Halkidiki also known as Chalkidiki, Chalkidike, Chalcidice, or Khalkidhiki, is a peninsula in Northern Greece that forms part of the Region of Central Macedonia. Only 30 minutes' drive away from Thessaloniki, it's the favourite beach for the people of Thessaloniki to hang out at on the weekend. This does also mean that traffic there and back can be pretty dire at certain times of the day.
As well as being a popular spot for the people of Thessaloniki, Halkidiki is also the most popular tourist destination in Northern Greece, with 3 "legs" which are mini peninsulas that stick out to the sea that make this beautiful area up. Kassandra is the leg with the popular resorts, but there's also Sithonia where you get a lot of secluded coves and Athos which (sorry ladies) is only open to men. Guys don't get too excited either because you have to be someone pretty special to get permission to go here also - perhaps try becoming a monk?
With beautiful landscapes beside the Agean sea, I had a few hours to wander around and enjoy just a little snippet of what Halkidiki had to offer. There was hustling and bustling in the local markets in Afytos as I walked through with my two Greek buddies, the most gorgeous little shops selling soaps, trinkets and pretty little things. Fancy some Greek honey? They got it, how about some Ouzo (the Greek sambuca-like drink)?!
Afytos is a gorgeous little village part of Kassandra with a population of just over 1,000 people. With an elevation of 50m above sea level, it has absolutely stunning views over the Agean. Make sure you spend some time here and grab a drink at one of the cliff-side restaurants. Or maybe have a dance on the wall like I did... what?
If you're driving from Thessaloniki, you will not miss some of the stunning beaches with clear aqua water as you drive past. Driving is definitely the best way to experience Greece as you will have ample opportunity to stop and enjoy a beach or a view. So whether you are just popping into Halkidiki for the day, or spending a week relaxing on the silky sands and turquoise waters, hire a car to make the most of all that Halkidiki has to offer.
Have you spent some time in Halkidiki? If so, what were your favourite parts? Let me know in the comments below!