Neos Marmaras (New Marmara) is a village on the Sithonia peninsula, in the Chalkidiki peninsula, Greece. In 2011, Neos Marmaras had a little over 3,000 permanent residents. However, its summer-time population swells and has been estimated at 20,000, including the residents of the Porto Carras Hotel complex.
The name of the village honours the former homeland of its founders, Marmara Island in the Sea of Marmara, Turkey.
Buses from Thessaloniki's KTEL Halkidikis station (which can be reached from the center by city OASTH bus 45) make 3 return trips daily in season, taking 2 hours and 20 minutes. If you drive, you'll be there in about 1 1/2 hours without traffic. There are free parking lots in the upper part of the town, near the main road (Epar. Od. Nikitis-Sartis); alternatively, hunt for a place along the road hugging the beach. Parallel parking on the (sometimes seemingly vertical) town streets is not for the faint of heart.
There is no local public transportation, but the town is compact, and the seaside promenade with shops and restaurants and the town beach are all in walking distance. If you want to reach the nearby (more tranquil) beaches on the west shore of the peninsula, you'll either have to time the departure and arrival of the 3 daily buses from Thessaloniki (which travel further south after passing Neos Marmaras), drive or get a taxi.
For better sunsets in summer go around the small cape to the west of the harbor, towards Paradisos; from the town you'll see the sun sink over the roofs and the small hill to the north (also not too bad of an experience).
- 1 Town beach. The town beach is a sandy strip with decent swimming. It is thronged with families in season, but it's long enough that finding a place to pitch your umbrella shouldn't be a problem.
The shops along the quay range from the beachwear and touristy junk to some decently sourced stores with local produce (and, incongruously, fur and leather coats). Halkidiki is famous for the dry and insanely aromatic wine from the native Malagousia grape. Local honey and olives are also great.
The usual selection of souvlaki joints is well represented; choose any. For a slightly more upscale experience, Okyalos has a terrace overlooking the harbor and does competent grilled fresh fish by kilo (come before 7pm for the dinner or reserve in advance in season). Best ice cream is undoubtedly at the Fregio, down by the harbor across the road from the church.
- 1 Bougatsa Thessaloniki. 08:00-18:00. Don't be deceived by appearances: this is the real deal. Fresh pies being baked and brought up continuously throughout the day - no sitting on the hotplate here. Meat, cheese and sweet ("cream") are all great. There is no seating inside (so grab a seat at one of the tables under the awning), and no coffee - fortunately "Maria Barberhouse" is right across the street. EUR2.50.
Bars concentrate on the southern side of town: at the fringe of the boardwalk and lining the beach. Some have live music after dark, but none are especially boisterous or all-night affairs - Neos Marmaras in general leans to the wholesome family vacation side. Any restaurant along the quay will supply you with a carafe of a crisp house white to go with your dinner. A couple of good coffee places are Kofi Box (downtown) and Maria Barberhouse (up near the main road - across from Bougatsa Thessaloniki); Cafe Nuovo, right on the main square on the promenade, is nice for people-watching with a freddo espresso in hand.
- 1 Camping Marmaras, Neos Marmaras - Halkidiki - Greece Postal code : 63081, ☏ , , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Beautiful pine tree forest camp with a lot of shade, amphitheartically placed overlooking a sandy private beach very near the town of Marmaras
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- 2 Sunset Hotel, Paradissos, Neos Marmaras. Sunset Hotel in Neos Marmaras offer self catering apartments, studios and suites for rent, with swimming pool, located near Paradissos beach