When you think of a family holiday in Greece, the first thought might be to visit one of the islands and not without reason as the country boasts some of the best in the world. But do not forget the somewhat undervalued mainland as it is a true attraction. We take our girls to the Kassandra peninsula to check it out for ourselves. This part is the westernmost of the three headlands of Chalcidice, which run out into the Aegean Sea. This is fertile land providing excellent winter pasture for cattle and sheep and produces an abundance of grain of superior quality, as well as wool, honey, and wax, besides raising silkworms. The whole area seems to be created by Greek gods themselves. There are 500+ km of sandy beaches, many of which have received the Blue Flag. Pine forests and mountains surround the coast of Halkidiki and create a perfect climate for a comfortable and not overheated summer vacation.
Kassandra peninsula is the most popular among the three peninsulas of Halkidiki and each summer attracts thousands of tourists. Crystal waters and sandy beaches in combination with the nightlife which Halkidiki offers have made Kassandra peninsula one of the most famous tourist destinations in Greece. But we stay in the spring break and the crowds are nowhere to be seen. Our first destination on this trip is the Potidea Palace Hotel located in a wonderfully picturesque location on base of the connection between the headland with the mainland. This beach front hotel consists of one main and 8 smaller buildings, covering a total area of 0,000 sq. m. and offers unique panoramic views of Mount Olympus to the West. It brands itself as an “Ultra All Inclusive” holidays destination for families and couples alike. We must be honest and admit that we have never been to an all-inclusive resort. Having images of bacchanalias with people fighting for food and drinks painted our picture for this type of holidaying. How wrong could we have been: the Potidea Palace Hotel proves itself the poster boy for the all-inclusive concept. To start with the fact that it is still quiet during our stay in the beginning of May. But as the resort is set up on an impressive large plot, it will even in the high season never feel really crowded.
After a very friendly welcome including drinks and cold towels we are escorted to our junior suite. The spacious room consist of two separate rooms - a bedroom with a king size bed and a lounge. with double sofa for the girls. Nothing to complain about: shower cabin with hydro massage, luxury bath products, central air conditioner, heating, refrigerator, safe, 2 LCD TV set (satellite TV), bathrobes and sleepers, utilities for making tea or coffee, beach towels and internet access via TV. As a distinctive touch, we find a welcome card and some small gifts for the girls. Another option for families is the slight more spacious and luxurious family suite which also consists of 2 rooms, including a bedroom with two single beds.
When it comes to catering for families, the Potidea Palace is a smooth operation. The multilingual professional animation team provides fun activities for children of all ages from 4 to 12 years old, including full day and evening entertainment programs, so parents can enjoy some free time themselves. Baby cots are available upon request; pushchairs are accessible throughout the resort while baby goods & foods as well as toiletries can be bought at the resort store. In addition, bottle warmers and sterilizers are available free of charge while high chairs are available in all the restaurants. In addition, a doctor is always available on call.
The kids club is situated aside a nice (water) playground and operates all day except two hours during lunch. A very enthusiastic staff member welcomes our girls like long lost nieces and after they worked on some arts, we have a tough time getting them to again join us. In the end we manage to pursue them with the promise of an ice-cream. The fun part of it all being the fact that they still must discover that they can take as many ice creams as they like from the self-service buffet.
Besides all the kids activities the other highlight is the fresh water swimming pool with a separate children's pool. The girls are equally impressed by the huge replica of the ancient old Parthenon. Maybe not completely in line with the rest of the architecture it is a fun element that remind you of the old Greece and provides a blessing shady place to read a book in one of the relaxing chairs and sofas. 25 Meter opposite the pool you will find a pleasant beach filled with deck chairs and cabanas.
The resort bills their Spa Centre as one of the largest in Greece and we must admit it is huge and offers a selection of private massage techniques and therapies by certified professionals. For sure, that will help you to rejuvenate and attain your inner peace. Furthermore, we enjoy the indoor hydro massage pool, sauna and steam room as well as the fully professionally equipped gym. Or play some tennis on one of the two turf tennis courts.
In an all-inclusive resort of course, a lot of the ‘action’ revolves around eating and drinking. To start things off with: there are 4 bars, located throughout the resort, offer fresh juices, exquisite cocktails, delicious coffees & teas, as well as snacks and pastries throughout the day. Breakfast, lunch and diner are served in two restaurants. The main restaurant offers traditional local cuisine as well as international dishes in buffet setting. If you wish you can sit on the covered terrace with idyllic views of the Aegean Sea. It appears that there are some different ‘levels’ as we are given a golden coloured bracelet that give access to the à la carte restaurant Acropolis serving also a combination of international & Greek cuisine but with emphasis on sea food & fresh fish. We try several dishes and found nothing to fault them. The chef takes pride in taking care of guests with distinct dietary needs, such as gluten free, diabetes or various allergies. And for the younger guests, they prepare daily special dishes. Wine buffs certainly need to visit the amazing wine cellar “Cava Idea”, offering over 1.300 varieties of fine Greek wines & spirits. Dionysus the Greek god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine would be most pleased. For those who insist to spend euros despite the all-inclusive offer, there is the hotel boutique with local products, gifts & souvenirs, swimwear & other leisure products.
If you, after this culinary bombardment, feel the need to explore the surroundings you are in the good position as the resorts is very close to the picturesque resort village of Nea Potidea only 2 km away, while the town of Moudania with shops and the port lies at 5 km. A little further away but also really recommended is Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Macedonia has been voted as the “Best Mid-Sized European city for human capital and lifestyle” by the Financial Times. Or opt for a somewhat unusual day cruise along the monk’s republic of Athos. The monk’s republic on the third and eastern peninsula of Halkidiki, is a self-administering part of the Greek-orthodox church and its monuments dated back to the Byzantine time and are breathtaking.
# Northern Greece is known to be one of the best places in the World for summer holidays. Greek hospitality is literally legendary, you surely will be greeted with a sincere smile and warmth her.
# The resort has 24-hour security and personnel specifically assigned to watch kids on playgrounds, by the pool and by the sea.
# The Mini club with open water playground and indoor facilities with smart air conditioning, kids’ menu in all restaurants and bars, professional team of kids’ animators and baby-sitters who speak 4 languages.