Chalkidiki (or Halkidiki) is situated southeast of Thessaloniki and is famous for its geographical shape and the three beautiful peninsulas (from left to right): Cassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos (Agion Oros). Numerous and breathtaking beaches, green mountains and coastal villages consist the pieces of a puzzle of Chalkidiki, one of the most famous tourism destinations of Greece. Even the southern ends both of Cassandra and Sithonia are in driving distance from Thessaloniki for an excursion or a daytrip. Moreover, during the summer you can reach Chalkidiki by sailing boat, which will give you the opportunity to see beaches and places of rare beauty that is impossible to reach in any other mean of transportation. The fact is that if you are in Thessaloniki, you should not miss the chance to visit Chalkidiki and at least one of its famous beaches (our map on the top can help you), especially during the summer and if you have the time to spend a day or more.
The Petralona Cave can be found 40km away from Thessaloniki while 25 km due south, you can admire the famous canal of Potidaia. If you keep following the road you will encounter plenty of beautiful beaches and villages such as Afytos, Kriopigi, Chanioti and will eventually lead you to the southernmost village of the peninsula, Paliouri. The whole journey is not more than 46km long and you can admire the beauty of Toronaios Gulf on your left hand side. If you decide to keep driving and return in Thessaloniki crossing the other side of the peninsula you will have the chance to visit the Thermal baths of Agia Paraskevi, the archaeological site of the ancient temple of Poseidon, more breathtaking beaches (Poseidi, Fourka, Sani) and the view of Thermaikos Gulf. Cassandra is the most developed region of Chalkidiki in touristic terms and as a consequence the most crowed during the summer.
Reaching Moudania, 63km away from Thesaloniki, you can follow the signs for Sithonia. The archaeological site of ancient Olynthos is situated only 8km away from this junction. After 30km you will encounter Nikiti and you can take the coastal road to head for some of the most beautiful beaches of Greece like Trani Ammouda, Armenistis, Kavourotripes, Kalamitsi and many others. Sigitikοs Gulf and Mount Athos (Agion Oros) will offer you some splendid views. Porto Koufo, which a naturally protected port, is the southern area of Sithonia. On the way back from the other side of the peninsula you will come across Porto Carras Grand Resort and many other modern hotel facilities, but also some of the most beautiful Chalkidiki beaches such as Elia beach, Koviou beach, Spathies and Kalogria beach.
Mount Athos (Agion Oros)
The fastest way to reach Mount Athos (Agion Oros) is to take Thessaloniki – Polygyros highway and driving 100km east you will reach ancient Stagira, the birth town of the famous philosopher Aristotle. Another 30 km south and you will be in Ouranoupoli from where you can enter the monastic state of Agion Oros. Mount Athos, which has been designated from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is an Orthodox spiritual centre since 1054 and has enjoyed an autonomous statute since Byzantine times. The ‘”Holy Mountain” (Agion Oros), which is forbidden to women and children, is also a recognized artistic site. The layout of the monasteries (about 20 of which are presently inhabited by some 1,400 monks) had an influence as far afield as Russia, and its school of painting influenced the history of Orthodox art. Note that you will need a special license in order to enter and the procedure might take up to a week.
Mount Athos (Agion Oros) Photogallery