Countless endless beaches!
Chalkidiki, general info and history
Countless beaches! Endless! Enchanting! White sand, crystal turquoise waters and pine trees up the coast! In Chalkidiki! On the south side of Central Macedonia!
Unique marine environment but also beautiful mountain scenery in the interior! Traditional settlements, trails and hikes!
Chalkidiki offers all combinations desired by travelers and tourists. Relaxing holiday and cosmopolitan life! Modern tourist facilities! Traditional Macedonian cuisine and famous local products! Olive oil, wine, honey! And of course, fresh fish and seafood!
Chalkidiki has a long history, ancient cities and one of the most important caves in the world, the Cave of Petralona. And the Holy Mountain! The largest monastic city with a history of over 1200 years! The monastic state of Mount Athos!
Chalkidiki is located in Central Macedonia and joins the Aegean Sea in a way that only nature could design. Morphologically is the most characteristic part of the northern coast of the Aegean.
It is a peninsula that ends in three long narrow peninsulas, parallel to each other; Kassandra in the west, Sithonia in the middle and the Holy Mountain in the east; "the feet of Chalkidiki" as they are called.
Chalkidiki extends southeast from Thessaloniki between the Thermaikos Gulf in the west and the Strymonikos Gulf in the east.
The greatest width from the cape Megalo Emvolo – Karambournou at the Thermaikos Gulf to Cape Elefthero at the Strymonikos Gulf is 95 km. The highest peaks are Athosat a height of 2,030 m in the peninsula of Mount Athos and Cholomondasat a height of 1.165 m in the center of the peninsula.
Between Kassandra and Sithonia the Gulf of Kassandra or Toronaeos is formed and between Sithonia and Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain Gulf or Singitikos.
The coastline is 558 km in length forming innumerable small and large beaches, most smooth and sandy particularly on the west side and in the coves of the bays. Over fifty awarded the European Blue Flag for clean waters.Administratively the greater part of peninsula belongs to the prefecture of Chalkidiki. Capital is Polygyros.A small portion of the north and northwest belongs to the prefecture of Thessaloniki. The monastic state of Mount Athos is an autonomous administrative area. Administrative center is Karyes.
We can reach Chalkidiki by road from the west taking the road south from Thessaloniki, or from the east turning south shortly after Asprovalta. Chalkidiki is serviced by plane from the international airport of Thessaloniki.In Chalkidiki we can travel on two main roads; an inner and a coastal. South of Thessaloniki, at the intersection at the height of the airport, near Thermi, the road to the east leads to Central Chalkidiki and the road to the south on the west coast and the "feet" of Chalkidiki.
The internal road leads first to Galatista, then to the capital Polygyros, 60 km from Thessaloniki. From Polygyros we can reach south the cove of the gulf of Kassandra or continue east to reach Ierissos, 113 km from Thessaloniki, in the east coast and Ouranoupolis, 128 km. Here we come also from the coastal road.
The coastal road leads to New Moudania, 60 km from Thessaloniki. From here on 5 km south we arrive in New Potidaea, the entrance to the peninsula of Kassandra. East of New Moudania the road follows the coast. We pass by St. Mamas, Gerakini and Metamorphosis and arrive in Nikiti, the entrance to the peninsula of Sithonia, 100 km from Thessaloniki.
Chalkidiki is one of the most beautiful areas of Greece, and one of the most popular destinations. In fact, there are many popular destinations. Every seaside settlement is a destination with a developed tourist infrastructure.
There are large luxurious hotel complexes, hotels of all categories, studios and rooms to rent and many great camping; everywhere, restaurants and taverns, cafes and bars, facilities for water sports and entertainment at night.
In many coastal settlements, ports and moorings serve those traveling by yacht.
In a key position, with natural and mineral wealth, Chalkidiki was from ancient times one of the most important areas of the Greek peninsula.
The first colonists of southern Greece reached the shores in the 8th century BC. They came from Chalcis and Eretria of Euboea and founded many colonies, such as Mendi, Afytos, Aigi, Sani, Singos, Sarti, Toroni, Galypsos, Sermyli and others. From Chalkideans the area took the name Chalkidiki.
In the 7th century BC colonists from Corinth founded Potidaeaand other cities and settlers from Andros, the cities Acanthus, Stagira and others. New cities were founded later by kings of Macedonia.
The North Aegean Sea faced first the Persians as they were trying to promote their plans to conquer Greece. During the first campaign, the Persian fleet was destroyed by the storm on the peninsula of Athos. During the third campaign in 481 BC, the soldiers of Xerxes dug the canal, which took its name. The Persians forced the cities of Chalkidiki and of the Northern Aegean to assist them with troops and ships against Greece, and when they returned after their defeat at Salamis, besieged Potidaea and destroyed Olynthus.
After the Persian Wars, the cities of Chalkidiki, like most maritime cities of Greece, joined the Delian (First Athenian) League, but rebelled in 432 to 431 BC, while the Peloponnesian War began. During that period, until 404 BC, the Athenians and Spartans often fought in Chalkidiki. In 392 BC the cities founded the Chalkidean League, a powerful coalition led by Olynthus. In 379 BC, were under Sparta. Then joined the Second Athenian League and later were included by Philip II in the kingdom of Macedonia.
During the Byzantine era, the peninsula of Athos gradually became the center of monastic life. During the Turkish rule Chalkidiki was a refuge for many Greeks. Many, even from neighboring countries, also came to work in the mines.
The area suffered from pirate raids especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was among the first areas which took part in the Greek Revolution in 1821, but the rebellion was suppressed in a few months by the Turks. Many residents fled going to the Northern Sporades, but also on other islands and Peloponnese. The region took part in the revolutionary movement in 1854 and was liberated on October 5, 1912.
Taking the road south from Thessaloniki, it doesn’t take long to get in Chalkidiki. In the settlement of Aghios Pavlos (St. Paul), near the coast, a road goes to New Heraclia, another in New Kallikratia. We can also come from other roads, such as from Epanomi of Thessaloniki following the west coast.
The New Kallikratia, 30 km from Thessaloniki, founded in 1924 by refugees who came from Eastern Thrace and Asia Minor. In front of us stretches the Thermaikos Gulf. In the shoreline are coastal settlements one after the other; one after the other also the beautiful beaches; New Heraclia, New Kallikratia, Lakkoma, New Gonia, Geoponika, Veria, Sozopoli; further below New Plagia, Flogita, Beach of Dionysus, up to New Moudania; fish taverns along the coast.
The residents are working, apart from tourism, in viticulture and fishing; given, therefore, that we can enjoy fresh fish, seafood and local wines.
Nea Moudania is the largest urban center in the region. Refugees from Propontis settled here in 1923 and exploited the possibilities offered by land and sea by developing agriculture, fisheries and trade. It is a modern city, a large and important port and a commercial center with all services for travelers and those who come for holidays.Nea Moudania is the passage to Kassandra and Sithonia, but have their own beautiful beach; a long sandy beach with shallow waters suitable for families with children. Nearby are restaurants, cafes, bars and water sports. Beautiful and inviting are also the beaches of Dionysius and Flogiton.
In Nea Moudania is worth visiting the Museum of fishing vessels and gear with a superb collection of shells, models of old ships and other exhibits. Also, the Folklore Museum, next to which is a home as the first houses built by the refugees.
Twenty kilometers northwest of New Moudania is one of the most beautiful caves, but also one of the most internationally famous because of the very important paleontological finds inside. The Cave of Petralona!
It is located near the village of Petralona, in the western foothills of the mountain Katsika (Goat). Next to it is an Anthropological museum. A visit to the cave leads to large rooms with stalagmites and stalactites. Very impressive is the decoration of stalagmites; especially the dwarfs stalagmites on the floor of a room.
The cave became internationally known in the 1960s, when findings with great significance for paleontology and anthropology were discovered. The most important is a human skull. According to some researchers it is 250,000 years old; according to others, older than 500,000 years. It was discovered protected in material of stalagmite and belonged to a man of 30 to 35 years old; old at the time, since then the average not sustained beyond 25 years. The room where it was discovered is named Mausoleum.
The internationally renowned Greek anthropologist Aris Poulianos, who explored for years without interruption the cave, argued that the Petralona skull proves that man is much older than the science accepts; furthermore that he made the first steps in the Greek area. His theory provoked many reactions and discussions.
The findings indicate that the cave was a shelter for humans and animals many thousands of years ago. Bones and teeth of bear that lived 600,000 years ago have been discovered; also, of lion, rhino and other animals, as well as parts of human vertebrae and stone tools. To think that by now a part of the cave has been explored!The visit to the cave is combined with the visit, next to it, to the Anthropological Museum, where we see the traces of fire found in the "Mausoleum" of the cave, bone and stone tools and other findings.