While the Greek Islands have been among the most popular holiday destinations in Europe for many years, the mainland is still in a kind of Sleeping Beauty sleep. Especially the peninsula Chalkidiki below the harbour city Thessaloniki offers the best conditions for an unforgettable holiday.
The three “fingers” of Chalkidiki – Cassandra, Sithonia and the autonomous monk republic of Athos – remind with a little imagination of Poseidon’s legendary trident and are full of surprises. This is already our third trip to the region, but the picturesque bays and charming villages inspire us again and again.
It is worth discovering the highlights of the peninsula on your own by rental car. On our first day on the long dream beach between Pefkohori and Paliouri (on the first finger Kassandra) we observe five dolphins gliding through the crystal clear water only 100 meters away from the beach.
They are impressions like from a tropical holiday paradise, Chalkidiki can be reached from Germany in less than three flight hours.
ikos Olivia: Boundless lifestyle in a new format
Between the first and second fingers of the peninsula, near the village of Gerakini, has settled the luxury hotel ikos Olivia, which only opened its doors in the summer of 2015. With a concept that is as daring as it is exciting: an all-inclusive resort in premium format in which the guest doesn’t have to make any compromises.
Now we ourselves are truly not the biggest fans of classic all-inclusive hotels, where plastic cups, greasy taps, restaurants with canteen flair and mediocre buffets are the rule rather than the exception. But can ikos Olivia really live up to its own claim of “Infinite Lifestyle”?
The resort’s grey main building will probably not win an architecture award, but the true charm of the extensive area is already evident in the first few metres. A network of paths meanders through the lush green gardens with many old olive trees, the scent of flowers and pine trees is in the air.
Several elegantly designed pool complexes are spread over the 22 hectare site, all of them have their own bars and are beautifully embedded in nature. Especially for couples, the luxurious bungalow suites are recommended as part of the Deluxe Collection at ikos Olivia, many of which have a small garden and their own swimming pool.
In addition to the extra living space and comfort, we also have other privileges such as free spa treatment, a concierge service and exclusive beach and pool areas. Our bungalow is modern and very comfortable, both the bedroom and the separate living room have direct access to the outdoor pool. The bathroom has a large bathtub and a rain shower.
The resort’s elongated private beach offers countless retreats with stylish sun loungers and an adult only area. The entire resort is surrounded by a blend of subtle elegance and Mediterranean feel-good atmosphere. The Ikos Olivia definitely sets standards in the all-inclusive hotel sector!
Moments of pleasure: Culinary delights at the ikos Olivia Resort
Of course, culinary delights must not be neglected. Even the buffet restaurant Flavors inspires us with its chic ambience and a very tasteful arrangement. In addition, four speciality restaurants serve Greek, Italian, French and Asian delicacies.
In keeping with the Infinite Lifestyle philosophy, the À-la-Carte restaurants are available to every guest without restrictions. The menus are all created by true professionals, in the Greek restaurant Ouzo Michelin star chef Lefteris Lazarou still conjures.
Guests of the Deluxe Collection can also enjoy a private dinner on the beach at no extra charge. The fantastic dishes of the “Fusco” restaurant are served in a romantic atmosphere just in time for sunset. The service is attentive and unobtrusive, and the evening is one of the highlights that many couples will remember for a long time to come.
We have more than 300 wines to choose from at the ikos Olivia Resort, making it one of the most extensive wine offers on Chalkidiki. The in-house sommelier gives accurate recommendations and is further proof that Ikos masterfully manages the difficult balancing act of “all inclusive” and convincing 5-star quality.
Dine-out options and world-class entertainment
If you want to experience the world-famous culinary delights of Greece outside your own hotel complex, you can make use of the recommendable Dine-Out offer in one of the surrounding taverns. Even the 24-hour room service is included in the ikos Olivia at no extra charge, as is a drinks and snack service on the beach.
There is also no need to compromise on the active offer: In addition to countless water sports (from comfortable pedal boats to windsurfing), there are ultra-modern tennis courts, a large fitness centre, aerobics courses and free rental bicycles for sporting activities.
The entertainment program at ikos Olivia deserves special praise, as even the evening shows reach a level that we have only rarely experienced in holiday hotels around the globe. Fulminant dance performances, great singing skills and humorous entertainment create the perfect end to an all around successful holiday!
By the way: With 5.9 Holidaycheck suns and a recommendation rate of currently 100%, Ikos Olivia is one of the best rated hotels in Europe!