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Day trip: in Vespa from Thessaloniki to Ierissos

Vespa day of May 2nd 2022



The day on the Vespa starts on the morning of May 2nd, simply organized with water, a heavy pad in case of need, and full of petrol. The route I had in mind was the famous and beautiful Thessaloniki - Ierissos road, on the other side of the Chalkidiki coast, to then return via Stratoni (just below the Katafigio National Park). As a means of transport, I choose the Vespa since I was alone and I wanted a light and manageable vehicle.


Expected route: Thessaloniki - Thermi - Ierissos - Stratoni - Nea Apollonia - Thermi - Thessaloniki


The road I have planned can also be an excellent idea for a weekend in the countryside, historic villages and a beautiful sea (not this precise day because it was unfortunately very cloudy).



First step

Saint Anastasia Monastery

I start the journey from Thessaloniki climbing towards Thermi and continue towards the first stop which is the Monastery of Santa Anastasia, located in the green hills with a panoramic view in the truly suggestive Vasilika valley (Thessaloniki).


The Monastery of Sant'Anastasia is very important for the local populations of the Vasilika region as important battles were held in the past in this precise area of ​​Greece and the soil is considered sacred. Established in the year 888 by the name of Augusta Theophano, the sacred head of Sant'Anastasia and the entire relic of San Teona are kept in the Holy Monastery.


During the Turkish domination, the monastery owned many acres of land but was destroyed and rebuilt from scratch in 1830. Today it belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and honors St. Anastasia on December 22nd.


Admission is free and the visit deserves all the hours I spent inside. Inside the courtyard, there is a very old church and building where it is possible to admire the restoration of the particularly colorful walls, the gold mosaics, and the flower garden.

Outside, however, there is a stone wall with a water source, another completely renovated church that is really nice, and a tavern. In fact, marriages and baptisms are recurrent.


Second step

Poligyros - Ierissos

I continue from the Monastery of Sant'Anastasia going down the green hills and olive groves. I see a lot of people lying under the trees or walking along the paths, it also seems legitimate to grill meat in the park as they are doing it right at that moment!


Once I reach the main road I head towards Poligyros, the "capital" of Chalkidiki (see dedicated Blog); through the town without stopping as I see the time clouding more and more but now I can not go back but I try to continue and hope it does not rain! It will certainly not be two drops of water that will stop me ...

I notice that the town is well kept, the center is nice and as usual, many taverns along the road. The location is also strategic as it is located just above the north of the "Three legs", precisely between the first and the second, for this reason, the inhabitants can easily choose where to spend their holidays by the sea.


The road to Ierissos, my second stop, is beautiful. It passes through forests, fields, grasslands and often there are viewpoints where the first and second legs of the Chalkidiki peninsulas can be glimpsed. The asphalt is also very good (not so obvious for the Greek roads), and the curves are gentle but there are many climbs and descents even 1 km long, where the wasp sometimes trudges if I don't take the climb at speed, or not. brakes very well downhill if I take it too fast. The fact is that I am having a lot of fun, I meet motorcyclists who respond to my greeting but are a bit demoralized by the weather, it continues to be cloudy and the photos, especially those I will take at the sea will not be beautiful colored and do not stand out the typical turquoise color of these peninsulas.


After about an hour I arrive in Ierissos, on the coast on the opposite side from Thessaloniki, where the town is touristy as it is full of markets, shops, taverns, bars and hotels.

I immediately notice a red church (the Orthodox churches in Greece are among the most beautiful!) And take a photograph.

Slowly I go to the "Alou" Beach Bar where I will be able to enjoy an American coffee and a Club Sandwich, sitting facing the sea and admiring the view, even if I am not really comfortable as it is a particularly windy and cloudy day, despite the weather being more positive in this regard.


The American coffee arrives first, of course, and I drink it quickly to be able to warm up a bit while the sandwich takes 20 minutes to arrive (the place was almost empty) and I wait ... I wait ... until I see a huge plate coming covered with chips and 6 triple sandwiches with chicken and vegetables that I will not even be able to finish (strange to me).

I pay the modest sum of 12 € where any couple could have lunch quietly, I pamper the good and nice stray dog ​​(you should know that Greece is full of cats and stray dogs) and I give him something to eat as I always do.

This fact poses a national problem for street safety as the street dogs defend the territory and are in the middle of the road, where they suddenly jump on you, especially at night, risking making you fall (as happened in the Blog in Vespa from Thessaloniki to Ossa) and as it happens not infrequently.

Other dogs, on the other hand, are used to humans and are unfortunately very often abandoned on the street. These types of dogs are polite, wag their tails, do not bite and wait impatiently for food from some visitor (more foreign than Greek). At our house in the Kifisia area, we have 4 street kittens that we feed every day and they go crazy when they see us ...


Third step

Stratoni, the wild side of the coast

From Ierissos I leave with a full stomach and more energetic, after a stop in front of the sea and a good American coffee. I head north towards Stratoni continuing the slightly uphill road full of curves. The landscape gradually becomes wilder and wilder, and the coast becomes jagged, rocky, and overhanging, but always and in any case suggestive and rich in vegetation.

Here too I stop to take some photos of the Vespa and admire the landscape from above, with a view of the magnificent Katafigio National Park where in summer you can enjoy the sea, the beaches, and walks in the park. Unfortunately today I can't do it, the cloudiness continues and the wind remains persistent like the uncomfortable temperature.

If you want to enjoy some sea or nature, I can recommend this Ekklēsáki area where you can admire a wonderful sunset after crossing a small piece of forest, the Zepko Beach to enjoy golden sand and crystal clear sea but with difficult access through a dirt path but that it is worth the effort. In August, however, there are few tourists and it is recommended to bring a packed lunch as there are no bars nearby (it is recommended not to leave waste on the beach!)


Last step

Stratoni - Thessaloniki

The return roads to Thessaloniki are generally two, the first is State Road 16 which passes through the villages of Stagira and Arnaia, then reconnects to the State Road that I had initially taken from Thessaloniki to Polygiros (always State 16), otherwise, you can opt for the magnificent Statale 2 which is located further north with a mandatory visit to today's Olympiada, an ancient city of this Greek region of Macedonia located precisely in the Chalkidiki peninsula, known above all for being the birthplace of the philosopher Aristotle. The city has suggestive beaches, tourists and therefore equipped and also you can visit the recent excavations that have brought to light monuments, pillars and galleries at the time of the famous philosopher!

After Olympiada, proceed to Rentina and Nea Apollonia, skirting the two lakes Volvi and Koronia (the second is just outside Thessaloniki and is similar to a swamp) following the Statale 2 which in Spring is full of greenery, roads full of curves, rivers, and villages! I would recommend it for those who have more time available since the return would lengthen by about 10/15 km and the places to visit are greater so you would "lose" more time.

Ritornando a me, ho seguito il ritorno sulla Statale 16 causa il tempo sempre piu' minaccioso...

The return was fun and fast, from the road you could see cows, sheep, and goats grazing, moreover, there were frequent honey sellers along the way (there is also a very good pollen) where you could stock up on this splendid substance.

I arrived at my house around 5 pm with a few drops of water on my shoulders but very proud and happy about the ride I just made. It is nothing compared to our usual trips like the one we are about to organize in the Balkans with the Supertenerè but if you are near Thessaloniki you can rest assured that you will not regret it!


In summary...

Punti di interesse:

- Saint Anastasia Monastery

- Polygyros

- Vrastama

- Ierissos

- Stratoni

- Monastery Chilandari (Metochi of Monastery Chilandari)

- Katafigio Park

- Olympiada

- Volvi/Koroneia lakes


KM:

220 with my route and State Road 16, more tortuous

235 passing through Olympiada and the two lakes


FUEL:

1 full tank with only one person on the Vespa

14€ (gas at 2,150€/lt)


TIME:

Driving alone also 3.45 consecutive hours counting traffic lights, light traffic, etc.

1 day the time needed for visits to places of interest


Thanks for reading and have a nice trip!


Itinerary:

Click here to see the map and use it during the trip


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