Love holidaying in Greece but looking for something a little different? Welcome to Central Macedonia. At the heart of northern Greece, you’ll find this varied region – the second-largest region across the whole of Greece, in fact!
From its not-to-be-missed ancient sites that are steeped in history to glorious food and drink and amazing daytime activities – it’s all going on here. So if you’re heading to hotly-tipped Halkidiki this summer, why not broaden your horizons and see what the surrounding region has to offer?
Here’s just a snapshot of what you can look forward to in Central Macedonia…
Get close to nature
Walk this way
Can’t get enough of Greece’s stunning landscapes and natural beauty? Here, you can enjoy it by the bucketload. If you’re exploring on foot, you’ve got a huge network of walking routes to choose from across the region, including the challenging paths around Mount Olympus. From Litochoro, you can take on the rocky woodland trails and see spectacular mountain scenes change right in front of you.
Top tip: At the foot of the mountain, you’ll find Dion Archaeological Park. These fascinating ruins feature the remains of two theatres and a Roman bath complex.
Thrill and spills on a 4x4
Traverse your way through dense wild forests in an off-road vehicle. These specially equipped 4x4 cars are driven by expert guides who can take you past colourful villages and serene shores as well as tackling the tougher terrain and heading into the mountains. You could tick off historic sites along the way before finishing in the historic town of Vergina, a couple of hours north of Mount Olympus.
If these modes of transport seem a little too obvious, why not join a horse riding trek and explore that way instead? The region’s open spaces make it easy to get around on horseback, so get ready to gallop along golden beaches and trot through shaded olive groves.
Enjoy an offshore adventure
Aye aye, captain!
What better way to explore the coastline of this trio of peninsulas than hopping off dry land and setting sail on the glittering Aegean? Be captain for the day on your own privately-hired boat or kick back and relax on a boat trip, knowing everything’s taken care of. Exploring by boat means you’ll get to see parts of the peninsula that you can’t access on foot. Think secluded bays, hidden coves and laid-back lagoons.
Top tip: Fancy a spot of island-hopping? The nine small islets just off Vourvourou on the middle peninsula are ideal!
Choose to cruise
Tick off everything from remote beaches and UNESCO-protected sites to scuba diving and snorkelling when you embark on a boat cruise. You can depart from various ports along Sithonia’s coast, before sailing across the water to Kelyfos. This tiny island is home to a huge variety of wildlife, so see how many different species you can spot!
You’ll be in safe hands as a friendly crew sets sail into the aquamarine Aegean Sea, stopping occasionally to let you cool off with a dip in the water. Some trips even include lunch onboard, so that’s also one less thing you’ll have to worry about. Head out in the afternoon and you might even catch the sunset. Lazing on the top deck as the sky changes colour above you – it doesn’t get much better than that!
Water sports this way
If sunbathing all day on the beach isn’t really your bag, why not take part in the huge range of water sports on offer instead? If you’ve got kids in tow, they’ll love hiring a kayak or pedalo for the day and exploring along the shore. Fancy yourself as a bit of a daredevil? Take your pick from banana boat rides, jet skis and much, much more.
Top tip: Your best bet for water sports is in Sithonia, the middle peninsula, as it’s home to around 100 beaches!
Wine tour? Wine not!
If you class yourself as a bit of a wine connoisseur, you’ll love nothing more than sampling the tasty tipples this region has to offer. Rolling vineyards and agricultural farms fill the vast countryside, so wherever you choose to visit, you’re bound to come across one.
The region’s climate is perfect for winemaking with its bright sunshine and cooling sea breeze. To really get a feel for Central Macedonia’s wine production, your best bet is to attend a vineyard tour and see the process from start to finish. Why not begin at Tzika Family Winery in Kassandreia, before heading north to Ktima Gerovassiliou?
Top tip: If you’re keen to really get under the skin of this region’s wine making traditions, follow a wine route and seek out celebrated wineries and top producers.
Take to the fairways
Hoping to practise your swing beneath bright blue skies? Head to northern Greece’s one and only golf course – Porto Carras. This 18-hole course boasts breathtaking scenery, from majestic mountains to stunning Blue Flag beaches, and when it’s drenched in sunshine for up to 300 days a year, it looks even more spectacular.
International tournaments take place here throughout the year, but you don’t have to be at Tiger Woods’ level to tee off on this course. Whether you’re an amateur or putting pro, these facilities are perfect for all.
Treat the taste buds
When it comes to cuisine, Greece doesn’t do things by halves, and in this region, things are no different. From traditional gyros and fresh Greek salads to everything in between. If you’re a bit of a sucker for seafood, you’ll be in your element here. Local fishermen head out every day to bring back the freshest fish and seafood, so take a seat in a traditional taverna to sample the delicious catch of the day.
Got a hankering for something sweet? You’ll love nothing more than devouring a bowl full of syrupy baklava. Honey, ground nuts and sometimes chocolate are sandwiched between layers of flaky pastry to create the perfect Greek dessert. Yum!
So, have we got you in the mood for Greece? Your adventure across Central Macedonia awaits!
Posted: 2nd Mar 2020.