Tired of the usual islands, are you looking for new stimuli for a vacation in Greece? The Chalkidiki peninsula (or Halkidiki) offers everything we normally associate with Greece (sea, culture, good food and friendly people) but is still little known to European tourists and is therefore a valid alternative to expensive and crowded destinations such as Mykonos, Santorini and other more famous islands.
Situated in the north-eastern part of mainland Greece, it is a wide peninsula actually formed by three smaller peninsulas (Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos), each suitable for a different kind of vacation.
The offer of accommodations is good, the prices are convenient, the sea is clear and the climate is splendid just like the islands: what are you waiting for to book?
Kassandra is the westernmost of the peninsulas of Chalkidiki as well as the most lively and is therefore recommended for those who want to combine sea and fun but also for families with small children who want to have all the services at hand.
The main reason to visit Kassandra are definitely its beautiful beaches, whose beauty has nothing to envy to that of the islands: fine sand, clear blue sea and lush vegetation in the surroundings will not make you regret coming here.
Located in the middle of the Chalkidiki Peninsula, between Kassandra and Mount Athos, Sithonia it is in the middle also in a metaphorical sense: much easier to reach than Mount Athos, it has developed a flourishing tourist industry but is quieter than Kassandra.
With its charming beaches of fine sand and characteristic traditional villages, Sithonia is a perfect destination for a couple’s vacation or a slow-paced vacation.
Wonderful and hardly accessible: the mount Athos, the easternmost of the three peninsulas, is considered sacred territory and can only be visited by male visitors who have requested and obtained permission to enter.
The procedure for obtaining permission to enter Mount Athos is rather complicated but the place is so impressive that it is worth a try (always, we repeat, if you are men: for women there is an absolute ban).
You will be rewarded by wonderful walks immersed in the green and absolute quiet during which you can admire landscapes of breathtaking beauty, monasteries rich in treasures of sacred art, incredible panoramic views of the sea.
With more than 500 km of coastline Chalkidiki Peninsula offers a very large amount of beaches that includes both sandy and rocky beaches, equipped and not; some are very long, others tiny.
Put it away: it is impossible to see all the most beautiful beaches of Chalkidiki Peninsula in one vacation. The good news is that there is no need to worry about finding the best because all the beaches in the area are beautiful; the sea has extraordinary colors, it is clean.
Here are a few pointers to hunt for your dream beach.
The Cape Possidi Beach4 is a must for anyone visiting Kassandra: it is the tip of a promontory in the central-eastern part of the island, and is characterized by miles of sand and blue waters.
The best beaches for young people are Kalithea5, Paliouri6, Skala Fourkas7, Hanioti8, Sani9, where there are some of the most famous and popular beach bars of the Halkidiki peninsula.
Karydi Beach10 is the postcard beach that has become the symbol of the Halkidiki peninsula. Located along the eastern coast of Sithonia, this narrow strip of clear sand lies along a picturesque bay bordered at the ends by piles of rocks polished by water erosion.
As in many beaches of the green Chalkidiki Peninsula, even behind Karydi Beach there is a lush pine forest. The seabed is shallow and remains so for many meters from the shore.
If you love fine sand but prefer an equipped beach Lagomandra Beach11
it could be for you. It is a very popular beach, especially among families and those who practice water sports. The name Lagomandra actually refers to two contiguous beaches: the seabed is shallow in the southern beach, while in the northern one it descends rapidly.
The beaches not to be missed along the western coast of Sithonia are Paradisos Beach12 and Kalogria Beach13.
The peninsula of Mount Athos is not famous for its beaches. It is better to leave by boat from Ouranopoli towards the island of Ammouliani and lay your towel at Alykes Beach14, a fine sandy beach set in a crescent bay.
If you choose the Kassandra Peninsula for its legendary nightlife, head straight for Kallithea15, the top beach resort. In the summer months, young people from Thessaloniki flock to the clubs and beach parties of Kallithea; they are joined by droves of international tourists, mostly from neighboring Bulgaria.
The villages of Polyhrono and Pefkohóri still retain a traditional charm, despite being two well-known and popular seaside resorts.
If you want to have fun but without the excesses of Kassandra move to Sarti16, the liveliest resort on the peninsula of Sithonia. It is a network of delightful little houses on a plain behind a long sandy beach with a view of Mount Athos. Among the perpendicular and parallel streets are hidden small squares with delicious restaurants and bars; the promenade is a succession of clubs, some of which offer live music and DJ sets.
Agios Nikolaos17 is the most populated town, with a center in the hills just 2 km from the sea: perhaps it is not the most charming, but it can be convenient. Neos Marmaras18 is instead the place with the highest concentration of hotels and vacation villages.
Other places where to sleep in Sithonia are Nikiti and Kalamitsi, the first in the north-western part of the peninsula, the other in the south-east.
Ouranopoli19 is an almost obligatory choice for those who want to have a sea vacation on the peninsula of Mount Athos. Since a large part of the peninsula is sacred territory, accessible only with a special permit, the few inhabited centers are concentrated in the northern part. Ouranopoli is one of these towns: pretty and lively, it offers a good choice of accommodation, beautiful beaches, typical taverns and trips to the beach.
Keep in mind that regardless of where you choose to stay, it will be indispensable to you rent a car to explore Chalkidiki. Villages are far from each other and public transportation, which is infrequent, does not stop at all locations.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
The closest airport to Chalkidiki Peninsula is Thessaloniki, about 100 km away and connected to the rest of Europe by some seasonal flights.
From here it is advisable to move with a rented car; alternatively you can take the buses of the company KTEL that connect Thessaloniki to the main cities of the peninsula, but we do not recommend it because the local public transport is not efficient and you may have difficulties to move to other places or to reach the most beautiful beaches.
Unfortunately the airport of Athens, for which there is much more offer of low cost flights than the one of Thessaloniki, is quite far (more than 600 km): it is a solution that could save you money, but it makes you lose a lot of time.
Located in the northeastern part of mainland Greece, Chalkidiki is a large peninsula formed by three smaller peninsulas: Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos.