Route 19 - Through the Holomondas to Paleohora

Walking Info Part 1

This long walk starts almost at the summit of Mt. Holomondas above the village of Taxiarchis and then descends through remote terrain to the village of Paleochora, 10km to the northwest. The route follows modern forest tracks as well as much older mule tracks in its gradual descent through beautiful forest, bush and farmland.

Walking Info Part 2

The start of the route is a forest track on the left hand side of the road from Taxiarchis to Arnea, approximately 3.3 km north of the junction of the road to Arnea with the road leading down into the village of Taxiarchis. Look for the waymarker sign which should be prominently displayed.

The walk begins at the sandy track immediately to the north of the car park of the Sani Beach Hotel. A sign at the start of the path directs you to Bousoulas Bar. Follow this sandy track to the brow of the slope, then turn right onto the sandy track, which winds in a northeasterly direction through the pinewoods (look for the 'Poseidon' sign). In about 300m at the path junction turn left, following the Poseidonmarkers. This path soon bears right, then left, passing two large pine trees close together on the left, as the path meanders in a northwesterly direction to reach a large clearing in the woods; lower than the surrounding area. Skirt round the left edge of the clearing and make for the large concrete structure, set into the ground on the far side. The path meanders in a northerly direction for about a kilometre to arrive at the water pumping station, which is used to control the water in the wetlands. There are many tracks in these woods, so make sure you follow the 'Poseidon' signs. This is a good point to stop for a break and look across the wet fields of the Sani bird Sanctuary. However, an even better view will be obtained later in the walk from the olive groves on the slope to the east.

To continue, walk east across the end of the dry water channel near the pumping station towards dense bushes. Bear right before the bushes onto a track, leading briefly north, then east, up a gentle slope, with woodland on the left and an olive grove on the right, the route now takes you over two low hills, passing several small olive groves. Take time to enjoy the expansive view from here of the flooded valley below, before descending to meet the road leading from the coast to the Agricultural Prison, which can be seen on the hill to the west. Turn left towards the coast, unless you first wish to visit the turtle pond; near the gates of the prison. This involves a detour of 400m each way.

Continuing towards the coast, the track rises gently for 350m then levels out where a track leads off to the right. A brick built hunters' shelter stands a short distance along this track. Our route continues towards the coast.Alittle further on notice the Eklissaki (little church) in the olive grove to the right of the path. In another 40m the road swings left to skirt the low lying fields and drainage channel between us and the coast. The path wends its way first south and then east until the bridge across the drainage channel is reached. Cross the bridge and take the path to the left, leading onto a hard sandy track, which enters the woods beside the dunes. The sea is very near here and the waves can be clearly heard breaking on the snore. If you prefer to return to Sani along the beach you can do so from this point. If you prefer the shade of the woods, the route continues in a southerly direction for 800m to arrive back at the water pumping station. From here you must decide whether to return via the outward route, via the beach, or via the edge of the wood to Sani (see map). To return via the edge of the wood take the broad farm track which leads south and skirts the woods, passing farm buildings and clusters of beehives along the way.You will encounter beehives like this in woodland all over Halkidiki.* In about 700m the track joins the access road leading from Porto Sani Village to the Sani Beach Hotel. Turn right along this road to arrive at the Sani-Beach Hotel in 400m.

*Beekeeping in Halkidiki The production of honey is important to the local economy. Many local people keep bees, either as a hobby or an additional source of income. If they are regularly moved, one hive can produce up to 50Kg of pine nectar honey per year. If they are kept in one place only 5kg of honey per year may result.