6 Reasons Why I Love Halkidiki, Greece
Halkidiki in northern Greece consists of three peninsulas. This means you can enjoy the comfortable tourist resorts in the Kassandra area, or experience the quieter Sithonia peninsula. Then there's the glorious Mount Athos on the Mount Athos peninsula. The northern region of Halkidiki brings forests and quaint villages set in the mountains.
There are many reasons why the area is loved by so many people as the best place to visit in Greece. Beautiful beaches, festivals, grand scenery, and culinary delights are all within reach of nature and the whole place lies bathed in a light that produces magical photos. Here are six reasons why I love Halkidiki in Greece. Hopefully, you will too.
- Freedom to self-drive and explore: Independent travelers love heading off to explore and Halkidiki is ideal for this. The roads take you through some of the most beautiful scenery that will light up your camera. Drive through pine-scented forests, through landscape grandeur and down to the sparkling sea. If you don't have your own vehicle, the best way to get around is to hire a car. There are low-cost packages available and you can pick up your rental right from the Macedonia Airport. Other options include picking up a rental in Thessaloniki or Athens.
Halkidiki's ideal, if it's your first driving experience in the country, as major cities and complex roads aren't in the prefecture. The quieter routes will soon bring your confidence levels up and you can relax and enjoy exploring this delightful area of Greece. If you're used to driving on the right-hand side of the road, there are few adjustments to make.
- Beaches and beach bars: Kassandra in Halkidiki features so many superb beaches you're bound to spend a lot of time there. Here's a secret: Look out for the donut vendors in the afternoons. Delicious, large, and fluffy, the donuts bring a smile to the faces of everyone around you. Whether you wander the sandy beaches or play in the crystal clear waters at beaches like Garokavos beach, Afitos Beach, or Kallithea, you will find beach bars.
There's nothing quite like the atmosphere of beach, sun, friends, and refreshments. Some of the beach bars open into the night and it's great fun to be beside the ocean while you grab a meal and a few drinks. If you prefer quieter beaches, then head over to Sithonia peninsular where the bars and beaches are also excellent but tend to be less crowded.
- Tradition and culture: Small villages worth visiting in Halkidiki bring culture and tradition alive. Afytos, on the Kassandra peninsula, sits at the seaside. Discover stone-built houses, cobbled streets and the church of Agios Dimitrios. Meanwhile, Ormos Panagias is a place to set off on a cruise to see the Holy Mountain of Athos and the island of Ammouliani. But before you do, check out the picture-perfect fishing boats.
Don't miss out on Cassandra village, southwest of Poligiros which was the cultural center of Halkidiki since the 1600s. There, it's wonderful to take in the sights of the old cathedral and arched walls. Named after King Kassadros of Macedonia it even has a 19th-century windmill that's great for photo enthusiasts.
- Traditional dining: Halkidiki spoils you for choice when it comes to culinary delights. Traditional Greek food makes every meal a delight with seafood and Mediterranean cuisine on offer. Porto Koufa is well known for wonderful fresh seafood like octopus, grilled squid, shrimps, and more. Plus, complimentary sweets and drink shots come with the meal in most restaurants.
Sani is another place that comes to mind with a range of Greek, vegetarian, and Mediterranean foods. With many restaurants to choose from, you can be sure you will dine deliciously within your budget. In fact, every town and village brings great food. Whether you try the takeouts, street food, or fine dining, you certainly won't go hungry in Halkidiki.
- Sailing: Getting out on the water is the ultimate adventure in a paradise brimming with a beautiful sea. Quiet and so close to nature, it's a real thrill as the sky blends with water on a mirror-like swatch of blue hues. Professional sailing outfits offer day trips and even longer, on the stunning Aegean Sea. Most cruises cater for eight to ten people.
- Imagine the pleasure of exploring secluded coves and beaches around the Halkidiki, Kassandra, Sithonia, and Mount Athos areas on a multi-day trip! If you're lucky enough to be in Nikiti, you can go on a sunset cruise in the evening and snap those gorgeous views for a lifetime of memories.
- Halkidiki's crazy nightlife: As if the region didn't already feature as a to-die-for destination, the nightlife is the cherry on top. Vibrant, exciting, and a party atmosphere make for fun times. Apart from the beach bars, which usefully arrange beach parties on occasion, there are all-night clubs, lounge bars, and seaside taverns.
Over in the Sithonia area is Neos Marmaras which is popular for cafes and lounges. In the Kassandra area, the nightlife hums in summer as a youthful crowd get down and party hard. Even if you're in the mountain areas, the smaller towns and villages nearly always have a taverna that stays open until midnight. Entertainment and music range from traditional Greek, through to international musicians and DJs.
In summary, six things to love about Halkidiki in Greece, satisfy the desire to have a lot of fun and meet new people, experience history and grandeur, and wallow in natural surroundings. It really delivers on all fronts. From exploring the roads, culture, and countryside, through to sailing in the serene sunsets, and dining on the delicious fare, what's not to love? For more destination guides and accommodation reviews, check out Trip101.
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