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My last summers in Greece were spent in Chalkidiki. It was a bit of my choice, a bit of the crisis and I happened to be one of the lucky ones, living next to this paradise with the crystal clear blue waters, so it was for me my only option for a vacation spot!
Some (Greeks mostly) might have heard the phrase “There ain’t no place like Chalkidiki” and have been fed up with the place, but if you never visited, don’t miss out a chance to explore this beautiful piece of land, at least once. I don’t know what the Bahamas are like, but if I ever visit them and the sea color ain’t at least two tones brighter than Chalkidiki’s sea, I’ll be extremely disappointed.
When I first start to go there, the waters were light blue and the sand, golden, soft and hot. You ‘d listen to the water and watch the fish swim by you in the sea floor. Over the years the visitors more than doubled and the quiet and clean beaches were turned into tourist attractions. The light blue water was replaced for the 3 months of pure summer by Caroten Bronze, which covered the water surface in all the crowded hot spots of Chalkidiki.
We became millions of fans that visit this amazing paradise, each for his own reasons, since the three parts of the peninsula, also known as its “legs”, offer different entertainment and experiences each.
Want to see loads of people and club all night with locals and tourists? Leg No 1, Kassandra!
The first Leg is your choice if you want to be with regular folks and “die” clubbing. Kalithea is considered the center of the first leg, which attracts most tourists but also the youth. From Afitos up to Paliouri, it’s full of hotels, rooms to let, night clubs, beach bars and restaurants.
You could stay at the camping net to Sani Beach which is a cheaper solution. There you can walk around the beautiful marina of the hotel that is filled with restaurants and shops. If you find spot on the beach bars, you can enjoy the music, especially during parties and if it happens to be windy you will have the chance to see dozens of windsurfers running over the waves.
If you are not the type that likes camping, you can head towards Afito, Kalithea, Chanioti or Pefkohori where you can find loads of hotels and rooms to stay. All the villages are relatively close to one another and all the and usually the clubs and beach bars have parties and happenings all the time.
All along the roads actually you can feast your eyes on party posters and get all the info you need, just don’t do it while driving ;)
You like the nature, the sea and you other half naked? Leg No 2, Sithonia
The second leg is an alternative of the club filled first leg, it is for those that seek peace, nature, beautiful beaches, alternative music and to throw their swim suits away. Hot spots and central locations are Neos Marmaras at the edge of the leg, Sarti on the left side and Nikiti on the right. There you can find most things that might be needed.
You mainly stay on camping sites which are many to choose from and too far away from one another. You can rent a room in one of the villages but you will have to get a car, bike, or bicycle for the bolder ones, in order to be able to explore all the hidden coves but also to end up on some amazing beach bars carved into the mountains and placed in front of the sea.
The bad part about camping sites is that they are almost always overcroweded and you have to listen to everyones music, greek folk, trance, metal and all the way back from the toilets, most likely the latest hits. If you don’t wish that on your vacations there are a lot of rooms to let and hotels on the surounding villages but also smaller camping sites and more family or quiet oriented. You want have trouble finding a place to stay, even if you are looking for June or August, the options are many.
Here you can enjoy the light blue sea, the nature and the calm and you can become a new Christopher Colombus with you bike and explore all the small trails that lead to hidden beaches or beach bars, lost almost in the sea. You need to always carry along water, sunblock and a lot of strength because the sun is scorching and its might take awhile to reach a destination!
Our advice is to load the car with coffee, food, a sun umbrella and friends and to make a trip of the entire leg, stopping at a new beach every time. Each location has its own character, get to experience it if you can!
Calmness, order and security. Leg No 3 The Holy Mountain (Mount Athos)
The third leg should (in theory) be the best, but it is not. The part you can visit is very small. The rest is the Holy Mount (Athos), which is church property (think of it as Greek Vatican, only HUGE!) and you need to procure permission in order to visit if you are a man. Women are not allowed in Mount Athos. (I know, right?)
Here you will find the peace you are seeking for. You can relax at the organized camping in Nea Roda, or rent a room. If you are looking for even more peace, you can always enroll as a monk (I wouldn’t) for the church.
The beauty and nature remains the same on this leg as well, with light blue sea and golden sands. Across you can also find the small island of Ammouliani which is great for very “relaxing” situations!
Things that you might need
You will definetelly need good company and a lot of sunblock. It would be wise to book a room earlier (and possibly cheaper), or reserve a spot in a camping site. You can land in Thessaloniki and from there travel by car to your destination. Don’t travel between Friday and Sunday because those are peak days every summer week and the traffic might drive you insane.
So put on your smile, grab your GPS
View Chalkidiki, Greece in a larger map
and pick the spot you want to rest and stretch your body over the golden sand and under the sun.
Here you can download a map, print it out and have it along your things. Have a nice summer!
For more amazing photos you can visit Kostas Niarchos Photography