Europe > Greece > Northern Greece > Macedonia (Greece) > Chalkidiki > Northern Chalkidiki > Ouranoupolis
Because of its relative isolation Ouranoupolis has not been affected by mass tourism. It was founded in 1922, when approximately 50 families, Greek refugees from Asia Minor arrived under the auspices of the League of Nations, looking for a new home. The land was provided by Mount Athos and each family was given an one bedroom house, an arid plot of land and ten sheep. Without a road to connect it to the rest of the world the village remained isolated and life was hard. In 1947 the locals took shovels and spades and cut a crude dirt-track road which ended the isolation and brought the very first adventurous tourists to the village.
Mount Athos-related trade and pilgrimage is the biggest source of income for the village.
Ouranoupolis can be reached by bus, car or taxi from Thessaloniki.
To get by bus, you have to get to Chalkidiki Bus Station, located south of Thessaloniki. To get to this bus station you can take bus 45A from the commuter bus station adjacent to Thessaloniki Train Station: Chalkidiki Bus Station is the final stop. Schedule information can be found at www.ktel-chalkidikis.gr [dead link].
Most places in the village can be reached by foot.
- The Byzantine Tower: also known as the Tower of Prosforio, it was built in medieval times by monks of Mount Athos to protect the area from enemy raids.
- Mount Athos border: includes a fenced border preventing access to Mount Athos by land, the Arsanas with the police post, and Frangocastro, the castle of the Franks. Crossing the border is forbidden.
If you do not plan -or are not allowed- to enter Mount Athos, you can take a sightseeing tour of the Holy Mountain by boat. This is the only available option for women who may want to get a glimpse of the monasteries. Inquire in the village, as many agencies perform the service.
Souvenirs are mostly of religious nature. The following is an incomplete list of items you may buy to take with you:
- Icons (all prices and sizes)
- Prayer ropes (known as komboskini in Greek or chotki in Russian)
- Books about Mount Athos
- Books about lives of the Saints
- CDs or cassettes of monastic choirs (the most renowned from the Holy Mountain being the one from Simonos Petras)
- Walking sticks (engraved with Mount Athos emblem)
- Flags of Mount Athos
- Wine produced at Athos' vineyards
Many restaurants are available along the main road and the beach.
Many restaurants are available along the main road and the beach that offer drinks, but they do not keep open until late.
- Makedonia Hotel, Ouranoupolis center, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. Comfortable, central, and near the beach. €40.
- Alexandros Palace Hotel, ☏ . Alexandros Palace Hotel in Chalkidiki offer double hotel rooms and luxury suites for rent accommodation in Tripiti Ouranoupolis
- [formerly dead link] Hotel Porto Kalliali, Ouranoupoli, Ouranoupoli, Halkidiki, ☏ . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. Hotel open all year round. There is a restaurant, tavern and bar in the hotel.
An Internet cafe is available in the village's main road.
- Mount Athos: only allowed for men who make the corresponding arrangements. Women are not permitted.
- Ierissos: the other village, in the peninsula's northern coast.
- Thessaloniki: the biggest city near Ouranopolis, well worth a visit.