Halkidiki

travel | get there and get around

Getting to Halkidiki

Saronic map

Halkidiki (or Chalkidiki) is located in northern Greece, about 100 kilometres from Thessaloniki. Halkidiki is formed from three peninsulas of Kassandra, Sithonia and Athos. Halkidiki is relatively easy to reach because of airport, ferry, road and rail connections at Greece's second city of Thessaloniki. Most Halkidiki holidaymakers fly in to Thessaloniki airport on package tours and get bussed out eastwards to the various resorts.

Independent travellers can reach Kassandra, Sithonia and Athos by bus from both Athens and from Thessaloniki. The usual route is Thessaloniki by plane, boat or train and then a bus to Nea Moudania or Poligiros and travel from there onto the resort of choice. German and East Europeans often travel by rail or road to Thessaloniki.

Updated for 2015

Halkidiki flights: travel by air

Most holidaymakers fly in to Thessaloniki on package tours and are then bussed out by holiday firms to the various resorts located on the three Halkidiki peninsulas.

Independent travellers can reach all parts of Halkidiki - Kassandra, Sithonia and Athos - by bus from both Athens and from Thessaloniki.

Thessaloniki Airport (SKG) is the third biggest in Greece and handles around 4 million passengers annually. The airport is located about 14 kilometres from Thessaloniki city centre.

It is the main airport of Northern Greece and it not only serves the city of Thessaloniki, the second largest in Greece after Athens, and the tourist holiday resorts of Halkidiki but also the cities of the Macedonia region.

Visitors say the airport is not really geared for tourist traffic - public transport information is difficult to find, the tourist office is often closed and bus stop information is in Greek only. There are plans for a major expansion of the terminal and some say it can't come too soon.

Thessaloniki has services you would expect from a major airport including restaurants, banks, VIP lounges, left luggage, duty free and 24-hour car parking.

There is a 24-hour bus service to Thessaloniki, where visitors to Halkidiki can catch a bus to Nea Moudania or to Poligiros, in Kassandra, where thay can travel on to the resort of their choice. Regular bus services also run to both Sithonia and Athos.

Halkidiki ferries: travel by sea

The port of Thessaloniki is easily reached from the city centre. Ferries from Thessaloniki leave regularly for the Sporades islands (Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos, Skyros), to some of the Cyclades islands ( Tinos, Mykonos, Syros, Paros, Naxos, Santorini, Limnos, Mytilene, Chios) to several Dodecanese islands (Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Patmos) and to mainland ports at Pilion, Volos and Piraeus (Athens) as well as to Heraklion in Crete.

NEL Lines is the main ferry company operating out of Thessaloniki with twice weekly sailings to Lesbos, Limnos, Chios and Samos.

In addition to regular ferries, there are several Flying Dolphin passenger services including Hellas Flying Dolphins A.N.E service to Moudania.

Passengers should bear in mind that ferry schedules can change with many more services during the summer months. Bad weather can also affect services, especially the Flying Dolphin routes.

Halkidiki transport: travel on land

Car rental

The Halkidiki road network is generally very good and resorts can be reached easily by car and bus. There are car rental agencies at Thessaloniki Airport and in Thessaloniki itself. The distance to Kassandra is about 78km and it takes about 90 minutes to drive there.

Halkidiki buses

Buses for Halkidiki are not in the main Thessaloniki station but located in the eastern part of the city. Buses leave from the KTEL bus station about every hour from 5.40am to 9pm with services more frequent in the summer.

Buses run to all the main Kassandra resorts, though they they thin out in the south. The main resorts with daily buses (in brackets) are Kallikratia (17), Nea Moudania (17), Kassandria (12), Kallithea (12), Paliouri (7).

Most resorts in Sithonia have only one of two buses a day, more in summer. There are services from Thessaloniki and Poligiros to both west and east coast resorts. The main routes are to Gerakini - Metamorfosi - Nikiti; to Agios Nikolaos and then Vourvourou and Armenistis. From Polygyros there are services to Gerakini, Psakoudia, Metamorfosi and Marmaras in the west and to Vourvourou, Armenistis, Sarti, Sikia and Kalamitsi in the east.

Details of Halkidiki bus schedules are on this site with pages in English and Greek. Most resorts in Athos are best reached by hire car or motorbike as bus services are infrequent.

It is usual for most towns and villages in Halkidiki to have one or two licensed taxi drivers, often more. The main taxi centres are at Thessaloniki (231 0266406l) , Poligiros (231 011460) and at Nea Moudania (237 022303). If you need a taxi in the resort you can usually find one locally.

Halkidiki rooms: places to stay

Rooms

Halkidiki has a huge variety of holiday accommodation for all tastes and budgets. Hotels in Halkidiki tend to be quieter and a little more upmarket than on the Greek islands. Relatively restrained development in many of the resorts also means that Halkidiki hotels and other accommodation tend to score higher for atmosphere.

Kassandra peninsula resorts are noted for sandy beaches and attractive villages. Family hotels are more likely to be found in Kassandra while the luxury hotels are more likely sited on the Sithonia peninsula. The biggest range of cheap hotels is found in Kallithea - the resort with the liveliest nightlife.

Budget hotels and cheap apartments can be found throughout the region and Halkidiki has several large and well equipped campsites as it's popular with campers from Germany and Eastern Europe.

Camping sites on Halkidiki include Thalatta and Tsitreli camping sites at Kalamitsi.

In Sithonia is Camping Melissa and Linaraki Camping on the beach at Sikia and Akti Oneirou between Vourvouri and Sarti while Armenistis Camping lies just a little further south. Nearer Thessaloniki is Kouyoni Camping at Gerakini Beach