|The Greek Islands
|THE ATHOS PENINSULA IN CHALKIDIKI OR HALKIDIKI IN GREECE
The Athos peninsula is named after the sacred mountain which is located in the south. With its 2030 meters mount Athos is the highest mountain in Chalkidiki. The peninsula of Athos has a special status (also in terms of tax) and is autonomous within Greece. The capital of Athos was founded in the 9th century and is called Karyes. On the peninsula there are 20 monasteries, the first one was founded a little over a thousand years ago and the last one in the sixteenth century.
The oldest, largest and most important monastery is the Megisti Lavra which dates back to 963, and is built on top of a rock in the southeast of the peninsula. In those days these monasteries could only be reached by boat or along narrow paths and nowadays this is still the case. There is an ancient law which prohibits that a road may be built between the capital Karyes and the rest of the world. The oldest church on the peninsula is the Protatos church in Karyes which dates back to the 10th century and has beautiful murals. The earliest murals on Mount Athos are from the 12th century. They are found in the monastery of Vatopediou.
Access to the Athos peninsula is forbidden for women and children up to 18 years, and limited to men. Men who want to come to the peninsula need a permit and they are given this only when they want to visit Athos for religious reasons or study. These access rules were already set up in 1060 by the Byzantine emperor and they still apply today. The license must be applied for in Athens or Thessaloniki. The maximum stay that is possible is four days. The monks hold on to the rules to the extreme because, except for chickens, there are also only male animals on the island. For the chickens an exception was made because the monks need the eggs for painting icons.
Those who want to see some of the coastal monasteries on the Athos peninsula, could do this with a tour boat that leaves from the city of Ouranoupolis which is located in the north opposite the island of Amoliani, or from the towns of Ierissos or Nea Roda where trips are organized along the east coast of the peninsula. Also from the Sithonia peninsula there are sometimes organized trips along the coast of Athos.
Ouranoupoli is the last small town before the Athos peninsula and is known as "the gateway to the Athos peninsula". The distance to Thessaloniki is 120 kilometers. Ouranoupoli is situated directly on the sea and there is a nice beach with facilities (sunbeds, umbrellas, taverns).
There is ample choice of accommodations and restaurants in Ouranoupoli. Notable is the Byzantine Andronikos tower that stands in the port and which was built in 1344 by order of the Vatopediou monastery. It is the highest tower in Halkidiki. From the port of Ouranoupoli excursion boats leave to Athos and the Drios islets, which lie opposite the town. Ouranoupoli has a regular bus service to Thessaloniki. You can take a taxi from the airport to the bus station which is situated about a 10 minutes drive away.
Nea Roda is a small town located on the north-east side of the Halkidiki peninsula, at the narrowest point of the "finger" just north of Athos. The Persian king Xerxes let his people dig a channel here in 480 BC in order to let its fleet have passage. In the village there are many archaeological remains from the ancient period. There is also a beautiful and wide sandy beach in the Nea Roda and there are many facilities for tourists. There are quite a few accommodations offered and there are nice seafood restaurants and shops in the town. For the lover of nightly entertainment, there are a number of bars and clubs in Nea Roda.
The town of Ierissos, which is situated a bit northwest of Nea Roda, is one of the largest cities in Halkidiki. In ancient times it was known as Akanthos. Akantos emerged in the 7th century BC, when it was founded by settlers from Andros. The old town itself has never been excavated, but part of the the cemetery Akanthos, which lies on the coast, has and 600 graves have been uncovered. Ierissos has a kilometers long sandy beach that has been awarded the blue flag because the water is so clean. Also in Ierissos a reasonable number of accommodations is offered. There are many restaurants and shops and there is also quite a lot of nightlife for those who like tha, which you would expect in a larger city.
|Pension Irini in Ouranoupoli, Chalkidiki, Greece - very good reviews
This traditional hotel is located in Ouranoupoli. Pension Irini offers air-conditioned studios and apartments. It features a breakfast room with stone-paved terrace and a games room. The tastefully furnished studios and apartments of the Pension Irini have balconies with views of the sea, mountain or garden. All units are equipped with kitchenettes that feature a fridge, kettle and kitchenware.
Guests can take their breakfast in the comfort of their rooms, in the breakfast room or on the sun-kissed terrace. Coffee and drinks are available throughout the day from the hotel bar. Pension Irini offers free Wi-Fi access both in its public areas and rooms. The front desk operates 24/7 and can provide luggage storage, as well as ironing and laundry services. Free 2-way transport from the property to the port is provided. Free private parking is offered to all guests.
Check availablities and prices & book Pension Irini in Ouranoupoli, Chalkidiki - click here.
For all hotels, apartments, studios and villas in Ouranoupoli - click here.
|Pension Antonakis in Ouranoupoli, Chalkidiki, Greece
The family-run and seafront Pension Antonakis is located in the centre of Ouranoupoli in Chalkidiki. It offers air-conditioned accommodation with free WiFi and panoramic views over Ouranoupolis Port, Ammouliani Island and the Aegean Sea. Opening to a balcony, all simply decorated accommodation types of Antonakis are equipped with a fridge, an electric kettle and a TV. Each includes a private bathroom with shower and hairdryer, while some units also feature a well-equipped kitchen with private garden. Breakfast can be served in the balcony upon request.
Several restaurants, bars and mini markets, as well as the pilgrims office, can be found within a short walk. Ouranoupolis Port, from where ferries to Ammouliani and Mount Athos depart, lies within 200 metres from Pension Antonakis. Thessaloniki International Airport is at a distance of 120 km.
Check availablities and prices & book Pension Antonakis in Ouranoupoli, Chalkidiki - click here.
|Athos Villas in Nea Roda, Chalkidiki, Greece - private villas directly at the beach - very good reviews
Lying in Athos peninsula, Athos Villas are just 100 metres from Komitsa beach, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and 2 kilometres away from Mount Athos. It offers self-catering accommodation with sea view. Athos Villas dispose 12 modern and elegantly appointed holiday villas, built in front of the sea and suitably equipped for all-season stays. Each spacious villa features 2 bedrooms and enjoys direct access to the resort's gardens. The area provides plenty of opportunity for water sports as well as fishing or hunting expeditions. Besides impressive scenery, Athos resort also offers an abundance of charming taverns serving fresh fish and local specialties.
Check availablities and prices & book Athos Villas in Nea Roda, Chalkidiki - click here.
For all hotels, apartments, studios and villas in Nea Roda - click here.
|Lazaridis Luxury Studios & Apartments in Nea Roda, Chalkidiki, Greece - very good reviews
Offering free parking and Wi-Fi, Lazaridis Luxury Studios & Apartments is built in Nea Roda, in Chalkidiki. All rooms open to balconies with views to the sea and the lush surroundings. The Blue Flag beach of Nea Roda is just 100 metres away. The air-conditioned units have a kitchenette with fridge and kitchenware, a safe and TV. Daily cleaning service is provided, and the bathroom features a hairdryer. Fish taverns and bars can be found within short walking distance from Lazaridis. Situated between Ierissos and Ouranoupolis, the seaside village Nea Roda is 124 km from Thessaloniki.
Check availablities and prices & book Lazaridis Luxury Studios & Apartments in Nea Roda, Chalkidiki - click here.
|Dionysus Apartments in Ierissos, Chalkidiki, Greece - very good reviews
Within 350 metres from Kakoudia Beach in Ierissos, Dionysus Apartments is set amidst a blossomed garden featuring a children's playground and hammocks. It offers self-catering units with free Wi-Fi and a garden-view balcony. Fitted with dark-wooden furnishings and earthy colours, the spacious studios have a seating area and a well-equipped kitchenette with fridge and microwave. Facilities also include air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. The private bathroom is stocked with free toiletries and hairdryer.
Guests can relax at the sun loungers or at the hammocks in the garden or use the BBQ facilities and enjoy al fresco dining. A seasonal restaurant (operating during the summer months) can be found 200 metres from the property.
The centre of Ierissos, where a variety of taverns and shops is featured, is located 2.5 km away. Mount Athos, a World Heritage Site, is 15 km away, while Thessaloniki International Airport is at a distance of 106 km. Free on-site parking is possible.
Check availablities and prices & book Dionysus Apartments in Ierissos, Chalkidiki - click here.
For all hotels, apartments, studios en villas in Ierissos - click here.