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EXPLORING HALKIDIKI

from £1420
A two week holidays combining our Unspoilt Greece and Olympiada holidays.
  • Product Code 15170,15179
  • Holiday Type Sightseeing And Walking Holidays, Special Selection Hotels
  • Grade Grade 4
  • Holiday Duration 14, 16 Nights

Guided Walking Holidays - Exploring Halkidiki

Greece’s verdant peninsula of Sithonia, in Halkidiki, appeals to nature lovers and visitors seeking a quieter holiday. Book today with Ramblers Walking Holidays. 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.

From our base 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.

Greece’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, fi r 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.

Why not extend your holiday with a two night stay in Thessaloniki?

Greece’s second city is a treasure trove of ancient sites and museums and you are spoilt for restaurants and cafés. Our independent hotel package includes breakfast and local taxes at the centrally located Hotel Park. Contact us for more details.

    

Holiday Highlights

  • Unspoiled coastal, mountain and forest pathways, ideal for nature lovers.
  • Traditional villages and small coastal towns.
  • Uncrowded beaches and azure sea.
  • Delicious cuisine and wines.
  • Sparkling Varvara waterfall walk.
  • Superb for nature lovers
  • Walking Aristotle’s Trail with views over Olympiada.
  • Archaeological site of Amphipolis.
  • Optional Mount Athos cruise.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Gatwick to Thessaloniki (British Airways) 
      Airport transfers
      En-suite accommodation.
      Dinners taken at the sea front Germaniko tavern in Olympiada and at the hotel and local tavernas in Sithonia.
      All local transport costs.
      Services of a dedicated leader.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised program, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 4 1st wk, Grade 4/SS 2nd wk

  1. Day 1

    Depart London Gatwick to Thessaloniki. On arrival travel by road to the Athena Pallas Village, located at Elias Beach, on the green peninsula of Sithonia.

  2. Day 2

    Our walk today is directly from the hotel and takes up into the nearby hills, with panoramic views over the coastline. After a short ascent through Olive Groves, our path follows wide forest paths passing St Paul's chapel and St Peter's rock. Distance: 12kms, 4 hours Ascent +/- 440m, Descent 270m

  3. Day 3

    Our walk today ascends gradually through olive groves and woodland to the once-deserted village of Parthenonas. Situated below Mt Itamos, it offers views to the west and the nearby Kassandra peninsula. There are picturesque descents through varied terrain with some steep sections. Distance: 13kms, 4.5 hours, Ascent 590m Descent 605m

  4. Day 4

    We travel up into the foothills of Holomontas Range today with a stop at Arnea, which is the most important hill town in the area. Here we'll see traditional buildings, the central square and St Stefanos Church. Our walk above the town of Polygyros offers views of Mt Olympus, 60km to the west, and the Holomontas Range to the east. The mountain woodland makes for a walk quite different from the walks on the Sithonia peninsula. Distance 8kms, 3 hours, Ascent 450m, Descent 250m

  5. Day 5

    The area offers a few options for a day at leisure. The hotel pools, spa and beach are good for relaxing or you could visit Neas Marmaris or perhaps take a day trip into Thessaloniki, Greece's second city.

  6. Day 6

    From Porto Koufo, a walk on the southern tip of Sithonia, offers magnificent views of the sea and towering cliffs. We start close to the beach of the harbour, then follow farm tracks through olive groves and scrubland. Ascents and descents are fairly gradual. There is the opportunity to swim in one of the bays en route. Distance 12kms, 3.5 hours, Ascent /Descent 280m

  7. Day 7

    Making the short drive to the village of Nikiti, we begin our walk leaving the delightful old part of the town. There is a steep ascent on forest roads and tracks, followed by a more level area of olive groves and woods before an interesting section down a narrow path towards Agios Nikolaos (the oldest village in the area) with its central square of taverns and cafes. Our return includes a long ascent on a wide forest road passing Agios Georgios' Chapel (the Chapel of St George), before descending on forest roads to Nikiti. Distance 12kms, 4.5 hours, Ascent / Descent 555m

  8. Day 8

    Following a relaxing morning for a swim or a leisurely breakfast, we transfer to our next centre, the small tranquil seaside town of Olympiada. Here we will be welcomed by our hotel owner, Loulou, enjoy a stroll around the town with a stop for coffee and freshly made loukamades, before dinner.

  9. Day 9

    Ancient Stagira, the remains of the town of Aristotle's birth, lies a short walk from Olympiada. Here we'll learn about the history of the area and discover the local plants and flowers with a local botantist. There are wonderful views overlooking Olympiada and the Strymonian Gulf from the hill top. Distance: 3kms (8kms with optional extension;) Ascent/Descent: minimal (+/- 300m with optional extension)

  10. Day 10

    We take transport out to the Mamari Peninsula today, which is encompassed within a nature reserve. Our coastal path takes us along good beach tracks, past a mussel farm and fishing huts. Great views on offer as we walk. There will be time for a picnic lunch and perhaps a swim too at Diavorvoro beach! Distance: 16kms; Ascent: 150m; Descent 332m

  11. Day 11

    Ouranopoli, meaning Heavens Gate, is a town that lies on the border with Mount Athos, a sacred site in the Greek Orthodox church. From here we take a short walk from the Ouranopoli tower to the Mount Athos border and may have the opportunity to visit the monastery at the border. There will be time for lunch and a free afternoon of exploring the town, or you may wish to take a cruise along the shores of Mount Athos where you can see the numerous magnificent monasteries. Depending on numbers, we may be able to offer a short ferry crossing to Ammouliani island for a walk through the main town and saltpans which offers some good views of the Athos peninsula. Distance: 4kms; Ascent/Descent: 100m

  12. Day 12

    Our walk today takes us along a part of "Aristotle's Way", in total a 23km path that starts in New Stagira and ends at Aristotle's birthplace in Old Stagira. We visit the interesting Aristotle Park then make an initial ascent to the ridge, where we follow broad forest tracks through chestnut, then beech and coniferous woodland. We catch glimpses of the sea as we walk. This is a path with varied flora and fauna and makes an interesting day. Keep an eye out for wild tortoises. Distance: 14kms; Ascent 271m; Descent 446m

  13. Day 13

    Today is mainly a sightseeing day as we take hired transport for a visit to the ruins of Amphipolis, best known for the magnificent ancient Greek city and later Roman city, whose impressive remains can still be seen. We visit Stavros open air market en route and return via the village of Mikra Volvi where we can see the pretty little church of Ayia Marina. Amphipolis, which offers wonderful flowers, butterflies and other fauna, is famous in history for events such as the battle between the Spartans and Athenians in 422 BC, and where, after Alexander the Great's death, his wife Roxane and their small son Alexander IV were exiled and later murdered. We will visit the museum and see the unique and interesting statue - the Lion of Amphipolis.

  14. Day 14

    A short distance from the hotel you'll find the Vavara waterfalls and Kalivia Valley. We follow a mainly easy track that starts in the inland hills, descends to two tall waterfalls then continues on forest tracks through pleasant woodland to a valley with a very old settlement. We then head towards the coast and back to the hotel along the beach. Distance: 12kms; Ascent 100m; Descent 320m

  15. Day 15

    Transfer by road to Thessaloniki Airport.

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Gatwick to Thessaloniki (British Airways) 
  • Airport transfers by road c. 1 hour

Trip Map

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Hotel Athena Pallas Village, Sithonia

The family owned, superior category Athena Pallas Village is located directly on the coast at Elias Beach on the Sithonia peninsula. The extensive grounds have a village feel, where there are restaurants, a shop, four swimming pools, health club & spa (charges apply), tennis courts, bar, and even a folklore museum. The owner of the hotel used to build churches before he constructed the hotel and there are two small churches on the hotel grounds. There is access to the quiet beach (down steps) which connects to a sister hotel, which has a beach bar. There is free Wi-Fi connection. All nicely decorated rooms are en suite, have a hairdryer, TV, safe, climate control, mini-bar, telephone, and a balcony with chairs and table. Breakfasts and dinners at the hotel and local tavernas are included. Long trousers are a requirement for men at dinner at the hotel. Lunches are not included in the holiday cost and can be bought from the hotel or may be at a local taverna.


Hotel Liotopi, Olympiada

The family run Hotel Liotopi offers a warm and intimate welcome to guests, and is in keeping with its boutique size of 16 rooms in total. Close to the beach in Olympiada it is a stone’s throw from shops, cafes and restaurants. The hotel prides itself on its homemade breakfast, which is taken outside in the charming garden in good weather. Rooms are uniquely decorated and are ensuite with a/c, fridge, TV and a hairdryer. All rooms have a balcony with either sea or mountain view. Free Wi-Fi is offered to guests. Breakfasts and taverna dinners are included in the holiday charge. Dinners will be taken at the hotel’s seafront taverna which offers an extensive range of Greek dishes. Lunches are not included.


Hotel Park

If you choose to stay on in Thessaloniki, our hotel, the Hotel Park is very centrally located, close to all of the city's main sites, restaurants and cafes. Aristotle's Square is just 10 minutes walk and the White Tower and water front just 20 minutes.

The warmly decorated rooms all come with individually controlled air conditioning / heating as well as private balconies. Facilities include a TV with local and select satellite channels, mini-refrigerator and hair dryer. Rooms have either two twin beds or one double-sized bed. The hotel's cafe/bar Squares, offers refreshments all day.


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