Ouranoupolis

Meaning "heaven's city" in Greek, Ouranoupolis (also spelled Ouranopolis) is an appealing cul-de-sac on the final point of land that separates the secular world from the sacred sanctuaries of Mt. Athos. The village, noted for its rug and tapestry weaving, is particularly entrancing because of the bay's aquamarine waters, and the town is full of families on holiday in summer. The narrow village beaches can become overcrowded. There are many pensions and rooms-to-let around town, but the hotels on an islet or slightly outside the main town are quietest.

If you make your own way to Ouranoupolis from Thessaloniki via Route 16, stop at Aristotle's Statue in Stagira (west of the modern village, watch for the easy-to-miss road sign), the region of this remarkable man's birthplace. Aristotle's theories and inventions are re-created in engaging hands-on exhibits (there's a small fee) around a grassy knoll with a surveying view.

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