Experience Cretan Culture With a Food Tour in Chania

Chania is known for its wonderful people, warm hospitality, and fresh produce. And if you would like to learn about the Cretan cuisine and culture, this unique food and wine tour run by a local will allow you to experience all the gastronomical delights this beautiful city has to offer on foot. 

Awaken your senses as you leisurely stroll through the picturesque streets of Chania that are adorned with a fascinating history; and immerse yourself in the aromas and flavours of Cretan cuisine, as a hospitable local Cretan host guides you to spots where you can taste authentic savoury and sweet treats. 

Kelly Michelakis from The Greek Odyssey, says her tours are designed for guests to “learn about the food that makes Crete so special, as you will be able to sample many Cretan delicacies and learn what the Cretan culture is all about by a local. 

“Sip on a Greek coffee and enjoy every bite of the famous Cretan bougatsa, as well as enjoy a light lunch at an iconic Cretan eatery. Our guests can learn about the different cakes and biscuits on display as we browse the local bakery, sample Greece’s famous loukoumades, try local cheese that you can’t find elsewhere and view the regional and seasonal produce of the passionate traders who are so proud to share their knowledge,” says Kelly. 

With two tours currently available, there is a three-hour Food Day Tour through the backstreets and little-known pockets; where guests can sample Cretan specialties, in between visiting some old traditional stores to learn about Cretan culture and heritage.

There is also a Food and Wine Night Tour that allows guests to taste Cretan delicacies as they sip on local wine and spirits. This is where you can enjoy every bite of traditional Cretan appetizer, while admiring the stunning views of the city by night.

To learn more head to The Hellenic Odyssey 

Top 7 Bougatsa Shops in Thessaloniki

The most famous sweet delicacy from Thessaloniki is bougatsa, a crispy pastry filled with semolina custard, and served sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon.

Beyond the traditional flavours, nowadays you can find bougatsa packed with a variety of cheese, meat, spinach, and chocolate. 

Greece’s co-capital is said to have more than 1,000 shops selling this famous pastry, so we’ve done the hard work for you and rounded up the Top 7 spots where you can savour a freshly baked bougatsa! 


Insights Greece - Top 7 Bougatsa Shops in Thessaloniki

This is by far the local favourite, which first opened back in 1969. Serving traditional bougatsa, the store is currently run by Philippos Bantis, who was has taken over using his grandfather’s secret recipe. The filo is handmade and when you take a bite you will understand why there are huge crowds lining up to get their hands on a delicious piece! 

A: Panagias Faneromenis 33, Thessaloniki 

To Anoteron

Another family run business, Anoteron specialises in a  variety of bougatsa, including sweet and savoury options. Run by 2 sons and their dad- who has proudly served his loyal customers for over 50 years- this is the perfect spot to grab a Greek coffee any time of the day and sit back and enjoy every bite of this traditional pastry, which is made using a long-running family recipe. 

A:  Agiou Dimitriou 59, Thessaloniki


Said to be the “Original Bougatsa Thessaloniki”, in 1952, Zacharias Pratsinakis opened the first “SERRAIKON” shop on Vasileos Irakleiou, where the store still stands today. Expanding with more shops since then, you can also head to Fragon 2, or at Markou Mpotsari 99 in the city, where you can choose from their range of cream, spinach, meat, and chocolate varieties. There are now also Serraikon stores in Athens, Germany, and the Netherlands! 

A: Vasileos Irakleiou 35, Thessaloniki 


Insights Greece - Top 7 Bougatsa Shops in Thessaloniki

With a steady stream of loyal customers who have been coming here for over a decade, Romfea’s is well-known throughout the city, thanks to its unique take on the recipe. This version uses confectionery cream rather than traditional semolina custard, which has become a favourite for many. 

A: Venizelou 56 and Ioustinianou 13, Thessaloniki

Bougatsa Giannis

The tiny street where Giannis’ is located is filled with locals who wait in line for one of their famous pastries or pies. Apart from the traditional semolina custard version, they are also known for their chocolate-filled bougatsa and mince pastry for those who prefer a savoury treat. Normally open till 3 am (for the night owls) at the moment they are also offering delivery service. 

A: Mitropoleos 106, Thessaloniki 


Insights Greece - Top 7 Bougatsa Shops in Thessaloniki

This all-day cafe is famous for its “bougatsan,” a hybrid of the croissant and bougatsa. It’s essentially a croissant filled with traditional semolina custard; sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon. They also offer alternative options including a chocolate praline, fresh berries, and an ice-cream-filled bougatsan! 

A: P. Mela 48, Thessaloniki 

Bougatsa To Xryso Efpakria

With a flagship store in Serres (about an hour from Thessaloniki) you will find this chain store all over the city, where you can taste one of their five varieties, which come in sweet and savoury options. The key to their huge success is the handmade filo and you don’t have to look far to find them as To Xryso stores can be found at shopping centres, airports, and other major cities all over Greece. 

A: Dim. Gounari 27, Thessaloniki 

Featured image by Alkis Kaloudis © (Copyright) 

Homemade Bougatsa Recipe

Bougatsa is a traditional Greek sweet that consists of layers of crispy filo pastry, filled with a delicious creamy custard, and dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar.

Here is our much loved family recipe, which I first shared a few years back on my former food blog Flavours & Flair.


  • 1 x packet filo pastry (375 grams) Insights Greece - Homemade Bougatsa Recipe
  • 250 x grams unsalted butter
  • 1 x litre full cream milk
  • 1 x cup fine semolina
  • 1 x cup caster sugar
  • 4 x eggs
  • 1 x tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • 2 x tablespoons, fresh lemon juice
  • cinnamon sugar, for dusting
  • icing sugar, for dusting


  • Add 100 x grams of butter into saucepan and allow to melt on low heat. Add the semolina and stir for one minute with wooden spoon. 
  • In a separate saucepan, heat milk and add to butter and semolina mixture. Slowly add sugar and stir consistently. Allow the cream to thicken and then turn off heat.
  • In a bowl, whisk eggs and when cream has slightly cooled down, add whisked eggs into cream mixture with vanilla sugar and lemon juice. Stir quickly, so no lumps form in the cream.
  • Melt remaining butter and lightly grease large baking dish.
  • Place half the filo pastry on the bottom of the dish one by one, brushing each sheet of filo pastry with melted butter. 
  • Pour entire custard cream on top of filo and spread across entire dish.  
  • Using the rest of the filo pastry, begin placing each filo pastry on top of custard mixture, brushing each sheet again with melted butter until you have used up the entire packet.
  • Fold in the edges and make sure you brush the top filo layer with melted butter.
  • Bake in a 200 degrees (preheated oven) for 30 minutes, or until filo is golden brown.
  • Allow to slightly cool and dust with cinnamon and icing sugar to serve.  

Recipe and Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

48 Hours in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city is a place where history, culture, hospitality, and gastronomy meet. It’s a destination that caters to all and will definitely satisfy any taste.

Even though 48 hours is not enough to fully experience the beauty of Greece’s co-capital, the guide below highlights the best things you can do during a weekend getaway or a few days’ stay.



Kick-start your day by trying the most popular delicacy in Thessaloniki, the ‘bougatsa’ pastry, which consists of cream, cheese, or minced meat between the different phyllo layers. Thessaloniki has the best’ bougatsa’ I have ever tried. Make sure to visit Yannis at Mitropoleos Street to enjoy this slice of heaven. It’s a small, local pastry shop, always serving fresh bougatsa and other delicacies.

Then, head over to Aristotelous Square, the most central part of the city. Olympion, one of Thessaloniki’s cultural landmarks is also a must-visit.

After your morning coffee and bougatsa, it’s time to explore! Start with visiting Kapani and Modiano, traditional markets, where merchants used to arrive from the Mediterranean. The markets are still vibrant to this day, giving this part of the city the essence of a bygone era.

Louloudadika is another stop you have to make. It means ‘flower area’ in Greek and got its’ name from the florists that gathered here. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes and you will come across the old Ottoman baths called ‘Yahudi Hamami,’ and are now used to host cultural exhibitions.


Go to Aficionados restaurant in the Kalamaria suburb to get a taste of excellent cuisine; Mediterranean flavours with sophisticated twists, it’s set in a beautiful, renovated historic villa.


Walk down Nikis Street, one of the main strips, and have a coffee in one of the many cafes overlooking the sea. Café Nikis 35 is one of my favourites, as it’s a laid-back place where the locals go.

Later on, continue walking on Nikis Street, towards the famous White Tower, which was once used for the city’s fortification, and is now a museum.

Early Evening

If you are still up for some more strolling, continue walking at Nea Paralia until you reach ‘Ompreles,’ the beautiful piece of art made by Greek artist Georgios Zogolopoulos. At the golden hour, it looks mesmerising – don’t forget to take a photo!

Make sure to try one more delicacy that will excite your taste buds; ‘trigona.’ It’s a local specialty that consists of layers of phyllo filled with cream and folded into a triangle shape. Elenidis in Dimitriou Gounari street has the best trigona in Thessaloniki!

Late night

The word ‘night’ in Thessaloniki is well-connected to the area of Ladadika, where the nightlife pulse beats. Ladadika is full of tavernas that serve excellent food accompanied by live music and bars where you can continue afterwards, for drinks and cocktails.



Start your day by buying a ‘koulouri from a street vendor, the famous bread ring covered in sesame, and get ready for some exploring.

Wander around the most picturesque area of Thessaloniki, Ano Poli; approximately a 20-30 min walk from Aristotelous Square. Ano Poli is located on the highest point of the city, in Agios Dimitrios, and is a place that escaped the devastating 1917 fire. Get lost in the little alleys and travel back in time while taking in the peaceful atmosphere and beautiful views.

Nearby lies the UNESCO World Heritage Site Agios Nikolaos Orfanos Church and also, the Trigonion Tower.

If you are a culture aficionado, then pay a visit to the Teloglion Foundation of Art. Created in 1972, the Museum showcases works of significant Greek and European artists of the 19th and 20th centuries and a library that features a variety of books.

Alternatively, you can visit the Museum of Byzantine Culture, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, where you can find artifacts, mosaics, and sculptures, or the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art.

When in Thessaloniki, it’s worth enjoying pleasant walks by the sea. Start from Pier A, also known as ‘Apothikes,’ where old warehouses serve as venues for the Thessaloniki Film Festival. There, you can also visit the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum and Museum of Photography. If you wish to take a quick break, go to Kitchen Bar, a café-restaurant overlooking the sea.


For some delicious fish bites, head to the suburb of Kalamaria for lunch. There are plenty of tavernas offering great food. Alternatively, go to Duck restaurant, a family-owned place that serves excellent food, has lovely décor and an open kitchen.


Head back to the city and go to Diatiriteo or Enohes for a Greek coffee or Frappe. They’re retro, amazingly cute, and I’m sure you are going to love their vibe.

Early Evening

You must have learned by now that food in Thessaloniki plays a crucial role, and you simply have to taste everything! One more thing you should try is ‘tsoureki’- the sweet yeast bread- and more specifically, ‘tsoureki’ from Terkenlis, one of the oldest and most popular places in the city. If you are into chocolate, then take the tsoureki that is filled with chocolate. There are plenty of other options for you to choose from.

Later on, and if you love fashion, head to Tsimiski, Mitropoleos, and Proxenou Koromila streets, the main shopping streets.

Late night

Being in Thessaloniki and not enjoying a night out is a shame. Valaoritou Street is vibrant, with plenty of bars offering creative cocktails and drinks.

The city of Thessaloniki is a lovely place with amazing people, delicious food, and rich history. Enjoy your time here!

Why You Can’t Leave Chania Until You Try Bougatsa Iordanis

For close to 100 years, people from all over the world have been visiting Bougatsa Iordanis in the heart of Chania’s city centre, so they can get a mouthful of this crispy and creamy Cretan delicacy!

The famous bakery is now in the hands of the fourth generation of Iordanis’ descendants with the grandson, his children, and wife Ioanna in the shop every day proudly serving loyal customers and global visitors, who want to experience the unique and fresh taste they can only find here.

Opening its doors for the first time in 1924, Iordanis still remains authentic, simple, and rustic in the year 2020- with a few tables inside and views to the kitchen out the back- here you will enjoy their exceptional delicacy served on a simple aluminum plate.

Although Bougatsa can be found all over Greece- what makes this delicacy so special is the cheese that is used to fill the pastry. Most bakeries serve their Bougatsa with a sweet custard in the centre, however, Iordanis prepare their filling using a local Chaniot mizithra (Cretan ricotta cheese) namely Pichtoggalo Chanion Cheese PDO, which is produced from goat’s or sheep’s milk, giving it a slightly sour flavour.

“We haven’t changed the family recipe since the early 1920s. We have kept it the same as everyone loves it. We also make a custard version but again ours is unique as we use oil instead of butter, which enhances the taste,” says Ioanna. 

A: Apokoronou 24, Chania

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 6 am to 2:30 pm | Sunday: 6 am to 1:30 pm

*Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Why Visiting Thessaloniki is a Must

I suggest you take a few days out of your trip to Greece and visit Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in the country that will most certainly impress you with its beauty and distinct identity!

By Maria Athanasopoulou

Also called the co-capital, this beautiful destination is bathed by the Thermaikos Bay. It has a long and interesting history, which is evident through its rich monuments.

Thessaloniki’s geographical position has made it a place many nationalities have called home and even though it has a multicultural soul, Thessaloniki has maintained a strong Greek identity. It’s known as the Greeks’ favourite city and considered to be a place of love, fun, and tasty food!

Insights Greece - Why Visiting Thessaloniki is a Must

Some well known spots include the White Tower (a landmark), the Arch of Galerius, the Castle Wall Remains, the Rotonda, the Roman Forum, many Byzantine churches, and other holy sites.

One of the most beautiful corners is Aristotelous Square, which is where locals and visitors enjoy taking a stroll. The city is embraced by the Gulf of Thermaikos and the harbor serves as the gateway to maritime transport- one of the most stunning corners in town.

It would be an unforgivable mistake not to mention the local cuisine. Greek and foreign visitors agree that Thessaloniki is the queen of Greek gastronomy- with magnificent local dishes and delicacies. The food options offered here are endless and perfect for all budgets. The town is flooded with good restaurants and all you need to do is walk around and discover eatery after eatery- you will be spoilt for choice! 

Insights Greece - Why Visiting Thessaloniki is a Must

Those with a sweet tooth won’t be disappointed by local desserts; especially the famous Bougatsa, which you will find in every bakery.  All this great variety of local cuisine has given Thessaloniki the title “Gourmand city of Greece,” which locals are proud to carry and share with every single visitor. 

Maria Athanasopoulou is the founder of the tourism marketing company Respond On-Demand, co-founder of the non-profit company Top Tourism, Chairwoman of the World Food Travel Association, Ambassador in Greece of Evintra and Ambassador in Greece and Cyprus of World Gourmet Society. She likes exploring new places and cultures and loves discovering unexplored tourism destinations. During her trips, she does her best to find out and present the most interesting aspects of the destination she has just visited.