Halkidiki is blessed with magical beaches and a rich inland. Geographically, it lies in the northwestern part of the Aegean sea in Greece and it is shaped like a hand with three fingers. It is separated into four different areas: central Halkidiki and the peninsulas of Cassandra, Sithonia and Agion Oros.
Halkidiki has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era (Petralona Cave) and numerous monuments bear witness to the important role it has played in history: from antiquity, through the Byzantine era, up to modern times.
Apart from beautiful beaches and holiday resorts, you’ll find perfect spots for excursions, numerous athletic activities available for sports fans, as well as archaeological sites that will take you back in time. You can relax under the warm summer sun amidst the bounty of Halkidiki’s magical nature and beautiful turquoise waters. This is the essence of a Greek summer; the essence of Halkidiki.
Sithonia is the middle section of the peninsula of Halkidiki and one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece. A land defined by its unique combinations; the mountain with the sea, the green of the pine trees with the deep blue of the Aegean, the perfectly sculpted rocks with the white sand. A land full of colours and scents.Sithonia is worth exploring and you’ll find something spectacular at every turn. Starting from Serenity Estate, heading south, following the main road which leads round Sithonia, very soon you’ll come upon Vourvourou with its magnificent complex of 12 islands very close to the shore.
On the right lies Dragoudelis Mountain while on the left, across on Agion Oros (Holy Mountain) peninsula, you can make out the majestic Mountain of Athos. Further along the road, you’ll come across Sikia, one of the biggest villages in Halkidiki, dating back to the 11th century. Continuing our tour along the west side of Sithonia, heading north, we come to Porto Koufo and Toroni. Porto Koufo is Greece’s deepest natural harbor. In Toroni you can see the remains of the ancient fortress. Following the road through the pines, we reach cosmopolitan Marmaras and further on, Nikiti, with its well preserved traditional village.
Our final destination, Agios Nikolaos, is one of Sithonia’s oldest villages and is only 9kms from Serenity Estate.For those who prefer the mountains, a hike on Dragoudeli, the so-called Sithonia’s spine, offers the opportunity to a closer encounter with the region. The view from the top is breathtaking and, on a clear day, even the island complex of Sporades and the mountain of Pilio can be seen.
Serenity Estate has its own unique beach. Yet for those who wish to explore more of Sithonia’s natural beauty, Halkidiki will not disappoint as it is home to many hidden gems.Vourvourou, on the east coast of Sithonia and only 6kms from Serenity Estate, is well known for its complex of small islands in the front of its bay.
Long sandy beaches offer calm waters with shade from the pine trees which often almost touch the breaking waves, as in Karidi. You can get to Diaporo, the biggest of the islands, by boat, available to hire from Vourvourou.
On your way there, you’ll come across the remains of the early-Byzantine church of St. Andrew as well as a lot of picturesque bays with shallow, crystal clear waters ideal for an inviting dip.
On the eastern shore of Sithonia, another beach of exceptional beauty is Kavourotripes, which you’ll find between Armenistis and Platanitsi at a distance of 30kms from Serenity Estate. The white granite rocks, sculpted smooth by the sea, bring to mind a Henry Moore sculpture. White sand, crystal-clear turquoise water and deep green pine trees together form an awe-inspiring image.
Halkidiki is favoured with a wide variety of places to see as well as with a unique natural beauty. The jewel in the crown is, of course, “The garden of the Virgin Mary”, on the sacred mountain of Agion Oros. This consists of 20 monasteries, a number which cannot grow or shrink. Each of these monasteries is a complex of buildings of ecclesiastical architecture including towers and fortresses which have helped defend and protect this holy ground against pirates and invaders over the ages.
Today, they are home to more than 2.000 christian orthodox monks. Access to Agion Oros is restricted to men only – who should also hold a special pass, known as Diamonitirio.
There is, however, the opportunity to take in the beauty of this holy place from the sea, on a boat trip, around it.Sithonia is the place to take a step back in time with a walk around its well-preserved traditional villages, such as Nikiti and Parthenonas. Nikiti is built on a hill below the curch of St. Nikitas while Parthenonas, a village mentioned in sources dating back to the 10th century AD, is located on the western slopes of Dragoudeli mountain. In central Halkidiki, in the foothills of Mount Cholomondas, lies the amphitheatrically-shaped village of Arnea at 600 metres above sea level. Let the traditional Macedonian architecture found in these villages take you back in time.Extremely interesting too, are the archaeological sites in the area. The most famous of these are Toroni in Sithonia, Ancient Potidea in Cassandra, Olynthos and Petralona in west Halkidiki and Ancient Stagira -the hometown of Aristotle- in east Halkidiki.
Dragoudelis mountain in Sithonia is an ideal destination for hiking and exploring the surrounding areas on foot. Hill-walking fans will adore it here. The walk from north to south along Sithonia’s mountain range is an unforgettable experience. When the weather is good, visibility is excellent, allowing you to glimpse even as far as the Sporades islands and Pilio mountain.
On Mount Cholomondas, in central Halkidiki, footpaths will take you on a magical journey through deep forests of oak, chestnut and fir.If, on the other hand, you prefer exploring by sea, Vourvourou is the ideal place to rent a boat and embark on a voyage of discovery around the small islands nearby or explore the wonderful beaches on the east coast of Sithonia, which can only be reached by boat (Nautilos – Rent a Boat).
At Ormos Panagias travel agencies (Melitours) offer boat rental services or even private cruises to beaches which it is difficult to reach by land. A trip to the west side of Agion Oros is a must.
Greece produces many unique traditional products and Halkidiki is a blessed place. Sithonia itself is the source of over 10% of the production of Greek honey. “Sithon” honey, from the local beekeeper’s cooperative is amongst the best in Europe.
Halkidiki is also famous for its olives, known to locals as “almades”, and its fine olive oil. Excellent wine is made from varieties of local grapes as well as tsipouro, distilled in the traditional way in”rakokazana” or stills.
Herbs give the flavor and aroma of summer to anything they touch. Livestock husbandry is a major occupation here too. Cattle are bred only for their meat. The ancient breed of Sykia ox, one of the breeds raised here, is famous for the quality of its meat. Excellent dairy products, locally made and marketed, are sold in the region’s markets. These include cheese, milk and yoghurt, often sold by their producers. Local fishermen sell their daily catch to local restaurants or fish markets. Last but not least, Sithonia’s abundance of fruit is amazing whether eaten fresh or enjoyed in a tasty preserve.
The location of Serenity Estate is ideal for wonderful short trips, drives and walks in the surrounding area. In Ormos Panagias, Vourvourou, the villages of Agios Nikolaos and Nikiti you’ll find cafes, restaurants and traditional tavernas, often next to the sea.
In Nikiti’s open-air cinema, you can enjoy the latest movies under the stars. Along the coasts of Sithonia, numerous all day beach bars offer a special atmosphere with music for all tastes.
In Marmara, and throughout the area of Nikiti, gourmet restaurants, usually located in five-star hotels, provide an excellent suggestion for a gastronomic lunch or dinner.