A big peninsula of Macedonia between two gulfs, Thermaikos and Strimonikos, extends into three smaller peninsulas: Kassandra (Flegra or Pallini) to the west, Sithonia (Loggos or Loggou) in the middle, between Toronaio and Siggitiko gulf and Mount Athos (Akti or Athos) to the east. These three “legs” result in Halkidiki having this unique shaping, as well as the longest coastline (approximately 550kms) compared to the rest Greek mainland counties.
Geographically is separated from the rest of Macedonia by an imaginary line: Cape Karabournou – Chortiatis mountain – mounds south to Rentina΄s narrow.
Halkidiki΄s geomorphology is very peculiar: it might be said that it is an inclined plane that rises from the West to the East.
Halkidiki is a semi-highland area: the lowland expands to the 25%, semi-highlands to the 51% and mountainous terrain to the 24%. Its main mountains are: Cholomon (1.165 h), Stratoniko mountain (823 h), Itamos (753 h) and Athos (2033 h). There are no rivers, but the bigger streams (such as Chavrias, Olinthios, Anthemous etc) and the scattered wetlands maintain the flora and fauna of the area.
The Prefecture of Halkidiki occupies most of the peninsula. The northwestern part belongs to the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, while the peninsula of Mount Athos is a separate region. According to the latest census of 2001, the Prefecture of Halkidiki extends to an area of 2.886 square kilometers and has a population of 107.432 habitants that is allocated into 14 municipalities. The prefecture΄s Capital is Poligiros with population circa of 6.000 habitants.
It is all about a place blessed and gifted with rare natural beauty. Halkidiki perfectly combines the blue of the sea with the green of the land. The wonderful alternations of rocks to inlets, coastline to hills, sandy beach to pine trees, gulf to mountain capture the visitor and urge him to stay so he enjoys the coolness of the transparent sea and revitalizes among the shady forest.
Meet the unique sights of Halkidiki
- Mount Athos : The infinite Byzantine museum.
- Petralona: The cave of first man. The “acropolis” of Paleoanthropology.
- Ancient Olynthos: Leading city of the classical period with the most organized urban system.
- Ancient Stagira: Aristotle΄s birthplace.
- The monastery of Santa Anastasia (9th century).
Archaelogical sites – Monuments of Halkidiki
- The sanctuary of Ammon Zeus, of the Nymphs and of Dionysus in Kallithea.
- The ruins of Potidaia΄s castle and the canal.
- The fortification΄s remains of ancient Toroni and Likithos΄ castle.
- Residues of mining cremations in Olympiada.
- The roman farmhouse in M.Kipsa of N.Fokaia.
- Early Christian Royal Churches: i) of Nikiti (Saint George, Elias, Sofroniou, with the wonderful mosaic floor and the unique marble inlays – all of them from the 5th century), ii) Saint Athanasiou in Toroni, iii) in Olympiada΄s “Zepko” etc.
- Towers and Castles: Byzantine Tower (1405) in Zografou, Saint Pavlos΄Tower (1407) and Stavronikita΄s Tower (1543) in N.Fokaia, Tower in Mariana of Olynthou (1375), Krouna’s Tower in Ierisso, Prosforios΄ Tower in Uranoupoli (13th century), the Fragocastle of Uranoupoli (13th century), Galatista΄s Tower (14th century), Tower of Stagira (16th century) etc.
- Remains of monastic dependencies: Church and outhouses in Zografou, Dependency of Saint Pantleleimonas in Flogita, Dependency of Tripotamo in N.Marmara, Dependencies of Koutloumousiou and Zografou in Saint Nikolaos etc.
- Parish Churches of unique interest: Saint Dimitrios in Athytos (1858), Saint Panteleimonas in Kallithea (1865), the old parish church of Pefkohori (19th century), the Kassandreia΄s church with the early christian infrared, Saint Athanasios of Sykia (1861), the churches of Galatista (19th century), of Bavdos, where the marble pulpit of the 5th century is located, the church of Stagira, Saint Nikitas in Nikiti with Parali΄s marvelous pictures etc.
- Chapels: the small byzantine church above Dionysus΄sanctuary in Kallithea, Panagia Faneromeni΄s chapel with murals of 16th century in N.Skioni, Nikiti΄s cemetery church of 16th century, where the central aisle with murals of the same period is preserved, Panagia΄s shrine in M.Panagia (1863) with the interesting wood temple, Saint Nikolaos in “Selio” Polygyros etc.
- Settlements with interesting elements of architectural style: Arnaia, Galatista, Nikiti, Saint Nikolaos, Sykia, Parthenon (of Marmara), Athytos, Paliouri, Kalandra etc.
- Other attractions: Galatista΄s watermills, Sykia΄s and Kassandreia΄s windmills, Nikiti΄s mills, Stagira΄s spa pool, the Town Hall of Arnaia, Polygyros and Kassandreia, Aristotle΄s statue.