I Loved These 8 Great Things to Do in Halkidiki, You Will Too!

Nestled in northern Greece, about an hour from Thessaloniki, Halkidiki is a stunning peninsula known for its crystal-clear waters, miles of stunning coastline, and rich historical heritage. I went for a few days to find out some of the best things to do in Halkidiki, to add a bit of adventure to your beach holiday…

Halkidiki beach

Halkidiki has three distinctive peninsulas – Kassandra, Sithonia, and Athos – each offering something different, but mainly, stunning beaches and blue waters.

I explored as much as possible in my 5-night trip, with Jet2 Holidays as my guide. Together, we found the must-visit spots and activities to make your trip to Halkidiki unforgettable.

where to go in halkidiki

From lounging on golden sands and exploring ancient ruins to savouring the best Greek cuisine Halkidiki has to offer these are the activities in Halkidiki I enjoyed the most.

Here’s what I got up to in Greece with Jet2holidays

1. Cruise of Diaporos islands

My Diaporos Islands cruise was a real highlight of my Halkidiki adventure. I’d definitely recommend this if you’re looking for the best things to do in Halkidiki.

Join the tour and you’ll drive to Ormos Panagias on an air conditioned bus. It was only about 20 minutes from our hotel at The Dolphin, in fact we were the last ones on so first ones off at the end of the day – perfect!

In Ormos Panagias you’ll get on board the ship, ready to explore the exotic beaches of the east coast of Sithonia over the next eight hours.

We moored up at two and had a few hours at each to swim, snorkel and sunbathe. Jumping in was optional but definitely recommended!

Or, you could take the little boat to shore at each stop and they’d take your stuff.

The scenery on this tour is stunning. Walk over the rocks and around the bay, away from the drop off point, to find your own beach to relax on. It was pretty busy at the first beach and we were thrilled we’d made the effort to get away from the crowd.

Back on the ship and lunch was included – some tasty koftas, rice and bread (I recommend bringing your own sauce!) drinks are extra and there’s a fully stocked bar to make your way through.

The trip finished at about 5pm and after a short walk (up a steep hill) we got on the coach and they dropped us back at our hotel.

2. Athitos Village

For our local culture fix we drove out to Athitos Village for a look around this cute traditional stone-housed settlement.

Church in the village

The village is built on a rock with sleep slopes offering panoramic views of Toroneos Gulf. There were a few well placed bars and restaurants to enjoy the views.

I strolled around the little cobblestone alleys, looking in the gift shops for presents for Reggie and Ben. Picked up some olives and olive oil (classic), and a duck whistle for Reg.

The village is a popular spot with artists – visit and you’ll see why. After doing my bit of shopping and sightseeing I enjoyed a little sit down outside this village central plaza bar, with a Mythos and complimentary popcorn. Perfect.

3. Marianna’s Vine Leaves

The first stop on our Halkidiki activities list was Marianna’s Vine Leaves – a vineyard that produces vines for eating, rather than drinking.

Visit and you’ll get to walk through the vineyards to get to know how the famous Marianna’s Vine leaves are made. It’s a great chance to sample them too. You can taste the other traditional products they produce like Marianna’s Grapeleaves, Marianna’s Ntolmadakia and Marianna’s Pies. So tasty!

I had a go at rolling the vine leaves for the Dolmas. I’d give myself 7 out of 10!

The owners here want the vineyard to be as sustainable as possible, and so try to use everything they create. The 15 hectares of land they own also produces raisins, wood for BBQs, moonshine, pickled sticks, grapes, jam and sultanas. They haven’t used any chemicals since 1994.

We were treated to a tasting of their ‘whisky’ – Abelon. It’s won awards the world over and currently retails for around €500 so you can bet I pretty much licked the glass. And the spare one after he poured too many.

It was really special, giving a lovely warmth in my chest as it went down. Not what I was expecting when I was told I was visiting a vineyard that day!

4. Petralona Cave

We visited Petralona Cave – one of Europe’s most impressive and important caves thanks to its wealth of fossils and to the discovery of a human skull that dates back approximately 700.000 years.

Petralona Cave

The skull is now one of the best things to see in Thessaloniki, being looked after properly in a museum. The cave is still a fascinating place to look round though, filled with stalagmites and stalactites.

It’s amazing to think of the person who discovered it in 1959 – imagine going in to find all this!

5. Village of Arnea

If you’re looking for another cultural experience for a relaxing afternoon, how about strolling round the traditional settlement of Arnea?

The flower decorated balconies and colourful houses are great for some charming pictures of your Halkidiki holiday. One of the top spots is the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Stephen with its glass floor. You can walk above the archaeological site they found when the building burned down years ago.

Greek orthodox church

Another great stop in the village is the honey store of Georgakas on the main square. They had so many different honeys to try, it was difficult to know which one to buy to take home. Good job they had a selection box to try.

what to eat in Halkidiki

6. Visit Stagira

One of the best moments of our Halkidiki adventure was arriving at Ancient Stagira, and seeing this incredible view. We were here to experience the birthplace of the great Greek philosopher, Aristotle (who I remember studying in A Level Religious Studies – my teacher would be proud). But, with a lot of imagination needed to make sense of the archaeological ruins here, my eyes were drawn to this amazing view over the beach nearby.

Look at it!

It was midday and so very hot up on the ruins, but there is a walk you can do along the coast to get the full experience. Unfortunately we needed to get out of the sun!

Just around the corner was my favourite restaurant in Halkidiki – a must visit on your holidays to Halkidiki.

7. Sample the Agrovision Winery

Next up on what was becoming a bit of a wine tour of Halkidiki (perfect) was the Agrovision Winery. We went to try some of the locally produced wines in what was a bit of a whistlestop tour of their collection.

My fave was definitely one of the reds with the chocolate – perfect for 2pm on a Wednesday.

what to do in halkidiki

After trying the wines in their HQ we drove out to their scenic vineyard overlooking the ocean. I particularly enjoyed being at one with the wine, by sitting in a barrel. Was genuinely so relaxing!

8. Explore ancient Olynthos

The archaeological site of Ancient Olynthos was next on our list of things to do in Halkidiki. They can date the site back to 650BC – it’s had a rich and interesting history. Some of the most striking things to see now are the epic mosaics adorning the floors.

Where I stayed in Halkidiki

I stayed at the Jet2 hotel The Blue Dolphin. It was a really nice hotel but I was kinda divided about the location! I think it’d depend what you want from your holiday as to whether the hotel suits you or not. It was just a few steps from two lovely beaches, which was great. The grounds were also quite extensive, with plenty of rooms for different budgets. It was a bit out from everything else though, especially if you don’t want to drive. There was nowhere to walk to in the evenings.

Every morning there was a full breakfast spread, and there was a restaurant for the evenings too. We went to the beach bar on the final day, for lunch, which had a prime spot by the beds on the beach. Wasn’t too sure on the souvlaki, but the Margarita was wonderful!

Jet2 prides itself on their sustainable hotels and The Blue Dolphin was a great base to explore the peninsulas from.

If you’re looking for a hotel that has all you need on site, and you don’t need to go anywhere, this is a great choice. I like to have a little explore around on holiday, and not be bound to one place, so I’d need a car here!

Greece with Jet2 Holidays

I had a great experience with Jet2 Holidays, and not just because this was a press trip!

If you want to do the trip, you can book flights to Thessaloniki with Jet2. We had flights from London Stansted Airport on a Monday afternoon, which worked well too get over there from Portsmouth.

Check in was quick and easy at Stansted, with no queues. The staff on board were friendly and efficient, and the journey was smooth. When we were coming back, at Thessaloniki Airport, there were staff there to greet us and tell us where to go in the airport – don’t think I’ve ever had that before!

Press trip

My trip to Halkidiki was sponsored by Jet2. All thoughts my own!

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