Guided Walking Holidays - Exploring Halkidiki
This holiday is a combination of our one week holiday Olympiada, and our one week holiday Unspoilt Greece
Greece’s verdant peninsula of Sithonia, in Halkidiki, appeals to nature lovers and visitors seeking a quieter holiday. Pine and oak forests, olive groves, fruit trees and vineyards give way to golden beaches, azure seas, picturesque harbours and fishing hamlets. In between you’ll find traditional villages, characteristic stone architecture, and tranquil churches. Add to this the delightful local cuisine and wines, the genuine Greek hospitality, and you have all the elements of a really great holiday.
During our first week we are based at the lovely Athena Pallas Village, which offers superior accommodation and facilities, our walks lead us around the peninsula on woodland tracks, country trails and along coastal pathways. The Mt. Holomontas range, rich in flora and fauna, offers wonderful panoramic views to the coast, and on a clear day, possibly to Mount Athos. Once abandoned hillside villages now bustle with life and in spring time, the hills are adorned with flowers, wild strawberries and herbs and we might even see wild tortoises and hear the song of nightingales. Our walks end at small mountain villages with time to explore, stroll on the beach or perhaps to relax over lunch taken in one of the plentiful waterfront tavernas. Mount Athos, or Holy Mountain, can be seen from the peninsula and an optional boat cruise takes you along the coastline where majestic monasteries seem to rise from the sea. Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki, with its museums, ancient sites, markets and restaurants, is not far away and is within easy reach of our hotel.
For our second week, reece’s most northern region of Macedonia, which borders the Balkans, is an absolute delight. This is Greece at its most welcoming with quiet coastal towns, uncrowded beaches, shady village squares, local markets and of course, the quintessential Greek hospitality. From the tranquil seaside town of Olympiada, we’ll explore the birthplace of Aristotle at Ancient Stagira, follow part of the Aristotle Trail and walk the Marmari peninsula. We’ll visit Ouranoupoli, the area’s capital which borders the World Heritage Site of Mount Athos, and take either an afternoon cruise to view the magnificent hanging monasteries or enjoy a walk on Ammouliani Island. We will also visit the ancient city of Amphipolis, inhabited from the fifth century BC and through the Macedonian, Roman and Byzantine eras, including a recently excavated tomb, probably that of one of Alexander the Great’s family.
Our walks take us through the picturesque countryside, into pleasant woodlands of pine, fir and chestnut, following forest tracks, passing the spectacular Varvara waterfall, and along a coastal trail – enjoying the verdant scenery as we go. The food in this part of Greece could be some of the best you have ever tasted. Our hotel breakfasts are homemade with locally grown produce, dinners will be taken at one of the town’s delightful sea front tavernas and the hotel’s resident chef Loulou will give a demonstration of Greek cookery.