A thrilling mountain hiking tour in Halkidiki is at your disposal… get into the forest of unprecedented beauty and enjoy an easy hiking experience (Kipouristas Waterfalls at Varvara village Halkidiki) that is good enough to stretch your legs and breathe fresh air in the forest. The duration can go up to 3 hours with breaks and stops necessary for capturing the perfect image.
A more demanding and challenging route is the “Stratonikos Mount 858m, Crossing Stratonikos Mountain, Varvara “ where proper equipment and moderate fitness level is required. Test your stamina by selecting this route. For exquisite culinary experiences (upon demand) you can stop at Varvara village.
The exact description of the hiking experience is as follows:
Early departure from the Eagles Palace Hotel in Halkidiki to Varvara village’s church. A short walk around 500 m. on asphalt will take you to the entrance of the path slightly dropping down for about 20 min. Then the path goes uphill and merges into a forest road. Stay on that road leading to the springs (50 min). Refill your water container and rest. The path continues ascending for an hour gaining 350 m of height reaching Tsolaki point and a small chapel. Up to the summit of Stratonikos Mountain called Plakes at 858 m. altitude and back to the chapel to continue our route to Stavros. The trail enters a beautiful beech forest dropping down to Korakopetra with magnificent views to Stavro, Asprobalta, Brasna and Paggaio Mountain at the background. All the way down to Stavros our final destination.
For the hikers who want to be challenged and challenge their physical stamina they can choose:
“Hiking Route in the Holly Mountain Nea Skiti – Athos” (9 km/ 5, 6 miles) which is a very demanding uphill hike route to the top of Mt. Athos. From the dropping point take the stairs up to Nea Skiti. Reach the centre and continue following the stairs up to a junction with the road to Agios Pavlos going left. Keep right (South) to Agia Anna’s hermitage. The trail traverses passing a beautiful hangar and ends up to a cobbled road leading to Agia Anna. Follow the cement road until Kiriako Skiti where you can rest or stay over. From here starts the most uphill and steep part of the route. Climb the cement stairs (approx.1,500) through scree to the woods. Continue the ascent passing a well without water, a junction that leads to holy water (there is a sign there) and traverse to a balcony with a wooden cross. The view from up here is breath-taking. Stay on the trail as it leads to Stavros, a hub where all other trails leading up meet. Continue climbing North through the chestnut forest to church Panagia which can be used as a refuge. There is a well here filling with rainwater that can be used for cooking and washing. In bare landscape now take the path to the top that is right above. The path is visible, man made in some points and demarcated with iron rods. It is one hour and a half to the summit with the big iron Cross and the church of Metamorfosis that can be also used as a refuge in case of emergency.
For the hikers that got what it takes, then this route is the ideal one, since they can choose the demanding “hiking route in the Holly Mountain M. Xiropotamou – Karies – M. Iviron”; it is a medium difficulty hiking route (of 10.5 km/6.5 miles) in the holly grounds where the hiker can visit historical monasteries and get inspired by the beauty of the surrounding nature.
If you weren’t to visit historical monasteries and get inspired by the beauty of the surrounding nature, then the “Hiking Route in the holly mountain M. Xiropotamou – Karies – M. Iviron” is the ideal one; 10,5 km/6,5 miles medium difficulty hiking route in the holly grounds.
Reach Xiropotamou Monastery from Dafni port. At the East side of the monastery climb right from the wall find a grass cobbled track bearing right from a stone wall along the edge of a farm with olive trees while having a large canyon of your left. At a fork with one track dropping down keep straight ahead to a tractor road. Follow this road to a tank (reservoir) and to the main road for Karues. Stay on the road as it passes through a forest and ascents gently to the hump until Stavros point. Take the first right and at the second follow single-track dropping down. After 50 meters bear left to an old tractor road and merge after a brief steep descent with a forest road as it turns. Stay at the road ignoring smaller paths to your right until you reach the farms of the Monastery Koutloumousiou. The forest road broadens to a wide cobbled road into Karues, the capital city of Athos and meets the main track opposite of a bakery. Continue right, heading South East over a bridge into Koutloumousiou Monastery. Pass in front of the entrance out to a cement road. Follow this ignoring other trails to a left turn marking right the entrance of the single track soon to be double track and then cobble path. Drop down keeping a ravine to your right into the woods to a junction for Panagouda. Pass the river from the stone bridge and continue your descent following a well paved path to the ravine again. A beautiful stone bridge takes you over it and into a gentle heather covered path. Cross the forest road into a double tack that will bring you to the entrance of the monastery.