Situated about 2/3 of the way down the eastern shore of Kassandra, Halkidiki's westernmost peninsula, Hanioti, with a population of about a thousand, has a pleasant, relaxed feel to go along with the beautifully clear waters of its seafront beaches. It was surrounded by pine forests which suffered a great deal of damage during the 2006 summer season. The trees are rapidly coming back.
The present-day village is a relocation after a catastrophic earthquake in 1930. The original settlement was founded during the 16th century. The local story is that it took its name from its first settler, one Mr. Hanioti, who lived south of the modern village, which is now called the Old Village. This settler was supposedly from Chania, in Crete. "Hanioti" or "Chanioti" is the demonym for residents of Chania.
During the Ottoman Turkish occupation Hanioti was one of 12 named villages in Kassandra and the property of the Venetian-born Ottoman overlord, Gazanfer Agha, who was the so-called Chief White Eunuch, guardian of the Sultan's harem.
The village is a pleasant combination of narrow, brick-paved streets, nice little platias, small parks, and older trees untouched by the area fires from '06. Its tidy little main square is lined with cafes and tavernas, and sports a small fountain and pool in its center. It has cement flower boxes, trees, and a lot of whitewashed low cement walls, whitewashed steps, and whitewashed tree trunks. Off the platia are a lot of little tourist shops selling things for the beach, or souvenirs, and a great variety of family-type restaurants featuring varieties of Greek and northern Greek cuisine.
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There is a very nice rectangular seaside park 200m long dotted with palm and pine trees, with shrubs and brick paths, at the approximate center point of the village's seafront. The beach is about a 1-meter drop off a retaining wall at the park's beach side.
Hanioti has its fair share of reasonably priced hotels and resorts, all of which are close to the water. There's a bit of nightlife to be had, too with some clubs and a few beach bars. The Blue Flag beach is extensive, with white sands, and the water is exceptionally clear. There are a number of trees on the fringes of the beach which provide free shade for the early birds. Everyone else has to either bring their own umbrella or rent one.
Motorbikes can be rented for short excursions in the area, and day trips by bus to Thessaloniki, northern Greece's capital, leave several times a day and are reasonably priced.
Hanioti is the perfect place for a quiet holiday, a taste of night life, or a family-centered vacation.