20 Best Things to Do in Halkidiki (Greece)

mount athos

South of the Thessaloniki-Asprovalta line in northern Greece, extends one of the most beautiful peninsulas in Europe – Halkidiki.

To the south, it in turn splits into three more peninsulas, which have the glory of a true paradise for tourists.

Halkidiki has much to offer its visitors.

However, most tourists come here for three main reasons – beaches, forests and monasteries.

Considering also the good Mediterranean climate, it is not surprising that the peninsula is one of Europe’s top destinations to spend your summer holiday.

1. Enjoy the wonderful coastline of Vourvourou

diaporos island vourvourou
Diaporos Island, Vourvourou by Nuno Cardoso/Flickr

Vourvourou is a small tourist town located on the east coast of Sithonia.

What makes this place so popular is its unique coastline.

The tourist village offers a large number of fantastic beaches, combining fine golden sand and turquoise waters.

The shallow waters around the coast are a great opportunity for families with children.

The tempting shallows in the area of Vourvourou have one more advantage – they warm up very quickly in the first warmer days of May.

2. Visit the Varvara Waterfalls

varvara waterfalls
Varvara Waterfalls by Theophilos Papadopoulos/Flickr

In an environmentally friendly forested area in the northeastern part of Halkidiki, you will find one of Greece’s most beloved natural beauties.

Here, amidst the picturesque mountain scenery, under the thick shadow of dense deciduous forests, is nestled the beautiful Varvara Waterfall.

Located about 8 km from the village of Olympiada, the waterfall and its surroundings are most beautiful in the late spring, especially in May.

The place is deeply recommended for people who want to relieve stress and tension while enjoying the beauty of nature.

3. Feel the spirit of Mount Athos

mount athos
Mount Athos by Dan Lundberg/Flickr

Mountains covered with dense forests dominate the landscape of the easternmost of the three Halkidiki peninsulas – Mount Athos.

Untouched and sparsely populated, this peninsula is one of the most unique places in the world.

The monks are the only population of the sovereign monastic community.

On the territory of the peninsula you will find 20 monasteries.

The most popular of them are the Chilandariou, Zographou, Vatopediou, Agios Panteleimon and Pantokratoros Monastery.

Mount Athos has its own cultural identity and specifications.

One of the most controversial questions is that women are not allowed to visit the peninsula.

The only opportunity for them is to enjoy the wonderful beauty of Mount Athos is to observe the coast from the board of a cruise ship or a boat from the sea.

4. Experience the beauty of Fava Beach

fava beach
Fava Beach by ljubar/Flickr

Not far from Vourvourou is the popular Fava Beach.

Because of its turquoise crystal clear waters, cliffs along the beach and lush vegetation on the coast, this beach is often described as one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean.

The ecologically clean environment in the area of Fava is a great place to relieve stress and is a good opportunity to quickly recover your mind and body.

You can enjoy the warm sun rays from early May till late October.

5. Join a fishing trip

fishing trip
Fishing trip by stu/Flickr

Are you a fan of fishing?

If yes then here you will find opportunities that few other places have to offer.

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Besides the waters around the Halkidiki trident are irresistibly clean and tempting, they are also very rich in fish.

Local travel agents offer you the opportunity to join exciting fishing trips.

These are all-day long boat trips, during which food and drinks are included, and on board you are provided with all the necessary equipment.

A particularly popular destination in this respect is Nea Fokea, where most of the tourists start their journey.

The good thing about Halkidiki is that the diversity is huge.

For this reason, the likelihood of catching fish is high, even if you have very mediocre skills.

6. Diving off the coast of Agios Nicolaos

the coast of agios nicolaos
The Coast of Agios Nicolaos by YouTube

The clear and limpid sapphire waters off the coast of Halkidiki are a great opportunity for scuba diving enthusiasts.

The underwater visibility of over 40 meters allows you to see in detail the underwater reefs as well as the marine creatures living there.

One of the places in this respect is the area of the coastal town of Agios Nikolaos.

Known for its crystal clear water, it is a guarantee for a first-class experience.

The area also offers some of the best diving schools in the country.

This is a good opportunity for you to learn all the details you need to know about the water sport, not to mention the high quality available equipment.

7. Discover Ammouliani Island

ammouliani island
Ammouliani Island by Horia Varlan/Flickr

In the calm and smooth bay locked between Sithonia and Mount Athos, you will find a little known paradise.

Ammouliani is a small island that is only 6 kilometers long but has a lot to offer.

It is covered with emerald green Mediterranean vegetation and olive trees, and the water around is sapphire-blue.

The island offers spectacular beaches that combine very light and fine golden sands and crystal clear sea.

8. Visit the village of Arnea

village of arnea
Village of Arnea by grolli77/Flickr

Inside the Halkidiki Peninsula you will find a wonderful place that brings the spirit of the past.

Located more than 600 meters above sea level, this place has a slightly cooler climate.

The forested mountains that surround the village contribute to Arnea’s freshness too.

The village offers its visitors the opportunity to feel the Balkan atmosphere and spirit.

Local architecture is typical of this part of Europe, and most buildings are of great historical value.

Above the stone foundations, the houses are in different colors, including pink, blue, orange and many others.

9. Snorkeling along the coast of Platanitis

snorkeling along the coast
Snorkeling along the coast by zanda_skujina/Flickr

With its crystal clear waters, Platanitis is not only one of Halkidiki’s top beaches.

Situated on the fabulous east coast of Sithonia, this place is also great for snorkeling enthusiasts.

In fact, very few places around the world offer as many days of smooth seas a year as you can find here.

Underwater visibility can vary according to weather conditions, but it is not surprising to exceed 40 meters and even more.

When you feel tired, there is a good choice of bars near the shore where you can rest.

With a cool drink or a serving of grilled fish, this is a great way to relax yourself and recharge your batteries.

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10. Day trip to Bulgaria

ancient theatre of philippopolis in plovdiv, bulgaria
Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis in Plovdiv, Bulgaria by antonella sinopoli/Flickr

Since Halkidiki is located in the northernmost part of Greece, you could use your vacation here to take a short day trip to Bulgaria.

Fortunately, some of the most beautiful places in the Balkan country are right on the other side of the border.

Here you can visit the well-known mineral springs of Blagoevgrad and Sandanski, the popular winter resort of Bansko, as well as the historic town of Melnik.

As the distance is short, you can return to Greece before the end of the day.

11. Boat trip to the Blue Lagoon of Sithonia

blue lagoon of sithonia
Blue Lagoon of Sithonia by fourkas/Flickr

A small and covered with Mediterranean vegetation island attracts lovers of swimming, snorkeling and diving not far from the eastern coast of Sithonia.

Called Diaporos, it is a real paradise in the vicinity of Vourvourou.

Diaporos is famous for its numerous bays and mirror sea waters.

The most beautiful place, however, you will find in its northeastern corner – the Blue Lagoon of Sithonia.

The azure water of the lagoon is so limpid that you can easily see what’s underwater 50 meters in front of you.

The best way to enjoy the lagoon is to visit it by boat.

You will be able to swim far from the shore, where the water is crystal clear.

12. Don’t miss the Tower of Ouranoupoli

tower of ouranoupoli
Tower of Ouranoupoli by Beth/Flickr

The Ouranoupoli Tower is one of Halkidiki’s greatest landmarks.

It is located in the remote eastern parts of the peninsula, just north of Mount Athos.

Built on the very shore of the bay, the tower rises majestically in this place at least since the 14th century.

The earliest evidence of its existence dates back to 1344.

However, today scientists are convinced that it was built even earlier.

Over the centuries, parts of the tower were destroyed, but today, it is surprisingly well preserved and in a very good condition.

13. Walk around the old streets of Afytos

afytos central square
Afytos Central Square by TripAdvisor

You can hardly imagine a more charming village than Afytos.

Located on the east coast of the Kassandra Peninsula, it is known for its historic appearance.

The most impressive part of the settlement is the central square.

Traditional Greek taverns offer some cool shade during the hot summer days.

Most of the small cobblestone streets lead to the seashore, which reveals a magnificent panoramic view of the Sithonia Peninsula.

14. Explore the beaches of Cape Possidi

beach in possidi
Beach in Possidi by YouTube

Cape Possidi is one of the most exciting places along the coast of the Kassandra Peninsula.

The place is located in the central part of the west coast and is well-known for its unusual magnetism.

The cape ends with a sandy stretch, the length of which exceeds half a kilometer.

In calm weather, the place is fantastic, and the color of the water is amazing.

The sandy shallows are visible under the water surface, making the color of the sea varying in different turquoise shades.

15. Explore the area of Sani

sunset in sani
Sunset in Sani by Dimitris Spathis/Flickr

Be sure to visit Sani and its surroundings.

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The place is located in the northwestern part of the Kassandra Peninsula and is considered one of the best vacation destinations in Greece as a whole.

This place is great for cycling and long walks as well as for beach and sea lovers.

This part of Halkidiki is famous for its Blue Flag beaches, great restaurants and wonderful sandy dunes stretching for kilometers to the north.

16. Day trip to Kavala

old town of kavala
Old Town of Kavala by Στέλιος Δ/Flickr

Kavala is an old town with an exceptional location and rich history.

It is located on the northern Aegean coast and is easily accessible from the Halkidiki Peninsula.

The city is small enough to allow you to visit and see the most interesting sights within a day.

The first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful coastline.

The city and its surroundings offer really beautiful beaches with light coarse sand and irresistible azure sea waters.

The urban silhouette is dominated by a huge aqueduct that reaches the foot of a massive fortress from the early 15th century.

17. Experience the best kayaking ever

kayak on the beach
Kayak on the beach by Pinay Flying High/Flickr

If you are a fan of kayaking, then Halkidiki will suit you a lot.

The coastline of the peninsula is very diverse and the sea – calm and crystal clear.

One of the best places to practice this sport is the area between Agios Nikolaos and Vourvourou.

There are many beaches in the area that are almost deserted even in the summer.

Particularly interesting is the beautiful and exotic Diaporos Island.

It is located about a kilometer off the coast of Sotonia.

18. Visit the Petralona Cave

petralona cave
Petralona Cave by Wikimedia/CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Petralona Cave is a unique paleontologic landmark, hidden at the eastern foot of Mount Katsika.

You will find the place in the heart of a pastoral countryside, northwest of the Kassandra Peninsula.

Inhabited by cavemen in prehistoric times, today this beautiful cave is about 700,000 years old.

This place will leave you speechless with its unique combination of stalactites, stalagmites and uniquely shaped cave halls.

19. Wine tasting tour

tzikas family winery
Tzikas Family Winery by Facebook

Known for its fertile land and rich soils, Halkidiki is a place where you can taste fantastic wines.

It is advisable to visit some of the more popular wineries that are well known for their high quality production.

One of these places is the Tzikas Family Winery, located on the Kassandra Peninsula.

Another place to visit and taste of its aromatic wines is the Porto Carras Winery on the Sithonia Peninsula.

Consider bringing a bottle of high quality local wine as a gift to your family and friends at home.

20. Take a walk to Thessaloniki

downtown of thessaloniki
Downtown of Thessaloniki by Herr Herrner/Flickr

With a population of more than 1.1 million people, Thessaloniki is a lively and colorful modern European city.

It offers numerous entertainment opportunities, including visiting museums, churches and cultural monuments.

The nightlife is exciting, and the variety of cafes, bars and restaurants is huge.

Thessaloniki is considered the first place in the world where the word democracy was mentioned.

No matter which part of Halkidiki you are staying in, Thessaloniki is for sure less than an hour drive from you.