Classicists will tell you Halkidiki's unique shape is a result of a battle between Olympian gods and earthly giants, while geologists explain it through tectonic collapse. Whichever you believe, you'll be bowled over by the beauty of this region as you uncover its historical secrets throughout your stay.
While you may be tempted to book a villa holiday on one of the popular Greek islands - think Corfu, Crete or Mykonos - Halkidiki makes an excellent case for staying on the mainland. You can go the traditional tourist route with snorkeling, sailing and beachside shopping all available. However, we'd suggest heading away from the hustle and bustle of the (admittedly stunning) beaches in favour of some incredible historical sights.
Don't be deceived by the picture-perfect postcard views that come out of Halkidiki - there's so much more to this region than its coastline. Those hoping to get their heart rate up can embark on a cycle ride up the slopes of Mount Cholomon, weaving their way in and out of the fir trees with gorgeous views at the top.
For a slower pace of exploration, take a trip to Parthenonas. Found on the Sithonia peninsula, this protected village is made up of pretty stone buildings, flagstone streets and a local museum if you want to learn a little more about its tumultuous past. There's also a free classic film festival in the summer, but if you do miss it, Carnival of Polygyros or Sani Festival are held elsewhere across the region.
However, for a truly traditional Greek village experience, head to Nikiti. Serving as the capital of Sithonia, it's over 700 years old and still retains that quaint 14th century feel, complete with charming stone buildings and ceramic tiles.
Love sampling a bit of supermarket halloumi or fast food gyros? It's time to try the real thing in Halkidiki. The region is covered in family-owned tavernas serving traditional Greek dishes, so you'll never be short of foodie hotspots to sample.
Owing to its coastline position, many menus are filled with fresh fish, prawns and mussels - always go for the catch of the day when available! For something more hearty, we'd suggest kleftiko - a lovingly seasoned, oven-cooked lamb dish served with seasonal vegetables.
Vegetarians will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the array of crisp salads and dairy-based delights on offer, while the classic moussaka can be widely ordered meat-free too. And to satisfy that sweet tooth, try ice cream or Greek yogurt topped with spoon sweet - a thick fruit preserve.