Halkidiki

Hanioti Beach Halkidiki, Greece

A sensationally different part of mainland Greece that juts into the Aegean Sea creating a wonderful 500-mile coastline and a trio of contrasting opportunities.

Description

How can Halkidiki, a sensationally different part of mainland Greece, promise three amazing experiences in one holiday? Because it has a three-legged peninsular that juts into the Aegean Sea creating a wonderful 500-mile coastline and a trio of contrasting opportunities.

Halkidiki has breathtaking scenery, endless sandy beaches, rugged mountains, waterfalls, lakes, charming villages, castles, forests, monasteries and ancient sites.  It also has stylish restaurants with international gourmet cuisine, five-star hotels, friendly tavernas, laid-back beach bars and the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea. And historic, modern, lively Thessaloniki – Greece’s second-largest city isn’t far away.

Sithonia, the middle of the three legs, has pine-clad hills hiding secluded beaches and quaint villages oozing with old-fashioned Greek charm.

Mount Athos towers over the spiritual eastern leg, home to 20 monasteries and 1,400 monks and is the preserve of the Orthodox Church. Women were banned from going there more than 1,000 years ago, men need permission to visit, but everyone can enjoy seeing its rugged beauty.

Kassandria, the western leg, is so different. Great beaches, some buzzing with watersports, others tucked away in small coves.

Modern resorts such as Sani have a great choice of bars, restaurants, tavernas and shops. Traditional, busy Hanioti has tavernas around its square and a long beach. Atmospheric Afitos is a village with paved streets, stone-houses and a fishing harbour and white sandy beach at the bottom of the hill.

Great places for families and couples, for those who want to chill-out in a holiday hideaway and for those who want adventure. Halkidiki offers an amazing number of activities, all-kinds of watersports plus climbing, biking, riding and off-road driving.

Take a boat trip to enjoy the views or hire a car, take an excursion or catch a bus to discover the true Greek gem that is Halkidiki.

Beaches

The best beaches in Halkidiki

Afitos Beach: Afitos Beach is 1 km from the village centre, down a steep hill. In a small bay, sun beds and umbrellas are available on this white sandy beach. Enjoy a meal at one of the two nearby tavernas and watch the locals mending their fishing nets while sharing village news.

Kriopigi Beach: Kriopigi Beach is approximately a 30 minutes' walk down a steep, winding road from the village. It is a relatively quiet beach with fine shingle and beautiful clear waters backed by pine trees.

Hanioti Beach: Hanioti Beach is a long golden beach offering a variety of watersports. There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas  available for hire. With beautiful views across to the Sithonia peninsula, the beach is also popular with the locals which we at Olympic Holidays really love.

Things To Do

Halkidiki Holidays - Excursions

Fun Day Cruise: Sun, fun and adventure. Sample the delicious BBQ on the golden beach. Join Captain Mike and sail across the crystal blue waters to Sithonia. Once you have moored at one of the golden sandy beaches you'll be able to swim and sunbathe as the crew on board prepares the BBQ. The highlight of the day is Turtle Island where you will have ample time for cooling off in the crystal clear waters.

Alexander & Dion: Make the most of your time in such a historic part of the world. Take a trip back in time at the foothills of Mt Olympus . You will take a stroll around Dion the well preserved archaeological site and admire the colourful mosaics. You'll travel across the arid planes to the resting place of Philip II. Vergina is the only archaeological site within a museum in the world.

Petralona Caves: Mother nature's phenomenon. Visit the caves with our expert guide and amaze at the stalactites and stalagmites. These caves are believed to be the most impressive in northern Greece.

Sightseeing and Shopping in Thessaloniki: The city that should not be missed whilst visiting this beautiful area of Greece. Visit the second largest city in Greece and witness the sights with our expert local guide. Experience the Church of St Dimitris, the biggest in Thessaloniki and visit the crypt of St Dimitrios.

Sunset Cruise: Chill out on a relaxing late afternoon cruise and enjoy a fun evening of traditional cuisine and entertainment in sublime surroundings.

Journey Across the Calm Sea: Unwind with a drink from the bar whilst your BBQ meal is being prepared. As you watch the end of a day come to a close, the sun slowly dips down below the horizon turning the sky a romantic red. Live music is played to serenade you throughout the night.

Turtle lake of Mavrobara

A lovely family walk through pine forests and olive groves to a peaceful pocket-sized lake near Kassandria village. The views of countryside and sea are great and when you arrive look for the two breeds of rare sea turtles as well as hungry fish.

Visit the capital Polygyros

Polygyros, the capital city of Halkidiki, has an archaeological museum, shops and restaurants to choose from. Go a little further afield and you can enjoy the big city experience of Thessaloniki which has hundreds of shops, markets, museums and a stormy history back to Ancient Roman times.  

Trip back in time at Olynthos

Attacked by the Persians, destroyed by the Macedonians and now a site showing how Greek towns were laid out 2,000 years ago. Some buildings in Olynthos had bathrooms. There’s an exhibition at the start of the track up to the hillside site. A Byzantine tower a mile away has great views. 

Learn about trees

There are said to be two million trees in the Forest of Taxiarchis in the centre of Halkidiki. It has a museum where you can learn about the vast number of trees, plants and wildlife said to include wolves in the wilder areas. And its fir trees are sold for Christmas.

Forest walk to the falls

A ravine with two waterfalls between the villages of Varvara and Olympiada makes a great outing for families. It’s a short forest walk from the car park to the falls. Some people cool off in the small lagoons beneath the falls – but look out for the fresh-water crabs. 

Things To See

Afitos: Thought by many to be the most attractive spot on the Kassandra peninsular, Afitos is a traditional village made up of stone houses, paved streets and an amazing view out to sea.

Thessaloniki: The second largest city in Greece, Thesaloniki has many historical sites from its Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Jewish past such as the old town and the oldest church - St Dimitrios plus it has a vibrant nightlife.

Sithonia: One of the most beautiful and unspoilt areas in Halkidiki and perhaps, best accessed by car. There are numerous traditional villages and also many secluded beaches with crystal clear waters.

Mount Athos Peninsula: The most spectacular and unspoilt place in the region. Famous for its Orthodox monasteries, women are not allowed to enter the area while men need to seek permission.

Cave of Petralona: Located near Nea Moudania village the cave which was discovered in 1959 is adorned with stalagmites and stalactites and in 1960 a human skull thought to be 700000 years old was also found there.

Lake of Polychrono: This lovely lake located west of Kassandra Village is surrounded by pine trees and is also home to a rare species of turtles.

The Tower of Apostle Paul: Built in 1407 to protect the village from invasion with a small church built next to it that sits as a monument to the 12 evangelists.

Transport

Bus: Buses are frequent, punctual and cheap although not always air-conditioned. The KTEL Bus service provides local links to numerous towns and villages on the Kassandra peninsular and Halkidiki as a whole, as well as longer distance journeys further inland to Thessaloniki and to the region's administrative capital, Polygyros.

Boat: In the Kassandra peninsular from Nea Moudania, there are speed boat itineraries during the summer to Thessaloniki and the Sporades.

Taxi: Even the smallest of villages in the Halkidiki region generally have one or two taxis, and of course the tourist areas have many more on offer. All taxis are on meter, but it might be a good idea to ask the driver for a rough idea of the price before you set off.

Car: An excellent way of getting around during Halkidiki holidays, car hire gives you complete flexibility as well as the ability to see more of the region.

Weather

Best time to go to Halkidiki

Max_temp  Max Temp C Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Halkidiki 19 25 28 32 32 28 21
London 13 16 20 22 21 19 13
Sun Sunshine Hours Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Halkidiki 7 9 10 12 11 8 6
London 5 6 7 6 6 5 3