This post originally appeared in Wine Tourist Magazine
When you think of Greece, do you think about the hundreds of islands? What about the beaches and the sea? Maybe you think of food and wine. What if you could combine all of those into one, plus more? You can at Porto Carras Grand Resort in the north of Greece.
Porto Carras is one of the largest and most famous hotels and holiday resorts in northern Greece. It is located on the Halkidiki Peninsula in Macedonia, just an hour away from Thessaloniki the country’s second largest city. The property covers over 4000 acres, including more than six miles of sandy beach and twenty-five pristine coves. With 1186 acres under vine, it is also home to one of the largest unified vineyards in Greece and one of the largest in Europe.
Yiannis Carras, a shipper who originally developed the property, started Porto Carras in 1973. Within three years, an olive grove of 45,000 trees was planted, along with the vineyards. The first hotel, Porto Carras Meliton, opened in 1979 and the second hotel, Porto Carras Sithonia, opened in 1980. In 1982, Porto Carras received PDO (protected domination of origin) status for the vineyards. By 1992, the entire operation was bankrupt and the bank took control leaving an enologist to mangage the vineyards and wine production.
The Stengou family purchased Porto Carras at auction in 1999. This family of engineers had a background in construction and tourism. They undertook major renovation of the property in 2000 and spent more than six years re-cultivating the vines.
Today Porto Carras Grand Resort includes two 5-star hotels, Meliton and Sithonia, as well as the bungalow style Villa Gallini. There is a casino and two Thalassotherapy and Spa Centers. There is an international-standard 18-hole golf course, the largest and best equipped conference hall in Northern Greece, a horse riding academy, a tennis club with nine courts, a diving center and a nautical club. The resort also features three helipads, two waterways and a 315-berth Marina, which is the largest private marina in northern Greece.