An Excursion to Central Halkidiki from Ouranoupoli

An Excursion to Central Halkidiki

The resort of Ouranoupoli is famous for its nearness to Mount Athos. The only monastic state in the world is the main draw for pilgrims and tourists to the area, that’s no secret.

The resort of Ouranoupoli is famous for its nearness to Mount Athos. The only monastic state in the world is the main draw for pilgrims and tourists to the area, that’s no secret.

But it is far from everything worth exploring in Macedonia, the culturally very diverse region of Greece. Some surprising places you should discover are Arnaia and Aristotle’s Park. And you can find these in Central Halkidiki, within a distance of a relaxed drive.

The town of Arnaia

The quaint settlement of Arnaia is among the hidden gems of Halkidiki. The town is located at the base of Mount Holomontas, which dominates Central Halkidiki. It features the traditional architecture that grants a great time to any photographer.

You can navigate between the colorful stone houses through paved cobblestone streets. At some point, you will arrive in the central square with a hundred-year old plane tree. The spring under the tree is a source of pure water. And that water is supposedly credited for the exceptional longevity of the locals.

The Folklore Museum, introducing the way of life of the Macedonians, is another attraction of Arnaia. Finally, the remains of a prosperous ancient city are nearby. The archaeological evidence indicates that this might be the site of ancient Arne. The city was probably destroyed around 350 BC by the troops of Phillip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great’s father.

Aristotle’s Park

Aristotle’s Park is a homage to Alexander the Great’s teacher and one of the most prominent Greek philosophers. The site assumes a vantage point overlooking Mount Athos and the Bay of Ierissos. In addition to splendid vistas, the park offers educational and entertaining activities. You can find this popular attraction near the Stagira village, the birthplace of Aristotle.

Among the Aristotle’s Park centerpieces is the 4-meter tall statue of the famous thinker. Interesting instruments that show how nature works (if operated correctly) induce curiosity among people of all ages. Also, use the available telescopes to observe monasteries of Mount Athos.

Besides Arnaia and Aristotle’s Park, Halkidiki is blessed with many other interesting places you can reach from Ouranoupoli. Some of these are churches, medieval fortifications and viewpoints. So, stay tuned for more.

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Mount Athos is the easternmost peninsula of Halkidiki. It is usually known as the spiritual center of Orthodox Christianity since medieval times. Its 20 monasteries scattered throughout the peninsula are popular pilgrimage sites. Yet, Mount Athos is unique in other ways, too. Take its splendid nature as a reference. It features hills, forests and the sea crashing against the mount's rocky base. In short, Mount Athos is a place unlike any other. Flora of Mount Athos Mount Athos has delightful nature, which is the reason for its "Garden of the Virgin Mary" epithet. There are many endemic plant species inhabiting the region because of many reasons. The uniqueness of the terrain and a variety of micro climates are a few of them. Kassandra and Sithonia, the nearby peninsulas, have the Mediterranean climate. Athos combines elements of the Mediterranean and Continental climates among some others. Due to the fact, you can find a wide variety of plants there. The olive tree, holm oak and the lentisk are some representatives of the Mediterranean vegetation. Some sub-continental species found in the area are the chestnut, fir and the pine. Even semi-desert plants inhabit the Holy Mountain, such as the arboreal euphorbia. And so on. Wildlife of Athos Since around 90% of Mount Athos's surface is untouched, there are many animal species inhabiting the region. While wandering around, you may find traces of various mammals and spot birds. Some mammals found on the Holy Mountain are jackals, red foxes, gray wolves, weasels and monk seals. The Garden of the Virgin Mary is also an excellent destination for birdwatching. Among other birds, you may see golden eagles, black storks, eagle owls, short-toed eagles and gulls. Landscapes of the Holy Mountain Pilgrims constitute the biggest part of Athos's visitors. Getting from one monastery to another is usually carried out on foot via stone-paved paths. Along the way, pilgrims traverse wooded areas with occasional clearings revealing magnificent landscapes. Fields and grooves encircle some monasteries, while others boast forested settings. Some of them are true islands in the sea of greenery.

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