HALKIDIKI: MIRAGE IN THE MED AN EXOTIC HOLIDAY DREAMLAND ON YOUR DOORSTEP
Mountain or seaside? Beach bar or secret cove? Traditional villages or luxury resorts? Halkidiki caters to every taste
“There is nothing like Halkidiki,” say the northern Greeks and they know what they’re talking about. Get ready to succumb to the charms of its three beautiful peninsulas, namely Kassandra, Sithonia and Athos. The first two don’t discriminate, but the third is off limits to women, as it is home to the famous monastic state, Mount Athos. How will your holiday in Halkidiki take shape?
Turquoise water, dense pine forests, dreamy hotels, small coves with fish tavernas and cafes, beach bars, archaeological sites, traditional villages in Sithonia, the Petralona Cave in Kassandra. A microcosm of miracles. Explore it with all your senses.
Things to do in Halkidiki
Swimming under the pines Pine trees that reach right up to the water’s edge, white sand, beautiful bays, crystal-clear water, hidden coves. Halkidiki’s beaches are so great in number that you can’t possibly count them all, but take out a map and have a go all the same; Kavourotripes, Mikro (small) and Megalo (large) Karidi, Kalogria, Kriopigi, Agios Mamas, Sani…do you give up yet? Just make it easy for yourself and dive into all its stunning beauty.
A five-star stay Halkidiki tempts you to live a life of luxury at any one of its many luxury beach resorts. High-end service, activities, spas and a plethora of unique experiences; private dining on the beach, soothing spa treatments, roomy villas right on the water, molecular gastronomy and renowned wines. You can also find private marinas, casinos, boutique shops, top-flight bars and restaurants… the epitome of classic 5 star luxury in Northern Greece.
Petralona Cave and the 700,000-year-old man Here you’ll wander in awe among masterpieces sculpted over eons by nature’s own hand; stalactites that sparkle in the dark, dazzling ‘dwarf stalagmites’. One of the most stunning caves in Europe and one of the most impressive attractions in the area, tells a very old story: Here, hidden among the stalagmites, the skull of an Archanthrapus (700,000 years old) was discovered. Aged 30-35 years, he was considered elderly for that era.
Ancient Olynthos An object lesson in how to construct a city from scratch, here at this archaeological site, you’ll see how the famous Hippodamian grid plan, the foundation for the science of town planning, was organised. Houses, avenues and communal areas have all been excavated at the site, which also commands panoramic views of its surrounds.
Drop anchor in Porto Koufos What lies behind the cliffs to the south of Sithonia? A secret harbour through an opening just 300m wide. This is the ancient Toronaios port, mentioned by Thucydides as the largest and most secure port in Ancient Greece. It was nicknamed the “deaf port” because you cannot hear the sea if you stand inside the bay.
Aristotle’s home You are in Macedonia, the birthplace of one of the great Greek philosophers. Walk in his footsteps. Near the village of Olympiada, visit Ancient Stagira, Aristotle’s birthplace. In the village, you’ll find the Alsos of Aristotle, with a compass, pendulum and prism – instruments so vital to the work of the mind he conducted here.
Hidden gems of Halkidiki
Arnaia and Afitos Two very different villages, two gems, each with its own traditions. Cobblestones, traditional Macedonian architecture, restoration projects, museums. Their charm will take you back to village life as it was many years ago.
The Potidaia Canal A narrow isthmus joins the peninsula of Kassandra to the mainland. The canal was begun by King Kassander of Macedonia, whose aim was not only to facilitate navigation but also to protect Thessaloniki.
Taxiarchis fir trees There’s nothing quite like Christmas in Halkidiki, a place that quite literally cultivates an essential element of the festive season. In the village of Taxiarchis in central Halkidiki, whole families are engaged in the work of growing fir trees on the beautiful mountain of Holomonta.