Arnaia is the most traditional village of Chalkidiki, having been designated by the Ministry of Culture as a “Historic Site”. It is built amphitheatrically, at the foot of Holomont, at an altitude of 600m., in a lush landscape with forests and plenty of running water. Her old name was Larigova or Liarigovi.
Throughout the village you will see a large number of old traditional houses of significant architectural value, made of stone and wood. They are works of Arvanites and Epirus technicians.
The reference point of the village is the central square, the “bazaar”, with the – age-old plane tree – a trademark of the village, through which drinking water flows. In the stone-built alleys, which start radially from the square, creating smaller squares and neighborhoods, one can admire the rich, traditional stock that this place has.
Visit the colorful and stone-built “Giannoudenas Square”, where the most remarkable samples of Arniotian architecture are gathered and visit the two exceptional museums: the textile museum and the folklore museum, and get lost in the beauty of the past!
In the cobbled streets of the village, where you will walk, you will enjoy another atmosphere, taken from time and seasons. You will see the cruciform with dome Church of Agios Anargyros, the imposing stone building of the primary school and you will taste organic honey, cheese, wines, mudovina, pastries, tulips and yogurt. Arnaia is the main area in organic primary production!
Arnaia is a tourist attraction all year round as it is located among forests and many people choose it to do agritourism, to walk on the paths in the dense mountains and to enjoy nature and the fresh air. In summer it is an ideal destination for an afternoon walk or for a meal in the traditional taverns of the central square. At a distance of 15 km from Arnaia are Stageira, the birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle, where there is the park of Aristotle that is worth seeing for you and your children.
Arnaia is considered a wonderful place for vacation and mountain tourism. And this is not said from narrow localistic perceptions, but based on reality. Because Arnaia is right in huge forests, with all the facilities of accommodation, with fresh air, with coolness, with wonderful cool water, without mosquitoes that fill the beaches in summer, with the possibility of walks in magical countryside and with a quiet and pleasant sleep, provides all the possibilities of vacation and mountain tourism.
It has the privilege to be almost an hour (70 km) away from Thessaloniki, and 30 km from the sea, with a journey of less than half an hour.
In addition to the benefits it offers in the field of mountain tourism, Arnaia is also an ideal destination for the summer, as it is very close to beautiful beaches of Halkidiki, which offer clear and safe waters, as well as spacious sandy beaches. At a distance of just 35 minutes by car you will find the beach of Ierissos, which is very famous and constitutes one of the all-time classic beaches of Halkidiki. The beach of Ierissos offers an organized part with sunbeds and beach bars for the lovers of comfort, as well as a free part for those who prefer the peace and quiet.
At the same distance, about 35 minutes through the provincial road of Polygyros-Ierissos, you can find Akti Pyrgos of Gomatio, Halkidiki. This is a beach with amazing natural beauty, which does not lack affordable luxury, as those who wish can find beach bars with elegant design and very good service.
Another beach that you can reach in 30 minutes through the provincial road of Thessaloniki-Ierissos is Stratoni. It is a quiet, spacious beach, with soft sand and clear blue waters, with great options for coffee and food.
ACTIVITIES & SIGHTS:
Eastern Chalkidiki and the region of Arnaia is the place that gives you many opportunities for day trips, since the alternation of the place (300 km of coastline between three mountains protected by the European Treaty of Natura 2000) enables the development of natural phenomena and human activities, which are rarely found in a single holiday destination.
– Walks in Arnaia:
. Starting from the main square, whichever road you follow you will need a maximum of 10 to 20 minutes to complete a very interesting walk.
. The Municipality has designed 6 distinct walking routes with the aim of serving the visitors and the easier acquaintance with the architectural wealth of the settlement. All routes start and end radially in the main square, revealing both the near and far corners of the settlement.
. The shortest walking route (10 minutes) is the one marked in red on the map and passes through Gerogianni Square and Kari Pazari. The larger ones, such as the green and the yellow, lead to the northern ends of the historic center, reaching as far as Horostasi and the church of Agios Stefanos.
- Historical Folklore Museum: The Historical and Folklore Museum is located in a stone-built, narrow street near the central square of Arnaia and is part of the historic center of the settlement. It is housed in the mansion of Iatrou, or Giatratiko, one of the most beautiful buildings of the settlement and the oldest in Chalkidiki. It probably dates to the second half of the 18th century, or the beginning of the 19th. The building belonged to Konstantinos Katsangelos and housed the folklore collection, which had been placed by the Cultural and Educational Association of Arnaia. It has been operating as a museum since the summer of 1999 and today belongs to the Municipality of Aristotle.
- Weaving Museum: The best way to get acquainted with the weaving art and the local tradition is to visit the Weaving Museum which is housed in a traditional two-storey building in Arnaia. It was a private residence and is known as the house of Giannoudenas. It dates back to 1870. The building was restored and properly designed by the Municipality to house the Museum of Textiles.
- Church of Agios Stefanos: Three-aisled basilica with a bell tower dating from 1889. It is the only church in Greece that operates for the needs of the faithful while it is built on antiquities of great value – and even visible, since on the floor of the church there are special windows. In the famous bell tower of the church, when they were liberated from the Turkish yoke, the Arnaiotes hung a historical clock that the Turks had transported from the village of Tepalides, when they destroyed Liarigovi in 1821.
- Agia Paraskevi Grove: it is one of the most popular recreation areas and is only 2 km from Arnaia. The walk in the grove of Agia Paraskevi with the oaks, the church of the same name and the refreshments will refresh you and relax you. Schools from all over Chalkidiki and dozens of people touring the Municipality of Aristotle visit it all seasons. Here, on July 26, one of the biggest festivals in the area takes place.
- Profitis Ilias: hill of Profitis Ilias has a beautiful view and has always been a strategic point of control of the area. It is located near Arnaia and is considered the citadel of the ancient Arnes mentioned by Thucydides in the Peloponnesian War. The excavations of 2003 by the 10th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, led by archaeologist I. Papagelos, highlighted the wall, while the ruins of the Acropolis are preserved on the slopes. Ceramics, coins and tombs have been found. The hill got its name from the chapel that exists there.
- Claudia Papagianni Winery
In the wider area of Arnaia:
- Aristotle Park: It is the only theme park in Chalkidiki. It is worth visiting to see the interesting instruments and enjoy the wonderful view to the bay of Ierissos. The grove pre-existed and the magnificent location was chosen in 1956 to house the imposing statue of Aristotle, the work of the sculptor Nicholas, to honor the great philosopher who was born in Ancient Stageira.
- Ancient Stageira: The most important historical site of Chalkidiki, the ancient Stageira, is located on the Liotopi peninsula, next to today’s Olympiada. Browsing is a real pleasure. In fact, if you want to see them all, know that you will need at least 2 to 3 hours and do not miss the coastal path which is wonderful. The city was founded in 665 BC, by Ionian settlers who arrived from the island of Andros, while a little later settlers from Chalkida also settled there.
- Ancient Akanthos: Ancient Akanthos was spread on three hills of Mount Stratonikos in an area of 560 acres, about 600 meters southeast of the settlement of Ierissos. The walled city got its name either from the many thorns of the area, or from the thorny formation of the fortification. No systematic excavation has been carried out. Some of the travelers of the last century mention the existence of an ancient pier in the port of the city. Indeed, the current traces of ancient Akanthou start from the beach of Ierissos, where remnants of the quay of the ancient port are preserved. The most impressive of the ruins are the walls of the citadel, as parts up to 8 meters high are preserved!
- Ancient Sani: According to the few ancient sources, in the wider area of Nea Rhodes, Chalkidiki, there are three important archeological sites, ancient Sani, colony of Andria, the canal opened by Xerxes, in order to avoid the dangerous sea of Mount Athos, his campaign in Greece, and finally the ancient Ouranoupolis (or Ouranopolis), the fortified city founded by Alexander, brother of Cassander, at the end of the 4th century BC.
- Barbara Waterfalls: The harmony of nature includes two incredible waterfalls and is completed with orchards, alders, lindens, beeches, wild hazelnuts that grow all around, while the rocks with bright colors form a kind of gate at the top. Both the location and the sense of calm, serenity and contact with the natural element make you think you have discovered a piece of earthly paradise.
- Mid-Byzantine castle Neposi: Southwest of the settlement Paleochori, at the top of a steep hill in the wider area with the place name Neposi, is Kastelli. The hill is surrounded by the waters of the stream Paleochorinos Lakkos, a tributary of the Havria, the river Ormylia There is only one narrow and inaccessible path that connects the inaccessible hill with the mountain that extends to its east. However, the castle is not visible from a distance, because around it rise larger mountains, the natural terrain is very intense and the vegetation is lush.
- Mount Athos:
The Monastic Community of Mount Athos (Agion Oros) is geographically defined by the boundaries of the Athos peninsula, the easternmost leg of the larger Chalkidiki peninsula, being a self-governing community within the Greek territory.
Mount Athos is a living worshiping and hesychastic community with continuous and uninterrupted presence that spans over a millennium. It consists of twenty sovereign Monasteries, skētes (smaller communities of Christian hermits with a common area of worship), cells and kathismata (units with a small church operated by the monks living under the spiritual and administrative supervision of a monastery) scattered throughout the peninsula. For more than a thousand years successively, the Holy Mountain operates as one of the most important cultural conservatories for both the Orthodox Christian and the Greek civilization. Directly and tangibly associated with the Byzantine world in all of its religious and cultural manifestations, the twelve century years old monastic community constitutes a living record of human activities, preserving an enormous wealth of historic, artistic and cultural elements that includes manuscripts, incunabula and post-incunabula.
The Holy Mountain is a monumental complex of an outstanding universal value, listed in the Unesco World Heritage List (WHL 454) since:
- a) It constitutes a unique artistic creation that combines the physical environment of the location with the expanded forms of architectural creation.
- b) Being an Orthodox spiritual center since the 10th century, the Holy Mountain still retains its prominent role within the Orthodox world by its presence and its spiritual impact in the Balkan peninsula and Russia, as well as in the United States of America, England, Finland and Africa.
c) The structured human habitation, from the 10thcentury onwards, has fashioned establishments intended for both communal and liturgical activities, such as the Catholicon (the central Church of the monastery), the refectory, the monks’ cells, hospital, libraries, chapels etc. There are also defensive structures, such as fortified towers and harbors, while the skētes,the cells and the kathismata have become a model for Orthodox monastic institutions.
d) The Fathers at the Holy Mountain have developed and preserved a traditional mode of living and a unique management practice, where sustainability finds its true meaning in our post-modern society. Karies is the capital of Mount Athos. It is a small village that has some houses, shops and few temples. Here is situated the building of Holy Community, where the representatives of the twenty Monasteries In front of this building stands the temple of Protaton, the cathedral of Karies. There is kept the miraculous icon AXION ESTI. Opposite the Protato, lies an ancient tower. Inside the tower is the library where is kept the first document of Mount Athos, written on goat skin and called “Tragos”.
RESTAURANT & ENTERTAINMENT:
– Platanos, Greek Cuisine
You can try traditional Greek grilled plates in the center of the village of Arnaia
– Tavern Delicious, Restaurant
Good food for all tastes (meat and fish), accompanied by Greek music.
– Bakatsianos, Restaurant
You can enjoy a wide variety of Mediterranean and Greek flavors while enjoying the view of the green grove of Agia Paraskevi.
– Kabamaru, Restaurant
A restaurant that serves breakfast and brunch in the center of Arnaia.
– Green Village, Restaurant
You can try special local recipes cooked in a wood oven and enjoy your coffee or drink in a pleasant environment.
– Chasapakia, Grill
It is the ideal place for lovers of gyros and grilled meats. You will find it in Arnaia square.
– Ainigma Café Snack Bar
You will find it in the center of the village. It offers a wide range of coffees, beverages, and breakfast or snack options.
– Café Petrino
Local coffee house, you will find it in Arnaia square. You can take a break while enjoying your coffee, juice or hot chocolate.
– Rantevou Bar
This is a bar with a warm atmosphere, ideal for a drink or cocktail.