Kassandra is a hot-spot, in more ways than one.
Over the years, it has become the most popular and fun-loving of Halkidiki’s three sunny peninsulas, with its many and varied locations for bars, tavernas, restaurants, clubs, concerts, summer festivals and non-stop nightlife. It’s a must-visit for water sports enthusiasts, too.
But that doesn’t mean to say you can’t find peace and seclusion here if you want it. In fact, Kassandra offers the best of both worlds and, though lively, also makes a beautiful, unspoilt, scenic backdrop to your holiday with its pine forests, fields, sandy, family-friendly beaches and ancient villages and towns.
Nea Skioni, Kriopigi and Pefkohori
Nea Skioni, for instance — built, as legend has it, by the Pelleneans on their way back from the Trojan War — is a traditional Greek village. It’s also an outstanding area of natural beauty, with pine forests, restaurants and one of the largest harbours in the whole of Kassandra.
Then there’s Kriopigi with its a wide beach and fabulous views over the Gulf of Kassandra; Pefkohori, well-known for its neo-classical buildings and sailing boat races; and Polihrono village with its impressive seven kilometre sandy beach which has become a location for sea canoeing, pedal boating and jet-skiing.
Kassandra also teems with fascinating history: wherever you look there are monuments, castles, monasteries and churches.
Polihrono, for example, is a great place for anyone wanting to sample authentic Greek café and bar culture but it’s also home to the church of Agios Athanassios, built in 1912, and the church of the Nativity of Christ, which dates back to 1863. Three miles away from Polihrino is Lake Mavrobara, the only lake on the Kassandra peninsula, which has become a nature-seeker’s paradise.
And, of course, there are the ruins of Olynthus, an ancient Greek city dating back to the 7th century BC, excavated in the first half of the 20th century. Treasures and artefacts recovered from the site are displayed at the museum in Olynthus village.
Visitors to picturesque Kallithea can soak up the sun on a spectacular beach and then wander around some awe-inspiring archaeological discoveries. These include the remains of the temple to Zeus-Ammon (the last Zeus-Ammon temple found in Europe) plus the temple to Dionysous (the god of wine) and the Nymphs.
And, of course, there’s Kassandria, the peninsula’s commercial and administrative centre and one of the oldest municipalities in Halkidiki, with its shops, bars, restaurants and market stalls.
So much to see, so much to do, so much to enjoy — Kassandra is a holiday destination all by itself.