I’ve heard and read a lot of beautiful things about Halkidiki, so, for the summer vacation of 2018, we booked 11 nights on two of the three arms of the Halkidiki peninsula, Sithonia and Kassandra.
In case you are wondering, Halkidiki peninsula is situated in Greece, at about an hour from Thessaloniki airport.
From Thessaloniki airport, we rented a car for 12 days from the Hertz car rental company. We got an Opel Corsa for which we paid 400€ /12 days, somewhere around 33€ a day.
Our first booking was in Sarti, a beautiful and popular coastal resort with amazing views over mount Athos. From the airport to Sarti resort, we drove 2 hours.
Thalassa Boutique Apartments was a great choice for a relaxing holiday, is located on the beach, close to the center of Sarti, with a beautiful garden, sun loungers, swimming pool, and delicious breakfast.
After we threw our luggage in the room, we went directly to the beach, driven by a huge desire to feel the sand under the bare feet!
Across the road from the hotel, Cielo beach bar delighted us instantly, being positioned on the beach, overlooking Mount Athos.
The period for our holiday in Halkidiki was 12 – 23 September 2018. Very carefully planned, so that we won’t get hot days with extreme temperatures or too crowded resorts and beaches. The weather in September was EXCELLENT! Temperatures not exceeding 32 °C at noon, warm seawater, no rain, uncrowded beaches, even deserted if you arrived around 9 in the morning, free parking spaces everywhere at any time, and free front-row tables at taverns overlooking the sea.
Access to the beaches in the area was more difficult compared to other islands/areas visited in Greece.
From Sarti, in about half an hour you could reach any top beach on the Sithonia arm, maybe an hour if you want to drive to the other side. But once you got off the main road, the path became very rugged, with steep slopes and tight turns that make you hold your breath until you arrive down to the beach. The saddest thing is that once you embark on such a road, there was no turning back until you arrive at the parking lot.
After a few days, I understood what an inspired idea we had not to bring our car here! I can’t even imagine what it’s like in the high season, in July-August, where two cars would hardly pass if they intersected.
But, after two minutes at the beach, you forget everything once you settled on a sunbed overlooking the azure water :)
Now, let me tell you about the beautiful beaches, resorts, and taverns that charmed us in Sithonia:
On this beach, you can enjoy the peace. There is also a bar that perfectly matches the exotic look of this beautiful beach, Tigania Beach Bar.
There are no showers or internet on the beach. There are Toi-Toi toilets. So, if you plan to stay all day, it’s better to bring some food with you.
Near Tigania are the famous Kriaritsi and Klimataria beaches, which can be visited on the same day.
It is good to know from the beginning that, on all beaches, sunbeds are not paid separately, but it is mandatory to order at least one drink per person.
This beach is less popular, but extremely beautiful, being our favorite in Sithonia. Azure water, sandy seabed, shallow waters, ideal for children. When we arrived at 9 – 10 in the morning, there was no one, a whole beach for us! There is also enough space for parking, even in crowded months.
Kalimitsi is one of the best beaches in Sithonia. Fine golden sand, calm sea, and water of incredible color, green-bluish. The shore is gradual, being perfect for children. The beach is well-maintained and there are several beach bars where you can rent sun loungers.
Oneirou Beach is a camping beach between Vourvourou and Sarti, but also has an organized area with sun loungers, bungalows, a beach bar, and a restaurant.
The campsite occupies the southern half of the beach, where there is no arrangement. The north side has sun loungers and is free of charge provided you purchase a drink. The Manassu restaurant is gourmet and not that cheap.
The beach is made of small pebbles, and the seabed deepens quite quickly. The water is amazingly clear and I recommend bringing your snorkeling gear.
Orange Beach, also known as Portokali or Kavourotripes, is made up of several small beaches or small white sandy bays that stretch for miles along the coast. Be brave and explore, as there are many small, hard-to-reach beaches and they are usually less crowded.
The main beach is organized by a bar with sun loungers and is pretty crowded even in September.
The water is very transparent green-blue, and the sand is soft. I recommend snorkeling around the rocks. If you want to catch a good place on the organized beach you need to come early in the morning, even in the off-season.
Everything you need is here. The beach in Sarti seems to have no end, miles of white-gold sand. The direct view of Mount Athos is a really distinguishing feature of Sarti beach, you can’t find a better or closer view of Mount Athos.
The promenade has countless restaurant and bar options, is very well organized, with beach bars, sunbeds, umbrellas, organized beach sports, water sports, including diving.
Neos Marmaras resort
Neos Marmaras is the most cosmopolitan town in Sithonia. It combines the sea and the mountains, entertainment and romantic walks, Greek and international cuisine in a unique way.
At 50 km from Sarti, Neos Marmaras is a good choice for an evening and dinner walk at one of the many taverns. We recommend the Ta Kymata restaurant, by the sea, with a beautiful view at sunset.
5 steps in the sand restaurant
The 5 steps in the sand restaurant is one of our favorites in Sithonia, being very close to Sarti, next to Tourkolimnionas beach. It is a traditional tavern located directly on the beautiful Pigadaki Beach. They specialize in fresh seafood such as squid, shrimp, fresh fish, and also traditional grilled specialties such as souvlaki. In addition to the delicious dishes, you will have a wonderful view of the sea and Mount Athos.
For an extra touch of elegance, book a table at the beautiful Melia Restaurant, next to Karidi Beach.
Melia Restaurant opened in 2017 and it brings a new level of fine dining in Halkidiki. Melia joins a list of world-class restaurants, opened under the supervision of Yannis Baxevanis, in places such as Australia, Dubai, South Africa and Switzerland.
The atmosphere is refined, outdoors, in a fragrant pine forest. Together with light music and diffused light, all combined, it creates an intimate experience. On Wednesdays and Fridays, it offers guests a variety of live music.
In the restaurant, traditional Greek dishes such as fish and seafood, lamb, risotto, and moussaka are specially prepared with unique flavors using only locally grown vegetables and ingredients.
Sithonia Pros and Cons
- Sithonia is a perfect choice for those who want to have a relaxing holiday.
- We did not book a trip to Mount Athos, but from what I’ve read I warmly recommend. For more details and prices visit their website.
- The beaches of Sithonia are clearly superior to those of Kassandra’s arm, even if the road to some of the beaches is a real pain in the a**.
- The temperature in September is ideal; even so, in mid-September, at noon, you wanted to cool off on a terrace.
- In extra season you get rid of the crowds at the beach, parking lots, resorts, taverns. Fewer crowds, fewer nerves, more peace and relaxation 😉
- The prices in Halkidiki for food and drinks seemed to be the lowest compared to other places in Greece I visited. In Sarti, you could order seafood platters starting at 10€ per serving and get a delicious dessert from the house at the end!
- In order not to return home empty-handed, in Sarti the magnets start at 50 cents apiece! When I think that in Austria or Italy a magnet is around 4 – 5€ :))
- The serving in taverns but also on the beach, impeccable. I didn’t expect anything else from the Greeks. Instant cooking time, especially since it wasn’t crowded.
- What didn’t suit us was access to the beaches. Some parts of the peninsula were poorly developed, with trash sitting on the beach.
After 6 wonderful days spent in Sithonia, with enthusiasm, we headed to Kassandra’s arm that would amaze us even more!
Check out our incredible week in Kassandra!
Have a beautiful day!