Halkidiki – Unique Peninsula with Stunning Beaches and Pine Forests

Halkidiki (or Chalkidiki) is the most popular summer holiday destination in all northern Greece. Halkidiki peninsula is famous for its cosmopolitan seaside resorts, exotic beaches, and the stunning green landscape. The peninsula is divided into three smaller peninsulas, often referred to as ‘legs’ or ‘fingers’.

Halkidiki and its three ‘legs’

Why visit Halkidiki?

Where in Greece is Halkidiki?

Halkidiki Greece on a map

What does “Chalkidiki” mean?

Halkidiki – What to see?

What to do in Halkidiki?

Halkidiki Beach Guide

Halkidiki – How to get there?

Airport near Halkidiki

Halkidiki – Weather and Climate

Halkidiki and its three ‘legs’

The first and westernmost leg of Halkidiki is named Kassandra and is the busiest of the three. It is dotted with popular tourist resorts, luxurious hotels, and organized beaches. The second leg is named Sithonia, it is less organized but full of secluded coves with stunning beaches and popular for camping. The third and easternmost leg is named Athos; it is a closed monastic community, where only men with a special permission can enter. So, with its three quite different legs, Halkidiki has you covered, no matter what type of traveller you are.

Why visit Halkidiki?

Fishermen boat in Pyrgadikia bay; Chalkidiki, Northern Greece
Fishermen boat in Pyrgadikia bay

Halkidiki has long been a popular holiday destination for the local Greeks, thanks to the short distance to Thessaloniki, which is the second largest city in Greece. Besides, it is standing out for its beautiful seaside villages and exotic beaches. If you ask the locals, they all agree that “There is nothing like Chalkidiki!”

Osiou Gregoriou monastery at the holy Mount Athos in Northern Greece

Halkidiki Tours

TICKETS, ACTIVITIES & THINGS TO DO:

Where in Greece is Halkidiki?

Aerial view of Pefkochori beach, Kassandra peninsula, Greece
Aerial view of Pefkochori beach, Kassandra peninsula

Halkidiki (or Chalkidiki) is a large peninsula in central Macedonia in northern Greece. The autonomous Mount Athos is the easternmost part of the peninsula. The capital of Chalkidiki is Polygyros (or Poligiros), located in the centre of the peninsula. Halkidiki peninsula is situated in the northwestern part of the Aegean Sea, resembling a hand with 3 ‘fingers’ (in Greek often referred to as ‘legs’). The two gulfs between the three fingers are Toronean Gulf and the Singitic Gulf. The whole of Halkidiki peninsula is bounded by the Thermaic Gulf on the west and the Strymonian Gulf on the east.

Halkidiki Greece on a map

Map of Halkidiki (Chalkidiki) Macedonia, Greece
Map of Halkidiki – Coordinates: 40°20′N 23°30′E – Click to enlarge map

What does “Chalkidiki” mean?

Chalkidiki, the name given to the peninsula, is referring to a group of people native to the area, the Chalkideans, since ancient days. Originally the population came from the ancient Greek city-state of Chalkis in Euboea.

Halkidiki – What to see?

If your skin needs a break from the sun at the stunning Halkidiki beaches, there are plenty of options for great sightseeing. Driving around the peninsula you will discover impressive sites like the Byzantine towers, the Cave of Petralona, ancient monuments, as well as Orthodox monasteries. The picturesque seaside villages in Halkidiki also have many interesting sightseeing options. Find a list with the most important sights below.

  • Mount Athos – the self-governed part of the Greek State (a bit like the Vatican in Italy) is famous for its old Byzantine monasteries. Women are not allowed into the area, and men need a special permission to go. Everyone can go on one of the frequent boat trips from Ouranoupolis around Mount Athos and get the chance to marvel the beautiful monasteries from the sea.
  • Prosforio Tower – is a Byzantine tower and the symbol of Ouranoupolis. It is standing on the town beach, but it has suffered some damage through the passing of time.
  • Cave of Petralona – is located on the western slopes of Mount Katsika. The cave has amazing stalactites and stalagmites, fossils of panthers, bears, lions, deer, and bats. In 1960 a human skull aged 700,000 years was discovered here.
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What to do in Halkidiki?

Scuba-diving tours and courses

Diving in Greece

Considering its large size Halkidiki has not many organized things to do, except for diving. There are many diving centres in the tourist resorts and the most luxurious hotels and resorts. You will have the opportunity to go on organized diving trips by boat in the northern Aegean Sea and get your PADI-certificate.

Jeep tours or hiking?

Another popular activity in Halkidiki is touring by jeep due to its beautiful, secluded beaches and verdant landscape with dense forests. Hiking is practiced as well; hiking trails are leading you to mountainous villages, forests, beaches hidden in small coves, and ancient ruins and archaeological sites.

Paragliding

Paragliding in Greece - Photo by Charbel Aoun

At the village of Pefkohori you will find the paragliding club Skeye, which is operating sightseeing tandem flights above the sights of Chalkidiki. You can choose between classic tandem flights or motorized paratrike flights, both being operated by certified pilots with many years’ experience.

Sea Kayak in Halkidiki

At Vourvourou Bay in Sithonia peninsula you will find Sea Kayak Halkidiki. They are offering half-day, full-day, and sunset trips where you can paddle around in the crystal-clear emerald waters exploring secluded beaches with a local guide.

Water sport centres

Beautiful Kriaritsi beach in the east coast of Sithonia on Halkidiki, Greece.
Kriaritsi beach on the east coast of Sithonia in Halkidiki

Besides the water sport offered at the luxurious resorts and hotels in Halkidiki you will find organized water sports at various organized beaches:

Mindloop at Armenistis beach in Sarti, Sithonia peninsula – 40°09’14.3″N 23°54’56.3″E

Action Water Sports at Moudania beach in Nea Potidea, Kassandra peninsula – 40°12’31.2″N 23°19’20.7″E

Lolos Ski Center at Porto Carras Beach near Neos Marmaras in Sithonia peninsula – 40°04’37.9″N 23°47’28.9″E

Surf Vourvourou at Vourvourou beach, Sithonia peninsula – 40°11’42.0″N 23°48’08.7″E

Water Sport Centre in Nea Roda near Ouranoupoli – 40°21’14.6″N 23°56’53.1″E

Halkidiki Beach Guide

Akti Koviou beach in Sithonia peninsula, Chalkidiki, Greece
Akti Koviou beach in Sithonia peninsula

The Halkidiki beaches are famous for their crystal-clear water, soft sand, and verdant surroundings. The most popular organized beaches you will find in Kassandra peninsula, like Kallithea, Sani, Hanioti, and Paleochori. Sithonia, the second peninsula, is not as developed and hides many stunning coves to relax in and enjoy camping. Find 60 beaches listed below.

Organized beaches

  • Armenistis beach – Sandy, family friendly, party, water sports, located in Sithonia peninsula, 72 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Sani beach – Sandy, family friendly, party, water sports, located in Kassandra peninsula, 45 km south of Poligiros
  • Skala Fourkas beach – Sandy, family friendly, water sports, located in Kassandra peninsula, 64 km south of Poligiros
  • Kalithea beach – Sandy, family friendly, party, water sports, located in Kassandra peninsula, 50 km south of Poligiros
  • Hanioti beach – Sandy, family friendly, party, water sports, located in Kassandra peninsula, 64 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Pefkohori beach – Sandy, family friendly, diving club, party, water sports, located in Kassandra peninsula, 68 km south of Poligiros
  • Platanitsi beach – Sandy, family friendly, water sports, located in Sithonia, 72 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Siviri beach – Sandy, family friendly, located in Kassandra peninsula, close to Sani and Skala Fourkas, 62 km south of Poligiros
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Partly organized beaches

  • Kalamitsi beach – Sandy, family friendly, secluded, located in Sithonia 93 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Porto Koufo beach – Sandy, family friendly, located in Sithonia peninsula, 80 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Vourvourou beach – Sandy, family friendly, located in Sithonia peninsula, 51 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Possidi beach – Sandy, family friendly, water sports, located in Kassandra peninsula,70 km south of Poligiros
  • Banieres beach – Sandy, family friendly, diving club, water sports, located in Sithonia peninsula, in walking distance from Neos Marmaras, 56 km southeast of Poligiros
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Non-organized beaches

  • Kavourotrypes beach – Sandy, family friendly, camping friendly, located in Sithonia peninsula, 72 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Agios Ioannis beach – Sandy, family friendly, located in Sithonia peninsula, 40 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Karydi beach – Sandy, family friendly, located in Sithonia peninsula, 53 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Akti Aretes beach – Sandy, secluded, located in Sithonia peninsula, 80 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Azapico beach – Sandy, family friendly, located in Sithonia peninsula, 70 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Fava beach – Sandy, family friendly, secluded, located in Sithonia peninsula, 51 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Kastri beach – Sandy, family friendly, located in Sithonia peninsula, 38 km southeast of Poligiros
  • Kovio beach – Sandy, family friendly, secluded, located in Sithonia peninsula just 3 km south from the town of Nikiti, 40 km southeast of Poligiros
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Beautiful Mega Portokali beach on the east coast of Sithonia in Halkidiki, Greece.
Mega Portokali beach on the east coast of Sithonia

Halkidiki – How to get there?

The most common way to reach Halkidiki is by car. You can reach Halkidiki from any place in the Greek mainland and from the neighboring countries. You can also choose to rent a car from the airport in Thessaloniki, drive to Halkidiki and use the car for sightseeing trips as well. You can also reach the peninsula and your hotel by bus. The KTEL buses are connecting Halkidiki with many towns around Macedonia and with Athens as well. You will find bus stations in Poligiros, Neos Marmaras, Nea Moudania, and close to the airport of Thessaloniki.

Airport near Halkidiki

Halkidiki has no airport of its own. The nearest is Thessaloniki Airport “Makedonia”. It is about 20 km from Thessaloniki city centre operating domestic as well as international flights all year. You will find taxis for your transfer at the entrance of the airport, or head for the nearest KTEL bus station to go by bus.

Halkidiki – weather and climate

Athitos or Afitos (Afytos) beach on the northeastern side of the Kassandra peninsula in Halkidiki, Greece
Athitos or Afitos beach on the northeastern side of Kassandra peninsula

Halkidiki weather is quite typical Mediterranean, mild with limited rainfall, great summers with many hours of sunshine and mild winters. Temperatures are highest at sea level and as you move into more mountainous regions the weather is cooler. The lowest temperatures are during the months from December to February and the highest are during the summer months July and August. July is the hottest month in Halkidiki with an average temperature of 26°C and the coldest is January with an average temperature of 9°C. The warmest month to swim in the sea is August with an average sea temperature of 25°C.

AprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctober
Day18°23°27°30°29°27°22°
Night11°14°18°21°21°18°15°
Average day and night temperatures in Halkidiki in °C