Halkidiki is comprised of three peninsulas in the northeastern Central Macedonian region of Greece. It is a popular summer tourist destination for Greeks and other Balkan residents and is known for honey production as well as wine and olive oil. The capital of Halkidiki is Polygros, which is located in the centre of the region, equidistant to the peninsulas and just minutes from Thessaloniki, the largest northern Greek city. The peninsulas, also called legs, are known as Kassandra, Sithonia, and Agion Oros.
Kassandra is the furthest south peninsula, where you will find the largest towns and most developed infrastructure. It is closest to the town of Thessaloniki and attracts large crowds of students and partiers. Sithonia, the middle peninsula, is less developed and perfect for outdoor lovers. Let find out Top Things to do in Halkidiki, Greece.
Top Things to do in Halkidiki, Greece
A Brief History of Halkidiki
Halkidiki has a long and extensive history. It is said that the gods and giants had a massive battle, during which Enceladus, the leader of the Giants, was buried alive on Kassandra; he is the source of earthquakes in the region. Athos, another giant, threw a stone at Zeus and missed, but formed Mt Athos in doing so.
Sithonia is named for the son of the god Poseidon, Sithon. Human history dates back 700,000 years in Halkidiki in the Petralona Caves, human remains date back 20,000. The earliest traces of a true civilisation appear around 4,000 BCE, with the arrival of the Thracians and Pelasgians.
Visit the Amazing Beaches
Unspoilt beaches with charming tavernas, glittering white sand, and pristine seas define many of Halkidiki’s coasts. Some, like Kavourotripes Beach, are made up of rocky coves, while others are more developed and have shops or bars along the beach.
Possidi Beach is located in the town of Possidi. It has plenty of restaurants and bars as well as disabled access. The beach is shallow and warm, highly recommended for children and families.
Kavourotripes Beach is also known as Orange Beach and Portokali. It’s a well-known beach that fills up quickly in the summer. The main beach is near a beach bar and has umbrellas and chairs for hire.
Karydi in Vourvourou
Karydi Beach is one of Sithonia’s unorganised beaches, meaning no sunbeds or umbrellas. There are some nearby places to get take away food though. It is a very shallow beach and fills up quickly in the summer.
Trani Ammouda Beach is a long, wide beach with chairs and umbrellas for hire, plus shops and restaurants nearby. It is near Ormos Panagias and is a great family friendly beach choice.
Alykes in Ammouliani island
Alykes Beach, on Ammouliani Island off the coast of Ouranoupoli, is one of the most popular beaches in Halkidiki. It’s long and sandy, with beautiful turquoise waters.
Take a day Cruise to the Holy Mountain of Athos
While you can’t actually set foot on the Mount Athos, you can take a day cruise to see the monasteries and the remote land. The boats have permission from the monks to approach the land, sometimes a monk will come to the boat for pilgrims. Boats depart from Ouranoupoli or Ormos Panagias and half-day tours take 3 to 4 hours.
Explore the traditional village of Athitos or Afitos
The traditional village of Afitos also known as Athitos, which overlooks the Toroneos gulf is a beautiful place to spend a day. There is evidence of human settlement from 3,000 BCE, but the city flourished under the Athenian Alliance. The village is built of stone and the small squares, cobbled streets, and coastal walk highlight the historical and environmental significance of Afitos. Also in the town are sculptures of Vassilis Pavlis, a modern artist who has art all over the region. We had lunch at the Hotel Rigas restaurant in Afitos, a great place to stop while exploring the village. We enjoyed fresh seafood at Tuna Fish Concept with amazing views of the sea. Go for fresh ingredients married to traditional flavours.
See the Potidea Canal
The Potidea Canal was built in the 1st century AD in order to facilitate movement between Thermaikos and Toroneos gulfs and to fortify the city of Kassandria. The canal is just over a kilometre long and is just 40m wide. Along the canal is a wall with towers built at intervals to secure the region. The modern canal was built in 1930, and bridges were built in 1970.