Shaped like Poseidon’s trident and sticking out into the Aegean Sea, Halkidiki is a treat for visitors. Lush green forests that reach right down to the beach; golden sunlight reflected in the turquoise waters; a traditional style with a rich gastronomic and cultural heritage. Endless coves, unique architectural sites, perfectly preserved Christian monument and a host of unexplored treasures all add their own rich touch to the unique canvas that is Halkidiki.
They say that nowhere in Greece can boast beaches like those of Halkidiki. The region has the perfect combination of that distinctive Greek light, unspoiled landscapes, colors and fragrances. The glorious natural setting is complemented by the rich culinary fare of the region and the living religious traditions of its people. This is a place where all your senses will come to life, whether on the endless expanses of sand of the fashionable, cosmopolitan beaches, or in the intimacy of the many secluded bays and coves. The scent of the pine trees and the salt brine of the sea combine to relax the body and spirit, leaving you at peace to enjoy the grandeur of the region’s famous, seductive sunrises and sunsets.
It is said that the great philosopher Aristotle loved the honey of Halkidiki, and you too will love the land and the rich produce of its gardens and orchards. The region is formed of three peninsulas or “feet”, each with its own unique charm, history and magic. There is the cosmopolitan Kassandra, the scene of the Battle of Giants in ancient mythology Sithonia, which is a magical place of green forests and blue sea and Mount Athos, the world’s only monastic state, home to twenty historic monasteries.
Truly a place of dreams, and you dream has only just begun…
This is the most westerly of the three prongs of Halkidiki. It is remarkable for its expensive beaches, pinewoods and small villages. Bound together as one entity, the unfold before the visitor’s eyes as a different, pure and beautiful world which might well have been created in accordance with the realm of one’s dreams.
The middle prong of the Halkidiki peninsula offers similar natural beauty in its countryside with fine, sandy beaches, picturesque small harbors, peaceful fishermen’s hamlets and well wooded expanses. In these surroundings the visitor has a unique opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature at its best.
The eastern prong of Halkidiki is called Mount Athos and is a mountain and peninsula as well. It is a World Heritage Site and autonomous polity in the Hellenic Republic. Athos is home to 20 stavropegial Eastern Orthodox monasteries under the direct jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople. Today Greeks commonly refer to Mount Athos as the “Holy Mountain”. Most of its inhabitants are Orthodox monks living in monasteries, sketae, cells and hermitages. Those who are not members of the clergy include employees and workers. There are also numerous male pilgrims (up to 110 can enter per day), who come for the purposes of meditation, prayer and study.
Of the twenty monasteries, one is Russian, one is Bulgarian, one is Serbian and the rest are Greek. There are also Romanian and Bulgarian sketae. Foreign monasteries and sketae are supported by their respective countries. These monasteries possess holy relics, icons, frescoes and mosaics of great value. Although many have been lost in fires or stolen during raids, a vast array of historical texts, rare documents and manuscripts – all historical heirlooms – are kept in their libraries.