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Vourvourou sunset, photo by placescases.com

Guide for Halkidiki holidaymakers – Sithonia

August 2020

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Sithonia

The Mecca of boating is the village of Vourvourou.

When we started visiting it, it was still small and undeveloped. There were exactly 2 hotels and a narrow street without a sidewalk. Now there is something like a sidewalk and a bike lane in one, but the street is even more dangerous than before because of the heavier traffic on it.

Where can you stay in Vourvourou?

In Vourvourou, every first-line property owner does good business because holidaymakers push themselves for these guest houses. They book them from the previous year and leave deposits. Some even worry about being removed from the list of privileged people who are “given the right” to regularly book a place there  for the summer vacation. These houses and villas are sought after because they are on a magnificent bay, with calm water and shallow beaches. The Diaporos Islands are located in it. By boat you can go around for 20 days and not repeat the beach and the bay in the area. It is very beautiful, there is a rich underwater life for exploration and photography. All you need is a mask and a snorkel, and even just a mask and you can spend the whole day underwater, diving and exploring. Harpooners can also enjoy the catch, and the helpful tavern owners will gladly cook it for them.

For complete relaxation, no commitments and peace of mind, choose a smaller guest house. Some of these “small and cozy” places have developed a lot and now look like resorts. Others still have a boutique atmosphere such as Anna Karra Studios and Apartments and 4 Еlies Apartments. The coolest thing about these places is that you leave the room barefoot and through a meadow with well-kept soft grass you walk a few steps to the beach. You drink your frappe with a sea view, you have the option to cook on a barbecue or in a small equipped kitchen. Some of these apartments / studios are quite small and not very comfortable for families of 4. In general, the owners do not make any huge efforts to offer some luxury and lavish comfort. There are also quite expensive villas, which I hope are already much better set up, but I have no personal experience or information from acquaintances.

You will get better prices for houses above the street, on the 2nd and 3rd line, but they do not have a beach. You can go to Karidi beach, which is located in a cove, but you need to bring an umbrella.

Of course, you always have the option to stand wherever you want in front of one of the properties on the first line. Anna Karra Studios offers umbrellas with sun loungers equipped with a soft mattress, but this will cost you 15 euros. They give you a discount if you only stay for the afternoon, but as the woman at the beach bar explained to me, it is only given after 5 p.m. Ie 3pm or 4pm is not held there in the afternoon, which is strange. From the bar you can get small things to eat and drink.

If you are looking for a luxury option, try the Ekies All Senses Resort. It is especially suitable for families with small children, because the sea on the beach to the hotel, equipped with very comfortable sunbeds, is shallow, and the beach bar and restaurant are next to it. If you’re with teenagers, they’ll be bored unless you rent a boat. One of the companies I recommend has a rent point right there.

Beach bars in this area of Sithonia- better skip them.

On the Vourvourou side of the leg, I don’t recommend going to a beach bar at all. First, they are not worth compared to those of Kassandra, second – their first line is forever reserved, and even if there are vacant sunbeds, as was the case with Lagonisi, they give you for the same price plastic sunbeds, because the comfortable ones with a mattress are actually booked. Their food is not worth it and I suggest you do not waste your time there at all. For what should be a good beach with a beach bar, read the post Where can you go to a nice beach bar in Kassandra, Halkidiki?.

 

Boating

If you are at Vourvourou, I highly recommend renting a boat. Load up with cold drinks and some snacks, necessarily fins, snorkels and music on the phone. All rent-a-boats provide a cooler bag where you can store your drinks. If you want to moor on the beach, you add an umbrella and fishing chairs to your luggage. The boats are a class that doesn’t require captain’s license.

In boating, the rule must be observed that at about 100-200 meters from the shore the speed is reduced, because there are swimmers and there is a danger for them. In addition, the boat’s engine must be protected on rocks in the shallows.

One little tip: take a picture of the boat’s propeller when you rent it before you set off, in case there are any small defects from before. So there is no danger of being accused of damaging it and being fined.

Boat rental is from 80 to 120 euros for 5-seater and more for larger boats, and you pay extra fuel, which is from 20 to 25 euros, depending on how much you have traveled around. The coolest boat rental company is Yolo Rent a Boat. All vessels are new and a very good model. They are fast, lie well in the water, do not lift their noses, are comfortable and have bluetooth, through which you can play music from your phone. They also give you an ice water bottle with the cooler bag.

The next good ones are Explore Outside. These are the ones whose point is at Ekies All Senses Resort. The boats are  last and this year models They are also good and have a Bluetooth connection. Unlike Yolo, they do not give a bottle of water.

Of those we tried this year, the worst are Meltemi, although they have been there for a long time and their point is on the beachfront. The boats are 600,000 hours old and more, there is always something that tears or breaks down and they are not comfortable at all. On top of that, and they cost 100 euros, you wonder why. There can be no question of a Bluetooth connection at all. Do not take a boat from them under any circumstances.

The taverns of Sithonia?

A nice fish tavern in Sithonia is Ta Kymata Seafood Restaurant in Neos Marmaras, right on the harbor. Its name means “Waves”, some of the tables are right on the sand. It is held by Aunt Tula and her whole family is involved in the business. They work like bees, trying to keep their customers satisfied no matter what. We drove from Vourvourou especially to go to Aunt Tula’s place. This woman and her daughters remember visually, and even by name, all regular old customers.

Another restaurant I recommend is Paris in Vourvourou. I still remember the owner, after whom the tavern was named, how he walked around the tables to make sure that the customers were well served, talked to them warmly, and even made some jokes. Unfortunately, he died in 2018 and now there’s a board with photos dedicated to him, so we can remember him.

My favorite tavern again in Vourvourou area, this time in Ormos Panagias is Aristos. Great location, on the beach, some of the tables are on the sand. You can get there by car or boat, and we practice the latter regularly. The tavern is full all day, so a reservation, especially for the evening, is needed. Everything is very tasty and the prices of the fish are comparably reasonable.

On the Nikiti side, there is a remarkable Tzitzikas tavern in Porto Kofu. In addition to all kinds of seafood delicacies, they always have freshly cooked dishes.

In Greece, the restaurants are next to each other and there is often a person outside who invites visitors. How to choose what to eat? Very easy – the one that has the most people, and does not necessarily look the best compared to others. This is exactly the case in all the taverns listed above.

If you want to try higher-class food based on Greek traditional cuisine, go to the restaurant or beach bar of Ekies All Senses Resort in Vourvourou. It has always been a place for fine dining and they still keep their standard from before.

Where else can you stay on Sithonia?

In case you prefer to stay on Sithonia on the side of Nikiti and Neos Marmaras, a good hotel is Anthemus Sea Beach Hotel and SPA. If you prefer villas, try Glafki Luxury Apartments at Toroni. It is not in the village and it is much calmer and quieter. To go to the taverns in the village, you rather need transportation. If you don’t like Toroni’s sand because it’s a little rough and it’s better to wear shoes, rent a boat in Porto Cofu. We took it at random from Aiolos Boats. There are many small and pristine beaches on this side of the leg, but you should know that almost everywhere there is at least one tent, if not more. Don’t be surprised if you find nudists in these places.

Between the second and third legs is the Krotiri Resort. Very suitable for families and large companies with children. It’s a bit boring for adventure seekers, but Vourvourou is very close and you can rent a boat. The other inconvenience is that there are no other taverns around and you are tied up to the hotel tavern, unless you I get in the car to go to Ormos Panagias and Vourvourou.

For shopping I recommend Masoutis in Nikiti. It’s on your way, you just stop and fall into the Greek cornucopia. Many quality products, from chicken milk to mattresses and organic repellents. If you can’t find something, just go down to level -1 with the elevator. The store has 2 floors.

I have not stayed in Sarti, I have only heard about it, that it is packed up with tourists and that it has a large beach. After that, to the south, you can enjoy pristine and uninhabited beaches.

Everyone talks about Kalamitsi – about its beautiful nature and wonderful beach. I personally find it overcrowded and overwhelmed by Bulgarian tourists. The Porto Elea campsite, just after Vourvourou, is also overcrowded with Bulgarians. But the prices in the tavern there are quite reasonable, the menu is in Bulgarian, and the waiters themselves are Bulgarian.

If you are already planning a trip to Sithonia, Halkidiki in Greece,  I recommend that you book your stay right hereFor your convenience, I have added a booking.com box, which refers directly to their site. I guarantee you’re going to use all your genius discounts and privileges they would offer to you. Just enter the dates of your trip, then hit the Search button and voila. In addition, booking.com are doing their best to make sure that your expectations as a customer are fulfilled. I’ve described an example about the latter in  my story about our stay in Shangri-La hotel in  Singapore  .



Booking.com

How to get to Sithonia by car?

Don’t worry about getting to all these places on Sithonia, mentioned above. I’ve marked them on a Google map here, and by clicking on the red pin marking the location of the place you’re interested in and selecting directions, it will take you right there:

If you need to rent a car, you can book it here in the box of the largest booking platform.

 

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Do you ever wonder how some places differ so much from others in service, environment, as an overall experience? This means you are also interested like me in the topic of The Experience Economy by Pine and Gilmore. I constantly add to my collection reviews about those of them, which practice its principles, regardless of intentionally or accidentally. If you are curious to understand which are they, explore category The Experience Economy.

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