Sights in the hinterland / north of Chalkidiki Nea Moudania Nea Moudania is the second largest city in Chalkidiki after Poligiros with around 9,500 inhabitants. It is about half an hour drive from Thessalonki Airport (about 54 km) and is just before the first finger, Kassandra. The small town has a large beautifull port, with lots of fishing activity, but also attracts many Greek and foreign tourists due to the variety of restaurants, taverns, bars and cafes. In addition to tourism, another source of income for the inhabitants is fishing, as the Moudania fishing area is one of the largest in the Mediterranean. IIn Nea Moudania a large olive grove with thousands of olive trees is located which creates a stunning landscape .The early Christian basilica is also worth visiting. This should not be missed on an exploration tour through the lively city. In the evening there is a strong and lively hustle and bustle around the market square. This is a popular meeting point up to the end of the night. The street market that takes place every Wednesday is a real attraction. Here you can find everything your heart desires. Many local specialties, such as olives, olive oil, ouzo, spices, wine, honey and of course fresh fish, meat, fruits and vegetables. Very good quality at very moderate prices. This where the locals do their weekly shopping. In addition to the culinary delicacies, you can also find clothes, shoes, toys and household items. The city is located on a beautiful sandy beach, which is popular among locals and tourists and invites you to dive in. You will find many beach bars, taverns and restaurants there. But also bars, cafes and water sports facilities for afternoon entertainment as well as nightclubs. Shops for any kind of every day life needs can be found in Nea Moudania. From Post office, banks, health centers, clinics, veterinary clinics to booking excursions and day trips to the islands of Sporades, Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos. Many cultural events take place in Nea Moudania and the surrounding area. The open-air amphitheater with a capacity of 2,000 people, for example, performs many theatrical and music performances during the “Festival of The Sea” in the summer months. In the second week of July, you can visit the “Sardine Festival”, which lasts for a week. On Sunday, the last day of the festival, visitors are offered delicious grilled sardines and plenty of white wine. Poligyros - administrative center of Chalkidikis Poligiros is the capital of Chalkidikis with over 6000 inhabitants. It is 70 km away from Thessaloniki and is located in the middle of Chalkidiki's hinterland. In Poligiros is where most of the the public services are located, the hospital of Chalkidiki, the fire department and the police station. The mountain village has a charming pedestrian zone with nice, welcoming taverns. The locals will greet you with open arms and hearts. Warm hospitality will make you feel comfortable and cared for. The city still has a small archaeological museum with various archaeological findings from Chalkidiki. Several different cultural events take place in Poligiros during the summer. The small town is located west of the Cholomondas Mountains and is the Capital of Chalikidiki's Prefecture. Olynthos -Archaeological excavation site Ancient Olynthos is built on two flat-topped hills, North Hill and South Hill and is one of the great sights in Chalkidiki's hinterland. It is located at Nea Olythos and is about 8 km from Nea Moudania. According to mythology, the brother of Olythos, Stirymonas built the city in honor of his brother, who was killed by a lion. Another legend says that the city got the name Olythos because of the wild fig tree that is plentiful in the area. The city itself is mentioned for the first time in the historic books in 479 BC, in connection with the Persian Wars. After a short hike up the hill, the large archaeological site of Olynthos offers a panoramic view of the former life of the acient residents. The well-exposed outlines of the foundation walls and the beautiful mosaics reveal a city that was well planned and organized. The city was built on this large hill for better defense. Olynthos is definitely worth a day trip by rental car. The road to get there is easy to find and well signposted. Parking spaces are free and plenty. It is also never overwelmed with tourists, so you can enjoy your visit to the ancient city in peace. The entrance fee is around 4 euros. Highlight: On the road around the hill of the city one can come accros to the wild tortoises, which are moving freely between the bushes and the surrounding remains of the walls. Make sure you have your eyes open, especially for the little ones. Petralona - stalactite cave and anthropological museum The impressive stalactite cave Petralona is 35 km from Thessaloniki and is located in the hinterland of Chalkidiki, on the mountain of Katsika. It was discovered by chance in 1959 by a farmer when he heard the sound of the water. When he went to investigate it, he initially thought that he had come across a water source. His face must have been very surprised when he discovered this unique cave. Inside, he was presented with a magical world of stalagmites, stalactites and extraordinary stone formations. A sightseeing tour is worthwhile for people of any age. You will be carried away into another magical world and era. A skull of a Homo Heidelbergensis (Neanderthal) was found in the stalactite cave. This skull finding is estimated between 160,000 and 200,000 years ago. The cave itself is said to have been inhabited or used by prehistoric animals over 700,000 years ago. The tour price also includes a visit to a small museum with various stone age findings in display. The entrance fee is 7 euros. Good tip: There is no parking in front of the cave. A parking space has been created a little below on the edge of the village. There are free transfer buses waiting for you during the season, which take you up the hill to the cave at regular intervals. Alternatively, you can do a short hike up the hill. Stageira - ancient excavations, birthplace of Aristotle Stageira is an ancient greek city on the east coast of Chalkidiki on the Liotopi peninsula and dates back to 655 BC. Was founded by Ionian colonists. This city is considered the birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle. Destroyed by the Macedonian king Philip II. The remains can be seen on the south beach near Olympiada The excavations and remains of this ancient city will give you an idea of how life at that time pulsed with all the craftsmen, traders and simple rural people in this city. The remains of the impressive defensive walls and towers lie in the middle of an idyllic landscape will make you forger everyday life and start dreaming. A beathtaking view of Olympiada bay and the sea opens up when you go up on the hill above the village. There you can admire the old cistern and the remains of ancient houses and enjoy this magical place with the amazing view. Castle of Rentina Castle - well-preserved medieval fortress Rentina Castle, built by the Romans from the 4th century AD, at a strategically important location. On the top of a hill in a very beautifull landscape. Today you can still marvel at the remains of a settlement and the walls of the great fortress and enjoy the beautiful view over the valleys. It is located on a very busy street near Rentina. This castle was strategically used as a defensive fortress due to its location. Therefor, the region of Thessaloniki and the Eganatia valleys could be monitored and controlled thoroughly. Due to the importance of its strategic location, it was further expanded and strengthened, especially in the Byzantine Empire. But also Serbian, Frankish and Turkish lords of the castle housed this fortress in the course of time. The remains of the castle can now be found on a very busy road near Rentina. It is worth making a tour there to admire the wonderful views and the impressive remains of the old walls. Akanthos – picturesque town with ancient roots on a ridge The ancient city of Akanthos is located near the town of Lerissos on the east coast of Chalkidiki. It was one of the most important cities in all of Macedonia. It was a prosperous and respected city with a port in the bay of known now as Ierissos. The exact origin of the city has not yet been fully proven. It is estimated around 655 BC. And it founded by colonists from the Greek Cycladic island of Andros. The finding of ancient silver coins of the tetradrachms could be dated to around 520 BC. For the researchers, these are proof that ancient Akanthos existed much earlier as an autonomous Greek city-state. The city managed to survive until the Roman Empire and had survived several wars, such as the Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian War, and the war against Sparta. Today only the remains of the ancient city can be seen. Metéora - Monasteries - UNESCO World Heritage Site near Kalambaka (300 km, highlight) The breathtaking view, the beautiful medieval monasteries on the mountain range and the landscape invite you to stay a few days in Kalambaka to take a closer look at everything and enjoy it. Some specific monasteries on the individual rocks can be visited by tourists. Most of the monasteries are still inhabited by nuns and monks. Many tour operators offer day trips from Chalkididi to this location. Please do not wear an overly casual outfit when visiting the orthodox monasteries of the Pindo Mountains. Women is better to wear skirts and outfits that cover their legs, knees and shoulders. However, trousers wouldn't be a good idea for women. Sometimes it is also possible to borrow aprons to tie on. Despite the high temperatures and the warm climate, the men should forego shorts and enter the Metéora monasteries with long pant legs. Thessaloniki - state capital, approx. 30 km from Polygyros The second largest city in Greece is definitely not to be missed. Thessaloniki, also known as Saloniki for short, has a lot to offer for a short city break. It is the economic and cultural center of the Macedonia region and therefore it is of great importance for Greece. The beautiful port city has a lot to offer. Whether for shopping, exploring sights or just enjoying the Mediterranean flair of a student city, there is something for everyone. When exploring the city, one comes across many attractive sights such as the "white tower", a former prison and the city's landmark or the city wall, which dates from the time of Byzantine rule. Also worth seeing is the "Agios Dimitros", the main church of Thessaloniki and numerous mosques that are dated back in the times of the Turkish occupation. Many of these places of worship are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For those who want to learn more about the history of Thessaloniki are in good hands in the archaeological and the Byzantine museum. But if you just want to enjoy the pleasant flair and the Greek mentality, you can go shopping and have a coffee downtown with the locals around “Aristotelesplatz” or take a break in one of the cozy taverns. The promenade also invites you to stroll and linger. A trip to the city promises to be varied and interesting. We recommend that you set aside a day to visit. Sights on Kassandra (1st finger): Afitos This small, charming and romantic place is one of the most beautiful and worth seeing places of Kassandra. It is located between Nea Fokea and Kalithea just right on the sea above a rocky cliff. Due to it's location, the village offers a wonderful view of the bay of Toroneos. Many colorful houses and backyards line up in the picturesque little streets. The cute, little cafes and taverns are a great place to relax and enjoy the Greek hospitality. A long sandy beach is just a few minutes' walk from the village and is not overcrowded even during the hot season. Afitos should not be missed because of it's original charm. Nea Potidea Nea Potidea is a small town located at the entrance of the Kassandra Peninsula, it was called "Doors of Kassandra" in ancient times. From mainland Chalkidiki it is separated by a well-known canal. The canal impressively connects the Toroneos and the Thermaikos Gulfs. There are many beach bars, cafes, restaurants and small shops in the town. In the summer months the pedestrian zone there is full of life and turns into a cheerful and colorful place by the sea, where families, young people and couples come to enjoy the sun and the sea. Nea Fokea Nea Fokea is located on Kassandra peninsula and is a small and delightful fishing village near Kallithea. The village is surrounded by picturesque nature. The breathtaking bays, the fine sandy beaches with the turquoise water and the impressive cliffs invite you to "let your mind wander" and dream. This small fishing village also offers some little cozy fish taverns, bars and cafes with beautiful view to the small picturesque harbor and the sea. tip: A Byzantine fortress that is likely to have been built in the 14th century sits enthroned above the village and the harbor. The Byzantine tower which was built to protect the monastery of apostle Paul's at the time, stands there to this day. Kalithea The name Kalithea (nice view) is due to the beautiful location of the village. Kallithea is 90 km from Thessaloniki and is a very popular holiday destination. It is surrounded by a beautiful pine forest. The crystal clear turquoise blue water and the fine sandy and stone beaches invite you to swim and relax. Here you can not only relax, but also party in one of the many bars, discos, taverns, beach bars and cafes. You can also go shopping to your heart's content in one of the many boutiques, gold and fur shops and souvenir shops. There is also an important archaeological excavation in Kallithea, the Ammon Zeus Temple. Sani Sani is one of the most famous, exclusive and unique seafront resorts on the Kassandra peninsula in Chalkidiki. Surrounded by cotton fields and pine forests, Sani is a perfect place to relax. There you will find the finest and whitest sandy beaches and crystal clear blue water of the region. The beach has received the Blue Flag award for its cleanliness. The landscape therefore invites you to linger, swim, have fun and relax. In the Sani area, next to the Sani hill and the tower, the luxurious Sani Resort dominates, offfers you a unique holiday experience with a view of the Mountain of Gods, Olympus Mountain, a golden beach and crystal clear turquoise waters. But even those who have not booked a vacation there should not miss this magical place and take a trip to the small marina on a rental car tour. The beautiful promenade invites you to stroll around the bars and taverns and enjoy with a view of the sea and the wonderful landscape. Polichrono Polichrono is a small fishing village on Kassandra about 100 km from Thessaloniki. It offers a beautiful 7 km long fine sandy beach, where you can enjoy various water sports. Whether pedal boating, renting a canoe or gliding over the waves with a jet ski or motorboat, everyone will find something to their liking. So nothing stands in the way of a relaxing and fun vacation time. There are many hotels of all the categories and the promenade is filled with many bars, cafes and taverns to pamper visitors with their delicacies. This is why this area and the surrounding towns are particularly popular to families during the summer.