Yes, Halkidiki may be one of the regions in Greece where mass tourism has changed the local way of life – for better and for worse, but there are still places where life goes on as normal. One of the areas unaffected by tourism.
HOLY TRINITY OF TOURISM
The holy trinity of the tourism industry: sea, sun and sand, are defining factors of Halkidiki. Thanks to the sunny weather and the incredible beaches, Halkidiki seems destined to remain a major draw for many years to come.
It’s really the only way to discover all that Halkidiki has to offer. Exploring the 2,923 km2 by car will take you through forests, up mountains and to waterfalls, monasteries, the region’s famous towers, traditional stone-built villages, and fantastic tavernas, and you’re not restricted to the peninsula where you’ve chosen to spend your nights.
BLUE FLAG BEACHES
Another three flags were also awarded to marinas in the area, and one was awarded to sustainable boating tourism operator Scorpion Yachting MCPY/All Inclusive.
Another unique place to swim is Kavourotripes. This beach, whose name translates to “crab holes”, differs greatly from the sandy expanses you usually find around Halkidiki. Here, between Armenisti and Sarti, softly shaped grey-white rocks form a series of small bays.
The largest of a cluster of small islands opposite Vourvourou is a little paradise (as is this whole area) with its clear blue waters and light-colored sand. In the past the islands was a well-kept secret. Now almost everyone vacationing on the Sithonia peninsula pays it a visit for a day of swimming, kayaking, fishing or boat excursions (both drivers and swimmers are advised to be careful to avoid accidents).
Compared to other villages in Halkidiki, Ierissos is lesser-known, remote and somewhat isolated. In other words, it’s the perfect escape for those who have had enough of the beach bars on the Sithonia and Kassandra peninsulas. Those heading to the monasteries of Mount Athos should make a stop at the town’s cultural center (Tel. +30 23770.211.30), where you can see a 3D film about the monastic community.
The Monastic State of Mount Athos is a unique place of sanctuary for monks, and a popular pilgrimage destination, although only men are allowed to enter. While women aren’t allowed to visit the monasteries, they can be seen from the sea on a boat trip around the Holy Mountain.
At the very interesting (if somewhat understaffed), Arnaia Weaving Museum (Mouseio Yfantikis Arnaias. Yfanta=Woven), the exhibits – rugs and carpets with beautiful ornate designs along with traditional tools – tell the story of the local weaving tradition. You’ll also learn about traditional coloring techniques, which included using berries, shells, onion peel and beets as coloring agents.
While Halkidiki is one of Greece’s most popular destinations, the high season here is short. It generally lasts for three months, from the beginning of June until the end of August, with its culmination in July-August. Plan accordingly.