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Travel Destination: Halkidiki, Greece

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Halkidiki gets its name from the city-county Halkis. In ancient times it was believed that this peninsula was the home of the Titans, and that many of their battles had taken place here. Athos, the Holy Mountain, is named for the titan Athos, who in his rage threw the mountain at the Gods.

 

Cassandra, in the western part of Halkidiki, is situated near Thessaloniki and is the most populated part of the peninsula. (The name Cassandra is historical, representing the power of King Cassander, a Macedonian ruler and ancestor of Alexander the Great). Famous for its white sand beaches and its pine forests, Cassandra is an attractive spot for tourists from all over the world. Here you can see historical sites such as Potidea, with its medieval walls, dating back to around 600 BC when Corinth was established, and Kallithea, with the ruins of the Temple of Zeus Ammon, the Egyptian-Libyan version of the Greek god; you can see collections of many unique items from the time of ancient Greece in the museums.

Sithonia is the part of Halkididki where you can find a peaceful and calm atmosphere, surrounded by the beautiful nature of the peninsula. Many tourists define this place as a getaway from reality. The picturesque bays in Varvara, the old stone houses in Agios Nikolaos, Byzantine castles in Toroni, and the early Christian basilicas at Nikki and Elias are just some of the sights you can find in Sithonia.

Athos is the third part of the peninsula, located in the southeast part of Halkidiki and famous for the holy mountain of Athos. Here you can achieve complete harmony with the surrounding world. People here live their lives as if they are still 200 years behind. The most common way to reach the ancient landmark is with canoes out of Ouranoupolis, but there are also boats that leave from Ierisos and Ormos Panatiyas in Sithonia. Centuries of isolation and dedication to orthodoxy have given Athos a unique and mystical atmosphere. At the peak of the greatness of the holy mountain, there were 40 monasteries and over 40,000 monks. Today there are only 20 monasteries with approximately 1,700 monks.

Another remarkable place in the eastern part of Halkidiki is the ancient city of Stagira, birthplace of Aristotle. It is located on the coast near the Olympiad, where parts of great walls have been excavated. A statue of the ancient philosopher is in a park in modern Stagira. If you are in that part of the peninsula, you need to see the Olympiad. In ancient times it was an idyllic settlement; now it is remarkable for crystal-clear waters, fresh fish served in traditional tavernas, and family hotels where you quickly become a friend and not just a visitor. 

Without doubt Greece is one of the most popular destinations in the world because of its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, and Halkidiki is well worth a visit when you are there.

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