The lush, verdant region of Halkidiki in the north of Greece is one of this European holiday destination's most popular areas. Consisting of three peninsulas - Kassandra, Sithonia, and Mount Athos - it covers a diverse territory, which translates to two things that vacationers can't get enough of exciting activities and memorable adventures.From the otherworldly monasteries of Mount Athos and bustling beaches of Kassandra to the castaway islets of Vourvourou Bay, Halkidiki is in no short supply of spectacular landscapes and scenery that open up seemingly endless opportunities for the most discerning of thrill-seekers. Out of all the region's most remarkable activities and attractions, these are the top few that intrepid travelers need to add to their itinerary - no matter if it's their first time or their fiftieth in this glorious European retreat of sun, sand, and sea.
8 Get Wet And Wild With Wicked Water Sports
No summer holiday on Halkidiki would be complete without water sports. Most beaches offer thrill hunters modern facilities for most kinds of sea activity imaginable, including motorized water sports like parasailing, jet-skiing, and water-skiing, as well as plenty for the whole family to enjoy, such as ringos, banana rides, and pedalos.
Even in peak season, there are ample opportunities to get wild and wet, with tons of water sports centers abounding on Halkidiki. The majority of beach resorts and hotels offer their own on-site water sports centers, however many of the beaches themselves are also home to independent operators and facilities for guests that aren't linked to hotels.
In addition, most of the well-known beaches in Halkidiki have water sports activities available, especially at popular beaches like Sani, Nea Potidea, Possidi, Sivi, Polichrono, Glarokavo, Karidi, Ouranoupoli, Agios Giannis, Nea Roda.
7 Explore The Underwater World By Scuba Diving
Want to experience what many don't in Halkidiki? Then grab a tank and dive below the surface, where another world unique to that on land awaits. Scuba diving in Halkidiki is one of the most incredible ways to explore its crystal clear waters, sandy underwater banks, dark underwater caves, and dramatic underwater pinnacles - not to mention the stunning marine species that put on a spectacle. Diving is available to all skill levels at the many experienced, reputable dive centers and operators in Halkidiki, and with over 20 different locations in the area for diving, there are more than enough sites to discover throughout a full-length vacation in this picturesque part of Greece.
6 Book A Boat Cruise To Mount Athos
Home of history with a view of the unique Orthodox community of monasteries, Mount Athos is one of the most special places to marvel at in all of Halkidiki, with no vacation being truly fulfilled without adding it to the itinerary. Also known as "the garden of the Virgin Mary", this religiously significant place is the largest and most important monastic state in the Orthodox East. Under tradition, women are not allowed inside Mount Athos, but that doesn't mean they can't witness the beautiful architecture of the monasteries and the astounding natural beauty of this exceptionally wild and untouched place - and one of the best ways to do so is by opting for a boat cruise around it.
Mount Athos boat cruises depart several times a day every day from Ouranoupolis port, allowing more than enough opportunity to enjoy this experience throughout a vacation in Halkidiki. The boat trips set off along the coastal waters towards the southwest of Mount Athos peninsula, passing the Russian cloister (the name given to small villages inhabited by monks) and sailing by pretty beaches before arriving at the first monastery on the route - Iera Moni Dochiariou. After this first holy place, seven more monasteries are explored along the rest of the route, including the Holy Mount's central port of Daphni, as well as several more cloisters with monk residences.
5 Sensational Sailing Trips
Interestingly, at 550 kilometers in length with over 1000 individual beaches, Halkidiki boasts the longest coastline on mainland Greece - and what better way is there to explore its entirety than sailing? Of course, sailing is one of the best ways to discover the region, with myriads of unique tours possible to suit the tastes of each and every kind of traveler.
There are numerous reputable companies in Halkidiki and North Aegean specializing in sailing cruises and luxury chartered yachts, stopping off at iconic tourist favorites along the way such as Kalogria Beach, Agios Ioannis Beach, Kelifos Island, and many more.
Daily boats depart from Nikiti port and Sithonia, and holidaymakers can choose from longer seven-hour daytime cruises or shorter three-hour sunset trips - to name only two tour variations.
4 Rent A Boat Or Kayak In Vourvourou
Ever wanted to experience what it feels like to have a small island all to oneself? Anyone who answers "yes" is in luck; nine tiny islands around Vourvourou Bay make that dream a reality. There are various companies in the area renting small boats and kayaks to travelers - boats that don't require a license - opening up the opportunity of a lifetime that lets intrepid vacationers satisfy their lust for adventure.
The islets in the bay of Vourvourou are jaw-dropping gems to explore, boasting crystal clear and calm turquoise waters, perfect beaches, and secluded coves. Easy to reach via small rented boat, private yacht, or organized boat tour, it takes just a few minutes to arrive at these picturesque pieces of paradise set in the tranquil waters of this stunning bay.
Each and every spot is as perfect as the next, although famous favorites to include on one's exploration of Vourvourou is The Blue Lagoon Spot and the legendary Hawaii Beach of Diaporos Island - the largest of the bay's nine islets. Indeed, boat rental is a fine way to enjoy one's day in the bay, but visitors seeking a more intimate, castaway exploration will prefer renting a kayak - a service that is available from May until the end of October.
3 Visit Varvara Waterfalls
Two cascading waterfalls plunge amidst a luscious forest full of Taxus, lindens, alters, and wild hazels, their waters flowing to the Mavrolaka River that separates the villages of Varvara and Olympiada. Reached by a short walk, these falls offer a fantastic family-friendly few hours spectating the kinetic marvels of Mother Nature, with her breathtaking works of art providing the perfect possibility for photography and thrilling scenes of natural awe.
2 Paragliding In Kassandra
Soaring across the skies in a paratrike or paraglider is the ultimate thrill for adrenaline cravers in Halkidiki. While admiring Kassandra from above, both budding and seasoned fliers can enjoy an introductory paragliding tandem flight with experienced instructors, who can point out popular tourist sights and mesmeric scenery from an exclusive angle that most visitors never get to witness - the beauteous birds-eye view.
1 "Beecome" A Beekeeper For The Sweetest Experience
For something totally unique that most tourists would never even think of, this experience is one of Halkidiki's most unusual, yet oh-so-fun activities. Great for nature lovers, children, and anyone who adores the pristine landscape and its natural processes will be in their element when getting hands-on with buzzing bees in the enchanting forests of Mountain Holomontas. It is this experience and this experience only that grants visitors the chance to see what it's like to be a traditional Halkidiki beekeeper, in which they dress in a full beekeeper's suit and take part in this fascinating activity with nature's sweetest treat as a reward - the gooiest, most deliciously mouth-watering honey fresh from the bees themselves.
As the most authentic way to learn about the region's award-winning honey and the global importance of bees, this beekeeping activity is highly rated and teaches its participants brand-new skills. Featuring interactive games, presentations, classes, and of course, the bees and their hives, it's no surprise that it's one of Halkidiki's most unconventional, but super fun, memorable experiences - particularly for families with curious kids.