Halkidiki is a must-see destination for many, but this peninsula hides much more than fantastic beaches. Here are our suggestions on how to smartly complete your vacation and get to know the many sights and beauties of this rich region.
1. Aristotle’s Park
At the northwest entrance to Stagira-Akantos, near the place of the Olympics and next to the historic village of Stagira, you will find the famous Aristotle’s Park at an altitude of 500 m. This beautiful site is considered to be the birthplace of a famous philosopher and the park itself is not a classic monument to Aristotle even though his 1956 statue is here. This is a theme and interactive park that gives visitors the opportunity to learn about his works from his book Physics. Admission to the museum costs 1 EUR, opening hours are from 10am to 7pm, and in addition to this open-air museum with sundial, concave plates and optical illusions, there is a beautiful vista and restaurant.
2. Holomontas Mountain
Holomontas Mountain is located near Thessaloniki, right in the palm of Halkidiki and, although it is only 1165 meters high, offers incredible views as well as an opportunity to observe rare birds. In addition to the rich flora and fauna, the slopes of this mountain hide the traditional settlement of Mantemohoria, and the mountain itself is covered with oak and pine trees that occasionally interrupt fields with wild flowers and aromatic plants. Holomontas is a protected nature reserve and has about 30 hiking trails and at any hotel you can look for a mountain guide and walk to the top. Moving on, you can taste the traditional wild mushrooms in the nearby village of Taksiarhis, then take you further to Arnee, a picturesque mountain village.
3. The village of Arnea
Arnea is one of the most picturesque villages in the mountainous part of northern Halkidiki located at an altitude of 600, at the foot of Holomontas Mountain. Arnea has an important traditional heritage and has been declared a settlement of historic importance by the Greek Ministry of Justice. While touring the village, make sure to visit the Historical Folklore Museum at Villa Karsandelos (one of the oldest houses in Halkidiki), an old school built in 1871, as well as the Agios Stefanos Temple which is built above 3 older temples that can be seen through the glass floor. There are stories circulating for this village that it is the place with the most centenarians who owe their longevity to spring water that springs from the centennial plane tree in the main square. After Arnea, you can continue to Megali Panagia, the oldest village in Halkidiki known by the icon of Our Lady discovered in 1860 after a woman from those parts dreamed of her. You can finish the trip in Pirgadikia, a resort with a great beach stretching a few kilometers to the east.
4. Patralona Cave
Patralona Cave is located 1 km east of the village of Petralona, ie 50 km northeast of Thessaloniki at an altitude of 300 m. The cave itself was discovered by chance by local villagers in 1959, and only a short time later it turned out that the remains of a female skeleton over 700 thousand years old were found here. In addition to this discovery, the cave contains fossils of bears, panthers, elephants, rhinos and many other animals. Visitors can visit the cave and admire its red stalactites and stalagmites from 9am to 4pm during the winter or from 8am to 6pm in the summer. The cave is 2 km long and the entrance to the cave is charged 8 EUR.
5. Kassandra Peninsula
If you are in the mood for a little relaxation on the most beautiful beaches in Greece, you should definitely visit the first finger of Halikidki, Kassandra. The northern part is considered to be a little quieter and the other side of the finger is reserved for those who enjoy going out and love the tourist spots. Cassandra’s ancient name was Flegra, meaning “place of fire”, and according to mythology, this area is the birthplace of the Titans, and is true of the area where the Titans tried to overthrow the Olympian gods from Olympus. By the way, Kassandra is the most populous Halkidiki peninsula and one of the most visited summer resorts, with incredible, turquoise beaches and intense nightlife, so you will definitely not go wrong in any place.
6. The capital of Poligiros
If you want to see how Halkidiki lives throughout the year (and not just during the summer), get to know the local cultures and habits of the people in the heart of Halkidiki, be sure to visit Poligiros. Poligiros is the capital of Halkidiki Prefecture and is rich in history, picturesque old town and charming atmosphere. The Poligiros Archaeological Museum exhibits exhibits from across the peninsula dating back to prehistoric times as well as Hellenistic and Roman times. The Folklore Museum displays exhibits that include traditional clothing, agricultural tools, and a representation of a typical urban house from Poligiros in the early 20th century.
7. Ancient Olintos
Olintos is a place with a rich history dating back to the Neolithic period and founded according to mythology by the brother of Olintos, son of the mythical king of Thrace, Strimonas; Olintosa was killed by a lion and Strimonas built a city and named it after him, in memory of his brother. However, it is also believed that the town is named after wild figs called olintos in ancient Greek that can be found in this area. Olintos is located between Cassandra and Sithonia, and throughout the year you can visit the remains of the ancient city of Olintos. Numerous archeological investigations add to the importance of this area as e.g. the discovery of much of ancient Olintos from 1938 when an ancient residence was found with some of the oldest known ancient mosaic floors and paintings. There is also an Archeological Museum that provides insight into the history of the ancient city and its cultural development. If you stop by here on July 20, you will find a three-day olive festival held in honor of Prophet Elijah.
8. The city of Sikia
Sikia is one of the oldest and largest villages in Halkidiki, located 90 km from Poligiros, but very close to Sarti, Sithonia. In the center of the old part you can see the temple of Agios Atanasios dating from 1819 and during the Byzantine era, the whole area belonged to the monasteries of Agion Oros. The place itself is not offshore and the beach of the same name is located 3 km from here. Above the very site whose architecture is much reminiscent of Athos, there is a stone hill that houses the remains of a former fortress that played a significant role in the famous uprising against Turkey. Sikia is otherwise considered a paradise for campers and in its vicinity are certainly the most beautiful beaches in Sithonia, such as Klimataria, Kriaritsi, Linaraki and Tigania. If you would like to complete the event, you can easily visit Toroni Bay, the fishing village of Porto Kaufo or the beautiful Kalamici from here.
9. Vourvourou beach
Vourvourou beach is an ideal summer destination, combining crystal clear seas with dense vegetation and nine small islands. Vourvourou is located just 10 kilometers from Agios Nikolaos in Sithonia, and above all is a quiet place that offers the possibility of a relaxing holiday in one of its unreal bays surrounded by pine trees. In addition to exploring the old fishing village, you can stroll through the imposing Itamos, where you will enjoy an amazing sunset. Certainly through our site it is easy to find a room next to the beach, where there are small tavernas that offer fresh fish and complement the landscape of this beautiful place in Halkidiki.
10. The city of Ouranopolis
Ouranopolis is one of the most peaceful resorts in the north of Halkidiki, right at the entrance to Athos, which offers many amenities such as quality restaurants and well-appointed apartments for rent. During the summer, cruises are organized daily, bringing you closer to the western side of Mount Athos and giving visitors the opportunity to see some of the Holy Mount Monasteries. Also here you can get organic local produce such as olive oil, wine, honey and cipur (alcoholic beverage), and enjoy relaxing moments in the area’s small fish taverns.
We hope that we have given you a wider picture of what you can visit in Halkidiki, and if you need more ideas what to see, feel free to check out our text on why to visit Halkidiki for more interesting suggestions.