The east coast of Sithonia, Halkidiki is a boating paradise where you can spend many a day exploring the different beaches and secluded bays nestled between the craggy rocks and pine trees. The natural environment is spectacular with the blue of the sky only matched by the blue of the sea. It is an ideal place to enjoy a lesser known area of Mainland Greece by boat. The area is famous not only for its beauty but also its food and hospitality. Follow our suggestions to explore the best that the east coast of Sithonia has to offer.
A slice of paradise on the quieter finger of Halkidiki, Portokali Beach is the hidden gem of Sithonia. Nestled between craggy rocks, the beach which is named Kavourotripes by locals meaning crab holes, has every ingredient necessary to truly class it as a paradise. The white sand is perfect to bunk down on for the day and top up your tan. The crystal clear azure blue waters are irresistible for taking a dip in. If you are more of an explorer, grab your snorkel and flippers and explore the craggy outposts further, you will be thrilled to discover a host of brightly coloured fish and coral.
The bay of Portokali Beach provides the perfect calm spot to anchor your yacht and easily make your way onto the beach. Once you are on the beach, you can find natural shelter amongst the pine trees or if you prefer the sun, you can lie beside the water and listen to the waves calmly lap against the shore. It is an ideal spot to spend a day recharging your batteries and enjoying the peace and quiet.
Once you have rested up upon the shore, why not have a walk through the pine trees and discover the nearby chapel up on the hilltop that has looked out over the beach for hundreds of years. You can continue along the coastline, easily walking amongst the trees. You will come across a whole plethora of small beach coves that you can spend an hour or two in, enjoying the serene surroundings.
The area is perfect for people who like life to be a bit quieter and less crowded but if you want, you can easily find a bar or two. There are a smattering of trendy Greek bars nestled amongst the different beach coves, including beside Portokali Beach. Why not try the Greek classic the Freddo Espresso. If you are after something a bit stronger, head to one of the local tavernas and sample the local Ouzo. The perfect accompaniment to Ouzo is a fish dinner with freshly caught red snappers straight from the Aegean Sea. Why not try some of the local specialities such as goats cheese baked in the oven with local honey, locally grown olives or the wine grown on Mount Athos.
Fancy going for more of an explore inland? The central part of Sithonia has a spectacular mountain range that is easy enough to climb. Dragoudeli mountain range is full of rare ancient Itamos trees that have been standing for over 2000 years. Amongst the trees, a whole range of wildlife live including foxes, rabbits and wild boar. If you are very lucky you may even spot deer. From the top of the Mount Itamos which rises 811 metres above sea level, you have spectacular views across to Mount Athos, the third finger of Halkidiki which is closely restricted for visitors other than men visiting the monastic communities living there. Turn your head the other way to view an even more famous mount, Mount Olympus. Depending on the time of the year, the tops of each mountain will be covered in fresh white snow, which contrasts beautifully against the bright blue of the sky, the green of the surrounding pine forests and the pure turquoise of the Aegean Sea.
Once you have spent some time on the mainland, it is time to jump back on to your yacht and explore the archipelagos within easy reach of Portokali Beach. Head north, following the coast and within easy reaching distance is Vourvourou and the Blue Lagoon that stretches out towards Diaporos Island and the other small islands surrounding it. You have the perfect opportunity to explore the coastlines of the many islands without being bothered by anyone else.
On your way to Diaporos Island, take a swim in the shallow warm waters of the Blue Lagoon. You will be mystified by the pure turquoise of the water. It is the perfect place to float in and stare at the sky, contemplating life for a bit.
Next, sail over to Diaporos Island. An ideal spot to set anchor for a quick afternoon explore of the island is the White Beach on the east coast of the island. Settle there for an afternoon or more and enjoy a swim or sit and spot the many marine birds that have made the island their home.
Once you have spent some time on the island, push off the coast and drop anchor in the straight between Sithonia and the third finger of Halkidiki. Get out the fishing rod and see if you can catch yourself some of the famous red snappers that you can barbeque up whilst enjoying the sunset and a glass of tsipoura. The calm waters of the straight make it a safe and easy place to spend the night onboard. As the sun sets and the stars come out, look east towards Mount Athos and watch the shooting stars in the clear night sky.
You could easily spend many a day meandering between the islands off the east coast and the small bays nestled between beautiful craggy outcrops and pine forests. The east coast of Sithonia is truly a gem to be savoured and enjoyed. Onboard your yacht, you are able to access the more remote areas so that you can enjoy the serenity of the Aegean all to yourself.