A must during any visit to Sithonia, Nikiti was founded in the 14th century and is the capital of the Municipality of Sithonia. It has a population of some 3,000 permanent residents, with numbers shooting up in the summer thanks to a wide selection of accommodation and dining options that make it an attractive destination both for Greek and foreign tourists.
If you’re looking to mix and mingle, enjoy the hubbub of humanity, head down to the coast. If, however, it is peace and quiet you’re after, take to the hills for a visit to Palia (Old) Nikiti, a lovely traditional village that retains and air of romantic nostalgia by being quaint without being too schmaltzy, featuring stone Macedonian houses with blossom-filled balconies and courtyards. The local History and Folklore Museum – housed in an old school and inaugurated just last year – offers interesting insights into the area’s past. The displays in this pleasant museum include hand-woven baskets, clay jars used for food storage, a petrol-generated engine from 1944, as well as a photograph from the family archive of Athanasios Xanthopoulos taken some time in 1900 and showing shovel-wielding workmen standing in front of piles of coal.
This photograph is a rare testimonial of a bygone era, as during that period the biggest families in Nikiti and in the broader region were involved in the coal trade. The workers employed for the back-breaking task of producing the coal came mainly from Bulgaria, while the majority of the buyers were Jewish merchants in Marseilles and Constantinople.
“If it is peace and quiet you’re after, take to the hills for a visit to Palia (Old) Nikiti.”