After diving in Ηalkidiki you are not going to get bored. Explore this mythical land and experience its cultural treasures having a good time and a lot of pleasant memories to bring back home. This is what makes Halkidiki the ideal diving destination for the whole family. We propose a (not exhaustive) list of places to visit and things to do nearby or within a close distance from your hotel. For more information, you can ask at the reception of your hotel…
What to SeeIn Greek mythology, Kassandra was the scene of the battle of the Giants against the Olympian Gods. Βy throwing rocks into the sea, the Giants were trying to bridge the distance to Olympus and reach the mountain! The rich mythology surrounding Halkidiki proves the efforts to explicate the geophysical particularities of this place.
In the North of Halkidiki, you can visit Petralona Cave, impressive for its structure and its formations of stalactites and stalagmites. There, the oldest testimony to the presence of humans in Greece can be found. It is the cranium of a primitive man who lived 200,000 years ago and belongs to a transitional form between Homo Erectus (the Standing Man) and Homo Sapiens (the Wise Man).
Holy Mount Athos with its layout of twenty monasteries has been an Orthodox spiritual center since 1054. It occupies the whole third peninsula of Halkidiki and, in the center of it, the mountain ranges reaches 2,033m above sea level, one of the highest in Greece. Part of the World Heritage List of Unesco it is open to visitors (except for women), enjoying an autonomous and self-governed status. Another (and less formal) way to see the monasteries is by participating to a daily boat tour that cruises up Athos peninscula, choosing among a variety of boat companies-providers.
Stagira is situated near the eastern coast of Halkidiki peninsula and is known as the birthplace of philosopher Aristotle. Part of the Athenian League and then of that of Sparta, the city was occupied by Philip in 349 B.C., after the destruction of Olynthos. Philip, in order to honor the great philosopher, tutor of Alexander the Great, rebuilt the city adding new structures. After the death of Aristotle in 322 B.C., its fellow-citizens organized a feast in his memory every year, called Aristoteleia. This tradition still exists today. Every summer, cultural events take place near the archaeological site, which will not disappoint you with its well-maintained findings.
Olynthos is situated between Kassandra and Sithonia, built on two hills. Favored by its strategic position, it became the capital of a formal Chalkidian League in 432 B.C. and one of the great military powers in the North of Greece. It was destroyed years later (in 348 B.C.), by King Phillip II of Macedonia (the father of Alexander the Great). Olynthos is of great archaeological value as the houses and their contents are unusually well preserved. The movable findings retrieved from the site form a very interesting collection which is exhibited in the local museum.
Ancient Mende founded by the sea on the west side of Kassandra (in the 8th c. B.C.), is one of the most important colonies of the Eretrians, who lived in the South of Greece. The city owes its name to the aromatic menthe plant, a type of mint, which still grows in the area.
In general, Kassandra, with its natural lush vegetation and its strategic location, has attracted the interest of habitants of southern Greece from a very early period. Other important ancient colonies are Skioni, Afitis, Sani, Aigi, Neapoli … whose signs are still visible today.
The Sanctuary of Ammon Zeus in Kallithea
The Sanctuary of Ammon Zeus in Kallithea is situated by the sea on the slope and at the foot of a forested hill. The site was discovered in 1968, but it was excavated again in the more recent years (2005-2008), under the financing of the European Union and the Greek state. Over the centuries, three related deities were worshipped at the sanctuary: Dionysus and probably Nymphs, whose cult began in the late 8th century B.C., Ammon Zeus and Asclepius in the 4th century B.C.
Afitos or Athitos
Two names, two colors: blue and green composing a unique canvas. Athitos is built on a rock οverlooking the Toronaios Gulf and forming a natural terrace with a magnificent view. The whole village is an example of Greek folk architecture, mud brick and stone are in perfect harmony with the natural beauty of the area.
Phokea was built in 1922 by refugees from the city of Phocaea in Asia Minor. The Phocaeans, the first Greeks to make long sea voyages, founded Massalia, the modern-day Marseille in France at around 600 B.C. . N. Phokea is a picturesque harbor with taverns and cafes along the waterfront. The symbol of the village is the tower of Agios Pavlos, built up on a maritime cliff in 1407. It served as the headquarters of Emmanuel Papas in the uprising of 1821.
No matter if you have a yacht or not, Sani Marina is one of the sights in Kassandra that will not disappoint you. Cosmopolitan and relaxing at the same time, it invites you to a pleasurable world with many facets. Admire the unique Mediterranean sunset from the beach shore or “sail” into Piazza with its array of chic boutiques, sophisticated restaurants and bars.
At the beginning of Kassandra, Potidaea is situated, an ancient town built by the Corinthians around 600 B.C.. It is famous for its channel, 1,250 m long and 40 m wide, (first constructed in 315 B.C. according to some sources): it connects Thermaikos Gulf and Toronaios (between Kassandra and Sithonia). Unfortunately, there are only a few ruins reminding us of the ancient history of the city. However, the place still has the charm of a fishing village “courted” by two seas!
What to DoΑ whole range of activities are open to you. Taste, Watch, Move...Enjoy!
Halkidiki is the ideal place to enjoy the healthy tastes of the Mediterranean cuisine. A lot of restaurants and taverns are waiting for you to offer you savory dishes made from the purest natural ingredients.
The specific microclimate of the region favors the creation of unique local products: olives and olive oil (Halkidiki’s olives are a distinct variety), honey (from pine forests), wines (from Greek or French grape varieties). You can find them in food boutiques or street markets organized every week in specific villages (ask at the reception of your hotel for more details).
The “gastronomy side” of Halkidiki would be incomplete without mentioning the food festivals and feasts (folk events). Sani Gourmet Festival is an annual gastronomic celebration, where famous and rising chefs from Greece and all over the world meet to create unique dishes. Among the famous cultural feasts is the Sardine’s fest in Nea Moudania, (mid-July), the Raki fest in Vrastama (14th and 15th of August), the Mushroom fest in Taxiarchis (at the beginning of September).
In Kassandra, you have the opportunity to experience a great variety of artistic expression and creativity.
For the last twenty-three years, the Sani Festival, an artistic international meeting has been taking place on the homonymous hill. As the organizers point out, it is a feast of music and culture … “allowing it to bring together under one roof people of many different backgrounds and cultures“ .
Kassandra’s Festival – Siviri
It lasts from the beginning of July to the end of August. During these two months and since 1993, selected and famous artists have appeared at the festival representing all kinds of arts and human expression. Τhe major events: concerts, theatrical performances, dance performances take place in the amphitheatre of Siviri while parallel events take place in other communities of Kassandra: exhibitions (paintings, photographs, works of sculptors and graphical artists), screenings …
If you want to keep moving after your dives or as an alternativee activity for your family and friends who do not dive with us, Halkidiki offers endless opportunities for outdoor activities: water sports, walking, biking (mountain bike), horse riding, rock climbing, bird watching.
Regardless of the season, you can practice these activities according to your skill level and time schedule. These are the best ways to continue exploring the amazing nature of Halkidiki.
For more information, ask at the reception of your hotel.
Kassandra has its own natural healing thermal springs in Agia Paraskevi and Loutra (one of our favorite dive sites), both at the extreme South of the Peninsula. In the heart of a uniquely beautiful combination of sand, rocks, pine trees and crystal clear seawater, you can benefit from the relaxing (and therapeutic) properties of thermal baths. The facilities include outdoor and indoor pools, saunas, steam baths, showers and hydro massage for individuals and groups. Physiotherapy and relaxation massage are also provided.
If you are a fan of clubbing, you will find what you are looking for in Kassandra. The area around Kallithea is famous for its nightlife with clubs featuring new and famous stars of the Greek music scene. Alternatively, if you just want to share your diving impressions of the day with your company, a variety of fashionable bars are scattered all over the place, authentic representations of Greek colors and spirit.