General Information & Reviews

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The particular shape of Halkidiki Greece reminds of three fingers pointing the Aegean Sea or Poseidon's trident. Those three peninsulas are called Cassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos. The peninsula of Halkidiki is a real paradise, endowed by nature with enchanting coves and bays, rocky headlands, beaches with golden sand and crystalline waters. Olive and pine forest complete the amazing picture of Halkidiki holiday.

Of the three "fingers" of the peninsula, only the middle and the western one (Sithonia and Cassandra) are welcoming tourism with incredible natural beauty and developed touristy facilities. Cassandra is ideal for all-night party and bustling beaches. Sithonia is the perfect place for nature lovers, quietness and deserted beaches.

The easternmost prong belongs to the monastic community of Athos, the Holy Mountain. Visiting Mount Athos is strictly regulated: men must ask for a permit six months in advance and women are not allowed at all. Halkidiki has interesting villages, outstanding beauty and the best and more beautiful beaches of entire Greece, famous for their crystalline waters and their pure white sand.

Holidays in Halkidiki are ideal for everyone, with quietness and deserted beaches on Sithonia and full of nightlife on Cassandra. The capital of Halkidiki is Poligiros, which is situated in the center of the peninsula, 69 km from Thessaloniki. Some details which can make Halkidiki attractive are some extreme adventure sports, like jeep safari.


18 Reviews
  • ellipsis80 14 Dec 2009
    Wedding in Halkidiki
    I would to share my good time in Halkidiki for my wedding, last september!!
    I've been married on a boat under the sun!!
    The mayor came to the boat for the ceremony at the end of the morning, and then we left around the islands to enjoy the rest of the day with champagne, canape and delicious grilled food!!

    A lot of work to prepare everything and to be ready on time, but our wedding planner SteBySteph help us in the best way, for the papers, for the mayor, for the boat...if you need to organize your wedding, he is the one for sure!!

    I would like this day to happen again and to never stop!!
    But its only one time...anyway, we will have the anniversary from now on!!!
  • irini27 03 Oct 2009
    Friendly and open people
    A Greek friend first told me about Halkidiki. It is a peninsular region located to the north of Greece, close to Thessaloniki. I and my friends visited this beautiful place last year. We stayed at a hotel in Kallithea. This village has good beaches with endless rows of pine trees as their background. The cosmopolitan vibe in this village is quite noticeable. We also hired a car and toured Petralona Cave and the beaches of Kassandra. Unfortunately, we didn't have much time to go to Sithonia (second leg) but we want to come back next year, because I heard that the best beaches are there. We used to spend many hours in the beach of Kallithea. It is clean and has umbrellas and loungers. We swam in the crystal clear blue waters of the sea and then we usually enjoyed drinks at the beach bars. The atmosphere was festive and Greek men are really cute and humorous. Most of all beaches and landscapes, I like that young people in Greece are so open!
  • sofi345ts 06 Sep 2009
    Sandy beaches and pine trees
    Beaches in Halkidiki are beautiful and clean. I personally love sandy beaches and pine trees so the best choice for me is Sithonia in Halkidiki. Villages and nightlife are better in Kassandra. There are no significant historical monuments in Halkidiki, especially compared to Sterea Elada, Atica, Peloponissos and islands, such as Crete. I love greek food and we often prepared it at home. Since we live in neighborhood in the Balkans, we share same taste so we enjoy greek restaurants and gyros-houses. Make sure not to forget your driving licence! Or simply come by car. There are so many places you need to explore and feel in Halkidiki. Do not spend your vacation sitting on one single beach in one single place! Also you will really enjoy shoppingin Thessaloniki, the second biggest town in Greece: try the shopping malls, Mediterranean Cosmos, Ikea and Tsimiski and Egnatia avenues.
  • JSAston 01 Aug 2009
    My holiday experiences
    The other day I was standing at the check in desk at Thessonaliki Airport, there at the desk was a member of the airports staff. A very stern woman, with an even sterner look on her face weighing the bags as the passengers checked in. I thought to myself that we are defiantly going to be charged access luggage. There used to be a time when you could travel to Greece, buy what ever you liked and wiz through check in without the staff batting an eyelid. Even if you were packing a small Volks Wagen in your case, nobody said a thing. Long gone are those days, perhaps it's the economic downturn, who knows? The thing is, it was not the weight of our suitcases that was worrying me, oh no. I was more concerned about the size and weight of my belly, which for the past two weeks has been over stuffed with all manor of delicious foods and delicacies. Lucky for me that when we reached the front of the queue, the check in scales on her desk were broken so she just waved us onto the x-ray machine.

    See when I left the UK I weighed in at a reasonable 12 stone, but when I arrived at our hotel, the very beautiful Oceania Club Spa, Neo Mondania, that's when it all happened. We were fed morning, noon, and night, and if they were not feeding us, they were giving us Champagne Cocktails that were strong enough to take down an out of control elephant.

    So, let me tell you about our lovely stay in Halkidiki and our hotel, The Oceania Club Spa, which is on the Cassandra peninsula. It is part of the Sani Beach Hotel chain. When we arrived at Thessaloniki Airport in a thunder storm, which was a bit of a surprise, because we have never seen Greece with weather like that before. We have seen rain in Greece before, but never full swing hailstorms, and lighting strikes on the horizon, but this did not stop our transfer driver doing 80 plus along the motorway. We arrived at Neo Mondania which is not a resort town, it is a Greek working town, and it was semi flooded at the time, and so was the hotel. They were trying to stop the rain from entering the reception with towels, and what ever else they could lay their hands on. Although as I later found out it was even worse about half an hour before we arrived, as the electricity had just come back on after a power cut. We were taken in to one of the lovely bars and given champagne as a welcome drink, and told that our suitcases would be in our rooms by the time we went up, and so they were. Apart from the heavy rain when we arrived, that was the only real drama, which after a bottle of wine and some champagne seemed not so dramatic.

    Now the Oceania is a 5 star hotel and it deserves every one of those stars, the place is exceptional, the hotel was very chic and stylish in decor, and the atmosphere was laid back and relaxed. The main food hall dished up tasty dishes, which were of a very high standard for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. I should know, because judging by my belly I am an expert food taster. The hotel also offers 3 ala cart restaurants, the Asian, the Italian, and the Greek Taverna, which you can visit once a week each. I can still not decide which one I preferred the best. The food and wine was to die for, basically they put all these celebrity chefs to shame, forget Gordon Ramsey, he would not know a good dinner if it fell on his head. The best thing I liked about this hotel was the staff, they were exceptional, a good hotel has a good level of customer service, and they were experts at it. Now I know that if you live in England, you will no doubt be like me, unfamiliar with good customer service. It is something that does not happen here in the UK. However at the Oceania the staff treat you like you are royalty. If you sat in any one of the bars, within a minute or two one of the staff was at your table to take your order, and that is the same in the restaurants. By the pool and on the beach there was a girl or guy every 10 minutes asking if you would like another drink delivered to your sun lounger.

    The hotel boasts a good range on rooms and suites. We stayed in a Junior Suite, which had a nice view over the sea, and town. The sunsets from the balcony were amazing (see photos on my page). The rooms were very comfortable, which came equipped with AC, TV, DVD and a well-stocked Mini Bar. The hotel offered a very wide range of activities, water sports, tennis, 3 pools etc. They have a very good Spa on the bottom floor, and a well-equipped gym, which you can use to burn off all the calories from last nights excellent dinner. The hotel really pull out all of the stops when it comes to entertainment, I am not the kind of person who goes in for all the cabaret stuff, I have been to the Dominian Republic, seen it, brought the t-shirt, and never again would I waste my money and holiday time in that kind of hotel. However once my wife managed to drag me in to watch a show, I was totally amazed by the performers. It was like watching a show in the West End of London, all but on a smaller stage, to say I was surprised by the amount of talent, and effort from the singers and dancers, they were totally first class. We watched Around the World, which was about traditional songs and dances from countries like Greece, France, Germany and Spain. They did not have one for Britain, possibility because Britain gave away all its tradition years ago. Then we saw a basically smaller scaled down version of the stage show Mama Mia, which because of the Greek connection was our favourite. On the whole I would say it is one of the very best hotels I have ever stayed in. If I had to find a negative, I could think of only one, and that was the amount of kids. We do not do children, they are noisy, smelly and noisy, I know I have said noisy twice that’s because they are twice as noisy as they are smelly. We always travel before the British kids break up for summer holiday, but we forgot that European kids break for summer earlier than they do in the UK. However if you are unlike me and have kids, I can guarantee they will love the place. They have entertainers, clubs for them, activates arranged throughout the day. I only wished I had been taken to a hotel like this when I was a smelly kid by my parents. Kids today are bloody lucky I can tell you. The only thing they do not do is to keep them out of the adult pool, although if you book a deluxe suite, there is a private adult only pool, no kids, and no noise. Apart from the noise for the many kids around the pool, I just could not fault the hotel.

    A bit about Neo Mondania. It is not the best-kept town in Greece I must say, to be honest it is quite run down. They have a very serious problem with graffiti, it's on everything, walls, doors, buses, even the dogs of the town are not safe from the spray paint, and if you stand by the harbour you will pass out from the smell of rotten fish. English is not widely spoken, so make sure you have a few words of Greek to hand. However for all it faults, I quite liked the town, we would go for a wander to the town in the morning and have a look around the shops, then stop for a while for a frappe. The shops are quite nice, and they offer some very good items, such as shoes, bags and jewellery at reasonable prices. Be careful you don’t get carried away with your shopping though, its €11 per kilo at Thessaloniki airport.

    Halkidiki itself is made up of three peninsulas, Cassandra (pronounced as I told) Cas-san-drayer. Sithonia (pronounced as I told) Sith- fon-nia, and the Mount Athos peninsula. A.K.A Agion Oros. Now our hotel was on the first finger of the three peninsulas, Cassandra. Other famous resorts are Fokea, Afitos, and Kriopigi. I personally found Cassandra rather built up in places along the routes down through the resorts. Afitos is the best place to go and is the prettiest village on Cassandra.

    Sithonia is less busy, not so many resorts or houses, more open land and farms etc. The beaches are better too, the best we visited being Sarti, which has great view of Mount Athos.

    The third peninsula is the Athos peninsula, and is off limits to tourists. You have to apply to the Greek Authordox Church to be able to go there, un-less you are Prince Charles, then you can go when ever you like. Women are not allowed on the peninsula at all, even female animals are forbidden. There are 20 monasteries built into and up the mountain, the monks way of life has not changed in hundreds of years. There is a boat trip from one of the ports on Sithonia that takes you along the coast of the Athos Peninsula, but does not land there. I did not go on the trip myself, I would of loved to be able to go there, but not just sail past and take a couple of photos from the sea. I bet it is a photographers dream to be able to walk through the mountains and monasteries of the Athos Peninsula.

    From the very bottom of Cassandra there is a little place called Crusso Beach, from where you can catch a boat to Turtle Island at sunset. The boats moor up just off the Island and from there you can watch an amazing sunset (see pics). Whilst you are watching the sun disappear below the horizon, the crew are busy making you dinner, and serving you killer cocktails. After dinner we enjoyed the songs of a local very talented entertainer before setting off back to Crusso Beach. I actually preferred this cruise to the Caldera Cruise in Santorini; I think it offered better value and quality.

    The only beef I had with it is, from our hotel it was an hour and an half coach trip down, but well worth it. We booked via our First Choice rep, for €49 per person, if you book it direct it would probably be cheaper. There are various trips available, Sunset Cruise, Athos Cruise, Sithonia Discovery, etc. They can be booked via your rep, hotel, or little travel shops in the towns.

    I found Halkidiki to be a lush green part of Greece with nice sandy beaches, and beautiful sunsets. The people like, most Greek’s are friendly and welcoming, and were always patient with you whilst we were using our very basic knowledge of the Greek language to communicate. The thing Halkidiki lacks to me is all the little traditional villages that can be found on the Islands. Little windmills and cobbled streets, with wash buildings, tiny fishing ports etc. A lot of the towns on the Peninsulas start with the word Neo, which means new. After the Turkish invasion, the areas were settled by the refugees who had been displaced in the war, so they built new towns and renamed them after the old ones that had been destroyed. That’s where the names Neo Mondania, Neo Marmaras etc. There was very little that was pre 1900s.

    To summarise, would I go back to Halkidiki? Unless I was lucky enough to be invited onto Mount Athos, then probably no. Would I recommend it? Definitely yes, and I would also definitely recommend stay at the Oceania hotel or one of the Sani Beach Resorts. It should have 6 Stars; their service is the best I have ever had the pleasure of. The hotel even gets their pool boys and girls to reset the sun loungers back into place at the end of the day using a plumb line to make sure each one is perfectly level with the next.

    I think is a great place to go to, but at the end of the day it was not for me, I like the more traditional islands. Everybody likes different things, and people should make their own minds up about the place. Don't just read my review and decide not to go, as that would not be fair to the place. This review has been written not to dissuade you from going to Halkidiki, and I am trying not to do it an injustice. I am only telling you how I felt about my experience. I do not regret going there one bit, I enjoyed every moment I was out there, and I was relaxed and well rested on my return back home. My 2 week stay felt like 3 weeks to me, time slows down and you feel like all of the troubles of every day life just float away.

  • olga30 07 Jun 2009
    No complain about anything
    They told me that Halkidiki has the best beaches and this is true! They are all clean (one by one, with no exception), although I think that some of them could be more organized. Gerakini, for example, where we stayed was nice but there were not enough sun beds and umbrellas for everyone. Hotels were nice but most were actually apartments to rent, not big hotels with international standards. Food was excellent in every single tavern. Some menus were even written in bulgarian language, as Halkidiki receives many tourists from the Balcans. I also saw many immigrants working in Halkidiki, mostly in the taverns and in the fields. The locals seem to do nice job with the tourists, they are constantly friendly and smiling. It is very easy to have a chat with them and they can give you precious informaion about the best beaches, the best taverns or how to go from here there. I think that the Greek government should also develop the mountainous areas of Halkidiki, not just the beaches. Roads in the mountainous for example were very unsafe and narrow.
  • mariato 15 May 2009
    Pebbles brush off your body
    My father's family used to own a summer cottage in Ierissos. In 1965 I first visited the area and last year we wanted to go back. I searched the Internet for places to stay. The information was scarce and I had reserved a room at Maria's House. Somehow the reservation never was accepted and our concierge at the hotel in Thessaloniki graciously found us a wonderful resort in Ouranopolis.

    Driving form Thessaloniki towards Mt Athos was easy. The roads are clearly marked and the countryside is beautiful. The beaches were stunning as well as the sunsets. The water is an amazing shade of blue and the sand is smooth. In Ierissos, the sand is tiny pebbles that just brush off your body. The landscape out towards Mt. Athos is breathtaking with the sea and the mountain. The villages are very nice. It is quiet and the people are very friendly. We had nice conversation with the shop owners and the people who live in the villages.

    Ouranopolis was a bit more touristy but had a quaintness about it, too. There is a museum and a boat tour that cruises by all the monastaries. The cruise is interesting and beautiful. Everything is explained in several languages. We found a ruin in Ierissos and we were told it was a rich a Roman's home. They were excavating it. The beach in Ierissos came alive with families in the evening. There were little rides for children, playgrounds and a tiny walk through fish tank. The children enjoyed it all!
  • karina27 18 Dec 2008
    Amazing places to see
    Halkidiki is so big that you can't see all of it in a week or two. We have been there three times and still we discover new amazing places to see. You definitely need a cat to get around. The roads are very good and petrol quite cheap. This year we stayed in Ouranoupolis. If you go there, rent a boat and go around the beaches. Amouliani island is the best. Also, from 10 o'clock, there is a boat that takes you to the Donkey island, where there is a very nice beach and the water is fabulous. And do not miss the trip around Mount Athos. Just one thing: get rid of the stary dogs! There are too many and they invade the taverns where you are eating, the beaches! This was a very big problem as in our group were some kids who were really scared of dogs!
  • evibr3210 23 Jul 2008
    Halkidiki is my heaven
    Halkidiki is like heaven! For me, it has the best beaches and landscapes in northern Greece. Sithonia is a fantastic area. Just take care of your forests, because I was very sad to see that some of them were burnt down. The beaches of Halkidiki are gorgeous, my best is Lagomandra. Also Kassandra is nice village but something should be done with the traffic. Cars are stuck together for several minutes and this causes tension and spoils your vacation, doesn't it? Taverns are also wonderful , every time I go, I get a few kilos!!
  • saralob 24 May 2008
    The area of contrasts
    Halkidiki is the place of contrasts. You can fing both virgin beaches or large coasts filled with umbrellas and sun beds. We stayed in Vourvourou. In Ormos Panagia, 3 km from our hotel, we took the boat to Ouranoupolis and Mount Athos. The food in Halkidiki is excellent nad the prices are OK, except for the big fish dishes which are expensive.
  • elenadiev 15 Apr 2008
    Write the information in English
    I wanted to visit the northern part of Greece for a long time, since I have been to most of the islands. So last summer we went to Halkidiki. We went in May and it was better because there weren't many people and beaches were almost isolate. We actually stayed in Moudania but rented a car to go on excursions. I particularly liked Ouranoupolis and took the boat to go on a trip around Agion Oros. I would just be better if the information, in historical places for example, were writen in foreign languages too, most of them were only in greek.

  • sofia_s 01 Feb 2008
    Relaxing and refreshing
    We have been spending our summer holidays in Halkidiki for many years, because it is easily accessible from my country, Bulgaria, by car. We used to go to Mola Kaliva but this summer we decided to go to Gerakini. We stayed in a large apartment with air-conditioning, TV and other facilities, like pool and balcony with panoramic view; the price was quite acceptable. In Halkidiki, we find quietness, beautiful nature, clean beaches, delicious seafood and hospitality from the locals- in a word we find all the rest we need. The authorities should continue to support these resorts, as they do now, because other people should also come to this wonderful area!!
  • Masa_J 15 Dec 2006
    Enjoy as much as possible
    Nationality: Serbian

    Age: 29

    Countries visited 5-10

    The Trip: I arrived on the area by car. The trip was very good

    Reasons for going to Halkidiki: Recommended by friends, discovered on the Internet

    Idea before arriving: I had a certain idea of sandy beaches, good weather. I have visited Greece in the past years.............

    Favorite things about the island/area

    -Best Beaches: In vicinity of Vourvourou

    -Best Villages: Vourvourou

    -Best Activity: Spending time at the beach

    -Best Bar/Pub/Club: There were only a few - more or less the same

    Negative opinion about the island

    I like the area of Sithonia......, it has all necessary facilities for a good vacation

    Recommendations for future visitors

    Enjoy as much as possible

    Rating of the overall quality/organization/services of this island/area in comparison with other countries


  • Marco_B 22 Nov 2006
    The beaches not always clean
    Nationality: Italian

    Age: 35

    Countries visited: 5-10

    The trip: I arrived in Halkidiki by car and boat with Olympic Champion Anek Lines. The trip was good but the boat was delayed. The road trip was very bad because road conditions

    Reasons for going to Halkidiki: Searching on internet and looked like an interesting place to visit.

    Idea Halkidiki before going: Good places and nice beaches also good food (fruit) particularly

    - Island/Area : 9/10

    - Landscapes : 9/10

    - Tree Covered : 8/10

    - Beaches and Waters : 10/10

    - Cleanliness : 7/10

    - Villages : 7/10

    - Main Town : 7/10

    - Food/Restaurants : 8/10

    - Local People : 10/10

    - Accommodations : 10/10

    - Activities : 6/10

    - Excursions : 6/10

    - Sightseeing : 10/10

    - Prices : 9/10

    - Authenticity : 10/10

    - Peace and quiet : 10/10

    - Weather : 8/10

    Best Beaches in Halkidiki: Vourvourou

    Anything negative about Halkidikior needs improvement: The cleanness of beaches sometimes is not good, too much garbage on the ground

    Recommendations: Go there by plane and then rent a car

    Rate of the overall quality/organization/services of this island/area in comparison with other countries: 7/10

  • I_Papadache 13 Nov 2006
    A wonderful part of Greece
    Nationality: Romanian

    Age: 48

    Countries visited: 15-30

    The Trip: I arrived on the area by car.

    Reasons for going to Halkidiki: It is the 3rd first time I am in Halkidiki, I have been first time in 1991 and then in 2002

    Idea before arriving: I already knew this wonderful part of Greece from my trips in 1991 and 2002

    Favorite things about Halkidiki

    -Best Beaches: Paliouri, Siviri, Toroni, Sidi Beach, Sarti

    -Best Villages: Aphitos, Hanioti, Paliouri, Vourvourou, Toroni, Ouranopolis

    -Best Activity: Sightseeing of the peninsulas by car, discovering wild, beautiful beaches, swimming

    Negative opinion about the island

    I don't like that the region is more and more crowded with tourists and therefore more dirty. In high season it is quite difficult to find a clean, desert beach and more and more the beaches are spoiled with chairs and umbrellas

    Recommendations for future visitors

    To visit Halkidiki out of season, in June or September/October

    Rating of the overall quality/organization/services of this island/area in comparison with other countries


  • D_Smirnotopoulos 09 Nov 2006
    Most beautiful beaches in Greece
    Nationality: American

    Age: 46

    Countries visited: 5-10

    The Trip: I arrived in the area by car. The trip was very good with no delays.

    Reasons for going to Halkidiki: My mother's family is from Thessaloniki. We have been visiting Halkidiki for many years, and my mother was born in Thessaloniki

    Idea before arriving: We know the area well. The landscape in Sithonia is particularly beautiful with lush green landscapes rolling down to pristine beaches. We marveled at the pace of development, although the area is still generally unknown to Americans and is especially popular with Greeks. The beaches are the cleanest and most beautiful in Greece, including the islands

    Favorite things about the island/area

    -Best Beaches: Armenistis, Trani Amoudia, Vourvourou

    -Best Villages: Metamorphosis

    -Best Activity: Beach

    Negative opinion about the island

    With the increased traffic to the area, the roads need to be widened. We witnessed two accidents while driving in Halkidiki. The Greeks are aggressive drivers, and there appears to be very little enforcement of reasonable speed limits

    Recommendations for future visitors

    Do not try to visit during August unless you book well in advance. August 15 is a huge holiday in Greece, and there was no availability in Halkidiki around this date. Also the crowds were overwhelming. We attempted to visit the (once) charming village of Neas Marmaras, but there was no place to drive, let alone park, so we abandoned the plan and returned to Thessaloniki

    Rating of the overall quality/organization/services of this island/area in comparison with other countries


  • vassikili 28 Sep 2005
    One of the best places in Greece
    Halkidiki is one of my favourite places because it is full of vegetation and has terrific beaches.

    It is known as one of the best places of Greece and is sure is.

    The part called Cassandra (the first finger of the peninsula) is more touristic and lively. It is perfect for those who wish to combine entertainment and relaxation in a wonderful environment. It offers all kinds of accommodations and facilities and has some calmer places.

    Sithonia, the second finger, is perfect for nature lovers and for everyone seeking quietness and deserted beaches.

    The third finger is Mont Athos; it is also very beautiful but it is close to tourism because it belongs to the church and only monks are leaving there. So rent a car and choose between all the wonderful places of Halkidiki. You will love it.
  • cypress 13 Sep 2005
    A perfect place
    I spend my last summer holidays on the wonderful "island" of Halkidiki. In fact it?s not really an island, it is a peninsula situated in the north of Greece. I went to the second ?finger? of the peninsula, which is called Sithonia. It is the calmest part of Halkidiki and the perfect place for me and my girlfriend.
    We stayed at a camping, went to many beautiful beaches (check out Ahlada, the Bay of Akti Zographou and Kalogria) and romantic coves, visited a couple of monasteries and discovered some traditional and very picturesque villages (Nikiti and Parthenionas).
    Our two weeks there passed away like a dream. Now we?re planning to visit Crete. Till then, have a wonderful holiday wherever you go.
  • surf315 19 Jun 2005
    Perfect place for holidays
    I went with a couple of friends to Halkidiki and we had a terrific time.
    We mainly stayed in the peninsula of Cassandra but we also went to some villages and beaches in Sithonia.
    We were amazed by the beauty and the quantity of the beaches and by the rich vegetation of the place. In comparison to the Cyclades (I have been to Amorgos, Paros, Santorini and Naxos) Halkidiki is an oasis of freshness and I really liked that; I found that the combination of trees and sea is the best thing you can find for excellent holidays.
    And Halkidiki is really perfect; we found touristic beach resorts, calm cloves, long beaches, wonderful waters, good restaurants, incredible landscapes and a lot of great bars (some with fantastic views).
    We made some people who took us a ride with their old Zodiac boat and showed us some places only accessible by boat. For example there were a small islet which they call the "Turtle islet" for its shape and we were all alone on a beach. It was really something.
    Heard could words about Pelion too and hope to be there next summer.