Halkidiki Peninsula can be considered as a heaven on earth! You can find the best beach bars and exotic beaches, the most cosmopolitan seaside resorts as well as numerous interesting places and sites to visit. The beautiful natural landscape along with the crystal clear waters and the sandy beaches, constitute the perfect background for your summer vacation. It is said that, Athos Peninsula is for the serenity. In fact, the third peninsula also called Mount Athos or Holy Mountain, is the most eastern part of Halkidiki, well-known for its Monastic Community “Agion Oros”. Whilst Mount Athos Peninsula is offered for tranquility and outstands for its religious tourism, Mount Athos, has many things to do and places to visit.
Holy Mountain-Mount Athos
The first thing you can do if you go at Athos Peninsula is to visit Agion Oros. At an altitude of 2,033 meters, the Holy Mountain is an autonomous Monastic State, inhabited by more than 2,000 Orthodox monks. The Holy Mount Athos occupies the greatest part of Athos Peninsula, while the rest is offered for summer vacation and leisure. The religious community, also includes 20 monasteries, where the 17 of them are Greek as well as “12 skites” and many houses, “kelia” (monastic cells) and hermitages.
Important to know is that, Agion Oros can be accessed from the sea and it is only allowed to men, while women are prohibited to enter or stay at the premises of the Holy Mountain. There, visitors will have the chance to experience the way of living during the times of Byzantine Empire as well as to induct into the Orthodox way of life. On top of that, all the monasteries are surrounded by unspoiled nature with wonderful verdant hills and green forests, overlooking to the enchanting Siggitikos Gulf. Some of the most known and oldest monasteries are Great Lavra, Vatopedi, Iviron, Koutloumousiou and Agiou Pavlou.
Boat Tour to Mount Athos
For women and for those who will not have the opportunity to visit the Monastic Community in person, they can enjoy a relaxed cruise around the Athos Mountain, admiring the breathtaking view and the unique Byzantine architecture of the monasteries. Daily boat cruises are depart from Ouranoupoli offering also a tour guide, giving you the chance to get familiar with the life of the monks and the history of the Holy Mountain. While cruising around the Siggitikos Gulf, pleasuring the view of the imposing Monastic State, beautiful dolphins will accompany you swimming around the boat all day. It will definitely be a cruise of a lifetime!
On the southwestern coast of Halkidiki you will come across with Ouranoupoli. It is a seaside village, known for its tourism and the fishing. From here, starts also the boat to Daphne which is the port of Mount Athos. At the beautiful village of Ouranoupoli you can find many highly-rated hotels and traditional family resorts as well as superb beaches, which stand out for the golden sand and the turquoise waters.
Apart from that, Ouranoupoli includes several attractions and places to visit as well. Highly recommended is the Byzantine tower of Prosforios, a historic structure, built in the 14th century. Due to its privileged position, since Prosforios is located just next to the harbor, gives you also the chance to find many taverns and cafes there. Right across Ouranoupoli, you will see the exotic islands Ammouliani and Drenia. Do not miss the chance to rent a boat from Ouranoupolis, in order to have a short visit to these majestic islands, swimming at the crystal blue waters while enjoying the peacefulness and calmness of this paradise.
16 km away from Ouranoupoli, there is another place-to-be! We are referring to Ierissos, a beautiful seaside village. Ierissos is offered above all, for relaxation, where you can pleasure local appetizers by the sea, admiring on the north the view of the impressive Mount Stratonikos. Apart from the serene environment, Ierissos has rich history and many interesting activities to do.
You can visit ancient Akanthos, which was the most important city-port of the eastern Halkidiki and one of the most prominent in Macedonia. Tour around the region or take a walk in the beautiful three hills of Mount Stratonikos. There, you will also see the Byzantine cobbled streets as well as Byzantine churches. Besides, 1 km away from Ierissos you will find one of the most remarkable sites of the region, the tower of Krouna. In the wider region there are several ecclesiastical monuments and sites to visit, among them the medieval cemetery which was recently discovered.
The last station of your tour could be the historic village of Stagira. The village is located 500 meters southeast of the present Olympiada village. Ancient Stagira is the birthplace of the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle, a delightful destination with noteworthy history. There, in an astonishing position, you will also have the honor of visiting the Grove of Aristotle (Alsos), a monument of utmost importance.
Every year, thousands of tourists come in Stagira in order to become familiar with the ancient Greek history and Aristotle’s’ life. However, there are many other interesting sites to see such as, the public baths, the house of Madem Aga and the Temple of Virgin Mary.
Pack what is necessary, grab your positive attitude and dive into an unforgettable summer experience!