A tour of the Sithonia peninsula
With the pine trees coming right down to the beach, the air full of intoxicating scents, the rugged coastline with its little bays and coves, and the ravishing sight of the sun rising from behind Mt. Athos – Sithonia is a truly enchanted place.
Starting again from Thessaloniki, 60km along the road you come to the junction that leads right to Sithonia and straight on to Kassandra. 4km along the road from here you come to a sign for Agios Mammas**, and then a turning left to Olynthos (+2km) ** and right to the prehistoric settlement of Agios Mamas (+1km). At Olynthos you can visit the site of the ancient city, the most important political centre in Halkidiki in classical times**.
Drive through Kalyves** and after 3km you will come to the Polygyros junction. The turning to the left takes you up to Polygyros, the administrative capital of Halkidiki (+12km)** and that to the right leads to the town’s harbour, Gerakini**.
Drive on past signs for Psakoudia**, Ormylia** and Metamorfosi** and you will arrive in Nikiti**, essentially the starting point for the tour of the peninsula.
Two kilometers along the road you come to a junction with roads leading to the eastern and western coasts of Sithonia. To the right the road heads west to Neo Marmara (+18km), Porto Carras (+20km) and Porto Koufo (+44km), while straight ahead the road takes you east to Agios Nikolaos (+8km), Vourvourou (+11km), Sarti (+40km) and Sykia (+51km).
Taking the road to the western coast you will drive past a number of beaches and small resorts until you arrive at the busy town of Neo Marmara**. 5km outside the town you can drive up the hillside to the traditional village of Parthenonas**. 2km along the main road you come to the Porto Carras hotel complex**, covering an area of 18,000 hectares, with 10km of beaches and 34 private harbours.
Now another 14km along the coast road, through air rich with the fragrance of pines, a landscape that ravishes the senses. Magical scenery to be enjoyed with the car roof down, drinking in the sights and scents of the glorious landscape.
Eventually you come to a small sign for the beach at Tristinika**, while carrying on along the main coast road will bring you to Toroni**. Just two more kilometers and you have arrived at the beautiful natural harbour of Porto Koufo**. Another 11km of beautiful coast road brings you to the sign for Kalamitsi**. You are now approaching the eastern side of the peninsula. Passing Kriaritsi and Klimataria you come to the beach of Sykia. The village itself is 2km from the coast road. The next stop is bustling Sarti**, full of visitors every summer. From now on the road runs through lovely pine forest, with dirt tracks turning off to magical beaches. As you approach Vourvourou you will be struck by the amazing view of the nine islands. You now come to the picturesque harbour of Ormos Panayias**, the embarkation point for daily cruises**, and another 3km of road brings you to Agios Nikolaos**, one of the oldest settlements in Halkidiki. Continuing east you pass by the Salonikiou beach** and arrive at Pyrgadikia**, where you can take the road up into mountain Halkidiki and the villages of Mt. Holomondas**. The distance to Arnaia is 35km, and then another 16km through the magical mountain landscape will bring you to Taxiarchis.