September 11th, 2018
Halkidiki, Greece Travel Guide
This time last year we took J to Greece for this first time. He was 13 months old and it was our first family vacation. Every other year we do our best to go to Greece for about a month. There’s a lot of pre-planning and budgeting that goes into this but it’s something we look forward to and work towards like crazy. We both have family in Greece so the trip is always split up of family time and some solo/family time on the islands.
As first time parents and traveling overseas we quickly learned a LOT about traveling with a baby. Somethings were harder than we thought (food in particular for J) and other things we got the hang of so quick. I knew we wouldn’t be able to travel as often as we once did but I didn’t want having kids to stop us entirely from traveling. We loved traveling and are already planning our next trips as family of 4. All in all, I’m so glad we did it. I also unplugged for the majority of the trip after feeling like I needed some down time to re-charge and re-group and most importantly spend uninterrupted quality time with my family. This was probably the best trip we’ve ever had. I personally came up with a much more clear head and camera rolls of happy memories.
We got back beginning of October and went full swing into fall/winter I wanted to wait until the spring summer to share these guides with you (that didn’t happen hehe) so here we are one year later…better late than never right?
First up…our Halkidiki Travel Guide!
Halkidiki is one of our favourite place in Greece – probably Ko’s favourite. It’s in the north and has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s about a two hour dive from Thessaloniki (the main city in Northern Greece) where Ko’s family is from. So it’s always easy to get to and we make a point of going for at least a few days of beach time every visit.
This time we decided since we were going as a family to stay at a popular all inclusive Resort. SO thankful we did, J wasn’t eating anything we brought or made for him and he wasn’t eating table food just yet so having a massive buffet to pick food for him and see him actually eat was such a relief!
A bit about Halkidiki
- Halkidiki is made up of 3 leg formations.
- The first leg is named Cassandra and is more of a destination for party goers. There are many fun beach bars and the nightlife is booming.
- The second leg is named Sithonia and is more of a picturesque island with lots of greenery and gorgeous blue waters. This is also know to be more of the family ‘leg’ (where we stayed this time around)
- The third leg (possibly the most known) is named Athos, home of Mount Athos and one of the holiest places in Greece. Athos’ only occupants are monks that live and maintain the many monasteries throughout the leg (often on high mountain formations). Unfortunately for us ladies, Men are the only people still permitted to visit Athos.
Read more about Hakdikidi & it’s history
Places to stay
Porto Carras Grand Resort
This was the all inclusive resort I mentioned above. It’s located on the second leg and the resort has two hotels located on it. Meliton is the ‘nicer’ of the two hotels and has it’s own golf course, beach and amenities. This is also the hotel we stayed at this time around and what’s pictured in these images
Located on the first leg. The resort has a few different hotels located on it along with it’s own beach and tons of amenities.
Located on the first leg. It’s a highly rated boutique hotel and in the town of Afytos and very close to the beach. It offers a restaurant, gym and spa.
Beautiful beach located on the second leg facing west. This is one of our personal favourite’s that we’ve been to a few times (about 15 minutes from the Porto Carras Resort). It’s a long beach with warm shallow waters that is perfect for families. It’s an organized beach (and so clean). It has umbrellas, beds, a beach bar with snacks and food (that are delicious) and organized water sports.
Assa Maris Beach
This is located on the second leg and close to Ko’s cousins beach house town ‘Pirgadikia’. This is another favourite beach of ours. It’s also known as ‘Agios Nicholaos’ beach named after the village it’s close to. It also has shallow warm waters, perfect for families. It’s partially organized with umbrellas and beds and there is a beach bar and restaurant in the adjacent hotel.
Located on the first leg facing east – this is another beautiful beach. It’s also an organized beach with water shorts and does get quite busy.
A collection of many beaches and is only accessible by foot. The larger main beach is organized with umbrellas, beds and a beach bar. There are many small white sand beaches around the cove that you can enjoy – these are unorganized and less crowded.
A typical day for us in Halkidiki
- Wake up leisurely (though early since J was up by 7am most days)
- Either walk downstairs to get a frappe for mama or order one to the room asap
- Get ready and head down to breakfast
- Walk around the resort after breakfast
- Back to room to prep for the beach
- J would usually fall asleep on the way to the beach and we would transfer him and hope he kept sleeping which he usually did for about another hour
- He’d wake up and it would be lunch time!
- Order lunch from Beach Bar (I’d have packed lunch for J form the hotel – fruits, yogurt and whatever else he was eating)
- Hang out at the the beach for a little more after lunch
- Back to hotel for his second nap
- Ko and I would usually either read, nap or hang out on the veranda for this one
- He’d wake up we’d all get ready for dinner