Where to stay in Halkidiki - Ultimate Guide 2021
Still wondering where to stay in Halkidiki and avoid the crowded and touristy places? Read our comprehensive guide for 2021 and enjoy Halkidiki like a local.
Halkidiki has seen some tremendous bloom in recent years, and for good reason. Loved by Greeks for decades and visited by Balkans for years, Halkidiki is now reaching the hearts of Americans and Europeans with its raw beauty of pine forests and emerald waters merging on the white sand.
It's no coincidence The Telegraph named Halkidiki "Greece's best-kept secret". The region is only now starting to unravel its full potential and here's our detailed guide to lead you through all the seaside villages and help you decide where to stay in Halkidiki for your next trip!
First things first, to get a better idea of the area. Halkidiki is a lush region, considered the top summer destination for many Greek families for decades now. The region has three peninsulas and is located near Thessaloniki, Greece's "co-capital" and second largest city. Kassandra, the first peninsula (also called a finger, or leg), is famous for its many resorts and beaches. Being closer to Thessaloniki, it may attract younger crowds or people only spending the weekend, when it tends to get crowded especially in July and August. The second leg, Sithonia, is less touristy and features more secluded beaches only reached through dirt roads and tall pine trees almost entering the water. The third leg is Mount Athos, a monastic community where only men are allowed.
We bet Halkidiki needs no convincing to get you to visit, but you may need to clarify where's the best place to stay in Halkidiki for your needs and preferences, so let’s get started.
We'll start at the "bottleneck", continue going down on the west coast, make a full round of the leg, and finish up at the top of the east coast of Kassandra.
Potidea is a lively village with residents all year round. It has nice organized beaches and a great restaurant, Marina, one of the finest seafood restaurants in Greece, with numerous Greek Cuisine awards and honors. Potidea is cut in half by its canal that dates back to the 1st century AD, which connects Thermaikos and Toroneos Gulfs. Potidea is ideal for you if you need to be closer to Thessaloniki or plan on taking daily trips both to the first and second peninsula. Keep in mind, though, that it doesn't offer much natural beauty.
Going down the west coast, the first settlement on your way is Sani, an area recognized by many for its internationally known Sani Resort with its 5 high-end hotels. The area around the resort now features beautiful pool villas among well-catered gardens. Note however, that Sani is one of the priciest areas in Halkidiki, whether you stay at the hotels or villas. It has no traditional architecture, but the walk along the marina with its top-notch retail shops and fine restaurants might be the place for you.
Next stop is Elani, a village purely with summer houses surrounded by forest. Elani Bay Resort is a nice hotel with organized beach and mini market, and there's also a restaurant at the left side of the beach, but other than that you'll only find houses here, either next to the sandy beach or with communal pools shared among its complexes of houses. Elani is the best place in Halkidiki for you if you want to lay back in your private garden and be close to nature.
Siviri is a lively village at the west side of Kassandra peninsula. It has organized beaches, local taverns and a nice promenade with cafes and small souvenir shops. It also has large supermarkets which will come in handy if you're staying nearby, but keep in mind they tend to get busy! Siviri has several rooms to let and private accommodation, and one of our favorite seafood taverns on the beach, Diamantis!
Fourka is the original village on top of the hill, so make sure you stay at Skala Fourka, the seaside, newer village. Skala Fourka is more touristy, with beach bars and fast food places. Choose Fourka if you want to be near other popular beaches like Possidi, but don't expect something spectacular here!
Possidi and Kalandra
Possidi has a natural beauty that for many is the best of Halkidiki. Home to the very popular student Camping of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, it is in the hearts of many! But its spectacular beach "Miti", meaning point, because it is at the edge of the Possidi cape, will steal your heart. Only reached by car up to a certain point, and then requiring to continue on foot, you may be lucky enough to witness dolphins swimming in the distance. “Miti" is a stretch of land going into the sea, so even if it's windy on the one side, the other side of the sea remains calm!
Kalandra is not a seaside village, so there's not much to see here. However, there are some splendid seaside settlements after the village, near the ancient "Mendi", reachable only by residents, that might be ideal for you if you're looking for privacy and family-friendly moments.
Nea Skioni and Mola Kaliva
Almost at the bottom of Kassandra peninsula lies Nea Skioni, a nice village featuring unorganized beaches and local taverns. Nea Skioni is close to the thermal baths of Agia Paraskevi, and is popular for its fresh fish, although not attracting lively and young crowds.
Continuing our trip around Kassandra we start going up on the east side of the peninsula and reaching Paliouri first. The actual village is not on the seaside, so a car would be required to reach the beach if you stay here. The village has nice traditional taverns, supermarkets and you can easily stroll around in the evenings. Note, however, that its beaches are home to some of the most popular beach bars of Halkidiki, like Cabbana and Lefki Ammos. Famous DJs, cocktails and front row of umbrellas accessible by a special few, it may not work for you if you're visiting with family. The beaches of Paliouri though are naturally beautiful, and you can search the more family-friendly ones because it would be a pity to miss out on them.
For a romantic dinner or drink at night under the moonlight, head to Porto Valitsa!
Pefkohori - Chanioti
Pefkohori and Chanioti are the most touristy and lively villages of Halkidiki. With plenty of shops for souvenirs, fast food restaurants, popular beach bars that get crowded during the weekends and many tourists during July and August, they may show their true beauty during low season, like May or September. If you want relaxing holidays away from heavy crowds and still wondering where to stay in Halkidiki, these 2 villages might not work for you. During the weekends of July and August, traffic can also be an issue here, so be prepared.
Polihrono - Kriopigi
Polyhrono and Kriopigi look a lot like Pefkohori and Chanioti, but they also keep a more traditional vibe. Kriopigi has a very nice traditional central square surrounded by plane trees and its organized beach bars are significantly quieter. Same goes for Polychrono!
Kallithea is the epicenter of entertainment and nightlife. Popular with younger crowds, it has bars and pubs and the most famous clubs of Halkidiki open until early in the morning. We highly recommend Spitaki with its magnificent view for a cocktail though!
Afitos is most probably the answer when the question is "Where to stay in Halkidiki?". The only village in Kassandra that has kept its traditional vibe and architecture, home to great restaurants with stunning sea views. Walking on its cobblestone streets will be perfect night after night. In Afitos you will also find shops with local products and beautiful beaches as well, so it's a great destination overall, and also close to Thessaloniki.
Kassandria is located in the middle of Kassandra peninsula and is its capital. It's a village mainly for shopping, where you'll find butcher's, open market with fruits and vegetables every week, fresh fish, post office and police station. It's not a seaside village, so it's not recommended to book your accommodation here.
Like we did in Kassandra, we'll start exploring Sithonia from its west side, will go around the peninsula and then up its east coast.
Nikiti is most probably the busiest and largest town in Halkidiki. Practically split in two, with the old town on the upper side of the main street, and the new at the bottom side by the sea, Nikiti can cater to every need. In Nikiti you will find large supermarkets, local taverns, shops, popular restaurants and bars, and most significantly, a beautiful promenade, crowded but also super cute, ideal for your evening walks across the beach. You will find a plethora of taverns along the way and a lot of space for your children to play at. Nikiti is also near some of the best beaches of Sithonia, like Agios Ioannis, Elia and Kalogria, all sandy and with popular beach bars.
Further down the west side of Sithonia you will find Neos Marmaras, a lively village mainly known for its Porto Carras Resort, internationally known for its wines, among other things, which you should definitely try. You will enjoy nice walks by the port here and be close to popular beaches as well.
Toroni - Kalamitsi - Sykia - Sarti
At the very bottom of Sithonia lie its most raw villages. Toroni, Kalamitsi, Sykia and Sarti are very popular camping sites because they offer a really wild natural beauty, unorganized beaches and relaxation rather far from civilization. These villages may not be for everyone, because they are also away from large centers or doctors which is a disadvantage.
Vourvourou itself is not a typical village, with no square or little streets. Rather it is a 'strip' of shops and tavernas, almost exclusively seasonal.
You will find some very popular little taverns here, mini markets, and of course some of the best beaches in Halkidiki, Karidi and Fava, both sandy with shallow turquoise and amazing warm water surrounded by white sculpted rocks and pines leaning over the sea. Our favorite burger restaurant, Garlic, is also here. Book a holiday house in Professor’s Settlement and enjoy your holidays to the fullest!
The houses and restaurants that have been built around this harbour have made it grow into somewhat of a village on its own, built around an existing old church. Even though it is not officially recognized as a village, Ormos Panagias is considered a Halkidiki resort in its own right that attracts many people. Tourist boat tours to Mount Athos and its monasteries leave from this port. Ormos Panagias is ideally situated to the east side of Sithonia, with fish taverns, a bar, bakery and mini market. Its nearby beach, Trani Ammouda, is a huge sandy beach, with some organized bits but mainly non-organized, ideal for families to grab their umbrellas and head for a swim in turquoise waters - it has also won the international "Blue Flag" award, for its outstanding quality!
In the main square of this traditional village, the traditional taverns that surround the fountain and the blooming roses are offered for an enjoyable meal. However, it is recommended to take a romantic walk in its cobbled streets with the traditional houses of the 19th century, which are typical examples of folk architecture, and the churches of Saint George and Saint Paraskevi. Although Agios Nikolaos is a mountain village, its shores (more than thirty kilometers in length), with beautiful picturesque coves and clean beaches, are located at a short distance from the village and stand out for their fine sand and clear blue sea.
Parthenonas is a village located in the center of Sithonia peninsula in Halkidiki. It is a unique destination of refined beauty, situated just 5 km from the town of Marmaras. You need a car to reach the closest beaches of Sithonia, in around 10 minutes. Parthenonas offers ample views all the way down to the sea, and it's also one of the few places that can attract tourists throughout the year, for hiking and other activities. In the summer, it hosts Parthenon Festival, an open-air movie festival that is absolutely a must if you’re around!
If you're still wondering where to stay in Halkidiki, feel free to get in touch with us directly, and we’ll try our best to suggest the ideal place in Halkidiki for you and your family depending on your needs and preferences! Our ultimate guide can be tailored and is always updated with the latest "in" places.