The peninsula of Kassandra
- The peninsula of Kassandra
- From New Potidaea to New Phocaea
- Sani - Kypsa - Kassandria – Siviri
- Fourka - Kalandra – Possidi
- Mola Kalyva – New Skioni – Aghia Paraskevi
- Paliouri - Kanistro - Chrousso – Glarokavos
- Pefkochori - Chanioti – Polychrono
- Kryopigi - Kallithea – Afytos
- The Gulf of Kassandra - Aghios Mamas - Ancient Olynthus
- Gerakini - Psakoudia - Ormylia – Metamorphossis
South of New Moudania the land is getting narrower towards the “neck” that connects the main peninsula with the peninsula of Cassandra. The narrowest point is separated by the channel of Potidaea.
In the past, Cassandra was called Flegra and Pallini. It starts from the channel and extends southeast of Potidaea. It has a length of 25 km and a width of 14 km in the middle. There are low hills in the central and southeastern part; higher is Livadakia at 353m. The shores are smooth and sandy. Only in some places in the south are rocky.
The terrain and the coast, the fertile land and the natural beauty explain why Cassandra was a center of colonization in ancient times. Here great cities were founded and developed; Potidaea, Afytos, Mendi, Scioni and others.
The entrance to Kassandra is the channel of New Potidaea. The main road leads to New Phocaea. Shortly before New Phocaea a secondary road to the right goes to the western coast of the peninsula.
Straight-south the main road follows the eastern coast overlooking the Gulf of Kassandra or Toronaeos. At the height of Kallithea, a fork of the main road leads to the interior in the settlement of Kassandria and then to the west coast, from where we can start the tour of the peninsula.
In the “neck” of the land that joins the main Chalkidiki with Kassandra peninsula is New Potidaea. Which gulf do you prefer? Thermaikos Gulf to the west or Kassandra Gulf to the east; New Potidaea is neighbor with both. The channel of Potidaea joins them. The great bridge over the channel leads to the peninsula of Kassandra.
Green surroundings, beautiful beaches and charming natural environment with the sea on one side and the other!
Few remains remind ancient Potidaea, Corinthian colony. In 316 BC King Kassandros built on its ruins Kassandria. The siege of the revolted Greeks of Chalkidiki in the castle by the Turks the first year of the Greek Revolution in 1821 passed into history.
There are still some parts of the wall and the foundations of a tower on the side of Thermaikos. The Kastro district and a nice harbor complete the charming landscape.
Shortly after the channel, the road splits up a little before New Phocaea; on the one side going south, on the other getting back to the channel.
New Phocaea, on the eastern coast of the peninsula, is one of the most famous destinations; pines up the coast, beautiful beaches, and infrastructure for accommodation, leisure and entertainment.
In the harbor stands the well-preserved Byzantine Toweror Tower of St. Paul at a height of 17 m. It was built in 1407 with ancient remains from Potidaea to protect a dependency of the Monastery of St. Paul, one of the dependencies of the monasteries of Mount Athos in Kassandra.
There is also the Agiasma (Holy Water) of St. Paul. An underground passage carved into the rock ends after nineteen meters in an underground chamber. Maybe it was a work of burial, which during the Byzantine era became a church. Here is gathered the holy water of the Apostle Paul. According to tradition when Paul was discovered by his pursuers in Ierissos on the east coast of Chalkidiki hid in a hole in the earth. From there passing through tunnels he came to Cassandra. Another tradition says that Paul secretly baptized Christians in the chamber.
Shortly before New Phocaea a road leads to the right on the western coast of the peninsula, in Sani, a seaside settlement with a nice beach, tourist infrastructure and a harbor for yachts.On the coast, οn the site of a large hotel complex, is situated the Stavronikita Tower, built in the 15th-16th century to protect the dependency of the monastery of Stavronikita of Mount Athos. We can go on foot from the hotel entrance. Perhaps on the small peninsula was the acropolis of ancient Sani.
Across the coastline north and south are wonderful trails for hiking. South of Sani spread the beaches of Kypsa; organized and crowded the beach of Mikri (Little) Kypsa; also nice the beach of Megali (Great) Kypsa where we have the chance to see a very interesting site; a Late Roman era farmhouse with the residence, the baths, the warehouses, the staff houses, pottery kilns and other findings.
To go south of Sani we must get back in the middle of the peninsula and take the road leading to Kassandria and from there take the main road coming from Kallithea in order to get back on the west coast.
Kassandria exists since the 16th century. It is located in the center of a region with rich vegetation and wonderful hiking trails.
In the coast is Siviri,one of the most beautiful and famous seaside settlements; sandy beach, clear water, tourist accommodations and taverns. In the pine forest during the summer an open theater hosts the cultural events of Kassandra.
South of Sivri is Skala of Fourka, the seaport village of the settlement of Fourkawhich is a short distance inside. The sandy beach is well organized with many bars, which explains why is preferred by youth.
In the interior the settlement is located in a green environment. The path to the east leads to the village of Kassandrino, in a valley inhabited since ancient times. It is one of the areas producing excellent honey. It is worth visiting the church of the Holy Trinity with beautiful frescoes.
South of Fourka is Kalandra, a settlement founded in the Byzantine era. It is another area where excellent honey is produced. South at the coast was the ancient town of Mendi. Remains of the wall are in the sea.Southwest of Kalandra extends a triangular sandy peninsula that ends at four kilometers to Cape Possidi or Kassandra.It is one of the most beautiful areas with pine trees, sandy beaches and natural attractions.
On the south side of the small peninsula is Posidi, with great beach and facilities for swimmers. Moving by car in sandy places needs attention; the wheels can get stuck in the sand. On the north side is the beach of Aegeopelagitica.
The walk up the cape leads to a sanctuary of Poseidon and a nice lighthouse built in 1864. The findings show that the sea god worshiped here since the 12th century BC. Thucydides refers the cape as Possidonion.
From Kalandra the main road follows the coastline, directed southeast. The first coastal settlement is Mola Kalyva with long beach and pine forest. Perfect for those who prefer calm and shade of pines.Continuing towards south we find Aghios Ioannis, and soon we arrive in Nea Skioni, the center of another beautiful area of natural beauty, sandy beaches and fish-taverns. The beach is well organized and there is a harbor for yachts.
The area was inhabited since ancient times. According to Thucydides, the ancient Skioni built by Pelleneans of Peloponnese when they returned from the war of Troy. Today's settlement is the continuation of the village Tsaprani, built higher inside, on the road that connects New Skioni to Chanioti on the east coast. In Tsaprani old churches are preserved.From New Skioni the coastal road leads to the Baths of Agia Paraskevi. Up the road is a small church, Panagia Faneromeni, with frescoes of the 16th century. According to tradition the image of the Virgin Mary came from the sea on a rock floating in the water. Those who found it wanted to place it in a church, but the image always returned to shore. So they built the chapel there.
The Baths of Agia Paraskevi, where are hot springs, are located at the edge of a small bay. In the interior is the settlement of Aghia Paraskevi.
Beautiful area! On one side the sandy beach, on the other cliffs with caves, where the thermal waters are welling. The baths are well known for various treatments. It operates a modern spa, which belongs to the municipality. Only from here is a path to the caves with thermal waters near the sea. But the descent needs attention.
East of the Baths stretches the long calm sandy beach of Aghios Georgios with shallow waters and further east is Avlaki.
Leaving the coast and after five km we reach Agia Paraskevi, another place with a great tradition in the production of honey. It is a picturesque village with traditional houses at an area filled with pine trees.
From Agia Paraskevi, the road leads to the southern part of the peninsula, in Paliouri, also an inland settlement, inhabited since the old times. Paliouriretains its traditional character with narrow streets and stone houses. From here the eastern coast of Kassandra is very close. But before, it is very interesting to follow the route to the southeast to the region of Kanistroand the tip of the peninsula.The first beach we find at the open bay formed east of Paliouri is Panagia, named from the church in the region; is also called Kanistro. Green landscape and azure waters! East is Xynaand then the road forks. On the left through a pine forest leads after three km in Aghios Nikolaos, a small picturesque fishing village; few houses, a small harbor and calm. A path leads to the cape Krevatia. The walk continues up to the other cape, Paliouri of Kalogria.
From Paliouri the main road turns north along the eastern coast of Kassandra. Just a short distance is the beach of the settlement, Chrousso, consisting of the sandy beaches Chrousso, Xenia and Alonaki; is one of the first coastal tourist areas developed in Chalkidiki.
A little further north is Chryssi Ammos (Golden Sand), another wonderful beach, and then one of the loveliest areas of Kassandra. Glarokavos!A beautiful bay through a passage from the sea! Salt-marsh in the middle Ages, a safe harbor and anchorage today! Shallow waters and an incomparable marine environment for romantic walks!
We go upwards at the east coast of Kassandra. The main road follows the beautiful coastline and the sea in the Gulf of Kassandra spreads charming and inviting to the opposite western coast of Sithonia.After Glarokavos is Pefkohori; after Chanioti; and then Polychrono; three beach resorts, each one with its endless beach, which actually is one; a sandy beach with large hotels, other tourist accommodation and restaurants; an organized beach with sun beds, umbrellas and anything else necessary.
In Pefkohorithe great beach stretches at six kilometers and a forest of pine trees offer shade for hiking and recreation. A walk in Tsikari, on a hill, brings in old stone houses with gardens.
A large part of the settlement and the beach is for pedestrians, with taverns and bars. There is a marina and boats make trips to Sithonia and Athos; also nocturnal tours in the Gulf of Kassandra.
Further north is Chanioti,another picturesque seaside resort; beautiful beach, clean sea and all prospects for summer recreation and entertainment day and night.
Further north is Polychrono,one of the most beautiful villages with old stone houses. In the square of the Christ the church of Birth was built in 1863. It is also worth visiting the church of St. Athanasius and the folklore museum. We can even see an open olive mill with the press and the old well.
The beach is seven kilometers. In the pedestrian zone along the beach are tourist accommodation, restaurants and bars.
Continuing north on the east coast of Kassandra we reach Kryopigi,a nice resort, very green, with tourist facilities and many possibilities for hiking and sports.The settlement is built amphitheatrically on the slopes of a pine-clad hill. The area has been inhabited since ancient times. Near was the ancient city Flegra.
The beach of the village is Pigadakia,organized in many places; dense vegetation, white sand and turquoise waters.
Further north is Kallithea,also known resort with very good tourist organization and cosmopolitan life in the summer. The pines reach the organized beach with the amazing sand.
It is another area of archaeological interest. On the beach, beside a large hotel, is the sanctuary of Ammon Zeus, one of the most important places of worship of Zeus from the 5th century BC. According to the ancient tradition Ammon Zeus was the father of Alexander the Great. Adjacent is another sanctuary of Dionysus and the Nymphs. Steps in the rock lead to a cave.
North of Kallithea is Afytos,where in antiquity was the ancient town with the same name. Afytos combines traditional charm with modern tourist life. It is a preserved settlement, for many the most beautiful of Chalkidiki, with narrow streets and stone houses. In many homes are embossed with the year of construction and the name of the first owner.
Of particular interest is the church of St. Demetrius, built in the 19th century as a basilica with a dome. Also worth a walk to the position Rock, from where the view to both peninsulas, and the Gulf of Kassandra is amazing.
The beautiful beach of the region is organized. Further north is Vouthounas, another beach where we go on foot from the main road.
Completing the round of Kassandra we pass again from New Phocaea and the channel of Potidaea and arrive in New Moudania, where we take the coastal road to the east. The core of the Gulf of Kassandra lies in a semicircle with nice beaches up to the beginning of Sithonia.Near New Moudania is Aghios Mamas. In a small distance of the village stretches the sandy beach of 3.5 km, organized in many places; on the coastal road tourist accommodation, restaurants and bars.
Continuing east we pass from the Toumba (mound) of Aghios Mamas and reach the village Kalyves. South, on the coast, is its beautiful beach called Paralia (Beach) of Kalyves. North is the archaeological site of Olynthus, the most important ancient city of Chalkidiki.
Ancient Olynthus is located on a hill from which controlled the surrounding plain. The excavations began in the 1920's bringing to light one of the most perfect architecturally and best organized classical cities.
The Olynthus became known from the 7th century BC, when it passed in the sovereignty of Votties, settlers of Minoan Crete, who founded Vottiaea in Western Macedonia.
In 480 BC the city was destroyed by the Persians. Then it became a member of the Athenian League and later the leader of a coalition of cities of Chalkidiki. Powerful, an ally of the kingdom of Macedonia broke the alliance in 348 BC and destroyed by Philip the Second.
The urban planning of Olynthus is considered exemplary. There are squares, wide streets and public spaces. Every block had ten houses, a communal courtyard, water supply and sewerage system. The visit takes time and walking.
East of Kalyves beach is located Paralia (Beach) of Gerakini, another beautiful sandy beach. The village Gerakini is in the interior. Shortly before Gerakini the road leads north to Polygyros.
Further east along the road following the coast, we arrive in Trikorfoand then to Psakoudia, one of the most beautiful coastal areas with pine and olive trees. The sandy beach extends for four kilometers; near are taverns and bars.
Psakoudia is the port of Ormylia, at north. This historic city, with its characteristic architecture of the houses, is built at the southern foot of the mountain Cholomondas, which dominates the center of Chalkidiki. Of particular interest is the church of St. George with its tall bell tower, built in 1818; it has excellent frescoes in the dome.
The archaeological findings indicate that the area was inhabited since the Neolithic Age. Here the ancient Sermyli was founded, which continued to live in the medieval era as Ermyli and today as Ormylia. Remains of the ancient city are in Platia (Large) Toumba. In Kallipoli are the ruins of an ancient castle and in Aghios Vassilios (St. Basil) the remains of a Roman residence. In the position Kouvelio a statue of the goddess Cybele was discovered.
Continuing on the east coast we pass from the Monastery of Arseniou and reach Metamorphossiswith a nice sandy beach. Not far to the east is Nikiti, the entrance to the peninsula of Sithonia.