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Ammouliani is a tiny island off the coast of Halkidiki. In fact, it’s the region’s only island, a green droplet in the Gulf of Agion Oros and a small paradise made up of white sandy beaches, clear blue sea and a serene pace of life. With a history that goes back centuries, it also offers plenty of excursion opportunities.
The main town of Ammouliani is built like an amphitheatre above the bay, with beautiful, tiled roofs, verdant gardens and alleyways sweeping down to the seashore. In its picturesque harbour, you’ll find boats whose colourful reflections shimmer on the calm water, while the old shipyard, with its Mt Athos-inspired architecture, invokes the times when the island was a dependency of the Vatopedi Monastery. Following the paths uphill, you will reach the highest point of the village and enjoy the panorama of Athos Peninsula and Agion Oros itself.
If you like hiking, you’ll especially enjoy the footpaths through nature as the island is full of olive trees and bushes. And since Ammouliani is a bird sanctuary, don’t forget your binoculars to enjoy your winged co-travellers.
Ammouliani takes its name from “ammos” meaning “sand”, so … you get the idea. The beaches on Ammouliani boast exotic white sand and turquoise waters, many certified with blue flags. You must swim in Alikes, the most popular and photogenic beach, enjoy the peace in Karagatsi and Porto Agio or head to Ai Giorgis and Megali Ammos for your daily swim. All are organised with umbrellas and sunloungers.
From Megali Ammos beach, head around the island by renting a boat. The seabed will fascinate you with its variety of aquatic life. And east of Ammouliani, lies a beautiful cluster of islets known as Drenia, or sometimes Gaidouronisia.
Should you want to see other places, besides the island, Ouranoupoli and Ancient Stageira, Aristotle’s birthplace, are both within easy reach. Finally, there are daily boat trips to the Mt Athos peninsula, where you can admire the cliffs-hugging monasteries.
You can’t leave Ammouliani without trying the fish, quite possibly the freshest you’ve ever tasted. The island has the second-largest fishing fleet in central Macedonia, so you’ll likely find yourself tucking into the results of a catch landed just a few hours ago.
Ammouliani has approximately 550 permanent inhabitants. Their Asia Minor ancestors came here as refugees from the islands of Propontida (near Istanbul) and brought along their culture, customs and values as well as a knowledge of the sea. If you want to delve deeper into their history, the Folklore Museum is well worth a visit.
With the same passion and determination that characterised their ancestors, present-day inhabitants have succeeded in making Ammouliani a welcoming island virtually all year round.
Around 2 nautical miles from the mainland, boats for Ammouliani leave from Tripiti, about 120km from Thessaloniki.
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