Dream-like Halkidiki
  • Dream-like Halkidiki - Greece
    Dream-like Halkidiki

Refresh yourselves with a dive into the blue-green waters while the yacht docks at one of the two marinas of Halkidiki, and indulge yourselves at the spas or gourmet restaurants. Book your stay at luxury suites and villas that have hosted legendary stars and world leaders.  Try your hand at the golf courses and participate in the international games organised annually. The local casino is reminiscent of the atmosphere of New Orleans; come and try your luck at the roulette and blackjack tables.  Dance at the beach bars and the private beaches and continue clubbing and enjoying the nightlife  of Halkidiki. 

Αt organised beaches, you can enjoy impeccable service, water skiing, wakeboarding, parasailing or go scuba diving and explore the wonderful sea floor of Halkidiki. Try gilt-head sea breams, grilled octopus, calamari and seafood served at local restaurants accompanied by a glass of ouzo  or tsipouro.    

Alexander the Great
  • Alexander the Great - Greece - Macedonia
    Alexander the Great

Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great from the Greek ἀλέξω alexo "to defend, help" + ἀνήρ aner "man"), was a king of Macedon, a state in northern ancient Greece. Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until the age of 16. By the age of thirty, he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas.He was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history's most successful commanders.His empire stretched from Greece to modern-day Pakistan Alexander succeeded his father, Philip II of Macedon, to the throne in 336 BC after Philip was assassinated. Upon Philip's death, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. He had been awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father's military expansion plans. In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid empire, ruled Asia Minor, and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew the Persian King Darius III and conquered the entirety of the Persian Empire. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River.

Seeking to reach the "ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea", he invaded India in 326 BC, but was eventually forced to turn back at the demand of his troops. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in several states ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander's surviving generals and heirs.

Alexander's legacy includes the cultural diffusion his conquests engendered. He founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most notably Alexandria in Egypt. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles, and he features prominently in the history and myth of Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves, and military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics.

Mt. Olympus
  • Mt. Olympus - Greece
    Mt. Olympus

The awe felt with the view from the highest summit in Greece explains why ancient Greeks considered Mt. Olympus the Throne of Zeus and Hera, Hermes and Aphrodite, Artemis and the other gods.

Thousands of years later, with those deities lost in the distant past, climbing Mt. Olympus or other mountains in Central Macedonia is still a unique experience. Try paragliding, skiing down the snow-covered slopes, trek along the footpaths, drink an aromatic herbal tea from local plants at the beautiful villages, enjoy the Mediterranean way of life – people here commune with nature, and enjoy the mountains and the sea whatever the season of the year.

 

Follow the European Long Distance Path Ε4, and gauge you strength; Choose one of the nine shelters on Mt. Olympus to set off from, and attempt to conquer Mytikas Summit, at an altitude of 2,917m. The dense forests, deep ravines, alpine meadows and thrilling view of the sea, the snowcovered steep tops make Mt. Olympus one of the most beautiful in the world. 

This is what enchanted the Greeks and made them place the seat of the Dodecatheon, their 12 main deities, on Mt. Olympus and found Dion, a city dedicated to Zeus (or Dias), king of their gods, at the foot of the Mountain. Today, Dion is one of the best preserved archaeological sites.

If you climb during winter, you will need an experienced guide and sound equipment. In the springtime, the waters of the Enipeus River and the colours of nature seem miraculous – one can spot truly rare wild flowers endemic to Mt. Olympus, such as Haller’s Anemone [Anemone halleri] with its wonderful violet petals and yellow centred flowers. 

 

In March you can participate or watch the International Ski Mountaineering Competition and in June the Mountain Marathon Race. In the summer and autumn Mt. Olympus teems with life; Climbs are easier and all shelters in operation. But beware – the divine mountain is never as easy as a dip in the shores of Pieria!

The Gold of Macedon
  • Archaeological Museum of Vergina, Royal Tombs - Greece
    Archaeological Museum of Vergina, Royal Tombs

Excellent craftsmen paying attention to detail and with  a fine sense of taste, ancient Macedonians knew the secrets of the goldsmith’s craft like few others in Europe.
The precious metal came alive in their hands and they honoured their kings with it, sealed the vows of life with it and used it as a symbol of power and their social status. Gold from the land of Macedon funded the army of King Philip and Alexander the Great and enabled them to conquer the whole of the then known world. Macedonians borrowed ideas from Persian craftsmen and developed their craft.
Elaborate gold heirlooms and jewellery from the Kingdom of Macedon are on display at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, the New Archaeological Museum at Pella and the Royal Tombs of Vergina.

Mt. Athos (Holy Mountain)
  • Dionisiou Monastery - Mt. Athos (Holy Mountain) - Greece
    Mt. Athos (Holy Mountain) - Dionisiou Monastery

The Peninsula of Mt. Athos is home to the Holy Mountain, the most significant centre of the Greek Orthodox faith, with a thousand-year old history. Visitable monasteries, works of unique architectural style protected as World Heritage Sites, house relics of Greek Orthodox saints, holy heirlooms, rare Byzantine manuscripts and imperial documents. You can worship at the Megisti Lavra Monastery, the largest monastery of the Holy Mountain, and the Russian, Bulgarian and Romanian Monasteries. Only men may enter the Monastic community, but it is worth taking a cruise with a professional guide around the Peninsula so as to see the famous monasteries from a distance.