Wandering around the Kassandra Peninsula
When it comes to exploring the Kassandra Peninsula, you can enjoy one of the most majestic routes in northern Greece.
About 35km on the road from Thessaloniki to Halkidiki, you will see a sign for Agios Pavlos (+1km), where you can visit the vineyards and winery of “Evangelos Tsantalis” one of the most iconic ouzo and wine producers in Greece.
FUN FACT: The “Evangelos Tsantalis” winery was established more than 125 years ago.
At the 40km point along the road, you will see a sign leading you to Nea Kallikratia (+3km), Nea Syllata (+5km), Nea Triglia, Geoponika (+2km) and Petralona (+12km), where you can visit the world-renown Petralona Cave or Cave of The Red Stones, one of the most important prehistorical sites in Greece. After a few kilometers, you will encounter a sign that marks the route to Sozopoli (+1km) and a little further on, Nea Plagia and Triglia (+3km).
FUN FACT: A skull found in Petralona Cave lead to archeologists classifying the skull in the genus Archanthropus Europaeus Petraloniensis.
Did you know that Kassandra has a unique Museum of Fishing Vessels and Equipment, dedicated to its rich and centuries-old fishing tradition? You can find it in Nea Moudania, which is about 50km down the road.
It’s time to make up your mind: at the 60km mark along the road from Thessaloniki you have to choose between turning right for Sithonia or carrying on straight for Kassandra.
So, you have decided to continue your adventure in Kassandra. Great! In just 6km you will see the bridge over the Nea Potidea Canal (which technically makes the rest of the peninsula an island) and enjoy the mesmerizing view on both sides. Another 9km along the road you can see the turning for the Sani Resort (+9km) and just one kilometer down the road, you will see Nea Fokea, with its iconic Byzantine Tower of Agios Pavlos (Saint Paul) towering over the village since 1407.
FUN FACT: The tower of Nea Fokea was the headquarters of Greek revolutionary Emmanouil Papas, during the Greek War of Independence.
If you are looking for a truly traditional experience, you can visiti Athitos (or Afitos), a unique village with stone houses and cobbled streets.
Now it’s time to explore the western coast of the peninsula. About 0.5km outside Athytos, you will see on your right a sign leading to Kassandria (+4.7km) and start your west coast adventure.
Kallithea is the next village on your journey. Its name literally means “great view” and it’s one of the most vibrant and popular destinations in Kassandra. You can enjoy various leisure activities and even visit the legendary sanctuary of Zeus Ammon, with its links to ancient Athitos and ancient Egypt. Just 5km down the road is the hillside village of Kryopigi, which is located just 1.2km from the sea.
FUN FACT: Zeus Ammon was a hybrid deity combining the Greek Zeus, ruler of Olympus, and Egyptian Amun, the King of Gods.
Next stop, Polychrono! This village is extremely popular during summer months and just 3km to the west of the village is Lake Mavrobara, a stunning site of great ecological interest. Another popular summer resort is Hanioti, which is built on the site of the ancient city of Aiyi (or Aiyai). Pefkochori (or Pine Tree Village) is believed to be the site of the ancient city of Neapolis.
FUN FACT: Lake Mavrobara is home to two extremely rare species of the Emydidae family of pond turtles.
At the south-eastern end of the peninsula, you will reach Paliouri, which is said to be the site of the ancient city of Theramvos, which was mentioned in the writings of Herodotus. Enjoy a unique drive through pine trees for 6km and you will reach Agia Paraskevi, which is popular for its Thermal Baths and healing springs.
In just 1.5km you can visit the iconic Chapel of Panagia Faneromeni, with its (supposedly) miracle-working icon of the Virgin. Just another 1.5km down the road, you will find yourself in Nea Skioni, formerly known as Tsaprani, and then pass through Mola Kalyva, the site of ancient Mendi, once famous for its local wine. After Nea Skioni, the route will take you to Kalandra (+1km) and Posidi (+2.7).
Just 2km down the road (coming from the southern end of the peninsula) and you will find yourself at a junction: to the LEFT is Skala Fourkas and to the RIGHT is the village of Fourka and the hill village of Kassandrino (+4km).
If you choose to continue straight ahead, in about 3km you will arrive at Siviri, where the popular Kassandra Festival is held every summer and attracts thousands of visitors and offers a unique variety of amazing performances and art events.
Kassandria, also known as Valta, is the main service center for the peninsula. At the traffic lights you can take the turning up the forest road, which will bring you, after 17km, to the turning to Sani.
Carrying on along the road from Kassandria, after 6km you will arrive at the main junction where you can turn to both eastern and western coasts. A complete tour of the peninsula will require about 175km of driving (starting from Nea Potidea).