There are two of the prongs of the Halkidiki peninsula, which has become so popular in recent years, because of its extraordinary beauty. Rarely has the combination of green pie forest, sparkling blue water and golden sand been blended in such a beguiling fashion as on the coasts of Kassandra, Sithonia, and Athos, the monastic state, and most beautiful of all, but off limits to women and not visitable without official permission.
As you proceed along the shores of the Thermaic Gulf, you come to small resorts, which are growing constantly. But don't miss the chance to explore the interior as well, to take a look at Petralona and its famous cave, which on its discovery in 1960 yielded up some Paleolithic finds of exceptional significance - bones and teeth of bears, lions, and other animals over 600.000 years old, pieces of human skeletons, stone tools, and most exciting of all to scientists a Neanderthal skull. The finds are no longer present but the cave itself is a marvel of huge halls and stunning stalactites and stalagmites.
Returning to the coast, you reach Nea Moudania, a pleasant holiday spot, not far from the entrance to the Kassandra peninsula. To get onto the peninsula you'll have to cross the Potidaia canal and go through Nea Potidaia at the isthmus, occupying the same site as its ancient namesake, as some scant remains testify.
Once of the peninsula, you can turn right for Sani a bit beyond Nea Potidaia on the west coast or you can continue down the east coast to Nea Fokaia, with its medieval tower and castle, to Afytos, a protected traditional settlement where you can still see the ancient walled city, and Kalithea, a lively resort enhanced by the ruins of the important shine to Ammon Zeus. From here you can cross over to the west side and eventually make your way around the whole peninsula.
Going pass the village of Kassandra, you come to Siviri on the west coast, and then bear south for Kalandra, with its charming houses built in the style of the district and the ruins of ancient Mendi, Nea Skioni, where there are also abundant ruins, and Agios Nikolaos, further south. Then head east, passing through Agia Paraskevi to Paliouri on the coast, another fine example of how much this area has to offer in the way of tourist facilities and natural beauty.
Turning now to the north to explore the east coast of Kassandra, a succession of wooded hills, fantastic beaches and picturesque villages leads to Kryopighi and back to Kallithea. As you drive up the coast, you see the west side of lovely Sithonia opposite, and that's where we going next.
Once you've crossed the canal at Nea Potidaia, the road hugs the shore of the Bay of Kassandra. Take the time to visit the ruins at Olynthos and then continue south for Sithonia.
Here the scenery and opportunities for seaside recreation are even more appealing than they were in Kassandra, not only on the peninsula itself but also in the vicinity of Metamorphosis, just before it. Both on the west coast, up to Neos Marmaras and all the way down to Porto Koufo and its enclosed bay at the tip, and on the east coast from Sykia inland to Sarti by the sea, Vourvoures, and Agios Nikolaos - in short, the whole peninsula - the landscape is enchanting and the resorts delightful.
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