A beautiful region in northern Greece characterized by its 3 peninsulas, often referred to as the ‘fingers’ or ‘claws’, has a wealth of wonderful things to see and do. Our Destination of the Week, each of Halkidiki's peninsulas is different and offers a unique experience which means you can feel the real Greece in every step you take. In this article we’ll take you through some of our favourites to make the most of your trip to Halkidiki.
How to get there
Halkidiki doesn’t have an airport so you will have to fly into Thessaloniki. From there it is only a 40 minute drive to the top of the Kassandra peninsula which is the nearest and most westerly. To Sithonia (the central one) and to Aristotelis (the eastern one) it is around 2 hours. You can fly into Thessaloniki directly from London Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Stansted and Newcastle.
Things To Do
1 – Visit Ammouliani
Ammouliani is a small island located just off the coast the Aristotelis peninsula, between it and Sithonia. Meaning ‘fine sand’, the beaches on Ammouliani definitely live up to the name. The island has some of the best beaches in Halkidiki. You can even rent a boat or join a tour discovering the little inlets and coves across the island as well as spending time on the even smaller island of Drenia just south of Ammouliani. Along with the beaches the island is made up of low, rolling hills dotted with olive trees and houses. The port town is also named Ammounliani and is home to the local museum of folklore as well as the church of Agios Nikiolaos. The streets are full of tavernas and when there you have to try the fish and seafood, all of which is caught freshly.
2 – Go Sea Kayaking
As the waters surrounding the peninsulas are crystal clear it provides the perfect environment for water sports and it is one of the most popular things for people of all ages to do in the area. The SCUBA diving and snorkelling are great, however as both relaxing and a great way to see the area from a different perspective, Sea kayaking is the best of the water sports on offer. Fun if you’re on your own, with a group of friends or a family as there are many sizes of kayak to accommodate you. Most beaches have ample facilities and you can even join guided tours which will take you around some of the best spots nearby and accommodates all abilities, the best of which is the tour of Diaporos.
3 – Visit Mount Athos
Commonly known as the Holy Mountain – Mount Athos is the spiritual capital of the Orthodox Christian world. Everywhere you go in the area you will see monasteries, cells, hermitages and plenty of monuments, in fact it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site itself. Some of the monasteries of Mount Athos are over 1000 years old. However, only men are able to permitted to see these monasteries up close and non-orthodox visitors are limited to 10 a day and you must apply for a permit. The best way to see them then is by boat and boat cruises depart daily from either Ouranoupoli on the eastern coast of Aristotelis or from Ormos Panagias on Sithonia.
4 – See the Ruin of Ancient Stagira
Located away from the peninsulas in the northeast coast of Halkidiki is Ancient Stagira. Known as the birthplace of Aristotle, it was founded in c.655 BC and much of the foundations of the city still stand today, along with the walls of the classical city. At the site you can see the aforementioned well preserved city walls, the Agora as well as parts of a temple and some houses and the acropolis. A great attraction of Stagira is that you can see the development of different building styles as they progress and have been rebuilt. There are also remnants of Byzantine buildings at the site.
5 – Relax on the Beaches
Halkidiki boasts a coastline of 550km full of loads of beautiful sandy beaches from larger, better serviced ones to ones that are small and secluded. If you’re looking for a larger beach check out Pefkohori, a quaint little village on Kassandra made up of whitewashed houses, its beach hosts a number of activities and facilities. Numerous watersports are available such as SCUBA diving, you can also lie on a sun lounger or sit in the shade of an umbrella at one of its many beach bars. Kavourotrypes beach has a bit of a different feel, surrounded by luscious greenery this beach is located between Armenistis and Platanitsi beaches in Sithonia. A white sandy beach amongst sporadic rocks its waters beautiful clear.
We hope this has helped give you some ideas about what to see and do when you’re in Halkidiki to experience the real Greece. If you’re looking to go to Greece don’t hesitate to contact us on 01157843388, email email@example.com or fill in our contact form with what you’re looking at and we’ll be in touch. Don't forget to follow us on social media to find out the next Destination of the Week and for all your Greek Holiday needs. If you've been to Halkidiki, where was your favourite place or thing to do or anything we missed? Let us know in the comments or on social media
Greece is a love affair for The Greek Specialist. Our first visit to the country came in 1997 and since then