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Know Before You Go: Halkidiki, Greece

Everything you need to know before heading to Halkidiki for a luxury holiday.

A collection of the world’s best all-inclusive resorts and family-friendly hotels surrounded by clear blue skies and calm, balmy waters put Halkidiki among the UK’s favourite European holiday destinations.

A favourite Greek holiday destination, this peninsular in the north entices visitors with its dreamy Blue Flag beaches, wetlands filled with rare birds, emerald forests of fragrant pines, and local towns where welcoming tavernas serve up tasty dolmades and fresh octopus.

So whether you’ve already got your flights booked, or you’re still at the perusing stage, read on for all the essential details about a holiday to Halkidiki.

Where is Halkidiki?

While thoughts of a holiday to Greece might immediately turn to visions of her islands, the mainland should not be overlooked.

It’s here, tucked away in the north, you’ll discover Halkidiki; a peninsular of Central Macedonia south of Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece.

What is Halkidiki like?

Halkidiki is made up of three ‘fingers’ which jut out from the mainland into the Aegean Sea. The westernmost is Kassandra which is where the majority of the region’s tourists flocks to thanks to its collection of Blue Flag awarded beaches and verdant pine forest landscape scattered with picturesque wetlands. On its western shores, Kassandra looks across the gulf to Mount Olympus.

The next peninsular is Sithonia with its many unspoilt beaches and blue lagoons, sandwiched between Kassandra and the third ‘finger’: Mount Athos, where a monastic community lives.

A day trip to the beautiful city of Thessaloniki is a great way to spend a day off the beach immersed in Greek culture. The capital of Macedonia, Thessaloniki is a 45 minute drive away from the Kassandra resorts and is jam-packed with theatres, clubs, galleries and designer shops.

How do I get to Halkidiki?

From the UK it’s around a 3 ½ hour flight to the international airport at Thessaloniki. As you’d expect, flight prices increase as the temperatures rise through spring into the warmer summer months.

A number of carriers – including British Airways, easyJet, TUI, Ryanair and Jet2 - offer direct flights from the UK.

Transfer times from Thessaloniki International Airport to your hotel obviously depend on whereabouts on the peninsular you’re staying. But as a gauge, it’s around a 45 minute transfer to the Sani and IKOS resorts on the Kassandra peninsular of Halkidiki.

What is the weather like in Halkidiki?

The main tourism season in Greece starts in May and ends in October. At the start of that season the weather is warm and prices are at the lower end.

Head into the school holiday period of July and August and the temperature and the prices rise, with daily averages above 25 degrees C. Come September and October you’ll find the sea balmy after a summer of being heated by the Mediterranean sun, but the air temperatures cooler with much more chance of rain. The pre peak season month of April is the driest, but you’d be unlucky to get much in the way of rain if visiting in the summer months.

What is the food like in Halkidiki?

On the Greek mainland expect plenty of traditional favourites; mousakka, feta salads, dolmades and lamb.

Being so close to the Aegean the seafood in Halkidiki is a highlight, with octopus a particular specialty. Head to our 5 best restaurants in Halkidiki blog for ideas on the best places to eat in this part of Greece.

Be sure to try some local wines and if you want something stronger the ouza. And be sure to bring home a bottle of golden olive oil produced on the peninsular.

Facts about Halkidiki for travellers

Language: Greek

Time zone: GMT + 2 hours

Currency: Euro

Visas: British travellers only require a valid passport to travel to Greece.

Best for: Halkidiki in Greece is a great destination for all. Families will find the seas and beaches calm, clean and warm. Couples can indulge with Michelin-star dining and sunset yacht trips. Single travellers can chill with a luxury spa therapy. Visitors who prefer holiday activities that are a little more immersive can take a boat trip along the coast, wander around an ancient site of interest, dive to a wreck, or mountain bike through the pine forests. Conversely, tourists wanting to simply ‘fly and flop’ at the world’s best all inclusive resort can do just that too.

Will there be Covid restrictions in place at my Halkidiki hotel?

Obviously the Covid-19 situation is very fluid, with each country taking its own precautions.

Speak to your Travel Seen specialist when booking for the most up to date information, but expect extra measures in place than before the pandemic, such as contactless ordering and guest limits in the spa.

The Sani Resort has a page on its website dedicated to the most current information about Covid-19 for guests. Similarly at IKOS resorts there is the Infinite Care Protocol to keep guests safe.

Did you know?
  • Thessaloniki reportedly has more coffee places than anywhere else in Europe.
  • Ikos Resorts offer Football Escapes packages during the summer holidays; daily football coaching for kids with the likes of Bobby Zamora, Robbie Keane and Ashley Williams.
  • You can be face to face with a 700,000 year old skull at the Petralona Cave in northern Halkidiki. Reopening to the public in June 2023, the cave and its museum offer a chance to see one of the oldest archaeological sites in Europe.

Feel inspired to head to Halkidiki for your next luxury holiday? The Travel Seen team can help with offers, top tips and fully-protected package prices.