, Kassandra is the right peninsula for you! Located on the western side of Halkidiki, Kassandra is the most developed “leg” of Halkidiki with dozens of hotel complexes and hundreds of bars and clubs.

Mountainous Halkidiki: Another World

Have you ever thought that Halkidiki has an unexplored side? Let’s start exploring! Famous Mademohoria took their name from the Turkish word for mine; they are the mining villages of Halkidiki, which enjoyed great prosperity during the years of the Ottoman occupation by exploiting the silver deposits of the region. Many of the inhabitants were fine workers in metal and miners. These villages enjoyed special privileges and a certain amount of autonomy; although there was a local Turkish governor, he allowed the villagers great freedom to run their own affairs. These mining villages include Galatista, Vavdos, Mahalas (now Stagira), Stanos, Varvara, Liarigovi (now Arnea), Novoselo (now Neochori), Isvoros (now Stratoniki), Horouda, Revenikia (now Megali Panagia) and Ierissos.

Observing Like An Olympian God

If you are looking for spectacular locations in order to admire the unimaginable views of Halkidiki, grab a paper and start writing! The Park of Aristotle at Stagira village with panoramic views to the gulf of Ierissos, Villa Galini at Porto Carras, the churchyard of the church of Agios Nikitas at Nikiti village with views of the entire settlement, the fire guardhouse station 7 kilometers from Parthenonas village and the mountain peak of Tsoukalas with wonderful views to Sithonia, Kassandra and Mount Athos and the village of Afytos!

Posidi: One of the most beautiful regions of Kassandra

Unquestionably, Posidi is one fo the most beautiful regions of Kassandra with turquoise waters and pine trees! Make sure to visit the lighthouse of Posidi in order to admire a fantastic sunset!

S for Sithonia: Reserved for the Nature Lovers

If you are a nature lover, Sithonia will surely blow your mind! Pine forests reaching the crystalline waters of the Aegean Sea and hidden coves with white sand will travel you to the genuine nature of Greece. The charm of tranquility, the picturesque seaside villages and the magical beaches will offer you the most tranquil vacations ever! It is a must to visit traditional Nikiti for its genuine Macedonian hospitality, cosmopolitan Neos Marmaras for its monuments from Asia Minor and alternative Vourvourou with its turquoise waters. Sithonia is an ideal place for a peaceful and relaxing holiday, especially for nature lovers. In Sithonia, travellers will have the opportunity to admire breathtaking landscapes with picturesque coves, deserted sandy beaches, some of the most beautiful beaches of Chalkidiki, which have been awarded many times with the blue flag secluded coves next to lush forests, traditional fishing villages and stunning architecture in homes and churches.

Springtime in Halkidiki

Spring in Halkidiki offers a wonderful opportunity to experience Halkidiki from another point of view! Archaeological sites bloomed in flowers, famous magical beaches totally isolated and hospitable people are waiting for you to show you the genuine face of Halkidiki! Verant forest with hiking trails, mountain villages with flowing waterfalls and incredible views will travel you to the true spirit of Halkidiki! There are many reasons to visit Halkidiki in spring; the enchanting beaches of Sithonia, the monasteries of Mounta Athos, the avid nightlife of      Kassandra, the forest of Holomontas and its ecotourism lodges, the wonderful hiking trails, the architectural jewels like the tower of Agios Pavlos in Nea Fokea, the tower of Stavronitika in Sani and the tower of Galatista, the picturesque village of Afytos in Kassandra and lovely Nikiti and traditional Arnea in Sithonia, the cave of Petralona in the region of Marmaras, the ancient sites of Olynthos and Stagira, the bay of Porto Koufo and the gulf of Toroni, and the list never ends. At the end of your journey, you will understand the true meaning of the phrase “It’s nowhere like Halkidiki”! Your must stops in Halkidiki during spring: Holomontas Mountain, an amazing excursion to hiking trails in the forest with sensational views, Aristotle Park, an orginal grove dedicated to the great philosopher with interactive experimental equipment that test the natural phenomena tested from Aristotle, Nea Potidea Canal, a magnificent canal that joins the gulfs of Thermaic and Toroneos seperated from the Kassandra peninsula, Ouranoupoli, where you will have the opportunity to visit the largest and most beautiful tower of Halkidiki, Ancient Olynthos, an unknown archaeological site that was built based on the Hippodamian system, one of tbest urban design samples of the Classical era, Kavourotrypes Beach, where you will have the opportunity to find it at its own selusion with its crystalline waters and its pine trees, Arnea Village, the most beautiful village of Halkidiki that mantains the genuine Macedonian architecture, Ierissos Shipyards, one of the last operating shipyards of the rich shipbuilding tradition of Halkidiki, Possidi Cape, a cape that forms one of the loveliest beaches in Halkidiki, and Varvara Waterfalls, a unique scenery hidden behind the dense forest!

Taste the Souvlaki of Agios Prodromos Village

One of the “must” on mountainous Halkidiki is the village of Agios Prodromos! All of the travellers should make a stop on this verdant village, which is famous for its souvlaki and its delicate meats that comes from the extensive livestock production of the region. Everything you might heard is true! The souvlakia of Agios Prodromos are brilliant!

The Rich Olive Oil Tradition of Halkidiki

Halkidiki has a rich tradition in olive oil! The largest olive grove of Halkidiki is located in the region of Ormylia while hundreds of olive trees are found in the lowlands of Polygyros. In Halkidiki, olives are being cultivated in more than 23.000 hectares and the olive production reaches 100 thousands tons per year. The microclimate of Halkidiki is one of mnain advantages of the cultivation of the olive of Halkidiki. Before you leave from Halkidiki, make sure to buy a bottle of olive oil! You won’t regret it!

Tradition Has It . . .

Tradition has it that, if you are not married and drink water from one of the six fountains in Polygyros village, you will find your other half!

Under the Moonlight of Halkidiki

Every August, the Moon Festival takes place in several archaeological sites of Greece. Usually, Ancient Stagira is one of the archaeological open for visitors with free admission after sunset. Check it out!

Wine Experiences in Halkidiki

Vineyards and winemaking plants, which are among the most important in Greece, are open for visitors who want to learn about the cultivation of Greek wine. Domaine Claudia Papayianni is one of the recommended wineries on Halkidiki. The underground cellar is open for wine tasting so you can sample her award winning wines right amongst the barrels that age them. Tsantalis Winery is also an exemplary winery of a long-standing family tradition of 125 years that renders the brand name Tsantali, a major ambassador of Greek wines. Livadiotis Winery is yet another recommended vineyards open for visitors who arrive at the winery to taste the exquisite wines of Athanasios Livadiotis. Domaine Porto Carras with villa Galini, the signal on the labels of wine, is also one of the best wineries of Halkidiki; surrounded in the largest Greek estate with forest, the vineyard of the estate is the only one in Greece that defines an entire zone designation of origin since 1981.

Photo Credits

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Note: All the images are copyrighted from their owners. Please see Terms & Conditions. You can find the original images at the following links:

Afytos Village: Haskbu by Flickr

Akti Koviou beach: Halkidikitravel.com

Ammouliani Island: Visit Greece by Flickr

Ancient Olynthos: Robert Ritter by Panoramio

Ancient Stagira: Archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.gr

Armenistis Beach: Imcaegean.com

Arnea Village: NT650V by Flickr

Autumn Ride at Homontas Forest: JimmuClarku by Panoramio

Church of Agios Georgios, Nea Potidea: Wikimedia

Elia Beach, Sithonia: Sithonia-rooms.gr

Fall Road: Nikolaos by Flickr

Forest of Holomontas: Jimmu Clarku by Panoramio

Forest Road: Efimerida

Halkidiki Islands: Visit-halkidiki.gr

Holomontas Forest: Giorgos Gioutlakis by Panoramio

Ierissos: Xenonas-liogerma.gr

Islands of Halkidiki: Imcaegean.com

Kalogria Beach: Rik Freeman by Panoramio

Karidi Beach: Rik Frieman by Panoramio

Kavourotrypes Beach: Đorđe Grujičić by Panoramio

Lagoon of Livari: Oikoskopio.gr

Marathias Beach: Mygreecetravelblog.com

Mountainous Halkidiki: JimmuClarku by Panoramio

Nature of Halkidiki: Efimerida Xaos by Panoramio

Nea Potidea Canal: Autotriti.gr by Thodoris Athanasiadis

Nikiti Village: Marty by Panoramio

Olympiada – Ancient Stagira: Visit Greece by Flickr

Ouranoupoli: Konstantinos Kousis by Flickr

Petralona Cave: Theva.gr

Polygyros Town Hall: Mrblond/PlamenAgov by Panoramio

Polygyros Village: Amalia Lampri by Flickr

Polygyros: Efimerida Xaos by Panoramio

Porto Koufo Bay: Letohalkidiki.com

Porto Koufo: Letohalkidiki.com

Porto Valitsa: Marek Koszorek by Panoramio

Posidi Lighthouse: Koutoudis Grigoris by Panoramio

Spathies Beach: Visit Greece by Flickr

Sunrise at Holomontas: Jimmu Clarcku by Panoramio

Sunset at Kelyfos: Dmitry Tonkonog and Xenia Fedosova by Wikemedia

Sunset from Kerasia: Argyrios Dagkilas by Panoramio

Sykia Beach – Sunrise at Mount Athos: Visit Greece by Flickr

Tower of Andronikos: Đorđe Grujičić by Panoramio

Trani Ammouda Beach: Nikita.gr

Trees at Holomontas: Apodrasi by Panoramio

Tsoukalas Mountain: Nikolaos Prodromidis by Panoramio

View of Mountainous Halkidiki: JimmuClarku by Panoramio

View of Olympus Mountains from Polygyros: John Siropoulos by Panoramio

View of Vourvourou Bay: Seakayakhalkidiki.gr

Waterfalls of Agia Varvara: Dimosaristoteli.gr

Winter at Holomontas Forest: Jimmu Clarku by Panoramio

Winter Scene in Polygyros: AAnna by Panoramio