Chalkidiki or Halkidiki. A combination of green and blue
Shaped like Poseidon’s trident and sticking out into the Aegean Sea, Halkidiki is a treat for visitors. Lush green forests that reach right down to the beach; golden sunlight reflected in the turquoise waters; a traditional style with a rich gastronomic and cultural heritage. Endless coves, unique architectural sites, perfectly preserved Christian monument and a host of unexplored treasures all add their own rich touch to the unique canvas that is Halkidiki.
Among this intoxicating blend of green and blue, the visitor will find major hotel complexes built to the highest standards, particularly on the first of the three “legs”, cosmopolitan Kassándra. Here there are also traditional seafront guesthouses, little hidden treasures and marinas along the coast at Sithonia, as well as some unique archaeological sites. These include Ancient Olynthus. Stágeira, the birthplace of Aristotle and, of course, Mount Athos, a unique Christian monument, untouched by the passing of time and a living monument to Byzantine culture, standing in the midst of untouched nature.
Chalkidiki is also home to many earthly paradises for those who love mountains. Paths for mountain biking and walking cut their way through the forests of pine, oak, fir and chestnut trees. Here you can feel the pure air refreshing every cell in your body, and crystal clear refreshingly cool water gushes from dozens of hidden springs for you to quench your thirst. If you’d like to stay in the mountains, check out the traditional guesthouses at Holomóntas and in other areas up on the mountain slopes.
Of course, anyone who wants to truly feel the vastness of the Aegean and O.D. on adrenaline at the same time needs to devote a little time to some serious sea sports! Windsurfing, kitesurfing, diving, water skiing and many other sea sports activities are all on offer for you here – and the facilities in Kassándra and Sithonia are excellent. Every July a major swimming event takes place here at Toronéos, one of the world’s largest events at 26 km. The competition attracts swimmers from all over the world.
Also, during summer, a lot of remarkable artistic festivals take place in many parts of Halkidiki. Music provides the main focus, but the performing arts are also prominent, and every summer the region’s open-air theatres play host to some major presentations.
• Cosmopolitan Kassándra
According to mythology, Kassándra, the first peninsula of Chalkidiki, was the site of the mythical Clash of the Titans. Today, Kassándrais one of Greece’s most modern tourist resorts. You can find some of the largest hotel complexes in the country here, with amenities of the highest quality, such as golf courses, marinas and spas. You can also enjoy gourmet meals prepared by renowned chefs.
If you like things a bit more organised on the beach, Cassandra is the place for you! It’s also home to some of Greece’s best known beach bars. Keep a note of these places: Floyitá,Áthytos,Kallithéa,Hanióti, Kryopiyi,Polýhrono,Pefkohóri,Palioúri,Posídi,Síviri,Sáni,Potidea!All of them have beaches to die for with the trendiest beach bars. If you need a bit of peace and quiet after a dancing session, hop in a car and discover some of the area’s untouched beaches. There’s no better way to recharge your batteries ready for the next party!
Those who are into hectic nightlife scenes might like to know that the Kallithéa area is home to some of the biggest best bars in Greece, while just about anywhere in Halkidiki you’ll find some nice quiet little bar which is just perfect to kick off your evening in.
• Beautiful Sithonia
The second leg of Chalkidiki, Sithonía, is home to the ancient city of Olynthus with its unique mosaics. It also has beaches that will take your breath away! The vegetation on Sithoníais dense. The forests – pine chiefly – reach down to the beaches –a real treat for the senses.
There is a good balance of facilities for tourists in Sithonía. There are plenty of campsites but, in addition, visitors will also find superb major hotel complexes. Most beaches offer facilities such as umbrellas but there are plenty of others hidden away which have escaped any residential development. Wander from beach to beach, beating your own well-worn path. You’ll find creek after creek with turquoise water, white sand and stunning underwater landscapes. AktiKaloyriás, Spathiés, Eliá, Lagomándra, Marmarás, Toróni, Tristiníka, Porto Koufó, Kalamítsi, Platanítsi, Kavourótrypes, Armenistís, AktíZográfou, ÓrmosPanayiás, Vourvouroú and Pyrgadíkiaare just some of the unique beaches you will find in Sithonia.
Take a look at some of the beaches further east in Halkidiki too in the Ouranoúpoli area at the start of the third “leg” and don’t forget the outstanding beaches at NéaRóda and Ierissós.
There are twenty monasteries here, all unlike any anywhere else in the world. Seemingly untouched by time, they stand proudly on Mount Athos, one of the most important sites for the Orthodox faith. We would suggest that all the men reading this (sorry, no women allowed) should check out this unique place to feel the serenity, the wisdom and the holy spirituality of faith.
• The Cave of Petrálona
The Cave of Petrálona is one of the most impressive caves in Europe. Finds from the cave show that Halkidiki has been inhabited since Stone Age times. The most important of these is a human skull, that of the “Archanthropos”, which is generally believed to be 700,000 years old –in other words, it is the skull of the oldest European! Visit the cave and admire labyrinthine interior with its stalactites and stalagmites. You can also visit the museum, where a large number of fossilised bones of different mammals are on display.
(For further information phone: 23730-71671.)
• Ancient Olynthus
Visit Ancient Olynthus, a well-preserved Greek city from the Classical Period. Here you can admire the oldest known Greek mosaic flooring, a forerunner of the stunning mosaics of Dion,Aigai and Pella.
Stágeira is the homeland of Aristotle, one of the greatest philosophers ever, who was born here in 384 BC. It was one of the best organised urban conurbations in the Classical Period. The archaeological site includes an acropolis, fortifications, an ancient temple and Classical and Hellenistic homes.
Chalkidiki is so well known – yet at the same time much of it is as yet undiscovered. What are you waiting for?