the middle peninsula of Halkidiki
Sithonia Travel Guide
Sithonia is the middle prong of Halkidiki peninsula and it is a peninsula itself. It was named after Sithonas, son of the god of the sea Poseidon. Compared to Kassandra, it is less developed and there are not many places for entertainment, but it is a great place for tranquil holidays.
People call Sithonia "a symphony of green and blue" because the rich vegetation and pine trees reach down to the blue sea. The greatest advantage of the peninsula is the number and diversity of its beaches, as wells as the perfect combination of mountain landscape and sea. It is recommended for nature lovers, families with kids and for those who want to stay away from noisy resorts.
General information about Sithonia
Though Sithonia is considered a calmer and family-friendly destination, the number of tourists in the past 10 years is constantly growing. It means that in July and August the most popular beaches of the peninsula may be crowded and the accommodation options may be very limited because Sithonia still emphasizes on smaller hotels and guest houses.
The peninsula is larger than Kassandra, more mountainous and you cannot cross it through the middle. All villages and buildings are located by or very close to the sea, excluding Sykia which is 6 km away from the seaside. The east and west parts of Sithonia are very different one from each other. The east coast is hilly, with pine forests and numerous blue sandy coves some of which you can see while traveling, others completely hidden and not visible from the road. The landscape to the west is flatter and traveling is easier.
Beaches of Sithonia
With the bright blue color of the sea in combination with shallow sandy shores, Sithonia may be proudly included in the rankings for top beaches of Greece. The peninsula offers a great selection of beaches, both in number and type. But if you want to explore the seaside, you will definitely need a car because many of these superb beaches are located out of the resorts, some accessible via dirt roads.
The largest beaches of Sithonia are Trani Ammouda, Sarti, Toroni and the main beach of Paralia Sykia. The coastline is very diverse and has numerous big and small coves divided by sea cliffs, most of them covered with fine or coarse sand. The sea is transparent and clean, and you can often see small fish coming near the shore - do not forget your goggles because except for the fish, you can also see crabs and sea stars! Some of the more exotic beaches you can visit in Sithonia are Portokali, Karidi, Lagonissi and Klimataria but actually many places here have something special to allure you with.
Where to stay in Sithonia
In Sithonia you will not find any cosmopolitan resorts. The villages are small, although some of them get pretty busy and noisy in the summer, and there are hotels and tavernas around all large beaches.
The liveliest seaside villages of Sithonia are Neos Marmaras, Nikiti and Sarti. They are fully adapted to meet the requirements of all travelers - with plenty of hotels, restaurants and pedestrian areas for walks. Sarti and Nikiti are more suitable for tourists with small kids because they have long promenades with tavernas, playgrounds and easy access to the beach. Ormos Panagias, Toroni, Vourvourou and Kalamitsi are also quite visited, but they are rather summer resorts which have developed around larger beaches. They have enough hotels and restaurants but there is no particular center or square where to have walks in the evenings.
For those who prefer accommodation in a quiet place, Develiki, Akti Salonikiou, Pyrgadikia, Paralia Sykia and the area around Elia are recommended.
Hotels in Sithonia
Sithonia offer hotels of all categories and you will find both budget rooms and four- and five-star accommodation. However, the most common types of accommodation are guest houses with rooms to rent and aparthotels - they are usually small and offer self-catering facilities. Many of them have large green gardens and equipped barbecue areas where guests can prepare they own meals. The number of private villas to rent all over the peninsula is also increasing as you can choose between modest and luxury.
Campsites are another common type of accommodation in Sithonia. Most of them are located at beaches on the east coast and non-guests are subject to entrance fee but there are campsites located on public beaches as well. Among the popular campsites are those of Armenistis, Platanitsi, Kriaritsi and Kalamitsi.
Activities and entertainment
There are no archeological or historical sights in Sithonia but in some of the villages you can see old houses with preserved traditional architecture - in the old town of Nikiti, in the center of Agios Nikolaos and in the abandoned village of Parthenonas.
If you have never rented a boat without a skipper before, Sithonia is the place to do it. Close to the coast of Vourvourou there are 9 uninhabited islets with turquoise color of the sea and extremely calm water. Many boats to rent are available in the area and they will give you perfect instructions how to ride the boat by yourself and which places to visit.
Trips to Mount Athos and its monasteries are organized from Ormos Panagias but keep in mind that they do not include boarding on the peninsula because tourists are forbidden on the territory of the Monastic Republic. You can see the monasteries only from the sea and from a distance. These trips are often combined with a visit to Ammouliani island for swimming and beach time.