ATHOS: A MINI TRAVEL GUIDE TO THE EASTERNMOST PENINSULA OF HALKIDIKI
Shaped like Poseidon’s trident, Halkidiki’s prongs jut out into the Aegean Sea.
Lush green forests extend all the way to the beachfront where reflections of golden sunlight add sparkling hues to turquoise waters. There, the Athоs Peninsula is the еasternmοst leg of Halkidiкi and is essentially about one destination: the monasteries of Mount Athos, aka the Holy Mountain.
The Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain occupies around 80% of the peninsula, leaving just a mere 20% of the territory to secular visitors and females; women are not allowed into the Holy Mountain. While the greater majority of the peninsula is off-limits to casual visitors, the remaining slice of secular Athos offers some rare treats that include Halkidiki’s only inhabited island and its satellites, a busy and commercialized port (Ouranoupoli), and a coastal strip packed full of nice and unique hotels and resorts.
Mythology and Legends
Mount Athos is one of the most mysterious places, surrounded by legends. According to one legend, the mountain rose from the depths of the sea at the behest of the god Poseidon. With its help, the gods crushed the revolt of the titans. And according to another legend, the Titan Athos during the uprising threw a huge stone, which became a mountain.
The monasteries of Athos in Greece – a place of pilgrimage for thousands of guests, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses some 1,400 monks in 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries. An autonomous state under Greek sovereignty, entry into the area is strictly controlled and only male residents are allowed to live there and only male visitors are allowed. There is another legend about this. Virgin Mary, seeing the mountain, was fascinated by the local nature and asked her from God. Since then, no woman can step on the slopes of the mountain. The myth is reinforced by the decree of the President of Greece, according to which a woman who set foot on Mount Athos is provided for arrest and imprisonment.
Explore The Outside spot in Athos Halkidiki
So, if you love to explore, get active, and enjoy life, the following mini travel guide provides a complete listing of the best summer activities in the Athos peninsula of Halkidiki!
Rent a boat in the Athos area, and discover small islands and the secret gems of Halkidiki on your own. A boat license is not required for boats up to 30hp. There is a big selection and all boat rentals are stylish, easy to drive, and ideal for couples and groups.
Safety is our main concern that is why we make sure that you are fully briefed and confident for your trip driving the boat on your own. All boats are equipped with all safety gear, GPS trackers, and life jackets and are fully insured according to Greek Port Police requirements.
Destinations – Best Beaches in the Area
The places on Athos offer all the conditions for a peaceful holiday, and the unreal beautiful, semi-sandy beaches are an opportunity for relaxed enjoyment of natural beauties without crowd and noise. Ammouliani has only one major settlement and a ferry docks there. The entire island has about 600 inhabitants.
The inside (western) strip of beaches
The inside (western) strip of beaches and those on Ammouliani and Drenia are the most protected from the weather and can usually be guaranteed to be calm. They are frequented by the many crowds of tourists in the narrow hotel strip. The most user-friendly beach here is about 2 km south of Trypiti as you drive to Ouranoupoli. It has a low-key and tree-shaded beach bar and is typically locatable by the haphazardly parked cars along the road.
Ammouliani and Drenia islands
Ammouliani is a small island and an increasingly popular holiday destination among our tourists. Athos Peninsula’s very own island floats offshore at the north-western end of the peninsula. It is covered in green vegetation, yet boasts a spectacular sandy beach called Alykes.
The most beautiful and most famous beach on the island is Alikes. The sea is crystal clear and transparent, the sand is fine on the coast, and the water, it has shallow water for children and a dock for jumping.
Agios Georgios beach
This beach is quite long and, there is a part that has a natural shade.
Megali Ammos beach
This beach is also a very beautiful beach, with sandy, with gradual depth and crystal clear sea.
This beach is arranged and interesting because it’s surrounded by high rocks. The sand is a golden yellow, so the color of the sea is different from Alikes (where it’s much brighter).
Off the southern tip of Ammouliani is a scattering of islets known as Drenia, one of which has a bar and seasonal taverna. Drenia is reached by boat rental from our Explore the Outside spot. In the past were well known as Gaidouronisia, the Donkey islands.
Exploring Drenia islands by a Sea Kayak!
Sea Kayaking around Drenia islands in Mt. Athos Halkidiki! Our protected coastline is rich in opportunities for adventures at any sea kayaking level. Paddle around stunning rock formations and vibrant wildlife that includes even dolphins. Moreover, you will experience a warm environment where the sun will warm you up during early spring and autumn.