Halkidiki, the best of island life on mainland Greece!
Many visiting Greece for the first time would opt for a summer island experience and miss out on all the offerings Halkidiki provides. However, Halkidiki’s secret has been out amongst the Balkan region for a very long time. And now it’s time to spread the word.
Situated on the mainland of northern Greece, Halkidiki is a region with three peninsulas, known as the three legs. These peninsulas provide a great coastline with varying degrees of activities.
It’s all about the legs
First leg (peninsula) - Kassandra
It has popular tourist resorts with organized beaches and night clubs.
It’s also the most popular of the three legs.
Second leg (peninsula) - Sithonia
It has much greenery, less organized resorts and more secluded coves. You still get some amazing all-day beach bars and beautiful coastal towns
The beaches are truly to die for and an absolute must for those seeking a purer holiday away from populated crowds.
Third leg (peninsula) - Mount Athos
It accommodates monasteries prohibited only for men who have previously been granted special permission to enter.
Because of its easy access by car, it is a haven for families wanting to explore as much of the three legs as possible.
If travelling by car is not for you, the long coastline can also be explored by a private yacht.
Getting to Halkidiki
Halkidiki is approximately 70 km from Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. For international travellers, your best option is to fly into Thessaloniki.
The International Airport "Macedonia" of Thessaloniki (IATA code: SKG) connects the region with over 30 different countries and more than 80 destinations with direct flights.
Most hotels also offer transportation from Thessaloniki airport to a hotel in Halkidiki. Alternatively, your choices include:
Egnatia Odos is a modern motorway that meets the Ring Road of Thessaloniki which leads to the National Road towards Halkidiki.
All the villages and the beaches of Halkidiki are connected by coaches to Thessaloniki. There are buses that run daily and several times per day throughout the year.
Thessaloniki, worth the stopover
Thessaloniki is my birth place and my special love. It is Greece’s second most populated city and certainly worth the stopover.
For more information on Thessaloniki, check out my blog ‘Thessaloniki, worth the stopover’.
My Favourite Beach Bars
Hmmm, let me test the waters and beach bars for you! Starting from the first leg:
Ammolofos Beach Bar
Not only is there an amazing turquoise beach to enjoy; beanbags, cocktails and music are added just for your pleasure.
It is also known to have instructors guiding all beach activists with a little beach aerobics.
Surprisingly, engagement is high among all 300 plus beach goers. Unless you witness it for yourself, it is difficult to imagine!
From centre of Nea Potidea, head on main highway towards Thessaloniki. As soon as you cross the river, you make a sharp left turn.
This road will take you under the bridge along the canal towards the right-hand side of the peninsula. Follow the part asphalt mainly dirt road along the coast heading towards Thessaloniki.
You will come across many beach bars including Porto Inn Bar, Sunmaras Beach, etc. Keep going until you get to Ammolofos Beach. You can stop there or continue on, and at the first sight of the ‘white tower’, you will reach Wet Wet beach bar.
Both beach bars are very well known by locals and not so by tourists. Perhaps the unnamed roads could be a contributor.
Wet-Wet Beach bar
This beach bar certainly feels remote but the waters are absolutely breathtaking. Go when the waters are calm and you will never want to leave.
The beach bar offers meals, cocktails and comfortable sunbeds that you could indulge all day with the purchase of just one drink!
A remote but beautiful beach worth visiting regardless of the challenging road trip to get there.
Anemos Beach Bar
It provides a little more organised, clean, relaxed and beautiful beach atmosphere. It is a little pricier but you are next door to a luxury resort, Sani Beach, that attracts a higher-end crowd with a great vibe. For more details on Anemos, click here.
Pohoda Chill & Funky Restaurant
We discovered this beach bar accidentally. We were looking for a little hideaway beach, and came across Pohoda.
I cannot recommend this enough. Elegant but not over-the-top, great food, and beach service to match. Love it! For more information, click here.
Agistri Beach Bar
What I love about this beach bar is it has excellent dining areas and the food is scrumptious. Great vibe and not over populated. Great for families with young kids too.
What stands out about the second leg is that it’s more intimate and less populated. The beaches equally provide remoteness and purity. You would think they are postcard images that have been photoshopped. These beaches are away from crowds and beholders of natural beauty!
Limited catering but an amazing beach.
To get to it, you will either need a vehicle or a sail boat. My tip? Come prepared with food and snacks for the day.
Beach umbrellas are highly advisable. It’s worth the extra effort!
Manassu Beach Bar
If you are holidaying on the second leg, this beach bar is a must.
It is definitely one of my favourites.
Great restaurant, beach, cocktail bar, scenery and music.
Did I forget anything? See you there next time!
If you’re looking for a beach with calm waters, ensure your beach location has the wind direction into the sea and not the shore.
In Nea Potidea, located on the narrowest strip of the first peninsula, you are spoilt for choice. You have quick access to both sides of the peninsula. Depending on the direction of the wind, select which coastline you want to bathe for the day.
Located on the first leg, is a traditional picturesque village located on a seaside cliff overlooking the bay.
Its stone mason architecture attracts many visitors. It is certainly one of my favourite towns. With a vibrant nightlife, excellent restaurants and beautiful views, it is definitely a place to visit!
Located on the second leg, is a beautiful fishing village with a relaxed atmosphere.
Great location for a seafood meal as you dine at Okyalos watching the sunset.
And there you are… Halkidiki in a nutshell.
I hope you find this guide useful and feel encouraged to set out and uncover this hidden gem in Greece.
Homeland to the mythical gods and where legends come to life, a new Odyssey awaits you! If you want to hear about more unique options to plan your once-in-a-lifetime holiday in Greece, Magical Sunset is the place to be.
Here are two of our UPCOMING TOURS to get you inspired:
Comments and feedback are welcome!