Try Halkidiki family holidays this year and expect to be smitten, forever. This beautiful peninsula in northern Greece is the kind of place that pulls you back again and again. And if you haven’t been yet, this summer is the perfect time to go.
Halkidiki family holidays are a natural for summer 2022
If you’re looking for an easy alternative to Greek island holidays, the Halkidiki peninsula is all that, and more. High temperatures, long hours of sun and balmy seas are a given in Greece during summer. But this region balances its exceptional coastline with an almost untouched natural landscape. So when you want a break from beaches you can go exploring in enormous forests, discover rare wildlife, try climbing in the hills or walks that are easy enough for the youngest of kids.
Plus, places to stay range from award-winning five star family resorts to charming village houses. Ready to discover the peninsula that’s described as ‘beyond the blue’? Here it is:
One region, several wonderful destinations
Halkidiki is a fascinating and authentic region of Greece. It’s the place for charming, traditional villages and beautiful, unspoiled landscapes – as well as a stunning coastline. And history here runs deep and long – visit the Archaeological Museum in Poligiros to see just how long .
The area is also a bit of a sporting legend, as well as a favourite for sailing holidays and it’s ideal if your kids are keen on anything water based from snorkelling and diving to windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking.
The geography of Halkidiki is another irresistible factor in any family holiday, because thanks to the unusual pronged peninsula you don’t just have one destination to explore, you have several.
The Kassandra Peninsula
The Kassandra peninsula is closest to Thessaloniki and easiest to reach from the airport. Here, you’ll find exceptional family resorts along the coast and dozens of historic villages to explore. Plus, cosmopolitan Kassandra is also known for its preserved natural beauty, Blue Flag beaches, as well as nightlife, annual festivals, and endless entertainment.
Sithonia is to the east of Kassandra and the place for peace, tranquility and sandy Aegean beaches. As the most sheltered of the three peninsula, its waters tend to be a little warmer and gentler, so it’s good choice for families with younger children.
Although, the landscape is the best type of natural playground for older kids and several beaches offer excellent water sports’ facilities. Sithonia is also particularly popular with nature lovers and outdoorsy families thanks to its mild climate and pine forests, as well as a smattering of lovely islets just off the coast.
Even if you’ve never visited Halkidiki, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Mount Athos. It’s both the world’s largest Orthodox religious community and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Mount Athos takes up most of the eastern peninsula of Athos and can only be visited by men. But anyone can sail around the peninsula to see its 20 magnificent monasteries – often in the company of dolphins.
If you feel like island hopping, Ammouliani is just off the north west coast of Athos. Reached by ferry from Tripiti in a matter of minutes this is Halkidiki’s only inhabited island and best kept secret. However, Ammouliani welcomes visitors with some of the region’s most exotic beaches, traditional taverns, local feasts and the authentic Greek hospitality.
Halkidiki’s East Coast
When you want to experience the most authentic and virgin area of Halkidiki, the East Coast is the place to be. This is the area just outside Mount Athos, known for traditional villages, Byzantine towers and walking routes. And it’s also home to important archaeological sites such as Ancient Stagira and Aristotle’s Park: a family-friendly theme park dedicated to the great Greek philosopher.
Add 1000 beaches to your holiday this summer
Halkidiki has more than 550km of coastline trimmed with almost countless beaches – if you were counting, you’d find 1000 in total. This was the first region in Greece to bag itself a coveted Blue Flag and it now has 94, although even beaches without awards here tend to be more spectacular than average.
Between deep, fjord-like bays and sweet little coves, there are beaches to suit every family holiday in Halkidiki. Tranquil coves with nothing but sun and sea for company are perfect if you’re in the mood to chill. Younger kids will love the freedom of big, sandy swathes with safe paddling waters. There are beaches beloved by divers and water sport seekers, as well as ones where you seldom have to share the sand. We think you’ll find a favourite very quickly, but here are a few to start with.
A few of the best beaches for families
- At almost 15km long, Nea Potidea is one of the longest and sandiest beaches in Halkidiki. It’s almost the first beach you come to at the northern end of Kassandra and you may never want to leave.
- If you can’t resist a Mediterranean beach with a deep, peaceful pine forest in the background, Possidi on Kassandra is the one to choose.
- Nikiti Beach in southern Sithonia is wide, sandy and great for water sports. When you need a break, head for the pretty waterfront cafés.
- One of the loveliest beaches on Ammouliani island, Karagatsia is famous for its fine sands and shallow, turquoise waters, as well as spectacular sunsets.
- Olympiada is one of the best east coast beaches for water sports and its silky soft sand is kind to little feet. Make time to see the remarkable Plane Tree forest nearby.
No one can get enough of Halkidiki family holidays
Halkidiki family holidays are incredible and one will almost certainly be the start of many. First of all, it’s the kind of place you fall in love with instantly. And then, there’s just so much to see and do.
Sailing is almost as natural as walking in this part of Greece. So, as well as cruising round Mount Athos and island hopping to Ammouliani, Halkidiki is also great for sailing lessons. Although if you already know the ropes, you might prefer to hire a boat and sail yourself off to explore secret coves and discover delights like the Drenia Islets.
Many local beaches such as Sani on Kassandra turn into water sports’ heaven during summer. So even if your kids don’t arrive in Halkidiki with sporting skills, they’ll almost certainly pick up some on holiday here.
You don’t have to search far for family fun in Halkidiki, however, a few pointers from the experts at Visit Halkidiki always come in handy.
Family activities you have to try
- Hiking in Halkidiki is a family experience and you’ll find trails across each peninsula ranging from gentle rambles to strenuous treks. The walk to Turtle Lake on Kassandra is a particular favourite as it takes you through cool forests and is very doable with younger kids.
- Don’t miss Aristotle’s Park in Stagira on the east coast. The legendary Greek philosopher was born in Halkidiki and this unusual ‘theme’ park lets kids see and use the experimental instruments he employed in his teachings. Plus, a hike along Aristotle’s Route is fun and offers some of the best views of Athos.
- The Varvara Waterfalls are Halkidiki’s best kept secrets and another good reason for a family walk. The falls and the forest around them will take your breath away.
- Become beekeepers for a day in the Holomontas Forest and discover how Halkidiki’s famous honey is made, from scratch. We promise, this is one holiday experience kids will never forget.
- Children as young as five can venture on sea kayak tours from the fun beaches like Vourvourou and Ouranoupoli. Windsurfing lessons are also available at these beaches and both include thrilling seawater parks.
How to plan Halkidiki family holidays this summer
Halkidiki is near the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece. Its large peninsula is the most popular area for family holidays and also home to the world famous Mount Athos monastic community.
How to get here
Direct UK flights to Thessaloniki are available from several cities, including London and Manchester. Flying time is from 3 hours, 10 minutes. Kassandra, the closest peninsula to Thessaloniki, is about an hour’s drive from the airport.
Where to stay
Halkidiki is unspoiled and lovely, yet has a tremendous choice of family hotels, resorts and self-catering holiday accommodation. Visit Halkidiki is where to find and book the perfect place to stay anywhere in the region for summer 2022.
Start planning your family holiday in Halkidiki with Visit Halkidiki. Not only will you find detailed information about the region, as well as lots of holiday inspiration, you can also browse and book the best family accommodation for summer 2022.