The Kassandra coast of Halkidiki, northeastern Greece. (Image credit: Halkidiki Tourism)
Traveling to the islands of Greece is by far the most popular way to experience the beaches on the Aegean Sea. But north of Santorini and Rhodes, you’ll find a new way to explore the beaches of Greece on the coasts of Halkidiki — the birthplace of Aristotle. Here, there is no cultural, culinary, back-roads or sea-based adventure that can’t be dreamed up. This is where Greek families head for summer vacation and where a relaxed quest for enjoyment rules.
Many of the qualities that make Halkidiki so exceptionally beautiful are a direct result of the way that tourism has been handled in the region during the last few years. You could go as far as to say that they are guiding their promotional efforts with a strong moral compass. That is, there is great consideration for the effects that tourism on a large scale brings to a place and Halkidiki tourism has guided their growth efforts thoughtfully in response.
They have created the opportunity to choose their market, instead of letting the market choose them. And from that you get to experience a region rich in tradition without hoards of tourist buses and all of the additional damage that comes with it. What is left is a sophisticated, culturally wealthy and superbly healthy place to visit.
So, while Halkidiki is one of the hottest places to travel, you probably won’t see it on every hot list being published each month online and in print. And most travelers agree, that is a really good thing.
Marinated capers are part of the table setting for “New Greek Cuisine 3″, the annual gourmet food festival at Sani Resort in Halkidiki.
Eat New Greek Cuisine at the annual Gourmet Food Festival hosted by the 5-star Sani Resort on the Kassandra peninsula. This is where award-winning chefs from all over Greece collect for a ten-day culinary celebration, elevating traditional dishes using modern cooking techniques. All ingredients are homegrown within 100 miles of the event, bringing a helpful boost to the local economy at the same time. This collaboration among localfood producers, hoteliers, restaurateurs and foodies of all ages unites traveling food lovers year after year.
Retsina wine from Kechri Winery in Kalohori, Greece.
Drink sun-dried wines vinified in wooden barrels in nearby Kalohori, outside of Thessaloniki. Experience the revival of Retsina, traditional Greek table wine that was once considered the wine of the poor. Family-owned Kechris Winery creates both using ancient winemaking traditions. They have been in business since 1911 and are known in the wine world and beyond for consistency and high-quality.
Claudia Papayianni Estate Winery in Arnea, Halkidiki.
For a fresh sip of modern Greek winemaking, look to small producer Claudia Papayianni, who used her business and marketing background to create a thriving company boasting one-of-a-kind blends of old and new world varietals. It’s not all business for Claudia, though—when she began planting vines in 2003, she looked at the surrounding nature, traditions, architecture, life in Arnea and found fullness returning to her family roots. Here, she creates wines for the new world market displaying artist-inspired designs on the labels named after their son and daughter.
Not into wine? Try Tsipouro, a pomace brandy that is the most traditional liquor of northeast Greece – you can find it anywhere and everywhere and will start many meals by toasting a glass of it.
Travel with Stratos through the rugged hills of Sithonia.
Explore Halkidiki on a Jeep safari through the rugged hills of the Kassandra or Sithonia peninsula. Head out with local driver Stratos who has led mountain excursions in the area for more than 25 years. He knows every viewpoint, hidden trail and will craft a cup of traditional Greek coffee along the way made with water from a fabled spring of youth and beauty. He has the gift of gab, a contagious smile and a loyal following of repeat guests.
Explore the beautiful coastline of Halkidiki by boat. (Image credit: Eagles Palace)
Experience every kind of outdoor activity you could want or imagine—a network of hiking trails for various skill levels, horseback riding, kayaking among the still waters of Sithonia. Sail the entire coastline in luxury ships with overnight accommodations. Dive the deep waters or hit the many mountain biking trails of Olympiada, on Athos, the birthplace of Aristotle.
Celebrate the arts—theaters, shows, music, comedy and of course, drama! Annually, the international film festival (the only one in Greece) welcomes filmmakers from all over the world, as does the increasingly popular documentary film festival held in May.
Experience sea-based therapy at the Eagles Palace Spa in Halkidiki. (Image credit: Eagles Palace)
Relax while indulging in thalassotherapy at the Aegean Sea. Thalassa means “ocean”– thalassotherapy is the use of sea-based therapy to provide better circulation, boosted immunity, more restful sleep, muscle tone, natural cleansing, cellulite reduction, improved respiratory function, reduced inflammation and improved overall psychological wellbeing.
It was suggested by French biologist, Rene Quinton, that human blood and seawater contained identical mineral ratios creating a synergy of balance between the two. More simply put, when trace elements of magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium are ingested into the lungs, pores, cells and tissues, the entire body, especially the skin, is revitalized.
Head to a local hammam or to one of the premier spas in Halkidiki to absorb minerals while submerging in seawater and unwinding with the ancient healing rituals drawn from the bio diverse Aegean Sea. Make your introduction with thalassotherapy at the Eagles Palace Spa, considered one of the finest spa resorts in Greece and the world after partnering with Elemis, the leading British company in spa treatments, and Apivita, the first Greek company to create natural, effective & holistic products for health and beauty.
Chef Louloudia “LuLu” Alexiado of the Akrogiali Boutique Hotel and Restaurant.
Linger during the evening hours while dining at a local taverna — a family-style meal house that welcomes you to sit for hours. In coastal cities, the focus is seafood. Inland you will find a focus on meat dishes from locally raised animals.
Participate in a free weekly cooking class at the Akroyiali Restaurant in Stragiera on the Athos peninsula. The class is taught by Lulu, TV chef extraordinaire. While she didn’t intend to pursue a career on Greece’s version of the Food Network, word got out that something magical was coming from her kitchen at Akroyiali. People started to come from all over to stay at the adjoining hotel and to relax at the outdoor taverna by the sea. “Sit for ten hours to eat a tomato if you’d like — eat, read, discuss enjoy, watch the view,” says the manager, Domitrios. “I will never be dusting crumbs off your table.”
Monastery viewed from the Ouros Bay.
7. TAKE A SPIRITUAL PILGRIMAGE
Take a spiritual journey to the land that is closest to god. The Holy Mount Athos is the only Monk Republic in the world, keeping religious tradition alive since the Byzantine period in 1453. Athos, the east most and most holy peninsula of Halkidiki, is made up of 24 monasteries which can be viewed by sea on a coastal cruise along remarkably wild landscape. This is the only way for women to see the area because “no smooth faced person” is permitted here.
The 1,700+ monks who live here are the fathers, brothers, sons and cousins from families from all around Greece. To get there, start in Ouranoupolis, the “City of Heaven” and the gate of mount Athos. Hit the souvenir shops for religious memorabilia, have a coffee and book your boat trip with Athos Sea Cruises.
Go to the Cathedral of St. Stephanos in the village of Arnea. This 18th century Orthodox Church burnt entirely to the ground in 2005 and has since been rebuilt—in the process, ruins from 5th century AD were discovered beneath the church and are now on display beneath a glass walkway.
Inside the Cathedral of St. Stephanos in the village of Arnea, Greece.
Sani Wetland Wetland Preserve
8. WATCH and LEARN
Watch the more than 200 species of birds at the Sani sponsored wetland preserve. Guest Relations will provide you with a map of trails through the two main trails, Bousoulas and Koutsoupia, in the Sani region’s private forest and the bird sanctuary.
Learn about the Sani Resort’s year-long comprehensive scientific study documenting bird species in the wetlands sanctuary and how they are helping to protect them further.
Lobby at the Ekies All Senses Resort
On the Kassandra Peninsula:
On the Sithonia peninsula:
On Mt. Athos:
In Thessaloniki, the jumping off point to Halkidiki:
, 5-star luxury and unbeatable location in the heart of city center.
, across the street from (and more moderately priced than) Excelsior. Same great location and a chill and youthful atmosphere.
Eagles Palace Hotel and Spa, Halkidiki, northeast Greece
One of the best ways to warm up in the very cold and Windy City of Chicago is with a spot of tea. The most beloved tea spots in the city:
Russian Tea Time
A seventeen year old Chicago landmark restaurant that never fails to impress locals and international tourists alike. Located in the heart of Chicago’s artistic district, Russian Tea Time reinvented nostalgic cuisine of the former Soviet Union. Its extensive, elaborate and very descriptive menu features excellent vegetarian fare, along with wild game, poultry and specialty meat dishes. A mix of “hearty” and “comfort” Russian, Slavic and Jewish classics is well complemented by upscale dishes of Imperial Russian Courts.
Tea time: 2:30pm-4:30pm daily.
77 E. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60603
The Seasons Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
Sit by a fireplace in the elegant Four Seasons overlooking North Michigan Avenue and munch on finger sandwiches, home style cakes, French pastries and preserves with your choice of brewed tea. Book the Astor or Bellevue Room for a private event.
Tea time: 3:00pm-5:00pm daily.
120 E. Delaware Place
Chicago, IL 60611
Nada Tea House
Nada Tea & Coffee House was named after the Nada district of City of Kobe, Japan, famous for sake-brewing using pure spring water from Mt. Rokko (called Miyamizu, water of shrine). Here you can enjoy exceptional beverages, foods, and service in a sleek and comfortable zen-like setting.
1552 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
The first TeaGschwender shop opened in the late seventies in Trier, Germany. From those humble beginnings, the company has grown to become a global leader in specialty teas and has more than 130 shops in seven countries on four continents. Sharing the world’s finest teas with customers in locations such as Frankfurt, Vienna, Sao Paulo, Riyadh and Chicago, Illinois.
1160 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng Co.
Ten Ren, founded in Taiwan in 1953, has been open in Chicago’s Chinatown for nearly 40 years and has shops around the world. Ten Ren Tea Co. Ltd. is dedicated to the fine art of enjoying Chinese tea and the distribution of the finest teas available worldwide. Along with tea, ginseng has been consumed in Asia for thousands of years for its health and medicinal benefits. Considered the “king of the herbs,” ginseng is a popular nutritional supplement.
2247 S. Wentworth Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616
Teavana began with an idea that people would enjoy fresh, high-quality tea in a place that was part Tea Bar, part Tea Emporium. The dream was to introduce people to the aromas, textures, and beneficial qualities of loose leaf teas while enlightening them with the history and variety of teas available.
835 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
The Palm Court at the Drake Hotel
Award-winning Executive Chef Baasim Zafar and team serve homemade scones, delectable pastries and tea sweets prepared in house daily, reflecting locally sourced ingredients to ensure an authentically memorable experience. From the original blend of “Palm Court” tea created specifically for The Drake Hotel to the china and sterling silver service with the enchanting ambiance of the live harpist in the background, afternoon tea is truly a memorable experience for all.
Tea time: 1:00pm-5:00pm daily
140 E. Walton Place
Chicago, IL 60611
The Lobby, Peninsula Hotel
Here’s another high class, high afternoon tea. Enjoy dining in a room with 20-foot windows overlooking Chicago. You can fancy yourself with peppermint chocolate tarts, scones, gingerbread macaroons, and sandwiches. If you want to go one step fancier, you can have the champagne afternoon tea, which is the traditional afternoon tea, but with a glass of champagne.
Tea time: 3:00pm-5:30pm
108 E. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60611
© 2013, World on a Fork. All rights reserved.
A wedding with a Mayan twist… Officiated by a Mayan Shaman, the traditional Mayan ceremony is a spiritual, interactive celebration honoring the four basic elements of earth, water, air and fire. Serving as the “spiritual guide” during the beach ceremony, the shaman blesses the union through an altar of flowers, fruit, seeds and fire.
- Karin Leperi
Julie Paterson of Venus Adventures shares her experience — an exploration of a traditional East African beauty treatment — during VA’s Cultural Tour in Ethiopia…
A large cloak was draped around me and I was led into a room that had what looked like 3 long-drop toilets with small smouldering fires in front of them. I was seated over the hole in the “long drop”, my cloak draped over the box and the smokey fire, and three thick blankets wrapped around me to stop the smoke escaping, and to ensure I get a good sweat up. My knees were pushed apart as far as possible, smoke rose up all around my body, butter ran down my back, and my thoughts flashed back to the Afar tribe a year ago … Holy smoke, I was being smoked! – Julie Paterson, Venus Adventures
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Just a ferry ride from Seattle, our tours start with a scenic ride on Washington’s #1 attraction, the Washington State Ferry System! Explore the Northwest beyond the city; Bainbridge Island, the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas. Join us on one of our full or half day tours as we get off the beaten path and navigate a territory of eclectic communities, lush landscapes, spectacular views and fascinating history in our luxury mini bus with knowledgeable driver/guides.
Our full day tour includes sightseeing, history & heritage, shopping & dining with an optional electric boat tour or kayaking. Visit beautiful Bainbridge Island with its small town charm and rural character; Suquamish, home of Chief Seattle; Poulsbo, Little Norway, on fjord-like Liberty Bay and Port Gamble, a company owned timber town resembling the New England home of its founders.
Guided tours to the world renowned Bloedel Reserve, a 150 acre estate garden or join us on a Photo Safari to Kitsap’s most photogenic locations led by a professional photographer.
Learn about the varied past and experience the vibrant today of our area with views of water and mountains at every turn.
Whichever tour you select; we promise you a great experience!