Holidays to Halkidiki take you away from Greece’s popular holiday islands, and let you explore an up-and-coming part of the country’s mainland.
Greece’s unsung hero
This three-fingered peninsula juts out into the Aegean Sea from the north of the Greek mainland. It’s not as well-known as many of the other Greek holiday destinations, but that’s just its appeal. The region offers visitors a go-slow atmosphere and some of the best scenery in the country – both along the coast and further inland.
The westernmost peninsula, called Kassandra, is the most popular of the three. Visitors tend to make a beeline for the town of Hanioti, with its village square and evening markets. Then there’s sophisticated Sani, a purpose-built resort that’s fronted by a Blue Flag beach and a yacht-filled marina. Finally, you’ve got Kalithea, which is your best bet if you’re looking for a lively after-hours scene.
The next peninsula over, called Sithonia, is wilder and more rugged than Kassandra. As a result, tiny fishing villages and sprawling pine forests are more common than holiday resorts. People tend to head here to enjoy the great outdoors. Secluded coves and virgin bays set the scene along the coast, and myriad walking trails weave their way inland.
Mount Athos is the easternmost of Halkidiki’s peninsulas. This monastic republic is strictly off limits to visitors, but you can get a good look at the place with a boat trip around its shores.
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This village on Halkidiki’s western peninsula has an old-fashioned feel, thanks to its winding streets and café-lined square, complete with little fountain. But it’s actually a pretty modern affair. That means you’ll find all the trappings of a 21st-century town like large shopping centres and bustling cafés and restaurants – they’re mostly along the main road, which stretches for over a mile. There are late-night bars and shops down here, but the real star turn is the white-sand beach.
Afitos sits on a cliff on the eastern side of the Kassanda peninsula in Halkidiki. It’s an old, rustic village with a preservation order that’s kept its stone-built houses and cobbled streets untouched. This peaceful retreat comes with friendly locals who’ll welcome you into the cafés and tavernas in and around the main square.
Kalithea is a modern seaside town on the east coast of the Kassandra Peninsula, way up in northeastern Greece. There’s a lively main strip with late-night clubs and stylish bars, plus a charming old town where tucked-away tavernas serve up authentic Greek cuisine. The long, sandy beach is backed by luxury hotels, and while it’s all go here, you’re just a 5-minute drive from the old-world charm of Afitos village.
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