Chalkidiki: everything you need to know
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Chalkidiki: everything you need to know

Chalkidiki ● 04 August 2018
 
Chalkidiki - Reading time: 3 minutes



The prefecture of Chalkidiki in a close distance to Thessaloniki in northern Greece is a very popular summer destination, and attracts visitors from many countries that are impressed by its impressive landscape. It consists of three peninsulas, Chalkidiki,Sithonia, Kassandra and Mount Athos. Lush greenery, exotic sandy beaches with emerald waters, lovely coastal villages and top touristic facilities are to be found in the first two regions, while Mt. Athos is the biggest monastic community in the country and autonomous state. Among several things you can do in the peninsula, swimming in its majestic beaches is definitely a top choice. The characteristics of the beaches are that they are organised, with amazingly crystal water, vivid beach bars full of young people, golden sand and amazing verdant nature with pine trees to the coastline. On the other hand, Mt. Athos is a spiritual experience that can offer you true contact with God, nature and yourself.

Kassandra

Kassandra is the first leg of Chalkidiki, the closest to Thessaloniki. It offers the traveller the most things to do and unforgettable cultural vacations.

Beaches

Beaches in Kassandra are calmer and more family-friendly than in Sithonia. However, they are organised and have many touristic facilities, beach bars, taverns and cafés. The beaches of Afitos Chalkidiki, Paliouri, which is comprised by three exotic beaches, Chrouso, Xenia, Alonaki, Kryopigi, which has impressive white sand and turquoise waters, the popular Siviri, Kallithea, Hanioti and Pefkochori with their numerous beach bars full of young people are highly recommended to swim, sunbathe and spend your day by the sea. Glarokavos is near a small cape and offers a magnificent sunset, while Megali Kypsa features a Roman archaeological site in a quiet place.


Other things to do

In Kassandra, you can have a cultural experience that will impress you with the combination of the ancient and medieval civilisation that creates a multicultural perspective. Don't miss the Byzantine Tower at Nea Fokea Chalkidiki, the ancient Temple of Ammon Zeus in Kallithea and the Temple of Poseidon in Posidi.

Close to Kassandra, is located the Petralona Cave. The Cave of Petralona is located on the western side of the penisnula, and it is rich in stalactites and stalagmites. In 1960, a human skull of 700,000 years old was discovered there. In this cave, excavations have been made that have brought to light many Palaeolithic tools and bones of animals that are exhibited in the Anthropological Museum of Petralona.


Don't miss also the ancient site and the archaeological museum of Olynthos. Olynthos used to be the capital of Chalkidiki in the antiquity. The remains of the ancient city include mosaic floors, structures of the hippodamean town planning system and other findings that are displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Olynthos.

Very beautiful are also the seaside and mountainous villages of Kassandra. The traditional village of Afitos Chalkidiki as well as Nea Fokea Chalkidiki are wonderful places where you can relax, eat and wander around their well-preserved paved streets. The thermal springs at Agia Paraskevi are worth visiting and will offer you an unforgettable experience of natural spa in a stunning landscape.

Sithonia

Chalkidiki,Sithonia is the second leg of the peninsula, a place which is characterised by well-preserved settlements and astonishing beaches. Generally, Sithonia has the most beautiful bays in an exotic scenery.

Beaches

Sani is the most popular tourist resort in northern Greece. A long sandy beach, pine forest at the coastline, crystal clear water, top quality facilities and the best sunset in the whole region make Sani the jewel of the whole peninsula.

Chanioti Chalkidiki is a cosmopolitan resort in the southern side with long promenades, green parks and an astonishing coastline that distinguishes for its turquoise and at the same time warm waters. There, you will find many tourist facilities, water sports options, taverns and cafés, but there are also some secluded spots to relax and find privacy.

Don't miss visiting the seaside village of Kallithea. It is built at the centre of Kassandra, and it is the ultimate nightlife spot in Chalkidiki with numerous bars, beach bars and clubs. The long and wide beach is ideal for partying as well as for families and offers also water sports amenities.

Pyrgos Beach is a fine spot to swim, and it is home to a modern beach bar, which hosts every year the Beach Food Festival. The eastern and southern part of the peninsula has some of the leading beaches in northern area of Greece. In the Vourvourou area, Karydi is exotic. Koutloumousiou beach has emerald waters, and Manassou as well as Zografou beaches have popular beach bars. Kavourotrypes is a totally different beach than the usual beaches of Chalkidiki. Rocky, small coves create an imposing scenery, which impresses with its beauty, but the most unusual spot in Kavourotrypes is the rock, which has been chiselled into a statue of a mermaid lying by the sea.


Sithonia is also popular for its camping areas. Armenistis is considered to be the most youthful beach in the area thanks to the popular among youngsters camping that is located behind the beach as well as its water sports facilities. Kalamitsi is the counterweight to Armenistis, has a camping too and beach courts to spend your whole day playing tennis, beach volley or beach soccer by the sea. The beach of Kalamitsi is really imposing with its magnitude that reminds of the huge beaches on the ocean and the pine forest that surrounds the landscape.


Other things to do

Close to Sithonia, in the village of Stageira, the birthplace of Aristotle, is located a park, which is dedicated to the great philosopher, his life and his work. This park is an excellent example of a theme park with activities and many interactive games, which help you to learn the culture of the area.

The old settlement of Nikiti features delightful two-storey houses and narrow paved streets, while the traditional village of Parthenonas is a great spot to enjoy nature and the magnificent view of Toroneos Gulf. Sithonia is also popular for its wine, and the wineries there can offer you a great wine-tasting experience as well as let you know about the wine-making process. Domaine Porto Carras winery is the biggest winery of the area as well as the largest organic winery all over Greece.


Mount Athos

If you are a man and you want to spend religious vacation and live true spiritual moments, then Mt. Athos is the place to be, a journey back in time. With over a thousand years of history, the autonomous state of Mt. Athos is one of the oldest monastic complexes in the world. Wonderful architecture, magnificent natural beauty and an atmosphere of mysticism promise visitors a unique experience in the most significant site of Orthodoxy after Jerusalem.

Monasteries in Mt. Athos were first established a millennium ago. Since then, their fortified walls, the imposing towers, the paved paths and the small harbours create a gorgeous virgin scenery untouched by human activity. In the third peninsula of Chalkidiki live 2,000 monks in a natural environment, which is characterised by waterfalls, ravines, virgin beaches and woodlands, which include foxes, snakes, eagles, hawks, deer and jackals.  


The Holy Mountain of Athos is home to 20 large communal monasteries and numerous little communities, known as sketes or cells. Most visitors accumulate in the large monasteries, which are architectural masterpieces resembling medieval stone-built towers. Built near the beach or in isolated locations, they have fortified walls, heavy wooden doors, and big courtyards. Within the walls, are situated the churches, chapels, dining places, the rooms of the monks and many other supplementary buildings. The monasteries have also important collections of priceless artefacts, manuscripts, sacred relics, icons and historical documents.

For the local transportation, there are boat that serve the small harbour of each monastery as well as taxis, forest roads, dirt tracks, buses and vans. The footpaths are ideal if you love hiking! Eating together is an essential part of monastic life, and over the centuries the cuisine of Mt. Athos has incorporated many Mediterranean gastronomic influences. Vegetarian diet includes bread, olives, pasta, beans, fresh vegetables, fish and olive oil.

Remember that Mt. Athos is male-only society. Women are not permitted here as the monastic community is dedicated to Virgin Mary. A special entrance permit is required to visit Mt. Athos. Interested men have to contact the Centre of Mt. Athos in Thessaloniki, and pick their permit in Ouranoupoli Chalkidiki, the last stop before entering the community. Boats depart from there as well as from Ierissos Chalkidiki.

Where to Stay

Hotel in Chalkidiki, Greece Hotel Papagalos
Hotel Papagalos
Neos Marmaras, 63081 Chalkidiki, Greece

Hotel Papagalos is situated in a central location in the beautiful village of Neos Marmaras. Paradisos beach is a 15-minute walk away. Thessaloniki International Airport is 108 km away.

Hotel in Chalkidiki, Greece Stamos Hotel
Stamos Hotel
Afitos, 63077 Chalkidiki, Greece

Stamos Hotel is located within a 5-minute walk from the sandy beach in picturesque Afitos village in Chalkidiki. The village is located on the eastern side of Kassandra, the first peninsula of Chalkidiki, 74 km from Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia and 83 km from the center of Thessaloniki.

Appartment in Chalkidiki, Greece Kassandra Village Resort
Kassandra Village Resort
Pefkochori, 63085 Chalkidiki, Greece

Kassandra Village Resort is located in the traditional village of Pefkochori, approximately a 10-minute walk from the lovely sandy beach. Thessaloniki Airport is 96 km away.


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