This summer I was lucky enough to have my best friend from the US come with me to Macedonia. However, she wanted to see as much as possible during her 10-day stay in the area and in addition to showing her Skopje, Matka, Bitola, and Ohrid, I also decided to take her to Chaniotis, Greece.
Visiting Greece before the summer season starts (end of May) is a bit tricky as many places are almost empty and therefore boring for someone that enjoys crowds and parties. Therefore, I was trying to find a popular spot that would probably have tourists even before the season officially begins. I chose Chaniotis, a charming little town in Chalkidiki’s first finger Kassandra.
I’ve been here before and I know that Chaniotis is crowded during high season. Its narrow streets are filled with people that seem ever-interested in what the town has to offer them. Thus, I hoped for the best and wasn’t wrong to do so.
First Impressions of Chaniotis
We arrived late in the night due to some unexpected delays; therefore, the town was empty and dark, with only a few people sitting in the restaurants. However, this is rarely the case during high season as tourists seem to love late night walks through the town.
I’d say it’s better to share my first impressions from the second day; namely, the sky was light blue, and the sun was shining brightly. Tourists were already out with their beach towels and requisites; the weather was excellent, and we were happy.
The place in general
Chaniotis is a small and charming town. It gets crowded during high season and offers standard Greek-town entertainments. It’s generally clean and pleasant, while it can get loud at night due to the many bars and restaurants.
Depending on where you’re staying, you’ll either be provided with private hotel parking or street parking. As far as I know, street parking is free, but tricky to find during high season. There are a few public parking lots too, but these are pretty small.
Chaniotis is a coastal Greek town and therefore boasts with nice nature. Besides its crystal-clear sea and sandy beach, the town has lots of greenery and olive oil trees that provide perfect escapes during hot summer afternoons.
Just like any other top tourist destination, Chaniotis has numerous souvenir shops, shops that sell clothes, supermarkets etc. If you want to spend money, you’ll have plenty of places to do so.
During the Stay
Chaniotis is just like all the other popular Chalkidiki spots and, depending on your point of view, this may be a pro or a con. I personally enjoy the atmosphere in all such places and always find it entertaining to walk around streets, visit arcade shops and eat delicious food. However, there’s not much to do in Chaniotis and long stays can easily turn into identical days unless you don’t bother just sleeping and enjoying life.
Often, I prefer driving around Kassandra just to have a different scenery and make things exciting. Therefore, I’ve listed some spots that are worth visiting and not that far away if you’re staying in Chaniotis.
Things to see and do in Chaniotis
Byzantine Tower (Nea Fokea)
One of the best-preserved towers in Chalkidiki, this byzantine tower was built around 1407 and was partially destroyed in a fire back in 1821. The tower stands 17-meter tall on top on a hill, where you can admire it up-close and take stunning photos.
Temple of Ammon Zeus (Kalithea)
I’ve been unlucky with this place twice as it was closed the two times I tried to visit it. However, you can see it from above when you’re in the church square in Kalithea, plus I’ve seen photos of it. This is a small archaeological site that history lovers will find interesting to visit.
Folklore Museum of Athitos (Afytos)
Housed in a traditional building in the center of Afytos, this folklore museum offers agricultural implements, domestic utensils, and pottery. It’s surely fun to visit, especially if you want to have a one-day adventure to Afytos.
Visit nearby towns
his may not be a good idea for those that simply want to relax; however, I like exploring and therefore I highly recommend you visiting nearby towns like Kalithea, Afytos, Kriopigi and Paliouri just so you can experience them all, compare their beaches, prices etc.
Explore nearby beaches
Similar to the previous point, you can always find a list of nearby beaches and visit them all. For example, Beach Glarokavos looks amazing and the Paliouri Beach is another one worth visiting.
Try water sports and/or activities
Finally, I’d say that adrenaline lovers can choose from a wide range of activities. Some options include renting a pedal boat or a jet ski. Also, you can take diving lessons or just snorkel around.
Verdict: Sad to Leave
We were all sad to leave Chaniotis, even though we had an entire adventure planned ahead. Chaniotis wasn’t as full of tourists as high season and still, it was quite charming.
- Charming town,
- Blue flag beach and sea,
- Lots of restaurants, tavernas, and shops,
- Great for singles, couples, and families with kids;
- Crowded during high season,
- Limited free space on the beach due to beach bars with sunbeds and umbrellas during high season,
- Parking can be a problem during high season
- Sunbeds and umbrellas are expensive;
We had great food, we liked our accommodation in Tresor Sousouras and enjoyed the warm sea. Therefore, whenever anyone asks me whether they should visit Chaniotis, I always respond with a “Yes”.
Visiting Chaniotis During Peak Summer Season
After visiting Chaniotis during off-peak times in May, I ended up going back in late June. By this time, the streets were filled with people, the restaurants barely had any empty tables, and the sea was busy with children playing, people swimming, and snorkelers.
Overall, this charming Greek town has a lot to offer for different types of travelers: from solo to couples, family and even senior citizen travelers. Chaniotis has playground areas and arcades to keep the children busy and entertained, restaurants for the perfect romance, and wonderful paths along the beach for a relaxing stroll. No matter in which category you fall, I’m sure you will have a wonderful time in Chaniotis.