Chalcidice or Chalkidike or Chalkidiki or Halkidiki
A place of central Macedonia especially endued since it combines the evergreen woods full of pine trees with the aquamarine, crystal sea. Halkidiki is separated into 3 peninsulas which are commonly called "podia" (legs). The first one is called KASSANDRA, the second one SITHONIA, and the third one ATHOS.
The first leg or peninsula, that of Kassandra, is the most highly developed, due to the face that is the closest one to Thessaloniki (only 57 kilometres away) and attracts even the local weekenders (with all good and bad consequences that this has).
The peninsula of Kassandra is separated from the rest of Macedonia by a 1250 meters long and 40 meters wide canal, which joins the Golf of Thermaikos and the Golf of Toroneos. There are no historical facts about when the canal was created, but according to history it was possibly opened by Kassandros and later completed by the Byzantine emperors.
When passing the canal the first village you find is Potidea. Following the central road the next villages are New Fokea and Afytos. In New Fokea (which is also called by locals "Fokies and means Seals) there is a medieval tower on a hill next to the sea, which dates back to 1407. A remarkable building and in good condition, it gives another aspect to the magical view from the hill.
Afytos (which was called Athytos in older times) maintains many traditional elements, making it a wonderful village for walking around it's small streets,
eating and having a relaxing coffee.
After Athytos you meet Kallithea, a fully developed place with large hotels on the main street, many restaurants, bars, cafes, and beautiful piney sandy beaches. Down the central street, just out of Kallithea, you will find yourselves in an oasis of amusement (for he ones who love it!!!) where big clubs, musical scenes, and bars are located to enjoy you till the morning hours.
After Kallithea, you will find the villages of Kryopigi, Polychrono, and Hanioti.
All three guest thousands of tourists and offer a modern infrastructure for a pleasant vacation. On the right hand of Kryopigi, there is a small lake called Mavrobara. In the lake lives a kind of turtle which is disappearing.
After Hanioti we find Pefkohori (which is also called by locals "Kapsochora", due to the fact that it was burnt down by pirates several times in the past), where on the left hand you can see a large beach and on your right hand all kinds of stores for eating, drinking, entertaining, etc.
On the south edge of the peninsula you will find Paliouri. After that village you will be on the west side on the peninsula where you will pass by Agia Paraskevi, the beach of Loutra, and Kalandra.
Next you will find New Skioni and the beautiful Posidi with its wonderful beach. Following you pass by Siviri, which has a very nice beach, but which is also know from the festivals which take place every year (for the last 8 years) in it's open amphitheater.
When leaving Halkidiki the goods you must acquire are: very tasty honey, natural pure olive oil, olives (of which you can find a great variety), oregano (collected by hand), and very tasteful spoon sweets.
The very best of the peninsula of Kassandra:
1- Walking in Afytos
2- The Byzantine tower of New Fokea
3- The sanctuary of Apollo which is located on the coast of Kallithea
4- The natural small port on the border of Pefkohori-Paliouri
5- Wandering in the pine tree woods (take care not to get lost!)
The worse of the peninsula of Kassandra:
1- In the most beautiful and solitary places, a lot of people practice illegal camping and leave a lot of trash
2- During August, due to the mass number of tourists, service is not so good (by almost all entrepreneurs). The months of June, July and the first 15 days of September are preferable
3- A lot of traffic (during weekends we advise you not to drive in small villages.