Halkidiki is a 3-pronged peninsula village in northern part of Greece. It is Voted as the world’s most romantic destination and hence the best place for honeymoon. Many local people here believe that god of love was born here. The place is full of natural beauty, far away from city’s noise. You will get white sand beaches here. The best services in the world are found here. You can eat local food as well as the food of your choice. Perfect place to spend some good quality time with your beloved. An unforgettable moment of your life.
That was the situation I found myself in at the start of the summer when my boyfriend Jay and I decided to take the “next step” in our blossoming relationship.
We chose Greece, named the most romantic destination in a worldwide survey. According to myth Eros, the mischievous winged god of love, was born there (so far, so good). Our base for the week was Ouranoupolis, a quaint fishing village in Halkidiki, about 75 miles from Thessaloniki Airport. The Greek translation of Ouranoupolis is Gate to Heaven. Impressive!
As we arrived at our hotel, Eagles Palace, our luggage was whisked away and we were welcomed on to the Kamares restaurant terrace for some cool refreshments as reception staff checked us into our luxurious room. Within seconds we knew we’d love staying there.
The five-star Eagles Palace is on its own stretch of golden beach with clear blue sea, luscious green hills and those beautiful views of the bay.
It’s just two miles from the pretty port where thousands of tourists go every year to board the ferry to Mount Athos, where women are banned from setting foot. The secluded religious retreat was favoured by Prince Charles during his relationship difficulties with Princess Diana and I prayed Jay wouldn’t want to visit for similar reasons.
We started with a visit to the hotel’s spa. Before our treatments (I enjoyed a body massage while the boyf opted for the back and neck rub) we took full advantage of the swimming pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi. Our hectic lives back home seemed a million miles away.
Before our holiday Jay had told me he didn’t “just like to lie around on a beach all day”. I had panicked – most of my sunshine breaks consisted of hours lazing on the sand or by the poolside, topping up my tan and drinking lots of cocktails (well, they do say opposites attract!).
But in Ouranoupolis we found a happy medium. In fact, Jay’s active side had a positive influence on me and I went to the gym twice (more than Jay did) during our seven days. Another day we even went canoeing. I also managed to thrash him at tennis on the hotel’s court (sorry Jay, I HAD to mention it).
Jay loves to scuba dive and was delighted to find the Athos Padi Diving Centre on Eagles Palace’s beach. Sisters Katerina and Niki own the centre and offer diving trips for all levels to more than 15 different sites. They also take boat trips out for snorkelling.
While my other half was exploring under the sea, I lazed on the beach, read my chick-lit book and enjoyed a cocktail or two (I did say we found a happy medium).
On the beach near the diving centre is the Water Sports Centre of Nea Roda. You can waterski, wakeboard, windsurf and sail, paraglide or try a jetski or banana boat.
But as we had come to Ouranoupolis in search of romance, Jay and I decided to hire a small motorboat for a day. With a picnic prepared, we set sail for the island Ammouliani. Next up was the Drenia Isles, a complex of small, uninhabited islands. After lunch we swam in the clear waters before jumping back on board to travel along the shores of Mount Athos (no, Jay didn’t want to be dropped off there) before motoring back to the harbour.
Before the holiday I had started Weight Watchers after piling on the pounds in the first nine months of my relationship with Jay.
In Ouranoupolis I’m afraid the diet went out of the window. On the first couple of days I resisted the packed breakfast buffet and early evening ice creams.
But after counting up what I HAD eaten those days – and realising it was almost three times the amount I should have, I gave in and we dined like kings and queens.
Our favourite meal was in the Kamares restaurant at the hotel. The food was outstanding. I enjoyed feta cheese with sweet red pepper while Jay had scallops sautéed with corn puree and truffle cream for starters.
Next up we shared Chateaubriand from veal fillet with potato dauphinoise before finishing off with the choux pastry profiteroles stuffed with vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce. Delicious.
We stayed half board at Eagles Palace for four nights and B&B for the remaining three.
On nights when dinner wasn’t included we went to the port – Eagles Palace runs free shuttle buses until 9pm – where we discovered Kritikos restaurant tucked away from the seafront.
We were welcomed by Stelios and although the restaurant was packed he managed to find a romantic table with a wonderful sea view. He was happy to chat and recommend dishes. We shared the spinach with house sauce, sautéed mushrooms, pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes and the barbecued feta cheese baked with tomatoes, peppers, onion, olives and olive oil for starters. Jay then chose the house speciality – lobster spaghetti – while I ordered moussaka. We finished off with a slice of revani, traditional Greek cake, which was on the house.
As our holiday in Ouranoupolis came to an end we knew we’d chosen well. We’d been looking for romance – and had found it.
When to go
The Eagles Palace hotel is open from April to October.
Take advantage of the events put on at the Eagles Palace hotel, many of which are free. When we were there there was a wine-tasting festival. And don’t miss the hotel’s amazing walk-in wine cellar.
When we were staying at the hotel, a traditional Greek wedding took place on the beach. Planners were on hand to help loved-up couples get ideas to make their own big day magical.
It costs about £17 to hire a bike from the hotel for half a day to explore the area. You can order a picnic lunch basket for about £12 per person, with sandwiches, juice, water and fruit.
Seven nights including transfers after September 25 costs from £1,060 per room based on two sharing including transfers and breakfasts. A suite for a family of four costs £1,425.
EasyJet Flies from Gatwick to Thessaloniki four times a week with fares from £30.49 each way.