The stunning region of Halkidiki, situated in central Macedonia, consists of five municipalities with most known the 3 oblong peninsulas under the general names of Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos. It is a beautiful region with spectacular landscapes and mesmerizing beaches. It is heavily wooded with pine forest and olive groves while the visitor also meets vineyards and citrus orchards. Kassandra, the western “leg” of Halkidiki trident, is the most popular and populated of all.
Most of the big Kassandra tourist resorts are on the east coast, especially along the coastal beach strip from Kallithea to Pefkohori. In the west, Sani is the biggest resort with Skala Fourkas a close second. Most of Kassandra’s beaches regularly pick up the annual Blue Flag award for their safety and cleanliness. Some of the Kassandra’s sights are the channel in Nea Potidea, cut across the “leg” in 300BC, the Church of the Taxiarches dating from 1591 and the Monument of the Destruction of 1821, both in Nea Potidea too, the Church of Apostle Paul in Nea Fokea, the Nea Fokea Wildlife Reserve, the ancient quarry at Afitos, the 4th century Sanctuary of Ammon Zeus along with the Sanctuary of Dionysus and the Nymphs in Kalithea, the spa thermal baths of Agia Paraskevi and Poseidon’s temple in Posidi.
The most important of all sights on Halkidiki is a short drive away from Kassandra. One of the most famous caves of Europe, the Petralona cave, was discovered in 1959 and contains the famous Archanthropus europaeus petraloniensis, the oldest European hominid dated about 800,000 years. The cave is adorned with stalagmites and stalactites, presenting an impressive sight to visitors. The Palaeolithic tools and the fossils of animals found in the cave, including those of lions, hyenas, bears, panthers, elephants, rhinoceros, bison, deer and hippopotamus, are exhibited in the Anthropological Museum of Petralona near the cave.
The visitor of Kassandra can also attend summer festivals. The annual Kassandra Festival, hosted in the amphitheaters of Nea Moudania and Siviri, includes cultural events, concerts and plays and is prefered by locals and visitors. The Sani Music Festival along with Sani Gourmet have such an impact that the famous hotel resort is transformed during July and August into a miniature of a cosmopolitan island.