Halkidiki, in northern Greece, is made up of three ‘fingers' jutting into the Aegean Sea. The western-most peninsular, Kassandra, is the busiest and the most visited; the largest resorts of Kalithea, Pefkohori and Hanioti, are all found on the east coast. The middle peninsula, Sithonia, is considered the most beautiful, with its unspoilt fishing villages and rugged, pine-forested interior, while the eastern-most peninsula, Mount Athos, also known as the Holy Mountain, is a semi-independent monastic state and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Halkidiki's sandy beaches are perfect for children, while those who like to shop should head into Thessaloniki. To get a taste of local fare, visit one of Halkidiki's unspoilt fishing villages, where waterside tavernas serve delicious fresh seafood.
Halkidiki's top cultural attraction is undoubtedly Mount Athos, also known as the Holy Mountain; a semi-independent monastic state and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its forested slopes are home to beautiful Orthodox monasteries displaying religious frescoes and icons, as well as some 1,700 monks. Proclaimed the exclusive domain of monks and hermits by the Byzantine Emperor, it is only open to male visitors – you can however take a boat trip from Ouranoupolos to sail around its perimeter. In a beautiful and panoramic park, to the west of the village of Stageira, there is a statue and theme park dedicated to the philosopher Aristotle, one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy – the park features several instruments that reveal the phenomena of nature, based on Aristotle’s work, The Natural. Another popular attraction is the Petralona Cave, featuring almost two kilometres of corridors decorated with impressive stalagmites and stalactites, and the fossilised skull and bones of the Archanthrope of Petralona. Excavations throughout the years have brought to light many Paleolithic tools and fossilised animals, and are still being carried out to this day.
With over five-hundred and fifty kilometres of coastline, Halkidiki offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy its crystal-clear blue waters. There are plenty of beaches for families where children can play safely, as well as more secret places for couples and beaches with deeper waters that are perfect for scuba-divers.
Those wishing to indulge their wallets should head for Thessaloniki which offers everything from upmarket stores selling top designer labels and exquisite jewellery to fine antiques, high quality leather goods and the bustling Modhiano covered food market.
Venture beyond the beaches of Halkidiki and without going far, you can admire and ponder over important archaeological sites, such as the ruined 7th century city of Olynthos.
If you do wish to venture further, about 180km north is the archeaological site of Vergina, where you'll find the Royal Tombs of King Philippos II, father of Alexander the Great, and a museum dedicated to the area.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
On The Water
Sani Asterias Suites offers one day ‘sailing taster’ trips and two-day RYA ‘Start Yachting’ courses run by the Aegean Sailing School. Either is the perfect introduction for those who have always wanted to try sailing, but are unsure whether they would like a full week on a yacht no previous sailing experience is required.
April to June and September to October are warm and dry, while temperatures in July and August can get quite high.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Halkidiki.
British Airways from London Gatwick to Thessaloniki. UK regional departures and charter flights are also available.
From London Gatwick to Thessaloniki: 3 hours, 20 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.