Dominating the Athos Peninsula, one of the three prongs of Halkidiki, is Mount Athos, one of Greece's most holy sites. Entry is restricted to males by permit only, and it can only be reached by boat. The mountain is sacred to the Virgin Mary, and no other female is permitted, other than domestic cats and chickens. The mountain is occupied by 20 Orthodox monasteries, and evidence shows that monks have been present there since the 8th century. The mountain can be viewed from the beaches throughout the peninsula, and the sight of it rising from the sea makes for stunning photos.
Undiscovered until 1930, this incredible cave network is fascinating not only for it's amazing subterranean landscape of stalagmites and stalactites, but also for its incredible wealth of archaeological discoveries. In 1960 the oldest European skull was discovered, and since then the cave is not only a visitor attraction but a research centre, which has found such treasures as fossils of extinct animals, primitive tools, and ancient traces of fire.
The beaches in the region are among the most beautiful in Greece, and of a very high standard - with the majority been awarded Blue Flag status. The combination of clear sapphire waters with golden sand give them a picture postcard appeal, and they are as popular for relaxing and enjoying the view as they are for swimming and watersports.