A tour of the castles, temples and chapels in Sithonia

Our Sithonia is rich; not only in beaches with crystal clear water but also castles, churches, temples and chapels, all rich in history. So join us for a brief sightseeing tour.

Church of the Archangels, Neos Marmaras

The main church of the village with many heirlooms from the lost homeland. The church also hosts a unique, intact epitaph.


The Chapel of Prophet Elias

The chapel of Prophet Elias is only a few minutes by car or a short walk up the hill above Neos Marmaras. With pine trees surrounding it, this place offers stunning panoramic views of the valley and the sea. The sunset is an unforgettable experience!

It is open all day.


Το μοναστήρι του Αγίου ΓρηγορίουThe monastery of Saint Gregory

Although no one inhabits the place today, visitors can wander around its premises.


The Castle of Toroni

Ruins of medieval fortification at Cape Lycithus, located on the southern end of Toroni beach in Halkidiki.

Archaeologists unearthed traces of habitation from the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium BC) and the remains of early Iron Age houses (11th – 8th centuries BC). In antiquity, there was one of the two citadels of Toroni with a strong wall. Thucydides mentions details of the Spartans’ fortification in Lycithus and mentions a temple of Athena that they built there.

The Halkidians founded the city in the 8th century BC. It became one of the most important ancient Greek cities of Northern Greece. It was part of the dispute between the Lacedaemonians and the Athenians. Later, throughout the Byzantine period, there was a powerful castle in the peninsula, which they built mostly with material from the ancient acropolis.

Both the settlement that had developed on the peninsula and the castle were destroyed in the 15th or 16th century. The area must have suffered greatly from pirate attacks and was in decline much earlier, while in the 14th century it belonged to Mount Athos.


The Early Christian Basilica of Saint Athanasius

Triple basilica of the 5th century. It is located in the small swamp, next to the highway between Toroni and Porto Koufo.

A fire destroyed the church in the 6th century and the locals built another smaller church in its place.


The chapel of Saint George

The chapel of St. George is built on the middle aisle of a three-aisled 5th-century basilica Christian church, which must have been destroyed in the 6th century AD. along with the most important settlement of the time. The settlement appeared during the Hellenistic years (3rd – 2nd century BC) and developed rapidly on the hills north of St. George.

The early Christian basilica on which they built the chapel we see today, according to the findings of the 1971 excavation, was a beautiful church divided into three aisles, with three pairs of marble columns and a marble slab temple. To the south-east of the church was the cemetery of the settlement. Archaeologists found there two large vaulted tombs. Further excavations in 1979 revealed a Roman bath, which they may have used as a baptistery.

In 1981 the 10th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities conducted excavations 60m. north-west of St. Basil’s Basilica where they found the central temple of the settlement. Today it is the most valuable archaeological site of the Municipality of Sithonia and one of the most important in the whole of Halkidiki.


The Church of Saint Nikitas

We find the church of St Nikitas in the middle of the village of Nikiti. It was built in the second half of the 19th century, St Nikitas is one of the oldest and most important buildings in the area. The history of the church is intertwined with the historical evolution of the settlement, the passions, the joys and the dramas of the inhabitants.

The Church of Holy Mary’s Assumption

East of Neos Marmaras lies the church of Holy Mary’s Assumption. It is part of the Gregorian Monastery and was built in 1865.

The Early Christian Basilica of Sofronius

The building is dated from the first half of the 5th century AD. The three-storey wood-panelled Early Christian Basilica of Sofronius constitutes a large Early Christian complex. With magnificent mosaics and the rare high-quality multicoloured marble, columns, pillars and shields. Conservationists of the Byzantine Antiquities Authority restored it recently. It is very popular with visitors mainly during the summer season. The name of the complex derives from one of the inscriptions preserved in the church under the name of Bishop Sofronius.

We also recommend a visit to the Metochi of Xiropotamos Monastery in Sarti, as well as the ruins of the ancient temple and the windmills in Sykia.


A Parthenon in Neos Marmaras

View from Parthenon

The existence of a Parthenon in Neos Marmaras, even only by name, surprises the unsuspected visitor who is visiting Chalkidiki for the very first time.

The traditional settlement of Parthenon has existed since the 9th century B.C., according to reports from ancient Greek historian Herodotus. People referred to it as “Parthenni” and “Parthenion” during the Byzantine era. Some historians place it in Lóggos, but have not determined its exact location. Others argue that the settlers moved it to its current location. Continue reading “A Parthenon in Neos Marmaras”

The Petralona cave

In 1959 a villager of Petralona, in Chalkidiki, Northern Greece, in his effort to find sources of water for the needs of the settlement, found a small cleft on the slopes of Mount Katsika. Two adventurous young men were lowered by rope to a depth of 13 meters. When they surfaced, they described the beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites, which they had seen for the first time in their lives.

The same year, the President of the Greek Speleological Society John Petrohilos and Anna Petrohilos, carried out the first scientific exploration and study of the cave. The ones that followed, until 1964, revealed a large number of chambers and corridors, totaling 8 to 10 meters high, with impressive decor.

The rock formations resemble giant cactus, pink pearls, sturdy columns or delicate curtains, and in several places, water ponds are fed by stalactite material.

Meet the Petralona caveman

The cave is very important, as it presents anthropological and paleontological interest. In 1960, during the exploration works, the most important finding was the cranium of a primitive man, unique in Greece, which is now at the University of Thessaloniki.

He lived about 200,000 years ago and belongs to a transitional form, between Homo Erectus (the Standing Man) and Homo Sapiens (the Wise Man). It is the oldest testimony to the presence of humans in Greece. The cranium was covered with an encrustation of stalactite material.

Archaeologists also found fossilized bones and teeth of the regional fauna, including cave bears, hyenas, lions, leopards, rhinos, deer, and equids. There is an exhibition of the fossils, together with a number of tools made of stone or bones that the primitive inhabitant used, at the Paleontological Museum, located only a few steps away from the cave.

The research continued until 1976. With a grant of the Greek National Tourism Organisation and care of the Greek Speleological Society, it opened to the public in 1979. Covering an area of 10,400 square meters, the length of the corridors is about 2,000 meters and temperature throughout the year remains stable at 17 ° C (± 1 º C).

It is located 800 meters from the settlement of Petralona, 50 km from Polygyros, capital of the Halkidiki prefecture and 50 km from Thessaloniki.

Athena Tsakiri
Licensed Tourist Guide

I choose Sithonia because..

1) Itamus

The mountain and the pine forest which crosses the entire second leg of Halkidiki. Incredibly beautiful scenery that reflects its vegetation on the waters on either side of Sithonia.

Archaeologists have found a multitude of prehistoric settlements in their entirety here, as the area was inhabited since 4,000 BC. Its highest altitude is 808 meters above sea level. An ideal place for hiking with breathtaking views. At night, foxes come all the way down to the road.

2) Upper Nikita

The transformation of the historic community of Nikitas is today a model of a preserved settlement that has revived uniquely thanks to the restoration of exceptional houses and the creation of new entertainment poles. A scenery-village which rises all the way up to the historic temple of Agios (saint) Nikitas. With mild growth and constant interventions on its paved streets, it will become the most desirable place of Sithonia in the near future. Don’t forget to buy the famous Sithon honey from the “sousoura” plants.

3) Tristinika

A stunning beach with incredible waters and the historic hippie bar Ethnic dominating the hill. Deep, uniquely blue waters and thick white sand create a rare scenery. The nearby, less known beach of Kryfos Paradisos (Hidden Paradise) can be reached by crossing a stretch of reeds, and remains one of the few nudist beaches in Halkidiki. Continue reading “I choose Sithonia because..”