Sithonia, or ‘the second leg’ as it is called locally, is a peninsula and eponymous municipality in the area Chalkidiki in the Region of Macedonia in Northern Greece. Sithonia, surrounded by the Toronean- and Sigitan Gulf, is the middle peninsula between Kassandra and Athos. The Seat of the municipality is Nikiti, located on the top of the peninsula and famous by its picturesque alleys and traditional stone-buildings.

Compared to the neighboring Kassandra-peninsula, Sithonia comprises a far larger area by less colonization. This means infinite untouched landscapes defined by a large mountain in center and many beaches, cliffs and bays around the coast.

Visitors can expect a stay in marvelous environment, traditional villages, historic places vast coastlines, hidden beaches and the biggest natural-harbor in Greece. Sithonia is a paradise for relaxation but offers plenty of leisure activities. Nature-lovers can benefit from versatile hiking-tracks and diving-places. Traditional restaurants are taking care for the physical well-being.

The Villages of Sithonia

Nikiti, Agios Nikolaos, Vourvourou, Neos Marmaras, Toroni, Sarti, Sykia, Metagitsi


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Sithonia - Geography & History

Sithonia (Greek: Σιθωνία) defines the area of the central peninsula, extending geographically from the cape in the south to the north-direction until the area of the village Metangitsi in Central-Chalkidiki. The administrative center of the region is located in Nikiti. Sithonia is inhabited continuously since ancient times. The name of the region refer from 'Sithon', son of the god Poseidon.

The landscape of Sithonia is characterized by vast highlands, forests and virgin coastal areas with extensive sand & gravel beaches. The road along the coast of Sithonia leads through idyllic, old villages and spectacular landscapes. In spite the area's size, the population density is on a low level. The center of the peninsula is dominated by the mount Itamos, with a maximum crest-altitude of 816m. In the southeast of the peninsula, near the village Vovourou, the mountain-mass leads seamless to mount Karvounas. Westward Sithonia is surrounded by the Toroneos bay (also known as the bay of Kassandra), overlooking the fist peninsula Kassandra; Eastwards the peninsula overlooks the Siggitikos bay (also known as the bay of Athos) to the monastic republic of the third peninsula of Athos. The southernmost point of Sithonia is the area Kartalia. It's impressive rocky beaches lead up to the port-entrance of the bay of Port Koufo, the largest natural harbout in Greece. This port was mentioned already mentioned in the scripts of the ancient Greek historian and strategist Thucydides (Greek Θουκυδίδης).

To the north of Porto Koufo is the village Toroni. This place was founded in early ancient times. The ruins of the fortification still can be admired today.

To Sithonia belong also several small and mainly uninhabited islands on the peninsulas shore.

On the west of the peninsula, build on the area of the ancient settlement Galepos, is the largest city of Sithonia, Neos Marmaras. It was founded by refugees from the island of Marmara in 1922. With 2000 permanent inhabitants it is also the main commercial center of the region and place of the European summit in 2003. Outside of the town is the elegant holiday-resort of Porto Karras, which is also well-known for its fabulous wines. 5 km north-east of Neos Marmaras and nested in the Itmaos-mountain on an altitude of 350m is the interim abandoned and re-inhabited mountain-village Parthenonas (Greek: Παρθενώνας).

In the inland of Sithonia, located in the southern mountains is the village of Sykia; The windmills from 1890 are listed buildings of cultural and environmental heritage and are giving a good insight in the traditional, regional architecture.

Sarti is a touristic developed village on the east-coast of Sithonia with an impressive combination of highlands and sea including beautiful beaches with turquoise water. One of the most interesting areas is the 'Orange beach' (also called Kavourotrypes; translated crab-holes') to the north of Sarti. The crab-holes were named due to many coves and hollows caused by erosion in the barren ground. The most popular natural formation is a woman-shaped rock on the coast. Wind and water honed this stone and gave it this stunning shape of a female body. Later on various artists carved out further figures in the surrounding rocks. Previously the location for a nude-community (the engraving of the nude-camp 'Dionysus' can still be seen), later occupied by flower-people, this place hasn't lost anything of its relaxing atmosphere and inspires with stunning nature and naturalistic art.

Agios Nikolaos is an area at the north-eastern coast of Sithonia and includes several surrounding settlements. It contains the areas Vouvourou, Salonikiou-Beach and the port Ormos Panagias, from where various boats start their daytrips to circumnavigate the monastic republic of Athos. Southward the port-area is a fantastic panorama on the close Islands Diaporos, Elia Afiou Nikolaou, Persiteri and Aibelitsi.
Beaches like Azapiko, Tristinika, Korakas, Marathias, Kriaritsi are famous for its picturesque, natural beauty.

Depending on their location, the local-inhabitants main employment is fishing, beekeeping, agriculture and the production of olives & olive-oil. During summer tourism is the most important source of income in Sithonia.

Ancient history:

Archaeological finds in Sithonia prove an inhabitation since the Paleolithic-era. In the 7th century BC arrived Euboean and Eretrian colonies from the southeast located region Chalcis, to settle down in Sithonia. The cities ('polis') Singos and Galepsos were founded. Singos was located in the today's region of Agios Nikolaos. Galepsos was established in the present territory of Neos Marmaras. The area of Sithonia was on the Persians King Xerxes I line of approach in his campaign against the Greek city-states. The local people were recruited. After the defeat of the Persians, the residents of Singos and Galepsos returned back to their areas. In order to protect Greek territories and trade-routes from further possible attacks, the Delian league was founded 478 BC. Athens had the leading role in this federation. The leaders of Sithonia joined the Delian League but left this alliance again before the Peloponnesian War to take an alliance with the nearby city Potidaia. In the course of decree of King Peridikkas in order to merge the population of smaller towns to a large community, many residents left their areas to move to the ever-expanding city Olynthos. During the Peloponnesian War, Sithonia was the battleground of the clashing forces of Athens and Sparta. In the course the settlements in Sithonia were occupied by Athens. In the year 421 BC, the 'Peace of Nicias'-treaty were closed which allowed the previously displaced population to return to their villages. The inhabitants responded reserved on this offer and only few actually returned to their former homes. Further Information about the historic course of the cities Singos and Galepsos after 421 BC are not available.
Under the direction of Olynthos, the area of Sithonia was admitted in the Chalcidian covenant. However, this league was disbanded after the defeat against the 2nd Olynthian war under the command of King Phillip II in 360 – 348 BC. As a consequence of its resistance, Olynthos was destroyed and Sithonia became integrated into the victorious kingdom of Macedonia.
In the 3rd Macedonian war against the Roman Empire, the Macedonian army was defeated in battle of Pygna 168 BC. This defeat marked the end of the Macedonian Empire followed by the end of the overall ancient Hellenic era. 167 BC Macedonia was divided into four republican, federal roman municipalities and consequently Sithonia under roman rule.
By the time of Constantine the Great, the inhabitants of Sithonia as like as the most regions Macedonia converted to Christianity.