Top Things To Do in Halkidiki, Greece

Top Things To Do in Halkidiki, Greece

I went to #Greece to visit two resorts on a press trip. The resorts were incredible and I'd recommend them highly. But if you're already in the area, you might as well know what else I loved while I was there, right?! A fabulous #wine tour was the best kick off for an #active trip, and set the tone for the rest of my stay. I also got to explore some ancient caves and made a list of things to do on my return one day.


Earlier this year, I went on a press trip to Halkidiki in north east Greece – there were no kids on the trip, this one was just for adults. The purpose of the trip was to see two new luxury hotels: Ikos Oceania, where we stayed, and Ikos Olivia, which we went to see a few days before it opened.

Beach at Ikos Oceania
Beach at Ikos Oceania

Ikos Resorts

Twin room at Ikos Olivia
Twin room at Ikos Olivia

Both hotels are luxurious and relaxing places to stay and I’d definitely recommend them. The service is excellent, the food delicious, the rooms spacious and beautifully designed and the facilities comprehensive.

Main pools, Ikos Oceania
Main pools, Ikos Oceania

But I also want to write about Halkidiki itself because it’s one of those places that many people have heard of but don’t really know what it has to offer.

Halkidiki

Halkidiki is in Macedonia on mainland Greece. It’s on a peninsula which divides into three smaller peninsulas which jut out into the Aegean: Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos. The sandy beaches of Halkidiki are known as some of the best in Greece and there are unspoilt villages and ancient archaeological sites to explore. Below are some of the top things to do in Halkidiki, starting with the places that I went to when I was there.

Wine Tour

The Gerovassiliou vineyard produces award-winning wines and is well worth a visit. The estate lies a few kilometres south east of Thessaloniki and we spent a happy and interesting morning there. 

from  $44

Wine Tour at Gerovassiliou Vineyard

Active
 Domaine Gerovassiliou, Epanomi, Thessaloniki, Greece
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Guided Tour of Petralona Caves

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We went on a wine tour, learnt how their wine is produced, visited the wine museum, tasted some delicious wines and had lunch at the restaurant.

Wine tasting at Gerovassiliou vineyard
Wine tasting at Gerovassiliou vineyard

My favourite wine of those which we tasted was Malagousia which is produced from an ancient Greek grape variety which was saved from extinction by the vineyard’s genial owner Vangelis Gerovassiliou.

Gerovassiliou vineyard
Gerovassiliou vineyard

Petralona Caves

The Petralona caves were discovered by locals in 1959 and form one of the oldest archaeological sites in Europe. The caves contain stalactites and stalagmites which you can walk through with a guide. Some prehistoric human and animal remains have been found in the caves as well as some tools dating from up to 600,000 years ago. These finds are now displayed in a museum near to the caves. We visited the caves one morning and it was interesting to see them, although it was frustrating that no photography is allowed inside the caves.

from  $7

Guided Tour of Petralona Caves

Active
 Petralona, Halkidiki, Greece
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These are places which I didn’t have a chance to see on the trip but which were recommended to me by local people that I met there.

Aristotle’s Birthplace

The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle was born in Stagira in Halkidiki. Today the town of Stagira is a few kilometres away from the ancient town – whose remains can be seen in an archaeological site. You can also visit Aristotle’s Park to see a statue of the philosopher and some interactive mathematical instruments which demonstrate scientific principles.

Traditional Villages

You can visit traditional villages in Halkidiki such as Afytos with its cobbled streets, stone houses and local tavernas with sea views.

Mount Athos

Mount Athos is one of the peninsulas of Halkididki but we didn’t go there on our trip because women are forbidden to set foot there. Mount Athos is a monastic state where women and female animals aren’t welcome. Except for the Virgin Mary. If you’re a man, you can visit if you get a special permit first. If you’re a woman (and you’re not the Virgin Mary) the closest you can get to Mount Athos is by boat, as long as you don’t try to land there.

Thessaloniki

The nearest airport to Halkidiki is at Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. I’d love to visit Thessaloniki – it dates back to ancient Greek times and must be a fascinating place to explore. Maybe another time!

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