Mini guide - Sithonia, Halkidiki

Where is Sithonia?
Sithonia is part of the Halkidiki peninsula in northeast Greece. Halkidiki has the shape of a trident and its three prongs - Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos - are known also as "legs" or "fingers". Sithonia is the middle prong, more popular among families with kids and nature-lovers.

How to reach Sithonia?
The closest airport is Macedonia Airport of Thessaloniki, roughly 80 km from the beginning of Sithonia. The peninsula can be easily reached through a main road from the city of Thessaloniki. There are no ferry connections.

Which are the main villages?
The main village of the peninsula is Sykia, in the southwest part. Popular resorts are: to the west - Nikiti, Neos Marmaras and Toroni, to the east - Ormos Panagias, Vourvourou, Sarti, Paralia Sykia and Kalamitsi. Do not expect cosmopolitan places, though, the villages are small and nightlife is almost missing in Sithonia. Sarti, Nikiti and Neos Marmaras have promenades which get lively and noisy in the evenings (during the summer), with enough restaurants, cafes, fast food and shops.

Are there nice beaches on Sithonia?
Sithonia has numerous small and large beaches, much more compared to the other Halkidiki peninsulas. There is always a beach where you can be away from the crowds or even alone in low season. The west coast is flat and all beaches are along on near the road, most of them with sand or sand mixed with gravel. The south and east part of Sithonia are mountainous and green and the beaches are more picturesque, some of them reachable by dirt roads but all worth to see. The different shades of blue and the panoramic views from the road make this part of Sithonia look completely different from the west one. There are many campsites on the east coast, managing long and sandy beaches (such are Armenistis, Platanitsi and Lacara). If you like beach parties, your place is between Vourvourou and Sarti - the small coves of Akti Onirou, Bahia, Banana, Zografou and Goa have great beach bars which attract many young people and organize beach parties at night.

What to see in Sithonia?
- Parthenonas, an old village near Neos Marmaras which was abandoned by its residents. Now you can see authentic old houses, some of them ruined, others restored or turned into small boutique hotels.
- Porto Koufo, the largest natural harbor of Greece
- The Old Town of Nikiti, a quarter with preserved old houses and streets. Some authentic old houses can be also seen in the villages of Sykia and Agios Nikolaos.
- The Ghost city of Sithonia, a place that was prepared for the construction of a village but the construction never took place. Now it consists of a labyrinth of asphalt streets, overbridges and underpasses but no buildings at all. Driving through the Ghost city you can reach three magnificent beaches - Klimataria, Kriaritsi and Tigania.
- Lemos beach, the southernmost point of Sithonia in the shape of isthmus with beaches on both sides. This is only for enthusiasts, though, - the last 1-2 km can be taken only with 4-wheeler or on foot.

What to eat in Sithonia?
The cuisine of Sithonia is the typical for Greece and has no local specialties but you can buy aromatic honey, as well as dry spices and herbs from the region. Fresh fish and seafood are offered in many tavernas, along with the classic moussaka, pastitsio and stuffed vegetables.

What activities to do in Sithonia?
Beach activity is what people come here for - lazy days on the beach and calm nights out. In the summer there are daily cruises from Neos Marmaras to some place in Kassandra. More popular are the cruises from Ormos Panagias to the monasteries of Mount Athos. You can also rent private boats from Ormos Panagias and Vourvourou to explore the group of islets (known as the 9 islets of Vourvourou) and the seashore around.

What to be careful about?
The east part is hilly and the road has sharp turns in the section between Vourvourou and Sarti. This fact however is compensated for by the views revealed in front of eyes from above. Traveling here takes more time that traveling on the west coast.

Our personal experience?
As it comes to food, the 5 Steps in the Sand at Pygadaki and Tzitzikas taverna at Porto Koufo take the lead in our top. Actually, the area around Paralia Sykia is our weakness, Klimataria and Tourkolimnionas being our favorites. These are one of the few places in Greece we have visited more than twice.

view of the whole beach from above the 5 steps taverna

Pygadaki beach near Paralia Sykia

Lagonissi beach near Vourvourou

free sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach

Talgo beach bar between Ormos Panagias and Vourvourou

at night

Sarti at night

Platanitsi beach from above

Looking at Bahia beach from the road

Article by Desislava L