Nestled deeply in Siggitikos bay, A breath away from the coastline of Mount Athos,Ammouliani and the surrounding islets have many beautiful beaches to show us despite their tiny size.
Large bays with emerald green waters circled by hills, which will even our most famous islands envy them, are waiting to discover them. Sheltered from strong winds, most of them are ideal coves and have all the conditions for peaceful nights on board.
On the south-eastern end of Ammouliani and just a few meters away, the islets of Drenia are located. They are a group of very small islets that give you the feeling that you are somewhere very far away, despite that the coasts of Chalkidiki can be seen quite visibly.
The port of Ammouliani is located on the north side of a low hill on which the only settlement of the island is built.
In recent decades, many people occupy with tourism, which has been developed very much and this is shown by the apartments, hotels, taverns and cafes, tourist shops and groceries, which are too many compared to the size of the island and the number of residents that do not exceed 600.
The entrance of the harbour faces NW and the long concrete pier located on the east side, protects the harbour from the Eastern mainly winds. The inner side of the pier is full of excursion boats and local fishing boats.
On the west side of the harbour there is the long concrete jetty where the ferries moor. On the south side of it there is a wide paved promenade and a small sandy beach. Right above the waterfront there are lined in queue the taverns and cafes, which put their tables over large wooden platforms that reach the sea.
We went up the main uphill road of Agios Nikolaos, which starts immediately after the pier and after a hundred meters leads us to the top of the hill. This short route through the village will reveal some beautiful old houses with yards full of flowers, standing there persistently, emphasizing their long history. Full of green with vines, roses, lemon and olive trees as well as beautiful bougainvilleas, remind us how the old settlement was once.
In a few minutes we reached the top of the hill where there is the central square which is by far the best part of the village. Wide and paved, it is surrounded by historic buildings, traditional houses and beautiful inns. It is a lovely neighbourhood where all the narrow streets of the village end.
We sat for a long time under the old olive tree of the square and admired the wonderful neighbourhood which travelled us to the beauty and simplicity of another era.
The circumnavigation of the island
With a perimeter not exceeding 8 nautical miles, Ammouliani is an ideal destination even for long vacation, especially if it is used as a base for our daily trips to the rugged coastline of Mt Athos, but also to the eastern coast of the second peninsula of Chalkidiki, which with no doubt resembles with a paradise.
Starting from the port heading southeast, we navigated the shores of the island facing the third peninsula of Chalkidiki (Mt Athos). First of all we encounter the bay of Kolios, which is the largest one and is located almost in the middle. Its northern end hosts the fishing harbour. Here the big fishing boats moor behind the long breakwater that protects the harbour from N winds and from S ones during winter.
A low wooded hill divides the coast of St. George from the coast of Megali Ammos which is located in the southern part of the island facing Mt Athos. This is definitely the most beautiful beach of this side and one of the most beautiful ones in Chalkidiki. With wide and slightly uphill beach with crystal clear waters, and lush vegetation, it is a jewel of Ammouliani and one of the major attractions of the island.
Going on our circumnavigation, we passed by the southeast end of Ammouliani and we were at the side of the island facing the second leg of Chalkidiki which extends three nautical miles.
It is the most rugged and astonishing coast of Ammouliani with hills dropping steeply into the sea forming beautiful bays.
Firstly, we meet Tourkolimano Bay on the south side of which the loneliest beach of the island is formed. Even if the seabed is full of stones, the all-white small sandy beach, the crystal clear waters and the lush vegetation compose a unique and unspoilt landscape, where we can enjoy wonderful moments of carefree relaxation.
After the next cape, we were entering the enchanting bay of Alykes. For many years Alikes is the most famous beach, which attracts thousands of visitors during the summer months. The huge and white sand that extends in a circle for several hundred meters and the shallow green waters remind of exotic paradise. Alykes has become the trademark of the island and is considered as the most beautiful beach.
Going on our cruise, we encountered Karagatsia Bay, which is the one of the most impressive ones of Ammouliani. With its crystal clear waters, the golden sand and the green high hills that surround it, is sure that will fascinate us. There is a very small concrete pier where we can berth and go to the beautiful beach.
Drenia Islets (Gaidouronisia)
These tiny islands are anyway by themselves a very important reason to visit Ammouliani. A small oasis of dots of land scattered in the deep blue sea. They are a special travel destination that certainly deserves our attention.
They follow the south-eastern edge of Ammouliani from which are separated by a narrow channel about two hundred meters. Drenia islets are a cluster of six islands with a very low altitude. The islet of Fyti, the islet of Artemis or otherwise Elia and the islet of Sparmeno are the biggest while the islet of Palamari, the islet of the Night and Pontikonisi (Phryne) at eastern, are very small with a perimeter not exceeding a dozen of meters.
The three largest islands are lined in queue from west to east, with passages of only a few meters and they are covering a total distance of one and a half kilometres, forming a natural breakwater that protects Ammouliani from strong southerly winds of winter.
The southern sides of these islands are rocky and steep unlike the northern ones where beautiful beaches are formed that are really crowded during the summer months.
Islet of Elia
It is the largest and highest of all the islets of the cluster, which in fact is at its centre. It used to be called Artemis, but later became known as the island of Elia (in Greek meaning olive), because it is full of olive trees.
Its perimeter reaches a mile and has a length of 600 meters and an average width of 250 meters.
It is really worth walking through this small island, the exploration of which will not take more than half an hour. Reaching the peaks of the southern cliffs we can admire the panoramic view of the sea and the impressive mount of Athos. The north side of Elia, which is the only one where we can reach by boat, is very smooth and almost all of it is an oblong beach of over 500 meters long.
This beach, together with the islet of Palamari, the islet of Night and the islet of Sparmeno enclose a small interior sea with very shallow waters, a unique natural pool, with green waters and sandy bottom, which is a very special and wonderful sight.
Islet of Sparmeno
Its perimeter is less than one nautical mile and consists of two very low hills, among of which two beaches are formed. One of them faces at east to the coast of Mount Athos and the other one at west, which is the one of the most beautiful beaches in the cluster. The last one guarantees an excellent anchorage and a wonderful sight at sunset.
The wide-white sand and the emerald waters will definitely fascinate anyone. The overnight here on board is a wonderful experience, giving us a strong sense of «happy castaways» on a faraway point of land.
Notes for boaters
- Entire Ammouliani is surrounded by many beautiful beaches, the main of which are Alikes, Megali Ammos and Karagatsia.
- Around Ammouliani and Drenia it is almost impossible to find heavy weather because the third peninsula of Chalkidiki is very close and protects them from the strong winds.
- One of the great advantages of Ammouliani is that we can always find calm waters, since the distances are very small and so, we can quickly find shelter on one side when the weather is bad on the other one.
- For overnight on board you should prefer the area between Drenia Islets, the bay of Tourkolimano or the bay of Karagatsia.
- Dangerous places:
Very close to the southern coasts of the islets of Elia and Sparmeno there are many reefs and shoals.
More attention is needed when we pass from the southernmost tip of the island, passing across Diaporti channel, where there is a very dangerous reef in the middle.