Halkidiki on Greece’s mainland is an unspoilt haven for holidaymakers. It offers pristine blue seas to kick back in, soft white sands to lie a towel upon and both without the numbers of tourists who can be found on some of Greece‘s islands. Here, we round up some of the reasons why you should be adding Halkidiki to your bucket list this summer.
This image alone makes us want to travel back to Halkidiki. Halkidiki’s three-pronged peninsula is graced with clear blue seas, a rugged coastline and is adorned with lush green forests along its hillsides. What makes this even more special is that a lot of people don’t know about this beauty spot, it is overlooked for the islands like Crete and Corfu, meaning that there’s a lot more space for exploration.
We recommend the soft sandy shores of Kalithea or Hanioti for beach bars and a lively atmosphere. Or head to the Blue Flag-awarded Trani Ammouda for a largely unspoilt swathe of golden sands and crystalline waters.
Adrenaline junkies and fitness buffs alike will love the watersports on offer on this pretty peninsula. There’s something for all abilities and Hanioti Beach might just showcase the finest of that. There are pedaloes for families to potter about in plus windsurfing, waterskiing and parasailing for the more adventurous. Dinghy sailing is also an option off many of the beaches but it’s important to take heed of the flags as conditions can be changeable. In peak season, the sea can occasionally be completely still, with a glass-like quality making it a great place for beginners.
Those who prefer to spend their time below the water should head to Pefkohori, where Triton Diving have a base. They offer both diving and snorkelling excursions depending on your experience and level of thirst for adventure.
Thessaloniki is Just Around The Corner
When you’re all beached out (if that’s even possible) Thessaloniki comes calling. This Grecian port town is just over an hour’s drive away from Halkidiki. The white tower perched right on the edge of the harbour stands as a symbol of Thessaloniki, and it is here that you should dedicate a few hours to the history of this town. It is now home to an exhibition about Thessaloniki’s past, curated by the Museum of Byzantine Culture. There are photos and artefacts from times gone by to give the visitor a true picture of the formation of modern Thessaloniki.
The Guardian named Thessaloniki as Greece’s foodie capital and it’s not hard to see why when there are so many great restaurants on offer here. Dia Xoiros does traditional Greek cuisine to much praise, whilst Pizza Poselli offers up pizza with a beer for around €3. And that’s just one small slice of the action. Wander through any of Thessaloniki’s main streets and you will stumble across bargainous cafes and restaurants serving fresh, authentic fare.
Summer welcomes in a series of festivals in Halkidiki, which we think is a great way to make the most of those long, long days. The Kassandra Festival takes place in an ampitheatre just outside of Siviri, and has a programme which combines music, theatre and comedy. The festival takes place over several weeks and has been drawing in tourists and locals alike since 1993.
Alternatively, consider going to the Sani Festival which takes place in one of Halkidiki’s most famous hotels, The Sani Resort. This festival marries classical and traditional music with opera in gorgeous surroundings. Many of the performances take place atop a verdant green hill with vistas out to sea.