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Chalkidiki

Chalkidiki

When I think of Chalkidiki, I think of beautiful beaches, green forests, delicious honey and beautiful views! Because Chalkidiki has such a strange shape, it also gets compared to a fist with three fingers.

The first finger is the peninsula Kassandra which is the most popular amongst vacationers. The second finger is the peninsula Sithonia and a perfect destination for nature lovers. The third finger is Athos, also known as Agion Oros which means “holy mountain” and is protected by UNESCO. There you find twenty monasteries, inhabited by monks, and only men are allowed to visit Athos.

The peninsula Kassandra

The fist is the mainland of Chalkidiki where besides picturesque villages, you will find the history of king Kassander and Aristotle. Chalkidiki is a great and varied destination which is getting more and more popular! With a distance of only thirty minutes from Thessaloniki you can combine the two very well. Two summers I have worked in Chalkidiki as a representative, and I would love to share my experiences and favourite spots at the peninsula of Kassandra with you.

With on the one side a beautiful sunrise over Sithonia and on the other side a colorful sunset over Mount Olympus, Kassandra is definitely worth a visit! It is only fifty kilometers long and ten kilometers wide, which makes it easy to explore in one day.

Nea Potidea
When you cross the bridge over the canal, which makes Kassandra a peninsula, you will see the village Nea Potidea splitted in two. Throughout the years Nea Potidea has played an important role for whole Chalkidiki. It is also known as “the door of Kassandra”. In the village you still find remains of the old city wall where thousands of people died fighting during the Greek Independence War.

Nowadays Nea Potidea is a seaside resort with at he one side the old village and at the other side the boulevard with beach bars, hotels and taverns. The best road to explore Kassandra is to take the exit of the highway a little bit after Nea Potidea and follow the old road to next to the seaside. It will lead you along the most beautiful views over the clear blue water of Chalkidiki.

My favorite spots

Nea Fokea
Nea Fokea, a picturesque port village with a beautiful Byzantine tower dating from 1407. With a height of 55 feet you won’t miss it! In the early days it protected the locals, now you can enjoy the view of the tower from one of the taverns at the port.

Afytos
Afytos, also known as ‘’the balcony of Kassandra’’ is definitely worth a visit. While approaching it from the ring road it doesn’t seem that special, but when you walk around in the center you will find yourself in a typical Greek (touristic) village. Traditional houses, small streets, a cozy square, Greek taverns and shops that sell local products like honey, olives and jewelry. Definitely bring a visit to the balcony with more restaurants and bars that offer you a beautiful view on the neighbor peninsula Sithonia. And if you really want something special, make sure you make a reservation for a candle light dinner at the beach of Afytos.

Hidden beaches
If you are really into nature and remote beaches, then you should visit the south of Kassandra! Just a kilometer after the busy seaside resort Pefkohori you will hear the crickets and smell the pine forests. Park your car at the Port Marina hotel and walk over the sandy (off road) path to the azure beach. It is a great place to enjoy the quietness and beautiful view.

If you are more into a beach bar with sunbeds, drive a little further and you’ll see the beach bar indicated on the signs.

The church of Kanistro
Kanistro, located on the most southern point of Kassandra, surprises you with a cute little white-blue church at the sea. Only the route towards it is already well worth it!

The village Paliouri
Paliouri is the most southern village of Kassandra and one of my favourite places to escape the busy tourism. During the day and afternoon it is still very quiet. But if you visit around 9 PM, it will be full with locals. Order some Greek mezedes and local tsipouro and enjoy the Greek hospitality.

The market in Kassandria
And last but not least, the market in Kassandria on Tuesday morning. A typical local market where I love to stroll aroudnd! Enjoy the walk and taste the local wine, the homemade honey, and the different kinds of olives!

The most beautiful route

Leaving Kassandria you can take the highway to drive back towards Thessaloniki or go further to Sithonia. But a nicer and more beautiful road during daylight, is the side road of Kassandria (exit hospital) that goes to Simantro/Sani. Driving in between the many olive trees, you’re headed for maybe one of the most beautiful nature spots in Kassandra. On the way you see pine forests and many plastic bags in the trees, which are used to collect resin. In May and June the fields are full with sunflowers. And through the year you will see coloured beehives at almost every corner of the road.

Would you like to further explore Chalkidiki? Send us an e-mail and we will inform you about the various possibilities. Except for the Fly Drive North Greece it is also possible to customize a car holiday in Chalkidiki.

This blogpost is written by Carolien Vlaardingerbroek

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