Polygiros, standing at 600m above sea level, is the administrative centre of Halkidiki. Inhabited since prehistoric times, the citizens of Polygiros began the uprising in 1821 against the Turks. This eventually led to the ousting of the Turks from the area in 1912. Polygiros has an interesting archeological museum with artefacts from all over Halkidiki.
This hillside, previously inaccessible, is well endowed with flowering shrubs, flowers and butterflies, according to the season.
This walk takes one up onto the mountain overlooking Polygiros from the southeast. The first part of the trip provides panoramic views of the city and terrain to the northwest, as it winds its way up to the church of the Prophet Elias. This church, with its large stone cross, is a prominent landmark that stands high above the town.
The route then follows the mountain ridge leading east to the Te l e c o m m u n i c a t i o n s masts on the summit of Stavrou Tuba (942m). This is followed by a steep descent down a ridge back to Polygiros. The paths on this route have all been made through the scrubland in the last few years and should be in good condition, so stout shoes should suffice (21/2hours)
The path starts about 300m past the traffic lights in Polychrono, just opposite a small supermarket. Here a track leads southeast towards the hills behind the village. Ignore the large blue notice near the traffic lights, that indicates another route to the turtles. Our route is quieter, more scenic and you are less likely to be bothered by traffic. The sandy track, rising from the village, passes through pine trees to arrive at an olive grove in 300m. The path continues in a southerly direction to arrive at a junction. Turn right here to follow the track, that leads first
southwest, then southeast, then southwest again to arrive at a cornfield. The track enters the field, first keeping to the right side and then crossing the field to follow the left edge for a total distance of about 400m. The route then swings west across the field towards a small patch of woodland. On each of these westerly traverses fine views of the coast can be observed to the right. The path briefly enters the woods and then emerges into another cornfield situated in open terrain, which provides fine views to the north and east. The route takes us across the middle of this field and then into a grove of young olive trees. At the end of the olives turn right and follow the track due west across more fields. Eventually about 800m after leaving the woodland the path arrives at a junction, with a young olive grove on the corner.
Turn left here, following the route south for 50m, to the next fork. Take the right hand branch of the fork, which continues south, for 250m to arrive at another fork. Turn right again, keeping to the higher track, which eventually levels out and provides a fine view across the valley to the left. At the next junction again keep right as the track climbs to the north through the woods and then turns east to another junction. Here our route joins up with the main track through these woods and the junction is clearly marked with turtle and drinking water signs, which indicate that we should turn left up the hill. We now ascend to the southwest through mature forest along a broad forest track, which may have beehives lining the route.
After 350m a junction is reached at a high point. Once more the now familiar signs mark the way and we turn right, gradually descending to the north. In a further 250m the track splits three ways. Turn sharp left here as the route first descends to the south and then turns west again, gradually descending towards the floor of the deep, tree filled gorge to the right.To the left are high sandstone cliffs and to the right very large pine trees, many covered with dense ivy. In a short distance the track drops steeply as it curves right to reach the valley floor adjacent to the turtle pond. Here there are picnic tables, a drinking water fountain, and seats from which to view the turtles. To return to Polychrono continue past the pond on the same forest track to reach a junction in a short distance.
Turn right here and follow the road as it gradually descends to the east The rest of the walk follows this track as it descends through fine woodland and farmland, to Polychrono. As you walk the 3km back down to the village you will pass a beautiful little white church on the edge of a cornfield, and a little further on, a goat shelter. You can also enjoy the panoramic view ahead of the coastline, the gulf and the hills of Sithonia beyond. On a clear day Mt. Athos is easily seen. The path finally emerges onto the main street of Polychrono near the traffic lights.