If you wish to explore Mediterranean forests, ancient archeological sites, traditional Greek villages, and some of the best beaches in the country, check out here the 5 must-visit places in Halkidiki.
One of the most diverse regions of Greece, Halkidiki has plenty of things to do and experience. From the traditional village of Arnaia to the monasteries of Mount Athos, the region is packed with exciting things to see. There are also many other activities, such as birdwatching, swimming, hiking, and kayaking.
Let’s see the 5 must-visit places in Halkidiki:
With their mountainside positions, the monasteries of Mount Athos make for an incredible sight. Unfortunately, only men are permitted to see these monasteries up close. Still, everyone can view the structures from afar, ideally by boat. Take a cruise around Athos, the third peninsula of Halkidiki, or visit Ouranoupoli to see up close the border between Greece and the autonomous state of the monastic community. You will undoubtedly feel the holiness and beauty of the monasteries, even from afar.
Ancient Stagira is known for being the birthplace of Aristotle, the greatest philosopher of ancient times and the tutor of Alexander the Great. The city was founded in ca. 655 B.C. by colonists from the island of Andros. Today, part of the Archaic walls and the Classical fortification of the city are preserved in good condition. Furthermore, you can marvel at the Agora, the political and commercial center of the city, part of a temple dating from the 6th B.C., the ruins of an archaic sanctuary, and a series of storerooms and workshops. The acropolis of Stagira occupies the large plateau on the summit of the south hill. Additionally, parts of houses have been discovered over the entire ancient city area. Stagira is the perfect destination to learn about the structure of ancient Greek cities and marvel at the beauty of not only Stagira but also the Aegean Sea and the beautiful vegetation of Halkidiki.
Petralona Cave is one of Europe’s most impressive and important caves thanks to its wealth of fossils and the discovery of a human skull that dates back approximately 700.000 years. It is located near the village of Petralona, on Katsika Hill. Nature has always been an unpredictable designer. This is more than obvious entering Petralona Cave, formed around a million years ago. The locals call it “the red-rock cave” due to the bauxite deposits’ color to the stone. The natural hollow stretches over a zone of 10,400m² and comprises a progression of stoas, chambers, high roofs, and pools, loaded with stalactites, stalagmites, draperies and shields, segments, and different arrangements.
Afitos is the most beautiful and unusual village in the Kassandra peninsula. Its uniqueness in beauty, history, and nature exceeds any other village. Although an advanced resort area with hotels, restaurants, and other facilities, Afitos (Afytos) successfully preserves its traditional charm. Afitos assumes a vantage point over the Toroneos Gulf, with splendid views enveloping Sithonia and the eastern coast of Kassandra. The village is rich in Orthodox Christian structures and stone-built houses, which feature some stone inscriptions. Cobbled streets take you from one end of Afitos to another. The main attraction is the village’s main church and two chapels. Furthermore, Afitos beach is an excellent spot to revel in Greece’s pure and warm waters and hot temperatures.
One of the 12 remaining historic villages of Halkidiki, Arnaia’s location at the top of the Holomontas mountain makes it particularly beautiful. Here, houses are built in traditional Macedonian style. A walk through Arnaia’s cobbled streets will lead you past the Mansion of Arnaia, now the History and Folklore Museum, as well as an old school that dates back to 1872. When you need a bit of a breather, the town is surrounded by lush forests to explore.