The region of Halkidiki is characterised by three peninsulas that extend into the sea, which are often referred to as Halkidiki’s ‘fingers’ or ‘claws’. These peninsulas are home to glorious beaches – many of which are Blue Flag rated – and plentiful secluded bays. Ideal for swimming in calm waters or simply enjoying the sparkling sea views, this is one reason why Halkidiki exudes so much appeal to holidaymakers.
Sithonia is the one to visit for unspoiled and lesser known beaches in the region. Gerakini beach is one of the more popular beaches here, with its long stretch of sand found in between hills topped with pine forests. There are a number of tavernas, bars and eateries along the beach – plus a few shops – for those who like to have a choice of facilities nearby. For those who like more of an off-the-beaten-track feeling, a number of small sandy coves can be discovered a little further south. Sithonia peninsula is also home to a number of well-known Blue Flag beaches. This includes the small beaches either end of the perfect horseshoe cove at Neos Marmaras, popular with families for the shallow and calm waters. The resort beaches and sandy coves of Porto Karras are also Blue Flag beaches, with white sands and plentiful water sports on offer. Toroni beach is a 2km Blue Flag beach backed by forest and has a quieter appeal. Armenistis, Platanitsi and Sikia beaches on the east coast of Sithonia peninsula are also well-visited Blue Flag beaches, but the most popular along this coastline is the 2km long Sarti beach, which also has a thrumming beachside promenade and views over Mount Athos. Vourvourou is a rugged stretch of the Sithonia coastline well worth a visit too, for its white sandy beach, clear waters and cluster of islands just off the coastline. There are also coastal paths ideal for short or long walks and a handful of tavernas perfect for a pitstop.
The busiest and most popular of Halkidiki’s peninsulas, Kassandra peninsula has beach options to suit all tastes. There is an abundance of Blue Flag beaches in Kassandra, with Vargia beach in Nea Kallikratia being one of the most popular, with golden sands and many restaurants and shops nearby. The beach at Nea Potidea is also a popular Blue Flag option, with a pretty harbour to wander around too. Polychrono is a favourite spot to visit both for the Blue Flag beach and promenade, plus the pretty village with traditional whitewashed houses nearby. The beach at Skala Fourka is narrow with perfect soft white sand and shallow waters ideal for paddling. There is also a wide choice of water sports available here. Kallithea beach – which aptly means ‘nice view’ – is one of the prettiest beaches on this peninsula. A large stretch of white sand is backed by pine trees, while plentiful water sports are on offer here. There is also no shortage of tavernas, cafés and restaurants to take advantage of.
This peninsula is home to one of Halkidiki’s most loved beaches – Ouranoupolis. People visit as much for the Blue Flag beach as for the promenade that runs behind it, which is full of cafés, tavernas and restaurants. The area is found right at the edge of the holy mountain area, meaning there are also delightful views of the rolling hills and Mount Athos itself. It’s also possible to take boat trips around Mount Athos. Other Blue Flag beaches worth visiting on the peninsula include Nea Roda beach, with its white sand and opportunities for windsurfing and water skiing, and Ierissos beach, with its long stretch of golden sand, abundance of sun loungers and promenade filled with seafood restaurants. Stratoni beach is a long and quiet Blue Flag beach with some fascinating local history – it is believed Alexander the Great used precious metals from the locality’s former mines to fund his campaigns. The best secluded beaches on Aristotelis peninsula can be found at Ammouliani – which means ‘fine sand’ – and is only accessible by a 10-minute boat journey from the port of Tripiti. As well as a number of sandy beaches and secluded coves, Ammouliani also has several traditional tavernas ideal for lunch.