Nea Fokea and St Paul’s Cave Church in Halkidiki


The small fishing village of Nea Fokea was a short drive from our villa in nearby Kriopigi, situated along the first ‘leg’ of the three which make up the Halkidiki peninsula. There are thought to be somewhere in the region of only 1,500 inhabitants here during the year. This figure swells during the tourist season taking it well over the 10,000 mark.

Fishing boats dot the port whilst traditional tavernas serve up fresh seafood dishes as diners look out across the stunning blue sea.


nea fokea port and fishing boats


By the coastline stands a Byzantine fortress which is thought to have been built in 1407 and rises up to a height of 17 metres. By the tower is a stage set up for one of the many cultural events that take place there, including the feast dedicated to St Peter and Paul the Apostles that takes place on June 29th each year.


byzantine tower at nea fokea halkidiki


Despite being partially destroyed by fire in 1821 the Byzantine Tower, thought to have been built as a protection for local farmers, is still in amazingly good condition. It is also the perfect spot to take a family photo where most of the family aren’t even looking at the camera…


byzantine tower nea fokea halkidiki


Directly opposite on the other side of the main road is where you will find the cave church of St Paul. The story goes that St Paul hid here to keep safe from his persecutors during his missionary journey.


st pauls cave church halkidiki arch - Copy


The archway can be seen from the road. A large fig tree stands in the gardens and the cave church is tucked away to the side. The doorway, as you can see, is very small indeed. To give you an idea, Harry is approximately 5’9 or so now…


harry by doorway of st pauls cave church - Copy


Here is another perspective on the size of the door with Paddy entering the cave. The door is little more than three and a half feet tall.


st pauls cave church small doorway - Copy


As you enter the cave the climate instantly cools. A series of steps leads down into the tunnels…


st pauls cave church entrance


A hollow carved out of the side of the cave acts as an altar on which icons, candles and other small objects of worship stand…


st pauls cave church entrance 2


You then descend down the steps and start walking along the tunnel which is long and narrow…


st pauls cave church view of steps from tunnel - Copy


As you continue to walk, the tunnel becomes smaller and smaller, until you have to crawl through to continue. I couldn’t personally continue through to the end but Mike and the kids did manage to – he did have to take them through a couple at a time.


st pauls cave church narrowing tunnel - Copy


Finally, the tunnel opens up into a small prayer room. Rumour has it that there were more tunnels leading off but they had been blocked as tourists were getting lost within them.


st pauls cave church prayer room


Want to see St Paul’s Church Cave for yourself? Eddie takes us on a quick tour…





This post was featured on Monday Escapes and Cultured Kids

14 thoughts on “Nea Fokea and St Paul’s Cave Church in Halkidiki

    1. We visited Halkidiki before the tourist season began, leaving just as it was taking off. I imagine that where we stayed would be incredibly packed during high season so it was a good time to be able to visit the surrounding area without any crowds, yes.

  1. Wow that is fascinating although I would be a bit freaked with the crawling it must have felt quite claustrophobic, but worth it in the end. We were so lazy in Halkidiki just chilled out for a week, we should have seen more. I am back in a few weeks so may try a sunset cruise and a bit of beach yoga. Thanks so much for linking up #MondayEscapes x

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  3. This sounds amazing but I too would have turned back at the crawling part and then paced around anxiously until the rest of the family were out. Imagine being St Paul with no electric light to guide him and fearful of discovery. Thank you for linking up with #CulturedKids

  4. This looks like such an interesting discovery – and a good place to hide out if you don’t want to be discovered, like St Paul. I like the video too. Well done Eddie! A natural. Thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids

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