The 550-kilometer long coastline, the crystal-clear waters, the pine trees offering amazing natural shade and more make Halkidiki one of the most popular Greek destinations. Here is what you should see and do here.
Mount Cholomontas is located in a lush landscape near the city of Thessaloniki and offers an amazing view. It is not a high mountain, with an altitude of 1.165 meters, but it is charming and beautiful. Its slopes host rich flora and picturesque traditional settlements, called Mantemochoria. The mountain is covered with forests of oak trees, chestnut trees, pine trees, which are intercepted by clearings or fields with wild flowers and aromatic herbs. Famous since classical times for its rich timber production, this place allows visitors the chance to enjoy the peaceful landscape and indulge in pure, natural relaxation.
The cave of Petralona is located about one kilometer east of the village Petralona. It is about 50 kilometers northeast of Thessaloniki, at an altitude of 300 meters. It was discovered in 1959 by villagers who found a skull there that belonged to prehistoric man. Research has proved that this skull is about 700,000 years old and belongs to the oldest ever discovered European man. In the cave fossils of bears, panthers, elephants, rhinoceros and many other animals have also been found. Visitors have the opportunity to admire the impressive stalactites and stalagmites from 9am until 4pm during the winter and until 6pm during the summer months.
Petralona Cave, Petralona, Halkidiki, +30 2373071671
Arnaia is one of the most picturesque villages of northern mountainous Halkidiki at an altitude of 600 meters, on the forefeet of the Mount Cholomontas. Arnaia has an important traditional heritage and has been declared a historic place and traditional settlement by the Greek Ministry of Justice. During your walk in Arnaia you should visit the Historical and Folklore Museum in Katsangelos’ Mansion. Also check out the old school built in 1871 and the temple of Agios Stefanos, which is constructed above three older temples that can be seen through the glass floor.
Located 90 kilometers from Polygyros, Sykia is one of the oldest and largest villages of Halkidiki. In the middle of the old settlement you will see the temple of Agios Athanasios, which dates back to 1819. During the Byzantine era, the whole area belonged to the monasteries of Agion Oros. You can enjoy a swim in the bay of Sykia, Kalamitsi and Porto Koufo, which was referred to by Thucydides as the largest and safest port of Halkidiki. Today, the place is a small fisheries settlement famous for its nice fish taverns and the fish meze. While in Sykia, you can also visit the nearby area of Toroni, which is a seaside location with beautiful beaches.
Polygyros is the capital of the Prefecture of Halkidiki and can delight even the most demanding visitor with its history, its picturesque historical center and charming atmosphere. The Archaeological Museum of Polygyros hosts exhibits from the whole peninsula of Halkidiki, dating back to prehistoric times, as well as the Geometrical, the Archaic, the Classical, the Hellenistic and the Roman period. The Folklore Museum hosts exhibits, which include traditional clothing, agricultural tools and a representation of the typical urban home of Polygyros during the beginning of the 20th century. If you want to see the new meet the old and wish to experience the essence of the lifestyle, local culture and habits of the people in the heart of Halkidiki, visit Polygyros.
The ancient name of Kassandra was ‘Flegra’, which means ‘place of fire’. According to mythology, this area is the birthplace of the Giants. Apparently, this is also where the Gigantomachy took place, when the Giants tried to force the Olympian Gods out of Mount Olympus. The most densely inhabited peninsula of Halkidiki is located close to Halkidiki and hosts thousands of bathers every summer. It has amazing, kilometers-long shores and an intense nightlife with bars along the shore and in the nearby villages.
This is a place with rich history that dates back to the Neolithic Period. According to mythology, the town was established by the brother of Olynthos, the son of the mythic King of Thrace, Strymonas. Olynthos was killed by a lion and Strymonas built the town and named it after him, in order to honor his memory. According to the linguists, however, the town was named after a wild fig tree called olynthos, which can be found in the area. The town once thrived and was the capital of the Common of Halkideis, a union of the cities of Halkidiki, administrated on the principles of freedom and mutual respect. The rise of Olynthos caused conflict with Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, who couldn’t stand competition with any other region in Macedonia. Olynthos was occupied by the powers of Philip in 348 BC and its inhabitants were all sold as slaves.
The archaeological research has brought various findings about the importance of this area into light. Specifically, from 1928 until 1938 the American Professor D.M. Robinson discovered a large part of ancient Olynthos. They have found residencies with some of the oldest known ancient Greek mosaic floors and paintings on the walls. Also found were bathers and various other domestic tools that prove the cultural development and the high quality of life in the ancient city.
Ouranoupoli is one of the most important resorts of northern Halkidiki, with plenty of comforts that include quality restaurants, rooms to let and studios. During the summer period, cruises approaching the west side of Mount Athos are carried out to Ouranoupoli on a daily basis and provide visitors with the opportunity to see some of the monasteries. In the ‘city in the sky’ you have plenty of excursion choices in the nearby lush hills with olive trees and pine trees. You can purchase pure local products like olive oil, wine, honey and tsipouro, as well as enjoy some relaxing moments in the small fish taverns of the area.
This is an ideal summer destination, combining a beach of crystal-clear waters with a forest of dense vegetation and nine islands. Vourvourou is located just 10 kilometers away from Agios Nikolaos, in the Peninsula of Sithonia, and appeals to the visitor with its beautiful landscape and serenity. Explore the old fishermen’s settlement and hike on the paths of the imposing Itamos, to enjoy an amazing sunset. The rooms to let next to the beach, the nice small taverns offering fresh fish and the beach bar complete the scenery of this wonderful place in Halkidiki.