Halkidiki in Northern Greece is perhaps one of the country’s best kept secrets when it comes to relaxing getaways. Boasting not one but three stunning peninsulas jutting out into the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea, Halkidiki is a refreshing mix of Greek history, fabulous scenery and postcard perfect white sand beaches.
Access to Halkidiki couldn’t be easier, and the travel companies can arrange flights and accommodation to any of the three peninsulas, taking away the stress and effort of booking a holiday. After all, trips to Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos, known as the ‘three fingers’ of Halkidiki, are all about late deals ultimate relaxation from start to finish.
The Kassandra region is ideal for some quality beach time under the warm Mediterranean sun. At the north end visitors can relax on any number of blue flag beaches, including Vargia Beach and Geoponica-Mykoniatika, both overlooked by luxury all-inclusive resorts, numerous bars, cafes and restaurants and gift shops perfect for picking up a bucket and spade or some extra sun cream.
Kassandra is perhaps quieter than neighbouring Sithonia when it comes to nightlife, so it’s a very popular choice for families who want to experience the beauty of the beaches without the rowdiness of the 18-30 crowd.
For a relaxing walk around some of Greece’s ancient towns, head to Sithonia. Nikiti, Parthenonas and Toroni are home to some of the area’s oldest structures dating from as early as the 5th Century. Traditional street markets selling homemade foods and handcrafted items are one of the biggest draws of these small towns, along with the rural and mountainous scenery. Sithonia is also famous for its wine production and many vineyards offer tours of their facilities as well as free tastings and cellar door sales.
The third and final of the Halkidiki ‘fingers’ is Mount Athos: the most historical of the peninsulas and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Due to ancient Greek mythology and beliefs, women are not permitted to this region of Halkidiki, and men may also find access a bit of challenge.
However, gaining permission is well worth the effort, as the base of the mountain is populated by Greek, Serbian, Russian and Bulgarian monks who welcome visitors to stay at their monasteries and partake in church services and pilgrimages across the Athos Desert.
Halkidiki really is a top choice for those wanting to chill out in the sun, where their only worry is what to have for dinner! With the exception of Kassandra, Halkidiki is one of the most natural and un-commercialised areas of Greece, protected from heavy over-development. If you’re looking for sun, sea and sand, look no further than Halkidiki.