Just a small fishing village in Chalkidiki Grece, Porto Koufo has nonetheless a great sailing potential since it lies right next to the largest natural harbor in the country, one that has been used for maritime purposes since ancient times going back to Turkish pirates but also the ancient trade ships.
The locals call it “Kofos Limin” which literally translates to “Deaf Harbor”, referring probably to the unique feature of the harbor thanks to which sea sounds cannot be heard when inside it. sailors can find it in the southwest of the Sithonia peninsula, located in the northern part f the country, on the mainland.
Travel & Arrival
The closest largest city is Polygyros, also the capital of the region of Chalkidiki, located at about 80km to the north, inside the center of the peninsula.
The closest international airport is the one in Thessaloniki, which also happens to be the second largest city in the country. The distance by road is roughly 145km, which makes for a 2 and a half hours trip.
By land, the way only main road leading in is the one which connects the city with Thessaloniki which is a significant distance away. The only upside is that much of the road is situated along the coast which will afford you some nice view of the Mediterranean. Otherwise, if coming from any of the large cities in the north, expect travel times of over 2 hours.
Avant & Apres Sail
The history of this, the deepest natural bay in Greece, is long and filled with interesting stories such as the ones of the Turkish pirates that used this place to hide their ships or the ones from the Second World War when German U-boats used it as a base of operations. It was during that time that most of the German-made fortifications were built, many of which are still visible to holidaymakers to this day.
In case you’re interested, the dimensions of the bay are: 1600m maximum length, 550m maximum width, 8.23m maximum depth and an opening of 300m. The depth at the entrance is around 10m so it’s pretty safe even for large boats to sail inside. Among the local landmarks is the rocky cliff which constitutes the coastline. At one point in the southeastern part of the bay, the cliff gives way to a cave where you can even enter with your boat. A definite must-see for any sailor.
Porto Koufo itself has only about 100 permanent residents and consists of just the few houses scattered along the shore as well as some tourist facilities that include hotels, bars and restaurants. Another thing worth visiting is the neighboring cave found southeast of the harbor, where an old quarry was turned into a worship place by the Romans. After that, the Christians came and drew a large red cross on the cave’s roof which can still be seen to this day, probably in an attempt to purify it.
Actions & Events
The main activity in the resort has definitely got to be sun bathing, which can be done on the small and sandy beach in the village itself, or on the larger one but equally calm found at Tristinika, just minutes away from Porto Koufo. To get to it, simply follow the road to Neos Marmaras and follow the sign which will guide to your left along a curvy road until you see the beach.
Though a small settlement, the village of Porto Koufo has its own festival with a significant importance both for locals as for sailors in general. The festival is held in September of every year and it’s called “Fishing of the Tuna”. You can image what happens at that festival judging by its name.
What are the top sailing destinations around Porto Koufo?Porto Koufo, situated in the stunning region of Halkidiki, offers easy access to the stunning Sithonia Peninsula and its variety of beautiful bays and beaches. You can also sail to nearby islands like Amouliani or Diaporos. Furthermore, the renowned Mount Athos, a world heritage site and self-governed monastic state, can be observed from the sea due to the restricted access.
What are some must-visit anchor bays?Porto Koufo's bay, known as the "deepest natural harbour in Greece," offers a safe and secure anchorage. Additionally, the nearby Kalamitsi and Kriaritsi bays offer crystal clear waters and stunning scenery. Just north of Porto Koufo, the Sarti Bay is another excellent anchorage with beautiful sandy beaches.
Can you recommend any marinas nearby?While Porto Koufo itself is a natural harbour rather than a marina, it offers good shelter and several services for sailors. Nearby, the marinas of Sani and Miraggio offer excellent facilities and are within sailing distance.
What can I explore in and around Porto Koufo while on a sailing vacation?Porto Koufo is known for its serene beauty, crystal clear waters, and delicious seafood. Nearby, you can explore the quaint village of Toroni with its ancient ruins, or visit Neos Marmaras, a lively town with excellent dining and shopping options. Don't miss out on the natural beauty of Sithonia, with its stunning landscapes and secluded beaches.
What water activities can I engage with?The crystal-clear waters around Porto Koufo make it ideal for snorkelling and diving, with several dive sites available for all skill levels. Sailing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding are other popular activities. The area also boasts a rich underwater ecosystem, making it a great spot for fishing.
What are some of the gastronomic specialties of Porto Koufo that I can try during my sailing vacation?Porto Koufo is renowned for its fresh seafood. Local dishes such as grilled octopus, calamari, and a variety of fresh fish are a must-try. Also, don't miss out on other Greek specialities such as moussaka, tzatziki, and the local olives and honey. To wash it all down, try some locally produced ouzo or tsipouro.
Are there any local traditions?While Porto Koufo is a quiet fishing village, nearby towns like Neos Marmaras host summer festivals, including the Feast of the Sea in July, which celebrates the region's nautical traditions with food, music, and dancing. Also, various religious feasts occur throughout the summer, offering an insight into local traditions.
What local customs should I be aware of in Greece?The Greeks are known for their hospitality. Greet locals with a simple 'Yasas' (Hello), and always respect religious traditions, especially when visiting monasteries or churches. If invited to a Greek home, it is customary to bring a small gift. Always show respect for the local environment and adhere to protected area regulations.