Although Halkidiki is known for its exotic beaches and the vivid nightlife, the mountainous aspect of Halkidiki is also an ideal place for those who want to escape from their daily routine, spending some quality time with their beloved ones. At this article, you will discover the ideal destination, if you need peace and relaxation!
The Picturesque Town of Mount Holomonta
Arnaia is a traditional small town built in Holomontas mountain, at an altitude of 600m. The distance from Thessaloniki is about 70 km and from Poligiros 38 km, respectively. Important to be mentioned is that Arnaia has been designated by the Ministry of Culture as “Historic place” and “Traditional Settlement”.
In fact, Arnaia attracts many tourists throughout the year, as the village is located into the woods, offering beautiful walking routes and paths. So, whether you are looking to spend your summer or your Christmas holidays in a mountainous place in Greece, Arnaia is the best destination! Imagine yourself taking an afternoon walk in the woods, surrounded by lush vegetation – a totally rejuvenating experience!
The Traditional Architecture
At first sight, you will feel like going back to the past, around the 19th century. All the houses and buildings are constructed in a traditional way, featured with big stones while preserving the Macedonian traditional architecture. A great example of this traditional technique is the old school, built in 1871. You will find it in the central square named “Horostasi”.
Another one building of great importance is the metropolitan church of Agios Stefanos, with the imposing bell tower, built in 1812. In addition, it is worth walking on the narrow cobblestone streets of Arnaia, discovering its old mansions, it is like travelling to other times. There, you will also discover the Mansion of Arnaia, where today the Historical and Folklore Museum is housed.
Culture & Customs
Regarding the traditions and customs, Arnaia has plenty of them, the most important among them is the tradition in Byzantine Music, the textiles and the beekeeping. During summer as well as other periods of the year, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a large number of festivals and traditional events. For instance, during Easter, there is an old custom called “Koutsmanous”, where a traditional dance with horseback men and shooting competition is taking place.
Moreover, close to the central square, as mentioned before, you will find the Historical and Folklore Museum of Arnaia. It is housed in one of the most beautiful and old buildings of Halkidiki region in general. On top of that, it has been characterized as a “masterpiece” and rightly so. Regarding the museum’s exhibits, all of them were offered by locals, including valuable and rare objects, heirlooms and other. However, the museum is divided into three distinct sections. On the ground floor, there is an exhibition of farm tools, including bread stumps, millstones, etc. On the mezzanine floor you will find the wood-working tools, while on the first floor, there is the textile equipment and the everyday household items.
Local Products & Gastronomy
Arnaia is famous for textile art, the cheesemaking and the beekeeping. If you visit the district, you should definitely taste and buy the pure honey of Holomonta Mount, honey wax, royal jelly, local “tsipouro” made by honey (genuine Greek product) and some dairy products such as goat cheese and yoghurt, “trahana”, noodles as well as several kinds of spoon sweets and jams. All these products are made by hand and from carefully selected raw materials.
Excursions & Sites
The region offers also many other activities to do and exceptional places to visit.
Agia Paraskevi Grove
So to speak, just a few km away from Arnaia, close to the small church of Prophet Elias, is located the grove of Agia Paraskevi. The whole area is green, where you can spend quality time with your family, walking among the trees and exploring nature. Notice, that you will find some restaurants and cafes there as well. During summer, the grove hosts also several festivals and local fairs. So, if you are about to visit Arnaia, not miss the chance to explore the nearby region and its beautiful nature!
On the other hand, if you have plenty of time, you can visit the capital of Halkidiki, Poligiros. The town is located only 35 km away from Arnaia. Poligiros is a modern town, which is known for its agricultural activities. You can stroll around the city, exploring its sites and museums. The Archaeological and the Folklore Museum are definitely worth a visit. Additionally, the old city with the traditional and preserved buildings is not to be missed. Bear in mind also, that Poligiros includes many hotels and rooms to rent as well as taverns, restaurants and cafes.
If you love nature and mountains, you should definitely visit Arnaia! The traditional aesthetic of the place and the fresh air will give you one-of-a-kind vacation!
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