Chalkidiki

DSC01797 We spent a couple of days exploring Thessaloniki before heading down to the middle prong of Chalkidiki, Sithonia. Thessaloniki is a bustling city with more cars than parking spots. We arrived at the beginning of December, the shops were full and despite all the noise in the press there were no obvious signs of any economic crisis. Restaurants were busy over the weekends and the bars were full. There are quite extensive Roman ruins and huge city walls dating back to 200BC and numerous Byzantine churches.

Roman forum

Roman forum

Sea front with White Tower and cycle track.

Sea front with White Tower and cycle track.

 

Mount Olympus

Mount Olympus

We found a great cycle track out of the city taking us past the White tower along the sea front and past a lot of the urban sprawl. Once we got clear of the city the roads were very quiet and we took a couple of days to get to Toroni on Sithonia where we had booked a small villa through airbnb. We planned to winter in Toroni for a couple of months before heading on to Turkey.

Toroni beach

Toroni beach
Toroni was very quiet, there was one small supermarket open and only a few locals around. It is a small village on the coast with a lovely beach with golden sands. It is not overdeveloped with a scattering of holiday apartments and a few cafes all closed. We enjoyed our time here exploring the area on foot and unladen on bicycle. We had great views across to mount Olympus on a clear day and when we crossed to the eastern side of the peninsula lovely views of Mount Athos. The rocky hills are covered with a mixture of scrub and pine trees, criss crossed with rocky trails. We would meet the occasional goat herd with a flock of over 100 goats but rarely see anyone else. The herds were guarded by large fierce sheepdogs. The area is renowned for it’s honey and there were bee hives everywhere. On warm days the bees were still active even in January seeking out flowering heathers and early lavenders.

Bee hives

Bee hives

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Mount Athos

Mount Athos

Pip being attacked by sheepdogs

Pip being attacked by sheepdogs

2014-02-13 11.56.54 2013-12-14 16.52.43 We kept hearing news of the UK being lashed by gales and flooding which made us feel a bit guilty as we mostly had beautiful weather with temperatures in the high teens. The nearest small town was Sikia, a lovely ride across the tracks to the other side of the island. DSC01830 We found eveyone very friendly, and loved the time we spent in Toroni, Sithonia is very beautiful and relatively unspoilt. There are still wild beaches with no buildings in sight. We are sorry to be leaving.

1 thought on “Chalkidiki

  1. Thelma

    Really enjoyed reading this, very glad all is well. Pippa’s encounter with the dogs looked like an affable one. Very best wishes. thelma x

    Reply

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