Halkidiki – the spirit of Greece
A honeymoon in Halkidiki is good for the soul – from the deeply-religious eastern peninsular of Athos, with its ancient monasteries and extraordinary natural beauty, to the luxury holiday resorts with long sandy beaches lapped by the Aegean Sea
Greece has always been a favourite holiday destination for the Brits, with its endless sunshine, beautiful coastline, whitewashed villages and a choice of resorts and hotels to suit all tastes. However, honeymooners heading to Halkidiki, in the region of Macedonia, will discover a different side of Greece – one that is perfect for culture vultures and nature lovers as well as those seeking a wonderful beachside honeymoon.
Halkidiki, in northeast Greece, is a spiritual area that seems to have been blessed by the gods – with lush green mountains, forests, long stretches of beautiful sandy beaches and the stunning azure hues of the Aegean Sea making this an idyllic honeymoon destination. The region is rich in history with much to see, do and discover.
The geography of Halkidiki is striking and distinctive, resembling a three-pronged fork – like mythical Poseidon’s trident – with the long peninsular ‘legs’ of land that form Halkidiki reaching out into the Aegean Sea. The area is rich in gastronomic and cultural heritage and remains refreshingly unspoiled by tourism and development.
City of Thassaloniki
Most visitors to Halkidiki will arrive at Thassaloniki airport, so a trip into this city, one of the most beautiful in Macedonia, is highly recommended. The history of Thassaloniki dates back 2,300 years, so exploring its museums, churches and archaeological sites is a must. If shopping is your thing, then head to Tsimiski Avenue, where you will find all the best shops and stores. From the city, the winding drive south to the Halkidiki coast offers lush, mountainous scenery and the flavour of authentic Greece.
Kassandra & Sithonia
Once at the Halkidiki coast, you will discover that each of its three ‘legs’ offers its own identity. Those seeking beaches, marinas, beach activities and holiday fun in the sun will find all they could wish for on the first of the three ‘legs’ – cosmopolitan Kassandra, where you’ll find luxury resort hotels providing the setting and facilities for a magnificent seaside honeymoon in the sun.
The second ‘leg’, Sithonia, is the perfect choice for nature lovers, with its undeveloped rural beauty – here you can find secluded coves, traditional seafront guesthouses, hidden treasures and marinas, as well as unique archaeological sites.
The third ‘leg’ – the peninsular of Mount Athos, is the most intriguing. This peninsular is only partially inhabited and is the only place in Greece that is completely dedicated to Christian prayer and the worship of God. At the southernmost tip of Athos is the awe-inspiring Mount Athos, standing 2,033 metres high – its snow-capped peak is usually crowned by white clouds and is a spectacular sight.
Athos boasts the oldest surviving monastic community in the world, dating back more than a thousand years. Although it is still part of Greece, it has been divided into 20 self-governed territories, each consisting of a monastery full of priceless treasures, which is basically a commune, where monks live, work and pray together. Mount Athos is occupied solely by monks and hermits, who live in a peaceful, solitary world of isolation. It is inaccessible to visitors – with the exception of a handful of religious pilgrims who have had prior written permission from the monasteries to visit. There is also a strict rule that absolutely no women are allowed to step foot onto the land!
But all is not lost to curious tourists, who can take a four-hour boat trip from the bordering village of Ouranoupolis, and view the spectacular peninsular from the sea. From here you can clearly see the spectacular monasteries perched along its coastline – in fact, if you look closely you can even see monks going about their business. This region is completely unique – you won’t find anywhere else like this in the world.
Village of Ouranoupolis
Ouranoupolis, at the border of Athos, is considered to be one of the most important resorts in Halkidiki. In the souvenir shops you will find an eclectic mix of elaborate religious iconography, jewels and crucifixes on sale as well as local products such as oil, wine, honey, oregano and local tea. You can even buy your own miniature chapel! You can dine in the local beachside cafes and taverns for a leisurely lunch or to watch the sun set over the ocean. You may even find yourself rubbing shoulders with pilgrims and monks having their last supper before entering the forbidden monastic state of Mt Athos.
Sport & activity
If you enjoy mountain scenery, you can spend your days exploring the paths, ideal for mountain biking and walking, which cut their way through the forests of pine, oak, fir and chestnut trees. If you’d like to stay in the mountains, check out the traditional guesthouses at Holomóntas and in other areas higher up on the mountain slopes. If you prefer to have fun on the water, then the area offers plenty of watersports – windsurfing, kite-surfing, diving, water skiing, sailing and many other activities are on offer in abundance.
Weddings in Halkidiki
With such a strong spiritual and religious vibe, Halkidiki is an ideal destination for a religious wedding. However, for those who simply want to marry in the Greek sunshine against a stunning backdrop of beautiful scenery – from rustic villages to its gorgeous beaches lapped by the Aegean sea, then this is a lovely place to say “I do”. And with a stunning choice of venues – from 5-star luxury hotels and golden sand beaches to the tiniest of chapels, with little alters just big enough for the two of you, then getting married in Halkidiki will be a delightful experience.
The legal paperwork
You will need the following documents for your wedding ceremony in Rhodes:
- Full Birth Certificate
- Divorce decree or Death Certificate
- Certificate of No Impediment
- Apostille stamp (to certify that a document is a true copy of the original).
- Change of Name or Deed Poll Certificate (if relevant)
- Adoption Certificate (if relevant)
- Baptism Certificate (for Catholic or Greek Orthodox ceremonies)
- Document Translations
Religious Protestant Ceremony
- Both parties must show evidence of Christian faith and baptism
- Certificate from their Pastor for a series of pre-marital counseling sessions.
- One of the parties must be of Protestant faith.
- Two witnesses must be in attendance
Roman Catholic Ceremony
Catholic weddings can only be performed if the bride and groom were not previously married, either the bride or the groom must be Catholic and both must be baptized. Each couple must provide certificates of Baptism, confirmation and Freedom to marry.
After the wedding
After the ceremony the couple have a legal obligation to register the wedding at the local council within 40 days, failure to do so will result in the marriage having no validity. Your Marriage Certificate will be issued in Greek, so you will be required to have it translated into English. Your original documents will be kept as records in the mayor’s office.