Chalkidiki (Greek: Χαλκιδική, also Halkidiki or Chalcidice) is one of the main tourist areas of Greece. It is a wide peninsula of Northern Greece that extends as three narrower peninsulas, as a whole forming the shape of a trident, or a three-fingered hand. The northern and north-western section of the peninsula is part of the Thessaloniki region, which includes the city of Thessaloniki. The capital of Chalkidiki prefecture is the town of Polygyros, in the centre of the main peninsula. The coast hosts numerous excellent beaches.
Of tourist interest are the three so-called fingers of the peninsula, which extend south into the sea.
|Mount Athos |
the eastern finger peninsula and monks republic, with the homonymous holy Mount Athos. The entry is only allowed to pilgrims who want to visit the holy places. All over the peninsula there are monasteries. Women are not allowed to enter the area at all. There are trips from Ouranopolis by boat, from which one can see some monasteries.
the western finger. It is the best known of the three fingers because most tourism takes place here. Here are the big hotels and the towns that offer tourists everything they need for a great holiday. Here are also the beautiful beaches that make Chalkidiki so attractive to tourists.
the middle finger. This peninsula is fully developed touristy and probably the most scenic part of Chalkidiki. There are a great number of beautiful beaches and coves that are crowded only in high season. The formerly popular nudist beaches are hardly present as such in high season.
|Northern Chalkidiki |
the main peninsula or the hand is hardly noticed. It is often referred to as the green lung of Macedonia. From Thessaloniki a mountain range stretches to the east. The mountains are higher than 1000 meters here. Forests grow around the mountains, which are very similar to those in Central Europe. They are excellent hiking routes, which are widely used by groups for hiking. Agriculture is practiced in the valleys. North of the mountain range is a wide plain. It is called the palm of the peninsula. Forests also play the main role here. But there is also a lot of agriculture. The northern end is formed by the two lakes Koronaia Lake and Volvi Lake.
- The island Ammouliani lies close to Mount Athos and is a tourist centre
To get to Halkidiki there are buses that leave from the Chalkidiki Bus Station located south of Thessalonki. To get to this bus station you can take a 45A from the commuter bus station adjacent to Thessalonki Train Station, Chalkidiki Bus Station is the final stop.
From Chalkidiki Bus Station there are frequent services to numerous destinations. Schedule information can be found at www.ktel-chalkidikis.gr.
The Canal of Potidea, separating the Kassandra peninsula from the mainland, has old origins. The history of the channel is not fully understood, but a report mentions the channel in the 1st century AD. In 1407, the Byzantine Emperor repaired the channel and build fortifications on its south side.
The oldest mosaics found in Greece, from the 5th century BC, are from the excavations of ancient Olynthos.
A spectacular view of Mt. Athos can be had from the Kartalia cliff cape.
A highlights in the capital of Mount Athos is the old church of Protaton, which has exceptional murals and a famous icon of the Virgin Mary.
The twenty monasteries in Mount Athos possess holy relics, icons, frescoes and mosaics of great value. The monesteries make the peninsula a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Ammouliani you find beautiful beaches with beach bars, sun beds and umbrellas.
Ancient Stageira was the birthplace of Aristotle, the greatest philosopher of antiquity and the teacher of Alexander the Great. Recent excavations show the early-classicistic fortifications preserved in very good condition, and several public buildings in the Agora, an archaic sanctuary, the Thesmophorion, private houses from the Classical and Hellenistic period and the city's waterworks.
The castle of Rentina in Asprovalta, dating from the 4th century AD was a strategically important castle. It is reasonably well preserved, as are the impressive remains of a settlement next to it. It has a varied history with Byzantine, Frankish, Serbian and Turkish lords.
Acanthus was the main city and the port of north-eastern Halkidiki, founded in the middle of the 7th century BC by colonists from Andros, on the site of a prehistoric settlement. It can be visited from Ierissos.
The castle of Neposi is close to Megali Panagia. It was the largest fortress in Halkidiki from the 5th century AD. It was rebuilt twice and abandoned for long times, but was used as a fortified settlement until the 14th century. The castle ruin has an area of 1.5 hectares and the length of the remaining walls is about 1000 meters with a maximum height of 4 to 5 meters.
- Local flower and pine honey from Nikiti and Arnea, the two biggest centres of Greek honey.
- Wooven woolen articles from Arnea.
- Tsipouro, the strong-kind-of-ouzo schnapps from the local villagers.
- Wine. The winters here are mild and the summers are long and dry. The good climate, among with the mineral-rich soil, are crucial factors for the famous wine-making of the area. The most famous wine is that produced in Sithonia, in the Neos Marmaras area, the Porto Carras
- Olives and olive oil. Production areas: Mount Meliton, Pallini Peninsula, Holomon foothills, Polygyros, Ormylia, Olynhtos and Nea Moudania
- Cheese products
The region has as a main tourist destination in Greece a corresponding variety of accommodation in all categories, listed and rated in the well-known Internet portals