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- 21 September 2023
6 really useful tips to plan a trip to Halkidiki
Are you thinking of going on holiday to Halkidiki in Greece? Are you looking for useful tips to organize your trip to Halkidiki? Below, you will find 6 really important tips to better enjoy this region of Greece; the advice is based on the experience of those who live in Halkidiki and have known the area for many years.
1. Come to Halkidiki if you are just looking for a relaxing holiday by the sea
It seems obvious that one has to go to the beach to enjoy a relaxing holiday by the sea, but the first advice is fundamental. In Halkidiki you will find beaches of all kinds: organized and free, with sand, with pebbles and even with rocks. You will find many quality beaches and you will be baffled while choosing, but let is talk about beaches.
Of course, you can combine sea activities, such as water sports and boat rides. Of course, you can visit some historical sites (Stagira is the birthplace of a “little known” man like Aristotle) or characteristic village, but do not think further. Those are enough if you intend to spend your holiday relaxing by the sea and not by visiting historical sites.
Advice within the advice: do not think because it is a little-known destination for Italian tourism, it is not a popular or less sought after destination. Halkidiki in the summer is very crowded with locals and tourists (mostly from the Balkans), and therefore it is better if you organize yourself in advance with the necessary reservations.
2. If you want to experience Halkidiki to the fullest, you need to rent a car
The car is an important cost of the holiday budget. There are those who do not want to drive during the holidays to avoid extra stress. All understandable and acceptable reasons. However, if so, perhaps it is better that you orient yourself to another destination in Greece, for example some small island.
It is almost imperative to have a car in order to enjoy better Halkidiki. There are buses that connect Thessaloniki with the peninsula and there are buses between the various main towns of Kassandra and Sithonia, however, they stop only at the main points, often far from the beaches and overcrowded with local young people who come to spend the weekend at the beach.
Without a car you can not access the most remote beaches, without a car you can not change to a different beach every day, without a car you have no flexibility, in short, if you do not rent a car in Halkidiki, you are really limited in travel and risk missing the best beaches and not living the holiday properly. You can rent the car at the airport of Thessaloniki (if you arrive there by plane) or in some agency in the towns of Halkidiki too.
3. No to the myth of the Greek islands, prepare yourself to accept a different environment
Often for tourists, the first image that comes to mind about Greece are the white houses of the Cyclades islands and with the mills that surround it. In Halkidiki, none of that exists! Indeed, the first impression is of a “scruffy” environment (in certain stretches of coast). Towns like Neos Marmaras or Nikiti do not shine for their architectural style. Only Afytos (on the first peninsula of Kassandra) which is a well-kept stone village and perhaps the prettiest from an aesthetic point of view can be excluded from the rule.
Sithonia was a destination for campers and camping and still today they can be found, making room for a simple form of tourism. No, Halkidiki does not give you the typical idea of Greece described on the internet, yet there are luxurious resorts and fantastic beaches with super organized beach bars. This last concept I would say is one of the strengths of the region compared to many other parts of Greece.
The advice is to forget that in Greece all the houses are white, but the most basic environment will be well rewarded by the quality of the sea. The cuisine is also of a high standard, given the nearby influence of Thessaloniki which is considered the gastronomic capital of Greece.
4. Search for an alternative accommodation to the resort proposals in the catalogs of travel agencies
I notice that the proposed hotels in Halkidiki by tour operators, are limited in number. Perhaps because the destination is yet to be discovered. One of the questions I am most often asked is to recommend a beachfront resort and maybe with entertainment in Italian language. Given the lack of presence (at least until today) of Italian tourism, forget the entertainment in our language, as offered by certain packages “flight + hotel” in the Greek islands. Resorts are found, but the prices are not really cheap since the clientele until today has been of a different standard.
Since the main dish of Halkidiki are the beaches, the advice I can give is to look for accommodation in a hotel with basic services or in an apartment (there are also studios that are simpler and cheaper), leaving aside the concept of “All inclusive” resort. In this way, with your car, you can travel the length and width of the peninsula to discover corners of paradise, without being locked inside a village.
5. When is the best time to visit Halkidiki?
What if I told you about summer? I do not want to fall into the trivial, but I want to point out that the warm months in Halkidiki are limited. Some tourists plan to come to Halkidiki and swim until late autumn. Beware though that you are not in the south of Greece. If in Crete you could swim from March to October, because the temperatures are higher, the same does not apply to Halkidiki.
From mid-June to mid-September the temperatures are acceptable, although I have seen people with sweaters during these months, due to summer storms. Outside this period, the risk of finding a bit cold is high. For your information, Halkidiki in winter is almost completely lifeless!
6. The final advice, but that answers the most popular question: which foot to choose?
Halkidiki consists of three peninsulas, better known as feet. On the map you can easily identify them east of Thessaloniki. Since the region is extensive, the most popular question I am asked is where to stay or in any case on which foot is convenient to stay at.
If your holiday lasts a week or more, I would recommend a mix, some days on the first foot and others on the second. If your time is limited or you do not want to change hotels during your stay, then in schematic form, here is what you should evaluate:
- choose the first foot, known as Kassandra, because the sea is beautiful, because there are the best beach bars, because there are beach parties, nightlife and a wide choice of accommodation;
- choose the second foot, known as Sithonia, because the quality of the sea and beaches is better, generally less chaotic and greener.
Access to the third foot, known as Athos, is restricted only up to the first part, i.e., up to the city of Ouranoupoli, because the remaining part is managed by monks and not accessible (only to men with visas).
If you are looking for what to do at Halkidiki…
Click on “Find things to do” here below to discover the different activities and experiences you should during your holiday in Halkidiki.
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