Eastern Halkidiki is a unique place:
- On the borders of Mount Athos, the only living religious monument in the world, it is a leading pilgrimaging destination with dozens of special routes inside and outside the Holy Community.
- Following in the steps of Persian king Xerxes, who in antiquity crossed with his fleet through the narrowest piece of Athonian land, to conquer Greece, this route is today a point of reference between the East and the West, as the sole Persian footprint in Europe.
- Birthplace of the greatest Greek philosopher, Aristotle, the land welcomes thousands of travellers and intellectuals in its archaeological site of exquisite natural beauty.
- Motherland of the famous Mademochoria, it has been one of the most economically powerful areas in the Ottoman period,
- A thoroughly alternative natural destination, combining 300 kilometres of coastline with two mountains, it composes an exceptional natural scenery and particular architectural techniques, that shape phenomena and tourist figures hard to find in only one destination!
The people born in and serving this unique spot in the world, have mapped sixteen (16) of the dozens of special routes and proudly present them to you.
We have created for you, fans of walking, an excellent database, where each route is connected to an international historical uniqueness:
- Mount Athos and the Byzantine Empire,
- Philosopher Aristotle – tutor to Alexander the Great,
- The Persian wars of antiquity,
- The Ottoman period Mamedochoria.
The difference between many walking routes around the world and those in Eastern Halkidiki is that each one takes visitors through different historical eras putting the walker in direct contact with relics and archaeological find, turning walking from a mere nature-loving activity to a historical tour through monuments and site, with museum value and identity!
1.The Aristotelian Walk Network
Walk through the Varvara crossing to the amazing waterfalls of the Aristotelian Mountain through dense vegetation and a forest protected by the Natura 2000 European convention. This is a route amid massive, shady trees that will fill your lungs with fresh air and the gentle aroma of leaves, soil and the earth. You will truly feel rejuvenated. Along the route you can collect hundreds of rare plants and herbs, , you will meet lumberjacks at work , shepherds taking their herds to graze – it’s like being in a fairytale When you arrive at the famous waterfalls, you will feel like you have reached heaven…….
Route Length 23.57km
2.The Mount Athos Walk
From the 14th Century Byzantine Tower of Prosforios of Ouranoupoli, this route leads to the borders of the monastic state, across the coastal road to the Zygos Monastery – a unique monument that demonstrates to all visitors – men and women alike – exactly how an Athonite Monastery functions. En route you will see olive groves and vineyards, while the closer you get to the borders of Mount Athos, the more you feel the change of the scenery, the vegetation grow thicker, the smells intensify and the Athonite blessing overwhelming your senses!
Route Length 3km
3.The Mount Athos Walk
This route from the Komitsa beach to Ouranoupoli and back, follows a pathway across the borders separating the Holy Community of Mount Athos from the rest of Greece. Get a glimpse of the natural landscape of Mount Athos with its dense vegetation and forest protected by the Natura 2000 European convention, Feel the calm of Mount Athos with all your senses and let your mind roam in its monasteries, only a few kilometres away! This route under the pine trees amid the forest scents is a source of life and rejuvenation – mental and physical – and a wander between the allowed and the forbidden, myth and reality.
Route Length 11km
4.The Persian King Xerxes’ route
Starting off with a short stretch from Nea Roda to the port of Tripiti (2km) – a point known as the “Crossing of Xerxes”: this route follows in the footsteps of the Persian king Xerxes, who in 482 B.C. took a shortcut as he led his fleet against ancient Greece. When you reach the buzzing port, take a 10 minute ferry to the island of Ammouliani . From there, this magnificent route meanders across the sandy beaches of the island, and through “Alikes” (2km) or “Megali Ammos” (3km), two of the most famous and photographed beaches of the region around Athos!
This journey through time, history and nature takes in two sea bays, two ports and countless beaches!
Route Length 6km
5.Overlooking the bay of Agion Oros
Walk from the port of Tripiti and Alexandros Palace Hotel & Suites to the ridge across the bay of Agion Oros, admiring the amazing scenery: the blue of the sea and the sky, Athos (trademark of the region)
Route Length 4km
6.The Aristoteleian Walk (From New to Ancient Stageira)
From the Aristotelian Forest, the sole park of Halkidiki, to the archaeological site of Stageira in Olympiada, this unique route to the famous Aristotelian Mount is an environmental, cultural and historical route through time. The amazing variety of the flora, and stunning panoramic view of Akanthio and the Strimonian bay will take your breath away. The incredible scents of the Natura 2000 trees and plants will fill your lungs and you can collect your own herbs, the very herbs that Aristotle prescribed to Alexander the Great as ancient cures. The road will lead you to Alexander the Great’s home town where you will find a stunningly beautiful and historically important archaeological site., Take a stroll through the site to further discover and unravel the history of glorious Macedonia!
The Aristoteleian Route is not simply a walking route!
It’s a once in a lifetime experience!
Route Length 15km
7.The Aristoteleian Walk
Walk through the village of Olympiada and its picturesque port to the ancient city of Stageira. Here you will find an archeological site of great historical importance and natural beauty, which you can walk through to, and discover and unravel the history of glorious Macedonia! This walk is filled with stunning sights, views and colours as you continue your tour of the Aristelian Mountain. Fill your lungs with oxygen and the rare scents of nature before ending up again at the fishing port and relaxing watching the big blue of the Aegean Sea!
Route Length 2km
8.Τhe Alexis Zorbas Walk
Walk from Paleochori to the Neposi Castle, along an exceptional historical route that Alexis Zorbas used to follow, when he was living and working in the area as a miner! Walk through the mountain and the hills with the mixed scents of thyme, oregano, heather and hundreds of plants. Follow the steps of the proud Mademochorians, who never accepted the Turkish rule during the Ottoman period, buying off their freedom with the mineral wealth of their subsoil. Then reach Arnea and its surroundings!
You will feel a sense of well-being, as natural beauty is combined with history, while when you reach Neposi Castle, which is a significant Byzantine monument, you will have completed a historical route in time: from the present, to the Byzantium and to the years of Alexis Zorbas – the Greek!