Kassandra is the westernmost peninsula of Halkidiki and the closest to Thessaloniki. It is also the most populous and with its numerous seaside villages attracts many people in the summer. Except for the families with kids, Kassandra is also preferred by young couples and groups of friends.
The peninsula is known for the easy access and the transparent blue water of the sea which is typical for this part of Halkidiki. Compared to the other two prongs - Sithonia and Mount Athos - Kassandra offers the greatest number of hotels, especially all-inclusive.
The peninsula of Kassandra was named after the ancient king Kassander but you can often hear or read the word Pallini - this is the old designation of Kassandra which today is the name of one of its municipalities.
The first settlement on Kassandra is less than 70 km away from Thessaloniki. The small resorts (or rather villages) are located a few kilometers away from each other and they often have a common beach strip. If you do not have a car, you can always rent a car, bike or ATV, or to use the public buses. The peninsula is predominantly flat and easy to explore via the main road which runs close to the coast. Vegetation is represented by olive trees, palm trees and oleanders. Some resorts grow pine trees and hence the feeling of sea and mountain in one place.
The east coast of the peninsula is significantly more developed and many of the resorts are concentrated here. The west and south coasts are hilly and less populated, with calmer villages and beaches.
The beaches of Kassandra are predominantly sandy but covered with a mixture of coarse sand and tiny pebbles, especially around the shore. If you are looking for beaches with fine, soft sand, the most suitable for you are Chrousso (Paliouri), Sani and Siviri. Some beaches between Kallithea and Polychrono also have sections of fine sand. The sea is very calm and transparent, and you can often see life in it - fish, small octopuses, sea stars and even sea urchins (urchins are present only on rocky areas, not on the sand).
In July and August Kassandra is quite populated, especially during the weekends. Sunbeds and parasols are available to rent in all the resort, often provided by beach bars and tavernas.
The most popular resorts of Kassandra are Afitos, Hanioti, Kallithea, Pefkochori and Polychrono, all on the east coast. In the summer they get very lively and noisy, offering all kinds of services to meet tourists expectations. Afitos and Kallithea are located on hills with sea views and some people may find getting to the beach tiresome. Hanioti, Pefkochori and Polychrono have long beach strips and everything is close to the sea and easily accessible.
Siviri, Skala Fourka, Possidi and Nea Skioni are on the less developed west coast and they offer a more relaxed atmosphere. Another famous place on Kassandra is Sani which is not a village but an area with luxury villas to rent and a big hotel resort.
Kassandra is more densely built than Sithonia and Mount Athos and it has more villages. The residents are occupied mainly in tourism, so, along with the large hotels and detached villas, many private houses function as guest houses or complexes with rooms and studios to rent. Accommodation options vary from self-catering apartments to ultra all inclusive hotels and for this reason the price per night varies in a very wide range.
In some resorts all-day excursions by boat are organized, usually to Sithonia or Mount Athos, or tours around Kassandra. Water sports are available in the larger resorts, and at Glarokavos beach you will find Crazyland Water Park - a large park with inflatable facilities for adults and kids.
The most suitable villages for a walk are Afitos and Nea Fokea. Afitos has a neighborhood of old style houses and beautiful views toward the sea, and in Nea Fokea you can visit a few historical sites - the underground sanctuary of St. Paul and a tower from 15 century. Other trips offered in the larger resorts are visit to the cave Petralona and Waterland near Thessaloniki.