Halkidiki is one of the most beloved tourist destinations in Greece. Its numerous long beaches, the exotic landscapes, the turquoise crystal-clear waters and the unspoiled hidden gems that you can explore all around, are some of the reasons that justify why Halkidiki is worth visiting. Apart from that, Halkidiki is also known for its long history, the old churches and the impressive monasteries. So, if you intend to visit this beautiful peninsula of Northern Greece and you are interested in religious tourism, do not miss discovering the 5 best religious sites in Halkidiki!
The Church of Agios Demetrios
The Church of Agios Demetrios is located in the beautiful village Afytos and it was built in 1858. It is a terrific landmark, outstanding for its distinct architecture. So to speak, it integrates a wonderful bell-tower, an entrance porch, while the building style of the church is “basilica” with a dome.
However, Afytos village belongs to the most known traditional villages of Halkidiki, with paved alleys, enchanting natural surroundings and great views. You should definitely visit the ruins of the Ancient Afytos as well as the folklore museum.
The Chapel of Panagia Faneromeni
A beautiful picturesque white-washed chapel, built in a breathtaking location at the beach shore close to Nea Skioni. At the interior of the chapel you will find magnificent wall paintings and frescoes dated back to the 16th Century AD. Moreover, of great interest is the holy icon of Virgin Mary which is made of marble. According to the local myth, the holy icon was found floating near to the sea and because of this, the Chapel of Panagia Faneromeni was built in this location. Nowadays, the church is widely used by couples for Orthodox weddings, due to the extraordinary location and the views.
Church of Saint Stephen (or Agios Stefanos)
The church of Saint Stephen is a unique monument located in the traditional village Arnea. Apart from being a religious place, Saint Stephen is also a site of great historical significance.The church was first built in 1812, but during the 1821 Revolution it was burnt. After many years and specifically in 2005 a severe fire suddenly burst out and almost destroyed the whole temple. During the renovation, the interior of the chapel uncovered the existence of three remarkable buildings, a large Christian basilica dated around 400, a Byzantine temple of the 10th-11th century and a Post-Byzantine structure of the 16th-17th century. The excavations revealed also many other findings of great archaeological importance, including objects from the Christian period as well as from the Ottoman rule era.
The footsteps of Saint Paul in Halkidiki
The “footsteps of Saint Paul” is actually the journey of Apostle Paul in respect to spreading the Cristianity to Greece. Regarding Northern Greece, Apostle Paul visited many places in the regions of Thessaloniki, Veroia, Kavala and Samothraki. If you are interested to follow the steps of Apostle Paul in Northern Greece, you should definitely pay a visit to the following historical monuments and religious sites of Halkidiki and Thessaloniki: The archaeological site of Amphipolis, Filippoi as well as Apollonia.
Last but not least, in the context of the religious sites of Halkidiki is also Mount Athos. The Monastic Mount Athos also known as Holy Mountain or Agio Oros, is an incredible monument and a world heritage site of UNESCO. It is one of the most visited attractions in Greece along with Meteora as regards the religious tourism and of course, the top religious site in Halkidiki. The Holy Mount Athos is a self-governing part of the Greek state, including 20 imposing monasteries, where the 17 of them are Greek, “12 skites” and many houses, “kelia” (monastic cells) and hermitages as well.
Here you will find everything about Mount Athos Peninsula!