If you and your girlfriends are looking for a great place to visit in Greece, you have plenty of choices among the many sun-kissed beaches and white-washed villages. While most tourists are familiar with the well-known southern destinations of Santorini, Mykonos, and Athens, the northern peninsula of Halkidiki is the most popular resort in northern Greece.

HALKIDIKI: WHY GO?

A lesser-known but popular tourist spot, Halkidiki has many unique must see points of interest.  Your choices range from visiting historical ruins, relaxing on one of the regions stunning beaches, dining at a local taberna to enjoy traditional Mediterranean cuisine, and much more.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO

Start your Grecian holiday on Ammouliani Island to unwind into island life while immersing yourself in the rich history and culture of the region.  While the island is just a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland, you’ll feel a world away.

Savana at Alikes Beach (c) Elizabeth Willoughby

Spend your first day leisurely enjoying the sun and surf on one of the island’s beaches.  Karagatsia and Alikes beaches are a few kilometers from the village center.  Grab a book and your sunscreen and plan to spend a relaxing day listening to the waves while you sip a cool beverage.

On a more active note, be sure to reserve one full day for a cruise around Mount Athos. Commonly referred to as “The Holy Mountain,” this religious community with its 1,000-year-old monasteries and approximately 2,000 monks is a  UNESCO World Heritage Monument. As an autonomous state and known as the Orthodox Christian spiritual capital, Mount Athos is forbidden to women and children. As such, Athos Sea Cruises provides scenic and educational tours around the Athos peninsula.

An early departure from Ammouliani will give you time to explore the port village of Ouranoupoli prior to your cruise.  Take time to shop for regional specialties such as locally grown and produced olives, olive oil, honey, and wine. Tour the Tower of Ouranoupoli to better understand the cultural and historical relevance of this charming seaside town.  Ioannis Palaeologos, the “despot” or King  of Thessaloniki, visited the tower in May 1379. It now belongs to the Greek Ministry of Culture due to its cultural and archaeological value.

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK

Famous for regional Mediterranean cuisine, the island has several tabernas and waterfront restaurants you’ll want to visit.  Janis and Glaros are cozy local favorites featuring fresh fish, grilled meats, salads, and vegetables.  You can easily make a wonderful meal of various traditional small plates, or meze, such as: tzatziki (Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon), dolmadakia (grape leaf, rice, and herbs crafted into mini rolls), and baked feta.  Greek sweet treats and pastries are highlights and often enjoyed for breakfast and lunch.  Try handmade phyllo pies commonly filled with spinach and feta (spanakotiropita).  They will be sure to delight.

Other Ammouliani Island waterfront venues to check out include Anemotrata for traditional Greek fare and Savana if beach snacks, regional beer and tropical cocktails better suit your cravings.

Glaros (c) Elizabeth Willoughby

WHERE TO STAY

Helianthus Guest House, operated by the Vassilliou family, provides traditional Greek hospitality and is ideally located in the center of Ammoulani.  Chat with Stratos in the morning to plan your island adventures for the day.

Ammouliani Island and the Halkidiki region is the ideal destination for your next getaway.

Helianthus Guest House (c) Stratos Vasiliou

This trip was sponsored by HALKIDIKI TOURISM ORGANIZATION

For more information about the Halkidiki region and travel, go to Visit Halkidiki.

A portion of this itinerary was made possible by PASS PARTOUT – Tourism Marketing