Σάββατο, 3 Οκτωβρίου 2009

BEACHES IN CHALKIDIKI NEAR THESSALONIKI

THESSALONIKI (SEA DESTINATION FOR SUMMER HOLIDAYS )







Beaches of Halkidiki

South of Thessaloniki is the peninsula of Halkidiki which boasts some of the finest beaches in all of Greece.

halkidiki, Greece halkidiki, greece halkidiki greece halkidiki greece

At one time the prime destination for Germans and othe Europeans, the area's popularity has receded only slightly because of the difficulties in driving through what was once Yugoslavia. People still come here in droves and unless you book in advance you may not find a place, especially in August. On the other hand the campsites seem to always have room and are well organized. Yes, there are still plenty of tourists there, especially in July and August when most of Thessaloniki comes here, but the beaches can be long, the hotels large and beautiful and there is enough authentic Greek life in the more remote inland villages to make a traveler here not feel like he is missing something somewhere else. The area is not only known for its amazing beaches but also for the mountains, valleys and the splended selection of wildflowers in the spring, which may be the best time to be here to beat the crowds.

POLIGIROS This is the capital of Halkidiki (69 km from Thessaloniki) built amphitheatrically at the foot of Mt. Holomon. There is an archaeological museum containing notable finds from excavations in the surrounding area. Visitors can also see sections of the old quarter of the town.

KASSANDRA is the most westerly of the three prongs of Halkidiki.
It is remarkable for its extensive beaches, pine forests and small villages as well as for the impact tourism has had upon it. It is difficult to get away from it all but if you like discos, fast food, motorbikes you may be quite happy here, provided you can find a place to stay. The entire Kassandra peninsula has several major hotels and organized camping grounds, many surrounded by woods and close to the beaches.There are also many smaller hotels and rooms available though difficult to find without booking in advance.

By the village of Petralona the famous cave is worth visiting. It is located along the west foothills of Mt Katsika at an altitude of 250 m. It is one of the most important caves with paleontological interest. The total length of the corridors comes to 1,900 m. and it is adorned with wonderful stalactites and stalagmites of all kinds. It was first explored in 1959 by Mr J. Petrocheilos, then president of the Greek Speleological Society who named it "Kokines Petres" (Red Rocks). In 1960 a 700,000 year old human skull was found here.The cave is open from 9 to 5 daily.

Sithonia, halkidiki greeceSITHONIA is less tourist-infested than Cassandra though it still boasts some of the areas most popular and attractive resorts including the Porto Carras Grand Resort and Golf Course, one of the largest and best in Greece. There are still small hidden sandy beaches particularly on the east coast where you can get away, at least for awhile until another person seeking solitude arrives. The ruins of ancient Olinthos, built by Athenian colonists is near the village of the same name. The southern most tip of the Sithonion is your best bet for dramatic scenery.
The village of Kalamitsi is probably the least commercial resort in the area, an excellent beach, some nice fish tavernas and rooms to rent. The village of Sarti has yet to take the plunge into obscene commercialism though it is popular with Germans and Austrians and visitors from Eastern Europe. I wanted to stay here because of its long sandy beach, and smaller beaches hidden among rocky out-croppings and mostly because there were lots of beautiful women in bikinis but my wife insisted on staying at Vourvourou which was a wooded area sheltered by some small islands with beautiful sea, but inhabited mainly by university professors and professionals from Thessaloniki. It had a terrific seafood taverna , the oddly named Gorgona e Poulman, and some nice inexpensive (and expensive) hotels, but while Sarti had a pleasant sea breeze, Vourvourou was on the hot and humid side when we were there. In fairness we were there doing a summer heat wave. If you came here during normal weather it might be one of those places you went back to every year. Further down the coast we would drive down any posted or unposted roads that looked like they led to the sea and found some nice beaches, some secluded and others taken over by campsites.
If you are traveling with a recreational vehicle or with a tent, Sithonia is a good place to go to meet like-minded travelers. Click here for more on Sithonia

MOUNT ATHOS or in Greek Agio Oros is to Greece as the Vatican is to Rome, a religious state within a state. To get a clear idea just imagine the Byzantine empire getting smaller and smaller until it only covered the eastermost penisula of Halkidiki, a wooded, mountainous, and rugged land with few roads, a few dozen monasteries and smaller spiritual settlements. Its a beautiful place, maybe the most magical place in Greece. The catch is you can't go there if you are a woman and you can only go for 4 days if you are a man and you need special permission to stay there. But you can get as far as Ouranopoulos which has beaches, hotels, seafood tavernas and is the last town before the no-mans-land between the Holy mountain and the un-holy rest of the world. For those who do have permission there is a daily boat from here to the port of Daphne, the entry point for pilgrims and monks. For women, or men who are satisfied seeing the monasteries from a distance there are excursion boats that sail around Mount Athos. More on Mount Athos....

VIDEO FROM THE NEW COAST OF THESSALONIKI WITH JET SKI

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