Dazzling deep blue waters, lush pine forests, luxurious hotels, award-winning fine dining restaurants, small coves with fish tavernas, chic beach bars, archaeological sites, traditional villages, and Holy Mount Athos; Halkidiki promises a wonderful getaway for all!
Set in the prefecture of Macedonia, Halkidiki (birthplace of famous Greek philosopher Aristotle) is divided into three peninsulas- Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos- also referred to as the “three legs.”
Just an hour’s drive from Thessaloniki, it’s the perfect coastal getaway for locals in Northern Greece and the best way to get there is by driving along the provincial road 25, which begins from Thessaloniki International Airport and becomes more and more beautiful as you go along!
Discover the 20 Best Things to do in Halkidiki
1. Be adventurous
Halkidiki offers many paths for mountain biking and hiking walks around the peninsulas on woodland tracks and along coastal pathways. The forests of Mount Holomontas in the centre of Halkidiki are the perfect escape destination for travellers who want to explore nature, including hiking trails, horseback riding, or hit the many mountain biking trails of Olympiada on Athos.
2. Explore a charming fishing village
Nea Fokea, a picturesque little harbour busy with fishing and sailing boats, offers beautiful views from its seaside promenade and an amazing sandy beach. Boasting a range of cafes and taverns on the seaside, it’s a charming spot with traditional narrow streets and home to some very important historical monuments, including the Byzantine-era Saint Paul’s Tower and Saint Paul’s Cathedral.
3. Visit a historic site
Arnea is a place that features Halkidiki’s traditional past blending in nicely with its modern-day vibe. The Ministry of Culture has declared Arnea a historic site because of its rich history and its important examples of traditional Macedonian architecture. Make sure to visit the Historic-Folklore Museum of Arnea, which is housed in the historic mansion known as the “Yiatradiko”. Also check out the old village school dated back to 1872, the small church of Agia Paraskevi, the church dedicated to Agios Stefanos and in Arnea you can learn about old-time crafts such as weaving.
4. Get up close to Petralona Cave
Named one of the most stunning caves in all of Europe, Petralona features stalactites that sparkle in the dark. What’s even more special is that hidden among the stalagmites, is a 700,000-year-old skull of an early human (Archanthrapus) that has been discovered. Aged 30-35 years, he was considered elderly for that time.
5. Set foot on Aristotle’s hometown
Macedonia is the birthplace of one of the greatest Greek philosophers. Near the village of Olympiada you will come across Ancient Stagira, the birthplace of Aristotle. In the village, you’ll find the Alsos of Aristotle, a park with a compass, pendulum and prism, highlighting Aristotle’s work that has become famous worldwide.
6. Travel to Nikiti
Stroll through the narrow paved alleys and admire the beautiful stone villas with their charming courtyards filled and blossoming flowers. Make sure to check out Agios Nikitas stone church and then to go down to an area that has a big red maple tree and sit at one of the local taverns and enjoy some traditional dishes.
7. Dive into the deep blue sea
Halkidiki offers an unlimited choice of water sports including windsurfing, water skiing, scuba diving, snorkelling, canoeing and kayaking. You can also hire a boat and sail around Mount Athos, or visit the Drena islet.
8. Enjoy local delicacies
Visit one of the many agricultural farms where you can take part in a cooking class and learn to prepare local dishes using fresh local produce. Halkidiki is famous for its olives, high-quality olive oil, artisan bread and gourmet cheeses, as well as for its traditional sweets and pastries. Whether in a traditional tavern, a local bakery or a gourmet restaurant, make sure to try as much of the local cuisine as you can. One of the best places to staple local delicacies is on the village of Arnea, famous for its honey, jams, wine, and tsipouro (as are most of the villages in Halkidiki).
9. Become a beekeeper for the day
The region is also well known for producing honey of the highest quality and if you want to experience something different head to the Mountain Holomontas in the centre of Halkidiki, where a friendly beekeeping family welcomes and invites you to visit their place, up to the mountain. Here they will show you what it takes to be a beekeeper; as you can be dressed in a beekeepers suit, to live and take part through all the special process of beekeeping.
10. Walk through the vineyards
The vineyards of central Halkidiki stretch from the low hills near the sea and the grape varieties are cultivated to produce the white Regional Wines of Halkidiki including Roditis and Sauvignon Blanc. The red Regional Wine of Halkidiki is produced from the Xinomavro, Grenache Rouge and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties. One of our faves is the Metochi Mylopotomas wines, which are from Mount Athos.
Visit Seven Seals Microbrewery in the small town of Ierissos, where you can taste the first-ever local handcrafted Halkidiki beer. Located on the east coast of the Akti peninsula, Seven Seals recently opened to the public and is the perfect place to quench your thirst on a hot day.
12. Explore the Peninsula of Kassandra
Kassandra is Halkidiki’s popular peninsula famous for its buzzing beach bars and annual festivals. Make sure to visit Afitos, the traditional and most beautiful village of Kassandra. Located on the north-eastern side, Afitos has many historical Greek Orthodox churches, stone houses and cobbled alleys. Also, make your way over to the thermal spa of Agia Paraskevi, which offers rejuvenating treatments in its saunas, hydro massage facilities and hammams.
13. Wonder through Sithonia
With so many places to explore, visitors here are blown away by the small secluded bays that are surrounded by lush trees and other vegetation on Sithonia. Make sure to visit the village Parthenonas, which features stone houses, great local taverns, a museum, splendid sea views and magical sunsets. Porto Koufo village is also a great spot to taste freshly caught fish. At night make your way over to Nikiti, which has a chic new promenade lined with classy restaurants, all-day cafes and boutiques- here you can enjoy a drink while admiring the spectacular view.
14. View Mount Athos from a distance
The third finger is Athos, home to one of the most sacred monasteries in the world, Agios Oros- a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Athos is made up of 24 monasteries, which can be viewed by sea on a coastal cruise; this is the only way for women to see the area as no women are permitted at Agios Oros- only men aged 18 and over are permitted to visit (and require permission before arriving). You can however visit Ouranoupoli the closest village to Agios Oros, which has a beautiful view of the islands of Ammouliani and Drenia. It also features the Byzantine tower of Prosforios and some local taverns and cafes.
15. Splurge on a luxury hotel
Halkidiki has a range of hotels to choose from and is home to many five-star luxury hotels that have become a popular option for many international guests.
Danai Beach Resort: Tucked away in its own little pocket of golden beach and pine forest in Nikiti, it includes a range of restaurants and private beaches.
Grecotel Margo Bay: With views of Kassandra Bay, rooms come with private balconies. The hotel has a range of restaurants and bars set by the water.
Eagles Palace: A family-owned, 5-star beach resort set next to the monastic state of Mount Athos, it features 157 rooms, suites and bungalows, plus a private sandy beach.
Ekies All Senses Resort: This luxury hotel has a beachfront location on the Gulf of Vourvourou in Sithonia and offers a beach bar, romantic sunsets and sea views.
Sani Resort:The family-run Sani Resort sits on an ecological reserve stretching across 1,000 acres, with endless golden beaches and is one of the most popular resorts for families.
16. Swim in the bluest of blue waters
The list of beaches in Halkidiki really is endless and here are some that need to be added to your list-
Chrouso – Paliouri, Kassandra
Kavourotripes/ Orange beach – Sarti, Sithonia
Agios Mamas- Kassandra
Mikro & Megalo Karydi beach – Vourvourou, Sithonia
Kryaritsi beach – Sykia, Sithonia
Kalogria beach- Nikiti, Sithonia
Kallikratia beach – West Halkidiki
Alykes beach – Ammouliani
Gerakini beach – Gerakini, Sithonia
Kriopigi beach- Kallithea, Kassandra
Trani Ammouda – Ormos Panagias, Sithonia
Komitsa beach – Nea Roda, East Halkidiki
Ammouliani Beach- Aristotelis
Ouranoupolis Beach, Aristotelis
Platinitsi Beach- Sithonia
Agios Mamas- Kassandra
Bassoulas Beach- Kassandra
Tigania Beach- Sithonia
Neos Marmaras- Sithonia
Agia Paraskevi- Kassandra
Agora Beach – Kassandra
Porto Koufo – Sithonia
17. Lounge around a beach bar
Halkidiki is renowned for the many cool beach bars that are packed with locals and international visitors each year over summer. For those who love the buzzing vibe add these ones to your list- Manassu Beach Bar, MOA Beachbar, Orca Bar, Molos Seaside Bar, Agistri Bar, KOHI Beach bar, Navagos, Yalla Beach Bar, Agios Ioannis Beach Bar and Talgo Beach Bar.
18. Taste some of the most superb dishes
There is no shortage of great places to eat in Halkidiki, a place that boasts many award-winning restaurants. For all the foodies, these won’t disappoint- Tomata at Sani Marina, French restaurant Squirrel, Water Restaurant also serves French cuisine in Sani, check out Bubo Fine Dining, Marina in Potidea, Alexis at Sani Resort, H Marigoula in Polygiros and Boukadoura in Nikiti. We also highly recommend Oceanidis seafood tavern and Massalia in Nea Fokea and one of our absolute favourites is Sousourada in Afytos, which serves seasonal food made with locally sourced produce.
19. Jeep around town
Explore Halkidiki on a Jeep safari through the hills of the Kassandra or Sithonia peninsula, this is a great way to explore all the charming villages and remote beaches.
20. Sail to a secret island
The beauty of the Diaporos and the surrounding tiny islets is a local secret that is shared only with those who often visit the area of Vourvourou for their summer getaways. This is an area that can only be experienced by boat, and those who do so, do not regret it.
The airport closest to Halkidiki is Thessaloniki, from here we recommend hiring a car and making your way from there. Otherwise, you can catch a bus line 79A, which connects with KTEL Halkidiki.