In the north of Greece, close to Thessaloniki, the Kassandra peninsula, first of the three peninsulas of the Halkidiki, in addition to its fishing villages, quiet countryside and spectacular coastline with crystal clear waters, offers a vibrant nightlife, a real greek movida.
t’s spring, from april to the end of may, the best season to enjoy the calm and beauty of Halkidiki’s beaches (Afitos, Paliouri or the most remote Possidi), lapped by the best sea of Greece.
Then, during the hottest months of the Halkidiki summer, with its nightclubs and beach clubs, Kassandra becomes the festive Olympus for young people from Thessaloniki that in less than an hour’s drive arrive here to have fun. Even then, however, Kassandra reserve peaceful corners.
For those who don’t know which kind of Greece choose, after seeing Athens and loved the Aegean islands, the Halkidiki peninsula, birthplace of Aristotele and first “finger” of the three strips of land in which is divided the same Halkidiki, will surprise you.
Already, along the provincial road 25 which you take from Thessaloniki airport and leads to the south in the direction of Nea Moudania, you can capture the soul of this region bordering with Balkans: step by step you will open your eyes wide on to the rural nature that gradually becomes more and more sweet, Mediterranean, between pinewoods and sunny countryside covered with vineyards, olive and orchards.
The real entrance to the peninsula is the bridge over the Strait of Nea Potidea, whose beach is one of the most attended during the summer. But only at Nea Fokea, a handful of houses after about 10 kilometres along the eastern coast, you will meet the amazing sea of Kassandra (Halkidiki).
The tower of the Byzantine fortress of the 1407 indicates by far away the fishing village, dedicated to the apostle Paul, standing out from the hill and it’s romantically illuminated at night. At his feet the rocky beach is an invitation for those who love diving, while the beach towards the small port, under the cliff, reachable from beginning of the village through a dirt sloping road, is sandy and wild beauty.
The numerous waterfront restaurants are equipped with sun loungers and parasols. In the main square, however, on the dehors of Massalia, the lively tavern of Niko and Yianni, you can taste tsipouro and ouzo, the Greek brandy.
Continuing south, after six kilometers the provincial road passes through Afitos village, with typical stone houses. It’s a crowded destination by young people for the proximity of the clubs of Kallithea, the center of Kassandra movida.
But the beach of Blue Bay Hotel, which you reach it going down a ramp of a hundred steps cut into the rock, is a quiet stretch of fine white sand, clear blue sea and a thousand shades of blue. The Sousourada restaurant’s cuisine in the center of the village, with its typical dishes based on fish and meat is renowned throughout the Halkidiki.
It’s Greece more and more livable (on a human scale) which you meet coming down along the coast. You must overcome the beautiful beaches but often crowded of Kriopighi, Polichrono and Chanioti to arrive at Glarokavos beach, the “promontory of the seagulls”. You can reach taking one of the dusty dirt roads that go down towards the coastline: four miles of white sand (and free, who wants can to rent a sunbed and umbrella for a few euros) closed between the blue sea and, behind, a pinewood and juniper brushwood; and a natural harbor from where depart the boats of the fishermen.
When the days are clear, from the bay you can gaze the opposite island of Kelifos, where turtles go to nidificate, and the sight reaches the coast of Sithonia, the second “finger” of Halkidiki, to the Mount Athos.
Driving between at times impervious hills, covered with pinewoods and juniper, you reach to Paliouri, the last village on the peninsula. It has two beaches: the Chrousso beach, full of bars and restaurants, and the most isolated and wild Golden Beach with golden sand where the top of the pine trees acts as natural umbrellas.
Possidi, beautiful sea and movie star restaurants
At Aghia Paraskevi the church of St. Nicholas, with icons of the saint, is the last outpost of Kassandra, on the promontory. From here, go back the western coastline to Possidi, towards one of the most beautiful beaches of Greece: a strip of white sand, with no shelter from the sun. The beach is wedged into the crystal clear blue-green sea, as a watershed between the currents and waves strong.
It can be reached by a dirt road that runs along a military summer camp, and after passing through a pinewood. In the nearby port of Nea Skioni, the fishing boats supply every day the tables of restaurants. As the Stamatis restaurant, on the waterfront of Possidi, which served Robert De Niro and the couple Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt: they too bewitched by Kassandra.