The Prefecture of Chalkidiki rightfully belongs to the top tourist destinations because it has everything. It combines tranquil holidays with its fantastic turquoise beaches, identified with green vegetation, alongside the lively nightlife of beach bars, cafes and restaurants, as well as visiting historical and archaeological sites that characterize it and make it an important spot of world culture. This small world, the Great (Elytis), finds response to this point in Greece. The main body of Chalkidiki includes its central and mountainous section and ends up on three peninsulas. The peninsula of Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos, sites that are excellent tourist attractions, because they combine the time saving, since they are only a few minutes away from Thessaloniki, with the "absolute holidays" thanks to its shores of overwhelming beauty , the cosmopolitan life they promise and at the same time, the archaeological and religious interest they have to show.
For all these reasons, one deserves to visit Chalkidiki and discover it in his own unique way. We at SMART RENT are at your disposal to recommend you destinations and routes that are worthwhile following your interests and preferences by renting the right car.
See places to visit and the great footpaths that you deserve to follow in order to get a complete travel experience.
The main body of Chalkidiki, as well as its mountainous area, are nothing short of the rest of Chalkidiki. Although less well known, mountainous Chalkidiki, with many picturesque villages around the green Holomontas, old mansions and scenic alleys, includes many sights of archaeological and historical interest. In conjunction with the fantastic beaches of the main body of Chalkidiki, it achieves the perfect combination of mountain and sea.
Located at Polygyros, the capital of the Prefecture of Chalkidiki, built right in the center and 70 km from Thessaloniki, start your journey to the mountainous-lowlands of Chalkidiki. Polygyros is connected to all the beaches of which the nearest is only 12 km away. The reference point is "Eksi Vrises", its Archaeological Museum with exhibits of prehistoric, geometric and Roman period, which also includes exhibits from Ancient Olynthos. Visit the Folklore Museum in the Karagani House, where the early 20th century urban house is represented. If you find yourself on "Kathara Deftera", you will experience the famous Polygyros Carnival, where the customs of the place revive during the celebrations in the city center. Visit Vrastama, 11 km from Polygyros, at the foot of Holomontas. Visit the church Evangelismos Theotokou and the cave of Saint Efthimios, in a magnificent location with waterfalls and plane trees, where the Saint practiced. If you are lucky, you will participate in the four-day celebration of raki, with a traditional way of celebrating. It is worth visiting Taxiarches, a picturesque, traditional village on the slopes of Holomontas, built on two slopes and among four springs and dense fir forests. You will drink local tsipouro in Chorostasi, as the village square is called, you will taste local, traditional products of the women's association and you will follow mountaineering routes to Arnea, one of the most beautiful towns in Greece. Besides hiking getaways, it is ideal for horseback riding, climbing and mountain biking. It has many attractions, such as the basilica with a dome church of Taxiarches, the Ecclesiastical Museum, the Hani, the large Sipotura fountain at the entrance of the village etc. Next station, of great interest, Arnea, the old capital of the Prefecture. At an altitude of 600 meters, built at the foot of Holomontas, under chestnuts and eternal oak trees, next to streams or water springs, it is about 70 km from Thessaloniki and 38 km from Polygyros. It is characterized as a traditional settlement and is a challenge to the visitor of high demands, to experience the rare natural beauties of Holomontas, through a network of walking trails and recreation areas. There, in an area of 16.5 acres, there is another wildlife shelter of interest. The visitor can visit the Folkloric Museum, the church of Saint Stefanos, which is a religious monument, and is built on ancient ruins. Also taste the extraordinary traditional products of the area, while watching the production process. Having good road access to and from Thessaloniki, it is a base for Mount Athos and other destinations, combining mountain and sea at the same time. Go through ancient Stagira, the birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle, a mountainous village, at an altitude of 500 meters above sea level and 8 km from the sea, on the main road of Thessaloniki - Ouranoupoli. Continue to meet Stratoni, a seaside village built on the bay of Ierissos with important finds of Roman times, Known for the two famous statues, a male and a female, the so-called "despoina of Stratoni", exhibited at the Museum of Polygyros . If you turn right, you reach Ierissos. Also known as Ancient Akanthos, it is one of the largest towns in Chalkidiki. Vast golden sandy beaches are lost in the blue of the crystal clear sea and are a place of calm holidays and psychosomatic relaxation. It is known for its ships and also a natural entrance gate to Mount Athos. Next follows Nea Roda. Built at the narrowest point of the peninsula of Athos, where in 480 BC Xerxes opened a canal to pass its fleet. You will be pleasantly surprised by the visitor from the archaeological finds of the area. Swimming in its pure waters, as well as the seafaring training and learning school for the lovers of marine activities, satisfy every requirement. Go down to Ouranoupolis, famous for its crystal clear waters and unique beaches. It can be considered the earthly paradise, fully justifying its name (city of heaven). It has many accommodations, camping, guesthouses, hotels and all the necessary hosting facilities. For those who are forbidden to enter Mount Athos, they can enjoy a cruise around the stunning peninsula. Boat excursions are also taking place on the opposite uninhabited islands with exotic beaches and crystal clear waters that will enchant you. Visit the Drenia Islands, Serviko and Zygos Monastery. Take the opportunity to cross Ammouliani, the only island of Chalkidiki that is inhabited and enchanted by every visitor because it includes everything you can dream in just 4.5m2 . It is 120km away from Thessaloniki and it is connected by regular ferry boat lasting just 10 minutes from the opposite coast of Tripiti. This island is an idyllic combination of golden sandy beaches, turquoise waters, crystal clear sea, intense vegetation and giant rocks. The secluded bays with the secret beaches are ideal for those who seek tranquility and relaxation, and for the rest, shores with long sandy beaches tempt those who are interested in water sports. A marvelous choice is also the boat trip to the nearby uninhabited islands of Gaidouronissi, Tigani and Pontiki, where you can enjoy your swimming in the emerald waters and dine on the sand, at the impressive taverns of the area. Afternoon coffee or night out is not missing out on the beautiful island that offers fun for all tastes. At its southern end, six tiny islands, surround a small inland sea with shallow water, creating a natural swimming pool with turquoise waters and a sandy bottom that will only shock you.
If you take the opposite direction from Stratoni you go to Olympiada. It is located in the bay of Strymonikos, in the northeast of Chalkidiki, and is only 95 km away from Thessaloniki via Stavros. It is protected by the Natura 2000 program for its natural wealth and is 700 meters away from Ancient Stageira, the birthplace of Aristotle. There, excavations brought to light archaeological treasures, which are kept in the Polygyros Museum. Combined with its natural beauty and sea activities in its deep blue waters, it attracts the visitor to experience it and also use it as a reference point for other nearby destinations such as Pella, Veria and Vergina, Amphipolis, Kavala and the Philippi.
The other route from Arneia to Thessaloniki passes through the village of Agios Prodromos, famous for the "souvlaki" you can taste and reach Galatista, a mountainous village on the slopes of Chortiatis, 39 km from Thessaloniki and 28 km northwest of Polygyros. It is located just above ancient Anthemounta, a powerful city in the region, with references to the Byzantine and Ottoman times, when it was completely destroyed. It is worthwhile to visit and walk through its narrow streets with old houses and beautiful churches, in a place where tradition has dominated. From Polygyros to Thessaloniki, go through the ancient Olynthos, which for about a century was the center of the entire prefecture. It was destroyed by Philippos in 348 BC and today its ruins, which help to perceive the Hippodamian town-planning system, are the ones that remind of its past glamor. In the area there is an Archaeological Museum, using audiovisual material, which integrates you with the climate of the time. Continue on to Petralona, known for their homonymous cave. A cave 300 meters above sea level, stalactites and stalagmites of unparalleled beauty , but also a place of global interest since there were fossils of Neanderthal, the first European man, 700,000 years old. Here exists the Petralona Anthropological Museum, which features a library and meeting room. A detour to Potidea (ancient Cassandria) will compensate you.
The closest to Thessaloniki destination, with very good infrastructure and marvelous beaches, is the reason why every summer is full of tourists.
Also a destination that gathers the preferences of many, who choose short journeys for a bath or fun on its organized beaches.
Of equal importance is the interest in central-mountainous Halkidiki because it provides the visitor with the combination of mountain and sea, at the same time as the rich archaeological element.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL-RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS AND AREAS
The birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle, a mountain village 8km from the sea, is located on the central road of Thessaloniki-Ouranoupoli, at an altitude of 500 meters above the "Liotopi" Peninsula and 500 meters southeast of the current settlement of Olympiada. It includes the ruins of an archaic sanctuary, a late-class Wall (Phillip II's era), a Hellenistic house, an Agora and square Byzantine tower, considered to be the tombstone of the great philosopher of antiquity.
Emblematic presence in the grove is his statue, dominating imposingly the area.
The Temple of the Birth of the Virgin, built in 1814, from the rare ones, in a cruciform architecture.
The locals will suggest you go through Panagouda, an old church built in rock in 1903, known as Spiliotissa.
Petralona Cave 35 km from Thessaloniki Airport, above Kallikratia.
The church of St. Stephen in Arnea
Archaeological Museum of Polygyros: The exhibits are from the Bronze Age to the Roman period and come from Ancient Stagira, Ancient Olynthos, Afitos and elsewhere. More important is an unfinished "kouros" of the ancient period and a marble head of Dionysus.
Archaeological Museum of Olynthos: It has only audiovisual material about the history of the ancient city, through the excavations. The exhibits are located in the museums of Polygyros and Thessaloniki.
Anthropological Museum of Petralona : Includes information about the Neanderthal man.
Historical and Folklore Museum of Arnea: with precious and rare objects of everyday life and family heirlooms, the first radio of the village since 1941 and a fire pump about 200 years old.
The Folklore Museum of Polygyros, featuring exhibits of traditional culture, all donations from residents of the area.
Museum of Fishing Boats and Instruments, apart from old and modern fishing techniques, miniature fishing boats, various fishing gears, one can also discover the excellent sea magic projected in a specially designed room using audiovisual media. It is also worthwhile to visit the church of Panagia Koryfini in the center of Moudania, with a special architecture due to its enormous size and the miraculous image of Asia Minor.
Kassandra is the first of the three peninsulas of Halkidiki, which is only at a short distance (just 80 km) from Thessaloniki and is bathed in the blue waters of the Aegean Sea. The peculiarity of the terrain, as well as the numerous natural and historical attractions make the use of the rented car imperative. Visit Smart Rent and choose the perfect car for you from our brand new fleet that will fully meet your requirements. We will be glad to serve you and suggest places and paths that will color your journey.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL - RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS AND AREAS
The Temple of Ammon Zeus and the Sanctuary of the Nymphs in Kallithea
The Church and the Tower of Apostle Paul in Nea Fokea, wonderfully preserved, built in 1407 for the monastery's security.
The Metohi in Sani
The sanctuary of Poseidon and the Lighthouse of Poseidi.
The archaeological site of Mendis in Kalandra and the church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary with wonderful frescoes.
The Justinian Wall in Potidea, on the inner side of the road that separates the city from the canal, parts of which are preserved, and its westernmost tower is washed by the sea.
Archaeological site of Afitio in Afitos with the ancient quarries, the springs of Vrysitsa and Moudounos and some very picturesque churches.
After Nea Moudania, we are actually starting to descend the first leg visiting Nea Potidea (ancient Cassandria) where we find ruins of the Walls and the Cemetery. One could not fail to stand in its canals, which was built (1st century BC) at the narrowest point of Kassandra and joins Thermaikos with the Toroneos gulf. Our next stop is Nea Fokea, a seaside, beautiful village, with the well-preserved 17th-century St. Paul's tower, the picturesque harbor and the crystal clear coasts. In addition to the Tower of Dionysios, a visit to the goldfish pond, in the pine forest south of the village, will compensate you. As part of the Cassandra Festival, cultural events take place, especially on June 29th, when the village is celebrating. We descend to meet Afitos, a traditional settlement with a history that is lost in the depths of its 28 centuries of existence. The stone-built houses and the paved cobbled streets, overlooking Toroneo, unlock the panorama of the visitor's senses, since nature and settlement blend harmoniously. In such a stone-built house at the Aletra (1898), there is a Folklore Museum. Within a short distance we meet Kallithea, the most populous and most commercial point of Chalkidiki. Beneath the hill, with a magnificent view to the sea, in a rich pine forest, is the sanctuary of Dionysus and the Nymphs, part of the sanctuary of Ammon Zeus. In the center of the settlement, there is a large junction leading either to eastern or western Cassandra. Outside Kallithea and one kilometer away there are the most famous shops of the Prefecture where the summer fun keeps on on a 24-hour basis. The numerous villages of Kriopigi, Polychrono, Chanioti and Pefkohori, which are considered to be an ecological paradise, are places worth visiting, as they have excellent tourist facilities with organized camping, hotels, entertainment centers, water sports centers and more, shops, beach bars and more. From the Aegean Sea, the cosmopolitan beaches of Fourka and the crystal clear waters of Posidio's caption with the perfect organization become a pole of attraction. In Possidi there are the foundations of buildings, probably temples dedicated to god Neptune, hence the name of the cape. Ancient Mendi is also nearby, with equally interesting archaeological finds. Next comes Sani, a luxury resort built on the site of ancient Sani. It is characterized by the fine sandy beach, the perfectly organized beach and the five hotels that raise the bar of services all over Halkidiki. The area's trademark is the Sani Resort with the impressive marina as well as the 110-acre wetlands, which are a refuge for over 200 species of rare birds. Visit the Byzantine Tower of Stavronikita, where various cultural events are held nowadays.
NATURE-PARKS AND OTHER SIGHTS
Wildlife Refuge in Nea Fokea
The Kypsa wetland
The small lake Polychrono Mavrobara, unique in Kassandra, 3 km from Polichrono, where a special kind of turtle develops.
In Agia Paraskevi, a relaxing bath in its thermal springs is highly recommended.
The natural sights of Glarokavos, which soothe the visitor with its picturesque and harmony between sea, sky and nature. It hosts the well-known ITENVA sailing competitions. From this area, yachts and flying dolphins also depart to Chalkidiki and the North Aegean islands, while boats for small cruises can also be rented. Also the monastery of St. John is another attraction.
The old windmills and the Metropolitan Church of the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Kassandra
Each beach in Kassandra has its own style and sound that makes it stand out from the rest. But all of them aim at the satisfaction of the visitor. Among the best beaches are the beach of Kriopigi, Afitos, where the homonymous festival taking place during the summer months, also in Hanioti, Polichrono, Mola Kalyva with pebbles and sand, at Siviri whereat its amphitheater takes place the Cassandra Festival with performances of artists from all over the world.
ACTIVITIES AND SPORTS
Apart from swimming, you can indulge in all kinds of water sports, since almost all beaches have the necessary infrastructure, such as swimming, scuba diving, cycling, kite surfing etc. The verdant altitude of the peninsula is ideal for hiking or simple walks, but also for 4x4 routes, and its picturesque villages for carefree, relaxing tours.
The Sithonia peninsula is mainly for those who love the quiet holidays, because it does not gather the crowd like the first peninsula does, because it is a little further from Thessaloniki. However, it does not detract from natural, historical and cultural attractions from the rest of Chalkidiki. A visit to Smart Rent will help you choose the most appropriate of the many types of cars we have in Chalkidiki to help you achieve your goals successfully.
We start from Metamorphosis, a quiet, seaside village in the pine forest. Next is Nikiti, known for its Macedonian architecture and the many beachfront cafes. We continue to other beaches such as Kalogria, Elia and Tripotamos where there is organized camping and then we reach Neos Marmaras, the liveliest point of the second peninsula, with many cafes, beach bars, etc., which gathers the elite of the tourist market. The excellent hotel units of high standard, built next to the sea and the blue flags certifying the unique beaches, satisfy even the most demanding visitors. Above Neos Marmaras and about 5 km away, it is worth visiting the Parthenon, a traditional settlement at an altitude of 350 meters, on the slopes of Mount Itamos. Sources of Herodotus bear witness to his long history. Today renovated according to the Macedonian architecture and in combination with the fantastic view of Toroneos, welcomes many tourists all year round, having excellent hospitality infrastructure . Do not forget to visit the temple of Agios Stefanos, the oldest in the prefecture and the Folk Museum, with exhibits of traditional costumes and photographs. Twenty-four km south of Neos Marmaras, we meet Toroni, where traces of prehistoric settlement were found. Its monuments are the Castle of Lecithos and the early Christian church of Agios Athanasios, a 3-aisle basilica of the 5th century. Our next impressive station is Porto Koufo, which has its name since the Thucydides. A natural harbor of unique beauty, the safest in Northern Greece, which is an important fishery of the area with many traditional fish taverns. At the extreme point of the peninsula Kartalia dominates. A place with steep rocky clusters, sinking steeply into the deep blue Aegean waters bring awe to the visitor. Their name is due to the gipsies, which the locals call "cartalia". Sykia is one of the oldest villages in Halkidiki with a rich archaeological and historical past, as well as an ecological interest since it hosts important wetlands. For relaxation and tranquility, we make a stop at Kalamitsi, the gentle, generous small village with its endless sandy beach, turquoise waters and rocky coves, ideal for diving or masked explorations. There is also organized camping. We climb to Sarti, which is 140 km away from Thessaloniki and is a large settlement surrounded by the green Dragounteli mountain. In this area, a part of the Walls of the ancient city are preserved. This combined with the rich idyllic landscape of green-blue waters, white sand, hospitable creeks and scenic rocks, are a dynamic tourist attraction. The area is ideal for surfing, water skiing, fishing and boating in the surrounding beaches. 500 meters to the west of the village is the metropolis of the Xeropotamos Monastery built in 1867. Daily excursions are organized for the area around Mount Athos. We continue our travel, visiting the popular beaches of Platanitsi and Armenistis with the golden sandy beaches, surrounded by pine and plane trees, with organized beaches with beach bars, basketball and football courts, sea sports and more. Armenistis camping crosses the borders of Greece for alternative tourism. It's finally time we arrived at the really magical village of Vourvourou. A seaside village, captures you at first glance. With the fringes of Mount Itamos being bathed in the tranquil turquoise waters of the Sigitikos, within a short distance from it, there is a cluster of 9 islands, with Diaporos being the most famous among them. The visit there is "imposed" as images and experiences are unique. The shallow turquoise waters, the clear sandy bottom of it, make up Caribbean icons and cause the visitor to swim, take snorkeling or diving. In the natural bay Kryfto (700 meters long) the waters are always warm, ideal for winter swimming. On the coast there are ruins of the pre-Byzantine temple of St. Andrew (500 BC). Karidi Beach is an attraction itself. White sand, turquoise waters, white rocks and a pine forest that descends to the coast. Kavourotrypes or Portokali, located 23 km south of Vourvourou, constitute a hidden paradise. A lace of small contiguous coves with clear waters and pine trees, where the blue sky meets the endless blue of the sea and become one. We reach Agios Nikolaos, a beautiful village with traditional 19th century houses, 117 km from Thessaloniki. Findings from prehistoric and ancient times bear witness to its role in history, as the northeast of the village was the ancient city of Siggos. A landmark, the village square with its numerous taverns and flowering roses. Although it is a mountainous village, its beautiful beaches, such as the Salonikios coast, Lagonissi, Trani Ammouda, are not far away. Ormos Panagias, which is also its port, is just 2.5 km away. Apart from the natural beauty that characterizes it, it is the gateway to the entrance of thousands of visitors every summer who want to enjoy a cruise to the Athonite State and to Ammouliani , Drenia, Ouranoupolis and elsewhere. Here, in the picturesque taverns of Ormos, accompanied by the exquisite seafood snacks accompanying the traditional Greek tsipouro, the visitor enjoys the ultimate travel experience.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL-CONSTRUCTION MONUMENTS AND AREAS
Fortification elements of ancient Toronis at Vigla and Likithos Castle
The ancient church of St. Athanasius (triple basilica of the 5th century)
In Sarti, the Metochi of the Xeropotamos Monastery
The cultural center (stone building) Sarti
Prehistoric settlement "Koukos"
It is located west of Sykia, on Koukos Hill, is a steep rocky, tall hill and is surrounded by a castle that enclosed an important prehistoric settlement
Prehistoric Tomb in Karyitsi Sykia
It dates back to the end of the Bronze Age. This artificial groom covered 30 graves with circular enclosures, each of which contained pots of dead ashes. Unique in the area of Macedonia, as it enriches our knowledge of burial habits and methods of building mounds during the Bronze Age.
Windmills of Sykia
It is preserved monuments located on the beach dating back to 1890.
The most important ecosystems in the area are Mount Itamos, a low mountain , a lost paradise with pine trees in low and black pines and a few fir trees higher. Also, the wetlands in Sykia number three, in Tristinika and Porto Koufo (with an opening of 300 meters to the harbor, it is a place of breeding fish), in Toroni and in Sarti there is the Platanitsi area.
All water sports take place in Sithonia with diving schools, walking tours and tours around Mount Athos from Sarti etc
Orelse "Panagia's orchard" is located just a stone's throw from Thessaloniki and is the first choice of so-called alternative or religious tourism. It is located on the east side of Chalkidiki and is a self-governing part of the Greek state, dedicated entirely to the worship of God. It is the center of Orthodox monasticism and is the only place in the world where the abode is valid, the prohibition of women's presence there. The unique natural environment, combined with the unsurpassed architecture of the Holy Monasteries, most of them built literally on the edge of Mount Athos, provoke awe and ecstasy, enhancing the religious feeling of the visitor.
Smart Rent is ready to offer the right car for you and to show you ways and routes that will facilitate your access to this holy pilgrimage. At the peninsula of Athos there are 20 Holy Monasteries where unique works of art, sacred relics and books of immeasurable value are preserved, not only economic but, above all, historical and religious in the world.
The 20 Holy Monasteries do not change in number and are as follows:
Holy Monastery of Megisti Lavra (963): First in the monastery hierarchy and the largest in extent. It was built on the ruins of the ancient city of "Akrothathos" by Agios Athanasios, relatively close to the beach.
Vatopedi Monastery (972): Dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and known for its Katholiko, where 5 out of 33 chapels are included. In the Monastery there are 8 miraculous icons of Panagia, such as Vimatarissa, Antifwnitria, Paramythia, Pantanassa, Elaiovritissa, Pyrovolitheisa, Theodorskaja and Esfagmenis. A great treasure, among other things, is the Agia Zoni of Theotokos that the Emperor Ioannis Katakouzinos donated to the Monastery.
Iberon Monastery (976): The Monastery's sacristy is considered one of the most valuable on Mount Athos where invaluable treasures, golden vestments, the mantle of Patriarch Grigorios E, etc. are kept and is housed alongside the library that is organized and rich in content.
Serbian Monastery-Chilandari (1197): On the northern side of Mount, is the spiritual center of the Serbian people for 9 centuries. Its Katholikon is dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin Mary and besides the rich frescoes, it has one of the largest libraries of Slavic and Greek manuscripts. It has a number of sacred icons with the most famous of Virgin Mary Tricherousa.
Dionysiou Monastery (1375): On the western side of Mount Athos and on a steep cliff 80 meters above the sea dominates the Holy Monastery, which holds the right hand of the Holy Prodromos, to which is dedicated its katholikon. The southern side is seen by Arsana that consists of suspended wooden arcades, which crown the wild peaks of the steep rocks, descending Athos, bring the endless hill of the north. Donation by the Emperor Alexios Komninos, to the assailant Osios Dionysios, the sacred icon of the Lady of Salutations or the Akathistos, in which the Salvation Service was first performed in Constantinople, and which is today buried in the Holy Monastery.
Koutloumousiou Monastery(12th century): Just 10 minutes from the capital of Karyes with the picturesque houses and the dominant Protaras basilica, through a verdant slope, the castles of the Holy Monastery of Koutloumousios emerge silently. The Catholic dominating the center is devoted to the Transfiguration of the Savior. There is the icon of Panagia Stylarinis or Giatrissa and the well-known Virgin Mary called "Fovera Prostasia", which is abolished on the third Easter day. In the Monastery there are also some 200 pieces of sacred relics of seventy Saints. For the hospitality of the Monastery, pre-communication is required by telephone, due to the increasing number of pilgrims and the proximity to Karyes. Tel: +30 23770 22532 (12.00-14.00)
Pantokratoros Monastery (1363): Built on the sea, on the eastern side of Mount Athos, it is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior. The main icon of the Monastery is the sacred icon of the Virgin Mary of "Gerontissa", a gift of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos. There, the holy relics of Saint Apostle Andrew , Sacred Chrysostom and many other Saints, as well as a piece of Holy Wood are preserved.
Xeropotamos Monastery(11th century): Dedicated to the Forty Martyrs, built at an altitude of 200 meters, at a short distance from the main road that connects Dafni (25 minutes walk) to Karyes (2 hours walk). The wood-carved iconostasis of the katholikon is gilded, a work of excellent technique. The second largest piece of Timber Wood in the shape of a Byzantine Cross is enclosed in a silver-gold cross.
Zografou Monastery(919): On the southwest side of the Athonite state, on a wooded slope, unobstructed by the sea, which is a 1 hour hike away. It was originally Greek but since the middle of the 19th century all monks are Bulgarian and the sequences are chanted in Bulgarian. It is dedicated to the (Holy Virgin) memory of St. George. The library hosts rare manuscripts, Greek and Bulgarian codes, most notably the manuscript of the first history of the Bulgarian nation which was written by the monk Paisius in 1745.
Dochiariou Monastery (11th century): The most picturesque monastery built next to the sea, on the edge of a verdant cypress slope that ends there. It is the first monastery that the visitor sees once reaching Mount Athos. Its katholikon is dedicated to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. One of the chapels preserves the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary of Gorgoipikoos. There are also many manuscripts and printed books, as well as pieces of Holy Wood, as well as relics of Saints.
Karakalou Monastery(1070): At 200 meters above sea level, the Monastery of Karakalou dominates the northeastern side of the peninsula of Athos. It is a 5-minute drive and a 30-minute walk from the Filotheou Monastery. Dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul. In the Monastery there are sections of Saints' relics and a piece of Holy Wood. Also sacred vestments and functional utensils and objects of historical and artistic value. From the many portable icons, the one of Petros and Paul's conquest stands out, the work of Constantine the Paleocapas and the Circumcision of Christ. The library also houses chrysobulls, handwritten books, and more.
Filotheou Monastery(992): It is a popular destination in the East of Mount Athos with great hospitality. It is situated on a northeastern cape-tree plateau at an altitude of 310 meters, 30 minutes from Karakallou, 45 minutes from the coast and 2.5 hours (or 30 minutes drive) from Karyes. In its katholikon the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary is celebrated. There are books and precious heirlooms that are kept there. Next to the sea is the Holy Virgin Mary of Glykofilousa, which is constantly flowing with standard quantity and temperature, to the place where, according to tradition, the Abbot of the Monastery saw in the vision the Virgin Mary inviting him to bring her from the sea. (12th place in the hierarchy)
Simionos Petras Monastery (1363): Built on a steep cliff 230 meters above sea level, the Holy Monastery is dedicated to the Birth of Christ, from the boldest buildings of Mount Athos. It is the library of over 70,000 volumes of humanities that uses the most modern methods of organizing and keeping her books. Due to extensive renovation, there is limited hosting possibilities.
St. Paul's Monastery(11th century): Located at the base of Mount Athos on the west side. Its katholikon is dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ, where the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary Myrovlitissa, pieces of Holy Wood and the Gifts of the Magi to the newborn Christ are kept. It keeps a rich library.
Stavronikita Monastery (1542): The newest and smaller Monastery of Mount Athos. It is 15 minutes from Karyes by car or 1 hour from Pantokratoros monastery from a coastal path and is dedicated to Agios Nikolaos. Saints' relics, functional vessels and Crosses are kept in the sacristy. The monastery occupies the 15th place in the hierarchy between the Monasteries.
Xenofontos Monastery(1070): At the seafront section of the southwest side of Athos, within a short distance of Moni Docheiariou Xenofontos Monastery is built. It is the only Monastery of Mount Athos with two Catholics. The oldest is in honor of St. George and the newest katholikon is among the largest Catholics among the Monasteries of the Mount.
Gregoriou Monastery(14th century): Dedicated to Agios Nikolaos, it is built on a rock, above the sea. The library contains 297 manuscripts, theological, ecclesiastical and functional books, as well as chrysobulls and other valuable items.
Esphigmenou Monastery(11th century): Built on the northeast of the peninsula of Athos, in a bay. It is 1.5 hours from Ierissos. It was founded by the Byzantine Empress Pulcheria and due to its easy access from the sea, it suffered greatly from the pirate raids.
Russian-St Panteleimon Monastery (11th Century): Known as the Russian monastery is a huge and imposing complex. All of the buildings are examples of Russian architecture and are decorated with frescoes of the 19th century Russian painting school. Its katholikon, dedicated to Saint Panteleimon, is the only one in which there is no Divine Liturgy, but in the chapel of the Holy Skepis. This is because, according to the typical monastery, the Divine Liturgy is in the Greek and Russian in rotation, while in the rest, only in Russian. The imposing bell tower features 32 bells, the first of which is the largest bell in the Balkans, and the second largest in the world. It is about 3 meters in diameter, weighs 13 tonnes and the sound reaches Polygyros - 70 kilometers away!
Konstamonitoy Monastery (1086)
Twentieth in the hierarchy, it is built in the Gulf Siggitikos, in a forested alley 200 meters high, which is difficult to communicate with the rest of the monasteries. The monastery is about an hour away from its arsana, through a path full of olive groves and chestnut trees. It was founded by Konstas, son of M. Konstantinos, which explains its name. It is dedicated to the martyr Stephen, whose miraculous icon is kept in the Catholic, along with the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary Odigitria. The monastery contains heirlooms, vestments, chrysobulls, relics of Saints and a piece of Holy Wood.
In order to visit Mount Athos, it is first and foremost to secure the accommodation from the Office of the Pilgrims in Thessaloniki (8.30-14.00 and Saturday 10.00-12.00), since the permissible number is 120 persons per day. The transfer is made by boat from Ouranoupolis or Ierissos, where the visitor has to leave the car. These cities, as tourist sites, have all kinds of shops, hotels and parking for cars in order to serve this purpose.
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