Eastern Halkidiki offers you dozens of opportunities for day trips, as its changing landscape (300 km of coastline between three mountains protected by the European Convention Natura 2000) has allowed the development of natural phenomena and human activities that are rarely found in a single holiday destination!
Here are some of our suggestions, while we are sure that you will find dozens of others!
Have fun touring!
1. To Arnea
Is seems to have been taken from a Macedonian fairy tale! Its architecture and the colorful aesthetics will make you love it.
• The Cathedral of Saint Stephanos, the only functioning religious monument in Greece, where pilgrims and visitors can attend the Service while admiring the archaeological finds beneath the glass floor! An excellent site of our religious and cultural heritage, definitely worth a visit.
• The weaving museum, where the entire tradition of local weaving unravels as in a tangle of history…
• The folklore museum with dozens of traditional finds from years past!
• The historic city fabric, with its old mansions and cobbled alleys, which seems to emerge out of another era…
You will visit chapels and monasteries!
You will follow the hiking trails around the village!
You will try organic honey varieties at the stores, near the central stone-built square with the centuries-old sycamore tree. If you want, you can visit the hives in the mountain, accompanied by local beekeepers, who will introduce you to the secrets of bee-keeping.
You will visit the famous mushroom fields of Cholomontas, collecting mushrooms and tasting mushrooms pies in the heart of the Mountain.
You will visit the Domaine Claudia Papayianni, trying excellent varieties of award-winning local organic wines, in an environment that will take you on a journey to the wine cellars of famous wineries around the world.
You will try delicious sausages filled with pork meat and orange, local organic cheeses and feta…but also the Antonis’ yogurt! You will combine your food with moundovina – the beekeepers tsipouro!
You will enjoy the famous touloumba sweets at the central square!
You will celebrate the most beautiful Christmas eves and the brilliant Easter Holidays!
2. To Stanos
You will follow a daily culinary excursion, walking in the narrow streets, looking for “the pigadi area”, entering the old churches and finding yourself on the way to the cave with the stalactites! You will taste pure products, learn about traditional recipes and authentic flavors and meet hospitable people. You will taste trahana pie, spoon sweet and liqueur “zourvo”, you will become addicted to the taste of sausage with leek and citrus, stuffed spleen, fermented bread and yogurt.
Don’t lose it!
3. To Megali Panagia for wine and religious tradition
Authentically traditional! Stone built. Green and welcoming.
Visit the Holy Pilgrimage in the green hills of Mount Kakkavos, follow the “bridge roads” and reach the waterfalls!
Celebrate at the “winegrower event” every 1st Sunday of February and follow the local wine routes, visiting wineries and vineyards. Be part of the local tradition and get involved with the locals in events of “kazanemata”, since the tsipouro distilleries at Megali Panagia and Gomati are an autumn attraction of everyday life.
Light a candle in Panagouda Chapel, climbing more than 100 times on the stone steps of the hill!
4. To Paleochori of Alexis ZorbasThe village that for 22 years hosted Alexis Zorbas – about a century ago!
Visit the “home” of the Kazantzakian hero and then enter the magnificent temple of the Pammegiston Taxiarches Church. You will be amazed by the special architecture and you will fill with awe.
Go to the “Monastic House of Panagia Chara ton Thlivomenon”. Walk along the Neposi Castle and reach Arnaia, following the hiking trail of Alexis Zorbas.
Go biking from Paleochori to the Aristotle’s Park, following the same paths, which led Alexis Zorbas from his home to the magical streets of the Aristotelian Mountain!
5. From the homeland of Aristotles, to Varvara on the Aristotelian Mountain
You will be fascinated by the colors of the forest, as well as by the alternation of the Aegean Sea and the Aristotle Mountain!
• You will visit the famous mussels farms on the coastal zone from Olympiada to Marmari and participate in collecting mussels. The experience of a lifetime
• You will walk in the paths of the Hellenistic city of Stagira, where Aristotle was born and taught Alexander the Great on science and life, and feel the sea breeze flirting with the lush vegetation of the Aristotelian Mountain. You can admire the ancient agora, the stately wall, the remains of houses, the Byzantine findings and look out to the Aegean Sea, while the Mediterranean light showers this magical scenery…
• You will walk to the Varvara waterfall, which is the end of a fascinating hiking itinerary through the mountain, protected by the European convention Natura 2000 and will feel that paradise is no longer in the heavens
• You will visit the Varvara Women’s Association, to see local ladies making jams and sweets. They’ll treat you, they’ll tell «stories about your future», you’ll laugh at their jokes, you’ll buy trahana and pasta made by goat’s milk and you’ll taste the delicious and homemade sweets of the spoon!
• You will visit the restaurants of Olympiada to taste mussels and fish, but also those of Varvara to enjoy recipes made with “black pig” meat, homemade pies and others delicacies but also a lot of brusco wine!
6. Meet he boat-carpenters of Ierissos
O Ακάνθιος Κόλπος αποτελεί το θαλάσσιο αιγαιοπελαγίτικο όγκο, που περικλείεται από τους πράσινους βραχίονες δύο ιερών βουνών: του Αριστοτελικού Όρους και του Άθωνα. Φυσικά και ιστορικά ευνοημένη η γαλάζια υγρή του μάζα, φιλοξενεί στον αμμώδη γιαλό της τρείς οικισμούς: το Στρατώνι, τα Νέα Ρόδα και την Ιερισσό, τα φημισμένα παραδοσιακά καρνάγια της οποίας συνθέτουν το πιο χαρακτηριστικό της γνώρισμα.
Πράγματι, τα ναυπηγεία της Ιερισσού είναι άρρηκτα δεμένα με τη μνήμη των ανθρώπων της. Χωροθετημένα λίγα μόλις μέτρα από το πολύβουο ψαρολίμανο με την έντονη δραστηριότητα, μυρίζουν ξύλο από το πεύκο που χρησιμοποιείται για τη δημιουργία των σκαφών, ρετσίνι από τις εκκρίσεις του, ιδρώτα από την ανθρώπινη προσπάθεια και ιώδιο από τα μύρα της θάλασσας.
Ντόπιοι ναυπηγοί – ηλιοκαμένοι και δυνατοί, ευφυείς και επιδέξιοι, σκληροί και επίμονοι, τεχνίτες ξακουστοί – «κρατούν» μέχρι και σήμερα την τέχνη των προπαπούδων τους και πηγαινοέρχονται σφυροκοπώντας το ξύλο «από ήλιο σε ήλιο», για να δημιουργήσουν σκαριά της θάλασσας – περίτεχνα, ανθεκτικά στους καιρούς και στο χρόνο, αλλά και λειτουργικά.
Τα καρνάγια της Ιερισσού είναι η ίδια η ψυχή του οικισμού. Μια τέχνη σοφίας και οξυδέρκειας, δομημένη από δουλευτάδες καραβομαραγκούς. Συνάντησέ τους τους στις ακτές του λιμανιού, κάτω από τους λόφους της Αρχαίας Ακάνθου – εκεί που οι αισθήσεις χάνονται «στον κόσμο του χθες». Παρατήρησέ τους να ανεβοκατεβαίνουν στα υπό κατασκευήν σκαριά, να συνοδεύουν τη δουλειά με τραγούδι, να κολατσίζουν ντόπια καλούδια και παστό ορκύνι, γελώντας με χωρατά και ιστορίες από καπεταναίους, ναύτες, μαστόρια και παραγιούς.
Είναι πάντα πρόθυμοι – παρά την όποια κούραση – να σου εξηγήσουν τι κάνουν και πώς το κάνουν, να σε ξεναγήσουν στα «δημιουργήματα τέχνης» τους, να σε μεταφέρουν στα «παλιά εκείνα χρόνια της βιοπάλης», να σου διηγηθούν μέσα από αφηγήματα την εμπειρία που απέκτησαν και κουβαλούν για πάντα στις ταλαιπωρημένες πλάτες τους.
7. Escape to the religious and gastronomic Ouranoupolis – the Gate for Mount Athos
You must definitely visit the “city of heaven”, very close to the Mount Athos.
What you will do:
- You should definitely take a cruise around Mount Athos and see all the Monasteries of the west shore of Mount Athos. Click here to book.
- You can take a tour of the Zygos Monastery, the only monastery of Mount Athos that can be visited by women, situated exactly 40 metres from the land borders of Mount Athos. You will see there the border separating the Mount Athos State from the rest of the world, the spot where the journey back in time begins.
- You can visit the Byzantine Posphorios Tower, an ancient Mount Athos dependency, that is now open as a museum and you can admire the room where Mrs Loch’s office is.
- You can enjoy a unique culinary tour in the shops with the organic products from Mount Athos and you can taste all of them, made with love by the blessed hands of the monks of Mount Athos.
8. A day on the sandy island (Ammouliani)
What you can see:
• The Church of Agios Nikolaos with rare artefacts and the holy relics of local saints.
• The exceptional Popular Art Museum with Asia Minor artefacts and religious objects, which the refugees from Marmara Island (Prikonnisos) carried on their shoulders during their persecution instead of their belongings.
You will of course swim at the sandy beaches, while you cruise around the island. You will be charmed by the clearness and the color of the seawater. Besides”, “there is no visit to Ammouliani without swimming and relaxation”!
What else you will do:
• You can visit the local gift shops to taste wines, made in Mount Athos as well as many other products made by the monks in the Monastic State. You will buy jewelry, icons and many organic monastery cosmetics!
• You can enjoy your coffee on the beach, with a view on the quaint fish port and then you’ll eat the freshest fish you’ve ever tasted! Because in Ammouliani the residents say “yesterday’s fish is never fresh”!
Are you thinking of anything better?
9. To the Park of Aristotles & the Sidirokafsia archaeological site
At the area of Stagira, in the 9th AD century, the city Sidirokafsia was developed, which took its name by the mineral deposits existed at the area, and from the trading as well, which was intensified since the early years of the Ottoman Rule.
Concreter, the fortress complex of “Sidirokafsia” was built at all heights of today’s settlement of Stageira, which includes parts of the fortification- mostly towers, ruins of houses and workshops, where the mine trading was taking place. The mines of Sidirokafsia were under the control of the Sultan and were (along with villages) the “League of Mademia”, controlled by the Assembly (Sabor). It is about the 20 famous Mademohoria, headed by the Madem-Aga, who collected annually the contribution of the Great Gate. Over the years the mines declined, until the revolution of 1821, when Mademohoria participated in the War of Indepedence, suffering though from heavy disasters from the Ottomans. Then the League of Mademia broke down.
Nowadays you will see all these findings into the Park of Aristotle and the hill right across. The local history will pass in front of your eyes!