Our Complete Travel Guide to Kozani 

Discover where to eat, drink, stay and play, when visiting the jewel of Western Macedonia – with our travel guide to Kozani.

Visitors to Kozani are lured by its rich history, culture and natural beauty- including mountains with dense vegetation, forests, rivers and lakes. This under-the-radar city in Northern Greece is an ideal place for those who love road trips that lead to wonderful discoveries along the way.    

Just one and a half hours away from Thessaloniki by car, those who visit Kozani for the first time are enchanted by its landscapes, surprised by the warm local hospitality and undoubtedly leave the city with a saffron tinge on their lips and the smell of fragrant flowers, which are blooming all year round! 

Travel Notes 

Perfect place for: Couples, groups of friends, and a leisurely weekend. 

Where to stay: In the center of the city is the best place to stay, as you can get around on foot to discover the local markets, grab your morning coffee and visit nearby attractions.

Where to sleep: Ermionio is a striking 5-star hotel housed in a historic building and located in the heart of the city. For anyone looking for a longer stay, or to also get some work done while away, Smart Studio is fully equipped and only 5 minutes away from the town square. 

Must See + Do

Τake long walks through the picturesque alleys of the city, drink coffee under the clock in the main square, taste local cuisine in small family-run taverns, and visit cultural sights (listed below). Drives to nearby villages and the lake are also a must. 

Cultural Hotspots 

Built somewhere in the 17th century, the Koventareios Municipal Library was originally founded as a school. Today it’s one of the largest modernly renovated, historical libraries in Greece and includes over 153,000 volumes, manuscripts, Turkish firmans, codices and many rare publications. Among them, the Charter of Riga Feraios stands out.

The Archaeological Museum of Kozani is housed in the Panagiotideo Mansion, a beautiful neoclassical building in the centre of the city. Its collections include finds from prehistoric to early Christian times. 

The Folklore Museum of Kozani is of great interest, as its premises host a Natural History Exhibition from the Paleolithic era to modern times, an Archaeological-Byzantine exhibition, a Historical and Folklore exhibition, a gallery, as well as a collection of stamps and radios. In the basement of the museum, visitors can also find a small cave with stalactites and stalagmites.

Just a breath away from Kozani, at a distance of 22 kilometers, is an archaeological site and the Archaeological Museum of Aianis, which was the capital of one of the strongest kingdoms of Upper Macedonia. In the museum’s collections, you will see findings from the Late Bronze Age as well as exhibits from the archaic-classical period. 

Not far from Aiani, you can also visit the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle, in the village of Chromio. The village is located on Mount Vourinos (Bourinos) 32 kilometers away from Kozani.

Eat & Drink


Q Garden: In the centre of town is the best place to start your day with a cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast – all overlooking the central square of the city. (Νikis Square 11, Kozani) 

El Barrio: An all-day café bar with panoramic views of the city, here you can enjoy brunch while gazing from above the city and the central clock- the most characteristic landmark in the heart of the square. (Nikis Square 16, Kozani)


Kotetsi: This cozy tavern has a wide range of mezedes to choose from, as well as chicken-based dishes and excellent quality local wine. Must try: We highly recommend the chicken gyros with mustard sauce. (Drizi 3, Kozani) 

Το Pelagos: The best seafood choice in the city takes visitors on a journey through aromas of the sea and fresh ingredients. Must try: seafood risotto and saganaki mussels. (Mitropoliti Konstantinou 1, Kozani) 


Trypokaridos: This awarded restaurant serves local cuisine that can be enjoyed throughout the day. The chefs are ready to impress guests with special dishes made with saffron (and love). Must try: Ravioli with saffron, risotto with tartuffo, steak and potatoes. (Mourati 3, Kozani) 

Stou Aiona tin Paraga: A modern style tavern that offers the greatest local wine selection. Located in a charming alleyway, here you are sure to enjoy the great vibe and locally produced wine. Must try: meatballs, chicken gyros, local wine. (Kompanias 2, Kozani) 


Amorino: One of the best and oldest pastry shops in Kozani, Amorino is a place where classic Greek dessert recipes meet and blend with modern flavours. (Gertsou Konstantinou, Aristotelous, Kozani) 

Elite: Step inside this pastry store and be blown away by the gorgeous displays of decadent desserts and handmade gelato cakes that are presented in pretty packaging for you to take away and enjoy. (2 S. Blioura, Kozani) 

Zande: Visiting this small pastry shop is an experience that should not be missed by anyone visiting Kozani for the first time. It’s popular thanks to their secret Touloumbes (traditional sweet that is similar to churros) recipe! Simply delicious – this is an absolute must! (28 October Square, Kozani) 


Funky Monkey: One of the best spots to enjoy an aperitivo– great décor, impressive cocktail list and funky music playing. (1 Aliakmonos, Kozani) 

Vatrakoukos: An urban-style all-day bar, it’s one of the most popular spots in town and perfect for an unforgettable night out. Fridays and Saturdays are no doubt the busiest – attracting a young, cool crowd. (Irini 5, Kozani) 

Local flavours 

Krokos Kozanis is an exclusivity of the region that has been recognised since 1999 as a Protected Designation of Origin of the European Union. Krokos widely known as saffron, is one of the most expensive culinary spices in the world and here in Kozani you can find it in every local dish, buy it as a product or even drink eat in tea or tsipouro!

Bajos is another local product to try. It’s a semi-hard brine cheese made from partially skimmed goat’s milk – spicy and characteristically salty – it’s ideal for grilling or frying. 


Local Gems

Lake Polyfitos is an artificial lake formed by River Aliakmonas, located about 20 kilometres from the city of Kozani. Two bridges join its banks with one of them, the spectacular Polyfytos Bridge – also called the High Bridge of Servia, a name taken by the nearby town of Servia- being one of the longest bridges in Greece. A true landmark for the area, Polyfytos Bridge was built in 1975 and ever since it has been a major point connecting the region of Thessaly to the region of Western Macedonia. Unfortunately though, at the moment the bridge is closed for construction purposes so visitors are advised to use the second bridge that is the Rymnio Bridge, named after the village of Rymnio.  Lake Polyfytos not only is the biggest water reservoir in Macedonia, supplying irrigation water to the fields of Veroia and Thessaloniki but it is also one of the richest aquatic environments of the area. Seventeen species of freshwater fish have been recorded in the waters around here, while it has also emerged as an important place for birdlife, with 128 species of birds recorded. At the lake’s northern end is the settlement of Neraida, with a spectacular view of the bridge and the lake. Originally, the village of Neraida was located at what is now Lake Polyfytos. The village had to be transferred to another location so the government donated a prime location to the locals, the top of the hill by the lake to re-build their community. Nowadays, Neraida is the number one tourist destination in the Municipality of Kozani and a must-see place as visitors can enjoy their coffee or lunch while having 360-degree views of the lake and the town of Servia.

Ultimate Daytrip

Head across to the famous Pozar thermal baths which are filled with mineral springs and known for their therapeutic properties. Visitors use it for spa therapy, stimulation and relaxation, as the waters help fight circulatory, respiratory, rheumatic, gynaecological and dermatological diseases.

Make sure you take home… 

Krokos Kozanis (Saffron) and any other local product that includes it! It’s the highest quality krokos and the only producer of saffron in Greece. The town of Krokos is the base of the Cooperative of Saffron Producers of Kozani, a cooperative that counts 2000 members spread between 40 small villages.


Getting there: Kozani is 120 km distance from Thessaloniki, about 1.5 hours by car. While the distance from Athens is 470 km, about a 5-hour drive from the Greek capital. 

Best time to go: The carnival season (Apokries) in February/March is amazing as Kozani is one of the three Greek cities (after Xanthi and Patra) that celebrate carnival uniquely and unforgettably. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take part in the ‘Fanoi’, big fires that take place each night for the entire duration of the carnival season in different locations scattered around the city. 

Ideal time to stay: 2-3 days is perfect. 

Getting around: We recommend hiring a car for daily trips to nearby cultural sites, however walking around the city is the best choice for seeing the town. 

What to pack: Comfortable shoes, warm clothes if you are visiting in Autumn/Winter (it gets quite cold in the cooler months), an umbrella for unexpected rain, and a scarf for windy days!

The Greek Grand Canyon

Travelling through the lengths of Greece, you will come across the most varied landscape; from lush green hills to black lava cliffs to Grand Canyon-like rock shapes.

Just shy of the martyr city of Servia, about a 30-minute drive from the city of Kozani, lie some Grand Canyon-like formations similar to which are nowhere to be found in Greece!

These unique formations are called “Bouharia”, “Nohtaria” and the ‘Red Night”.

The famous Bouharia of Mikrovalto

These umbrella-like formations have emerged from continuous soil erosions over thousands of years. They consist of sand, clay, cobblestones and adhesive iron and silicon oxides that give this unique red colour. The top of each column is covered by a slate slab that, in the evolution of the formation, went on to give this typical umbrella shape.
In the local dialect “Bouhari” means chimney so for centuries, locals tried to interpret this unique phenomenon by telling stories about “The chimneys of demons” and “The ladies with the umbrellas”- two of the names describing the area that has prevailed up until today.

There are various myths concerning “Bouharia”. It was said that at night these formations turned into demons so it was advised not to cross the area after sunset – a myth that was made up mainly to intimidate young children not to explore the area and play further away from their parents’ supervision. Another story says that 100 years ago some thieves from the village intending to steal wheat from storage, painted their faces, dressed in rags and came out of the “Bouharia” area screaming. The people guarding the storage got scared and started running in the opposite direction allowing the thieves to carry out their plan uninterrupted.

Demon myths aside though, these formations served as a shelter for many locals during the Nazi occupation (1942-1944). Due to the mountainous area, this was the best spot to seek protection but in order for children to follow their mothers in the area the myth was reshaped and in the new version of it, it was said that instead of demons, fairies came out of the bulbs to protect the people.

The geopark of “Bouharia” was built in 2008. There is a parking space for visitors, two well-maintained pathways for visitors to follow and two kiosks. The terrain is hilly and visitors are advised to carry with them water and lunch as there are no facilities or cafeterias in close proximity.

The breathtaking Nohtaria

“Nohtari” has the same meaning as “Bouhari” but without the chimney cap. “Nohtaria” are conical formations, made similarly to bouharia, scattered all the way through the stream of Potamia on the border of the village of Livadero. The formations are 15 meters tall and to reach there visitors must drive down a forest road. Perhaps the most impressive of Nochtaria can be found in Kokkino Nochto, south of Livadero, opposite the village of Elati.

The unique “Red Night” of Livadero

Another impressive geological monument of nature is the ‘Red Night” in the mountainous area of Kamvounia which is at a direct distance of 7.5km from Nochtaria! This vertical red cliff is about 30 meters high and it consists of multiple anthropomorphic geo shapes.

Images by Kostas Haratsaris ©

Exploring the Old Town of Xanthi

When you think of the city of Xanthi, two aspects vividly come to mind, the excessive carnival celebrations and the Old Town. The best way I can describe the latter is encapsulated in one word: nostalgia!

The Old Town of Xanthi is an enchanting settlement in the heart of the city that has remained unaffected by time. It is a magnet for visitors, especially on a warm day, filled with colours and aromas. A concoction of picturesque cobbled streets, buildings with evident features of the Ottoman empire once ruling the city, rows of 19th-century houses with dilapidated balconies and throngs of tourists photographing every corner of it. A mixture of Edinburgh’s Circus Lane and Malta’s Mdina, if you like.

We embarked on a tour of the Old Town of Xanthi early on Sunday morning in an attempt to avoid the crowds. Our tour started on El. Venizelou 17 at Grand Maison, the beautiful house where the famous music composer, Manos Hadjidakis, was born and raised.

Built in 1895 by an Austrian architect, this neoclassical mansion with baroque elements belonged to Isaac Daniel, a rich Jew living in Xanthi, and not the Hadjidakis family as most people think.

The building was recently restored under the guidance of Hadjidaki’s relatives to honour his life and work in the best possible way. Nowadays, it serves as a museum and cultural centre open to the public.

It is said that the Holy Church of St. Vlassios facing Grand Maison has been the inspiration behind the artist’s composition of music mixing Byzantine and ancient Greek elements. The basilica was built in 1838 and in the courtyard lies a school and the priest’s residence. The inward-looking style of the three buildings is a common feature in Ottoman structures found in Turkey and Greece. The church courtyard is elevated three meters from the road level so that people can catch sight of it as houses on El. Venizelou were hiding the building.

The tour continued uphill on Agiou Vlassiou street with the mansion of Dr. Constantine Karabetsis on the corner. Built in 1896 by European architects in neoclassical style with a typically enclosed balcony (sachnisi) in the centre the mansion stands out for its aesthetic and character. The painting on the ceiling of the entrance hall was done by the Maltzi brothers, some famous artists from Aivali in Asia Minor (today Ayvalik, Turkey). Unfortunately, like many other buildings in Xanthi’s Old Town, the building is in deer need of restoration but visitors can still see signs of its former glorious life.

We kept walking on Agiou Vlassiou street and went past many neoclassical mansions until we met the magnificent Residences of the Michaloglou family, a complex of four dwellings built in 1890, built by the Northern Epirus tobacco merchant, Ioannis Michaloglou, for his children.

A bit further away on Botsari street lies Muzaffer Bey’s mansion (konah). The building features both Thracian and Ottoman elements making it one of the most remarkable examples of local architecture. It was built during the 1860s with three floors and two wings in the form of the Greek letter Π. Today the building belongs to the Municipality of Xanthi and it is under construction. Back to El. Venizelou street, we found a beautiful house and store built in 1880 by a group of craftsmen from Epirus. The presence of the blue arched windows is something often seen in commercial buildings of the early 20th-century in Xanthi.

Suddenly, we felt famished so we headed towards Antika square for some coffee and nibbles. This scenic square is a meeting point for many locals as it is surrounded by many well-known bars, traditional tavernas and bars. We sat at Favela Chic Art Bar and enjoyed the views of the little square and the crowds of people passing in search of a place to sit and enjoy the day. On the other side of the square is a round symmetrical building that now hosts one of the most famous cafe bars ‘Bread and Chocolate‘. This impressive building was once the harem of the Ottoman ruler Mehmet Pasha!

It was getting dark when we left so with no more time to explore under the daylight, we went for a quick wander around the square shops.

There is so much to do and see in the Old Town of Xanthi, we promised to be back very soon. Hopefully, this will be the time that we will get the full tour of the Old Town as there are still so many more mansions and historic buildings to discover.

Until next time!

Images by Anastasia Fountouli ©

A Guided Trek Tour Through Nestos Gorge

It’s a sunny Sunday and the early morning drive to Nestos riverside is filled with Abba songs, caffeine and excitement. A three-hour hike through Nestos Gorge is definitely something to be excited about! 

River Nestos separates Macedonia from Thrace and flows into the Thracian Sea, in its famous Delta, which is a National Park. According to Greek mythology, Nestos (or Nessos), a name associated with the verb Nasso, was born at the beginning of time -before humans even existed- along with 12,456 rivers and 3,000 Nymphs. His father was Oceanus and his mother was Tethys.

Nestos is divided into two parts- the Nestos Gorge at Toxotes, Xanthi and the Nestos Delta at Chrysoupoli, Kavala. The views of both are quite frankly breathtaking. 

We arrived at the meeting point, Nestos Adventure Park minutes before our guided trek group departed. The route is not a difficult one to follow but seeing as this was our first time, we figured it would be best to book tickets and go with a guided group- “jaywalking” is my middle name after all. 

The sandy beach at the start of the tour, Galani Beach of Nestos, smelled like fresh river water and pine trees, a beautiful scent that set the mood for the rest of the day. We stopped to stare at the children playing on the shores and the adults about to embark on a kayak adventure. ‘This must be fun,” I exclaimed and my husband agreed that this would be next on our list of baby-free weekend activities. 

The path across the river basin of Nestos on which we were currently loping certainly seemed rather narrower than I had been anticipating. But the golden alluvial land and the blue lagoon unfolding views ahead compensated for the lack of it. 

We were only 10 minutes into our walk when we stopped to admire the views of the continual train tunnels- there are around thirty tunnels along the total stretch of the railway built by French engineers during the Ottoman Empire to create a route that connects Thessaloniki to Constantinople for the famous Orient Express train to pass through. The railway line does not operate anymore but these are a reminder of a once-famous train journey connecting not only the West and the East but also Thessaloniki to Alexandroupoli with multiple picturesque villages in between. 

Further down, the path was getting steeper but the views of the river meanders, the rocky gorge and the stunning mountain backdrop made it impossible not to feel humble and realise that this was perhaps one of the best hiking experiences I’ve ever had in my life! Bridges and 19th-century stone-built tunnels formed a setting that few can forget.

A few benevolent stray dogs accompanied us, wagging tails each time lunch-packed sandwiches made their appearance. After an hour we reached the Viewpoint Nestos Gorge and it was then that our guide shouted that we are halfway through the tour. The views from up here are spectacular – from one side you have the best valley and mountain views and from the other side you can see the stretch of the river. Unintentionally, we found ourselves gazing at the deep end of the mountain and experiencing a feeling of inner peace and solitude. 

Even though there are many trek routes to follow, we chose the hiking route Toxotes – Kromniko, which took four hours to complete and get back to the starting point. The path was walkable and ideal for people of all fitness levels and ages. Among the many things we loved was crossing the riparian forest, watching free horses running in the mountain, having lunch outside the abandoned Kromniko train stop and admiring the three main meanders of the river, which, according to Greek mythology, were created while Nestos was looking for his way between the wild slopes of the mountains.

Once we made it back to the car park, we had a much-needed coffee break to gather some energy and loosen the muscle knots in our legs at Canteen Galani by the beach. The rest of the group went on to have a late lunch at the nearby taverna ‘Ta Tempi tou Nestou’ but we left as we had an hour’s drive to make it home. 

This is the kind of weekend activities I want to see myself doing more of in 2022! 

Tip: Dromeas Thrakis organises guided tours take place every two weeks. You can find more information or book your tickets here

Images by Anastasia Fountouli © (Copyright) 

Komotini Like a Local

Born and raised in Servia, a small town set between a lake and the mountains in the region of Kozani, Anastasia Fountouli was drawn to nature, gardening and her family’s vegetable patch. So, it comes as no surprise she went on to study Agricultural Sciences at the University of Thessaly in Volos.

“Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of this experience was that through meeting people from different countries, I was inspired to travel abroad and immerse myself in different civilisations,” says Anastasia who continued her studies in England and later on moved to Scotland for her PhD all while travelling around Europe.

“What began as a fun, one-year adventure, resulted in a life in the UK for a little over a decade. After all this time, I now consider Scotland as my second home,” says Anastasia. 

Once the uncertainty of the pandemic hit, she began to re-evaluate her life, and, “it soon became clear to me that I had to return back to Greece. Once the travel restrictions were lifted, I quit my job, flew to Volos and I found myself in my old flat contemplating what my next step should be. Then, totally unexpectedly and on a night I didn’t even want to go out, I met my now-husband.

 “Our attraction was instant, and our chemistry was so strong we both knew we were made for each other. Saying ‘yes’ to his proposal was the easiest decision I ever made in my life. Once I got pregnant, we decided to move to his city, Komotini and the rest is history. If there is one thing I have learned so far is to take the risk, it’s worth it!”

Since 2007, Anastasia has also been a popular lifestyle blogger, sharing travel, restaurant, and fashion tips with her loyal followers who are inspired by her beautiful images and recommendations. Over the last year, she has shared a lot of stunning photography, footage and information about her new hometown, which she has fallen in love with, and is keen to share with the rest of the world.

We recently had a chat with Anastasia about her new life in Komotini, as well as where to go, what to see and the best places to eat when visiting this pretty town in eastern Thrace.

Firstly, please tell us when you started blogging and more about Natbee’s travels.

Natbee’s is an extension of my childhood habit of journal writing but with a modern twist! It started in 2007 as a way to keep in touch with family and friends and flourished while living abroad. I write about my travels, hotel and restaurant recommendations and, so far, people enjoy following along! Essentially, I am the brand, I photograph everything myself, I write and edit the articles and I come up with the creative side, too. It is a one-woman band but I love it! The blog has constantly evolved as my life was evolving and it was nominated for the ‘Best Newcoming Blog’ award in the 2012 Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, for the ‘Best Fashion Blog’ award in the 2013 Company Magazine Blog Awards and got a spot in the Top 10 Scottish Blogs list. At the same time, I was a travel contributor to The Gaudie newspaper and Trend Aberdeen magazine which persuaded my love for travel writing and photography even more. 

How would you describe your new hometown to those who have never heard of this charming city?

A hub successfully mixing Western and Eastern civilisation; from mosques to Christian churches, tell-tale signs of modern Greece and the Ottoman Empire are all over the city making Komotini’s cityscape and architecture exceptionally unique. Much like London, in Komotini people come from different backgrounds and religions and they live here harmoniously, tasting each other’s cultures through friendship, food, and trade -a thing that I love the most about living here. 

What are the must-see monuments and historical sites of Komotini?

In no particular order, if visiting Komotini, you must visit the Tsanakleios School (that’s the pink building you often see on my Instagram), the Yeni Mosque with its Clock Tower, Ermou Street and the surrounding cobbled streets where the traditional shops belonging to the Greek Muslim minority are tucked away, the ruins of the 4th-century Byzantine wall, the Byzantine fortress of Komotini, the Old Temenos (also known as Eksi Mosque) and last but not least the central square with the adjacent park that features The Central Heroon, Spathi, a monument dedicated to the fallen WWII heroes.

What would you recommend for cultural and leisurely experiences in Komotini?

Komotini is known for its large number of museums making the city a meeting point for history aficionados. The Constantine Carathéodory Museum tells the life story of the man who is known as Einstein’s mathematician, the Archaeological Museum exhibits pieces from the Neolithic to the Byzantine period and reveals much about the prehistory and history of the Aegean Thrace and Komotini; and the Folklore Museum displays a collection of ecclesiastic items, traditional dresses and various materials. There is something for everyone’s taste really! If, however, escaping the crowds is your thing, there are also beaches with fine sand to visit in less than half an hour’s drive away. Located just outside the city, Mesi Beach and Fanari are two of my favourites. The stretch of sand of Mesi beach would make many Greek islands jealous: it goes for a mile and on a sunny day, the azure waters make it impossible to resist a swim. Fanari Beach runs down from the port of Fanari village up to the nearby village of Arogi. In summer it is a top tourist attraction and it has a handful of bars and restaurants to sit and relax when the heat gets too much.

Favourite restaurants and cafes?

Visiting Komotini is like going on a gastronomical pilgrimage! Visitors can enjoy Greek coffee at cafes hosted in old buildings, ‘Varosi Art Cafe’, ‘Gecko’ and ‘Lou.Ki’ are just a few of them. As for food, try the local cuisine at ‘Kapsouli’ and ‘Elia kai Duosmos’. Then for dessert, there is ‘Nedim’, possibly the most famous patisserie in the city that has a sterling reputation for its Turkish desserts.

Any local dishes or delicacies visitors should try?

I’d definitely go for Bougatsa at ‘Takis’, Lahmacun at ‘King Food’ and Kazandibi at ‘Nedim’.

Your favourite day trip(s) from Komotini?

Situated between the beautiful cities of Xanthi and Alexandroupoli, the sandy beaches on the south and the mountain of Nymfaia just a short drive away, we are spoiled for choice! My favourite day trip would include a drive to the city of Xanthi for a wander around the Old City and a spot of shopping. Then, on my way back I would go through Porto Lagos, have a quick stop at the Monastery of Saint Nicholas and end up at Fanari village for a cocktail at the beach just before the sunset.

What do you love most about living here?

The friendly people and its long cycle lane going through the city centre. It makes mobility for a new mum with a buggy so much easier. 

A few of your overall favourite destinations in Greece?

The magical land of Crete has to be on the very top of my list -the history, the people and the food make this island irresistibly attractive. Santorini and Corfu are next. Santorini for its magical sunsets, white-washed houses with blue-painted doors and abundance of wineries, and Corfu for its Venetian vibes, colourful cobbled streets and luxury hotels. But Greece is not all about the islands as the mainland has, too, so much to offer and even more. I have a soft spot for Macedonia as it has a strong history and a lavishness of things to do and places to visit comprising of mountains, lakes and beaches. It is no surprise that the saying ‘like Halkidiki nowhere’ has been posted all over Instagram over the past decade as the crystal-clear waters and evergreen beaches of this part of Macedonia make this place unmissable.

You recently became a mum. Are there any places you can’t wait to visit with your baby girl? 

My list is never-ending! Be it the travel restrictions, or my new, tiring role, there hasn’t been a time that I have dreamed of travelling more than now. This pent-up wanderlust has created that compulsion to write meticulous travel itineraries which I am hoping we will go on the soonest as possible. One of them includes a Balkan road trip where we will be visiting Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro. Fingers crossed we make it happen.

Discover more about Natbee’s travels and Komotini here.

Images by Anastasia Fountouli ©

Kavala’s Historical and Luxurious Hotel

Set in a stunning location within a historical monument that was built in the 19th Century, Imaret in Kavala is a luxurious hotel that blends original Ottoman architecture with modern grandeur and is considered one of the most exclusive hotels in Greece.

Originally built in 1817 as a school, gifted from Muhammad Ali Pasha (governor of Egypt) to the town of Kavala (his birthplace)- in 2005 it was beautifully restored with all the modern comforts- and has become a stunning hideaway, overlooking the town’s port.

From the moment guests arrive, they are treated to first-class services and made to feel right at home- with friendly hosts ensuring they enjoy the tranquility and serenity that surrounds them. 


With views of the Gulf of Kavala, Imaret is around a five-minute walk from the ancient Castle of Kavala and is located up a steep road fronting onto the sea, boasting stunning views over the bay and bright city lights. Kavala, Northern Greece is around a 1.5-hour drive from Thessaloniki and is a city filled with rich history and beautiful surroundings. 

Style & Feel

Uniquely designed and decorated, this high-end hotel has a palatial feel and features domed ceilings, and fountains surrounding a small swimming pool that graces an inner courtyard. There’s around 3,000 sqm of internal flora and marble arcades, reflecting the charm of the original Islamic gardens. Due to its character and authentic architectural style, Imaret is the ideal getaway for guests seeking peace, seclusion, and privacy.


Rooms and suites lie beneath the graceful domes of the original construction, surrounding inner gardens and marble arcades reflecting the charm of an original Islamic yard. Each bedroom has its own character that transports guests into another era with sculptured fireplaces, luxurious chandeliers, vaulted high ceilings, and the warmth of Persian rugs on the floor. 

Food & Drinks

In the evening, Imaret’s superb fine dining menu is complemented by an impressive wine list. Guests can enjoy beautifully prepared meals on the private terrace, whilst admiring stunning views of Kavala and the sea. The fresh ingredients and rich flavours of Anatolian cuisine are curated from 200 neighbouring monastery and family recipes with fresh salads and seasonal desserts served at the place of your choosing. There is also a glamorous bar that features a library with a wide selection of history books, which sets an arty scene for guests to enjoy their drink of choice.


On-site is an upscale restaurant, a sophisticated glass-enclosed cocktail bar, gardens and a terrace. A luxe spa features an original hammam and an impressive wellbeing centre that offers treatments with relaxation benefits. Sounds and scents interact to help restore harmony to body and spirit. 

Ideal for…

Imaret is the ideal getaway for guests seeking peace, seclusion, privacy, quality service and strict hygiene. It’s the perfect place for a romantic escape, a cultural journey, or anyone for a place that offers space for complete rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. 

Facilities & Services

  • Spa & massages
  • Pool
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Wifi
  • Free toiletries
  • Minibar
  • Free Parking
  • Room Service
  • Laundry service
  • Tailoring service

Highlights of Metsovo

Nestled within the Pindos mountain range at an altitude of 1,200m, the charming town of Metsovo is set at the ‘crossroads’ of Epirus, Thessaly, and Western Macedonia.

Built like an amphitheatre, it boasts a collection of traditional houses with tile roofs and wooden porches, as well as grand mansions that are nestled between lush greenery. The town flourished in the 18th and 19th Centuries and ever since was supported by a local
benefactor and politician Evangelos Averoff, who created a foundation to fund local crafts, cheesemaking, and winemaking. Indeed, Metsovo is known as a capital place to find excellent cheese in all varieties, the most famed of all from the region being the smoky, toffee-coloured PDO Metsovone.

Insights Greece - Highlights of Metsovo

Top Things To Do

-Explore the town – stroll along cobblestone streets and sip coffee in Agia Paraskevi square, admire the traditional architecture and visit the Averoff Museum, Aghios Nikolaos Monastery, and the Folk Art Museum.

-In early spring or late Autumn especially visit the man-made Aoos Springs Lake.

-Southeast of that is the high Katara Pass (5km northeast of Metsovo) where you can challenge yourself in a climb or hike and admire stunning vistas.

Insights Greece - Highlights of Metsovo

Best Places To Eat

-Visit Galaxias, which serves good regional cuisine and is located in the main square of Metsovo. We recommend you try the homemade pites (pies), traditional kontosouvli, as well as handmade local pasta.

To Koutouki Tou Nikola serves simple yet delicious local fare, from meats and mezedes to grilled saganaki cheeses and hand-cut chips in a cozy ambiance.

-No-frills in terms of its appearance, Aspasia’s (20 minutes from Metsovo) honey cuisine has character and packs a punch in flavour. Local meats, cheeses, and wines are served up in well-sized and affordable portions.

Don’t leave Metsovo without trying: Agiorgitiko wine at the Averoff Winery and Hotel, and cheeses such as gyalotyri, Metsovone, graviera, and goat’s cheese. Hard cheeses travel well and can be bought at I Pygi or the Tositsa Foundation Cheese Factory.

Glimpses of Beautiful Grevena

You’ll find mushrooms, mammoths, and a gorgeous warm valley in and around this wonderful western Macedonian town.

Officially designated the City of Mushrooms in 2007, because of the 2000 varieties of mushrooms that grow here, Grevena’s entrance is decorated with a giant statue of a hand full of the flavoursome fungus, and there are also restaurants dedicated to the variable ingredient. The Vasilitsa Ski Resort in the Pindos mountain range is another reason visitors flock here during winter, while year-round visitors can enjoy the outdoor adventures- and incredible beauty of the Valia Calda national park, one of Greece’s most impressive.

Insights Greece - Glimpses of Beautiful Grevena

Top things to do 

– Visit the Mushroom Museum in Lavda village to feast on photographs, audiovisual materials, illustrations, and sculptures inspired by the area’s mushroom culture.

-Explore the Valia Calda, famed for its astounding biodiversity, with a multitude of bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species inhabiting thick beech and black pine forests and alpine meadows (that in spring blossom with 18 types of orchids!).

-Meet a 12-ton Mammoth skeleton at the Milia Municipality’s Natural History Museum – the mysterious creature lived in the region two millennia ago and international fans held a conference here a few years ago.

– During summer, the Greek Mushroom Festival takes place here, which is one of the biggest Mushroom festivals in Europe and attracts visitors from all over the globe. 

-At Eleftherias Square visit the stone clock tower, known as Plateia Rologiou, and Aimilianou Square is where you will find all the locals gather.

-Visit the Municipal Central Library located by the river where you will find discover a lot about the region’s history.

-Drive to nearby Mastorohoria, on the border of Kozani, a charming traditional settlement with stone-built homes and arched bridges. Sit down at one of the Karelia and enjoy a traditional Greek coffee. 

Grevena mushrooms

Best places to eat

-Sworn mushroom-lovers always stop at cozy Avlais, where the star ingredient can be enjoyed in endless traditional and inventive renditions. 

-Mushrooms are also honoured at Perdika, where the menu also offers plenty of meat options like wild boar stew and grilled meat platters.

-If you have a sweet tooth don’t miss out on Achilleas’ Bougatsa and for coffee or cocktails head to Fuit Art Cafe.  

Don’t leave Evrytania without trying: Manitaroproinda Grevenon sells everything you can conceive of related to mushrooms – from liqueurs and cooking powders to desiccated mushrooms and truffle oils. 

Getting there

From Athens, drive west along the Olympia, Ionia, and Egnatia motorways, it’s around a five-hour drive. From Thessaloniki, it’s around 180 km and it’s roughly a one-and-a-half-hour drive. 

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Veria


If you are looking to visit a beautiful town in Greece, that is bursting with rich history, culture, museums, archaeological sites, as well as charming cafes, quaint villages and amazing food, look no further than Veria. 

This vibrant city has plenty of great spots to eat, drink and play and here is our list of the best Veria has to offer

By Eleni Orfanidou 

Most charming villages of Veria

There are many beautiful villages to explore and the most famous is Makrochori where you can experience many local customs. Rachia is also worth a visit and make sure you go to the famous tavern Palio Podilato, and Kastania where the well-known church of Panagia Soumela is located- here you will get a true sense of Pontian culture, especially during the festivals like the 15th of August, where you will get to see traditional Pontian dance and live music take place.

Locals favourite spot

Locals mainly head to the area of ​​Elia. Here there are plenty of lovely parks and cafes where you can sit, relax and enjoy your coffee and a dessert. 

Places to eat 

For some classic Greek style taverns that serve great traditional dishes head to Veriotiko, Ap Allou, Mavro Provato, Tria Skalopatia and Platanos- most have outdoor seating areas- ideal for alfresco dining. If you are looking for some casual spots, I would suggest  Stasou Migdala, Kroko and Bairaki. For pizza I recommend La Primavera and Bistro 49. And for fine dining make your away to 12 Grada that offers a gourmet menu.

Insights Greece - Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Veria

Local dishes/delicacies to try 

The local cuisine of Veria includes many meat dishes, such as pork with celery or leek, Sarmades, meatballs, which in the local dialect are also called “barbouria”, and locally produced meats from the forests of Vermio. There also also many traditional pies with hard crust pastry filled with leek, cheese or herbs and the salty ‘batzo’, which is a type of cheese. One of the most famous delicacies of the area is fasoulotavas or fasoulontavas, which is a type of bean. 

Sweets of Veria

The traditional sweet of the city is the revani that is available in almost all pastry stores of Veria, and the famous loukoumades. Of course, the revani of Xoxliourou is the most famous and has been around since 1886. Many visitors from all around Greece make their way here just to try this much-loved dessert. Another traditional syrupy dessert of Veria is babathakia or babathes, which is a syrupy sponge filled with fresh cream.

For the best desserts head to Kriara, Pagouras and Lido (with the wonderful profiteroles) and for some great gelato you should visit Tzepo- they are located in the city centre.

Insights Greece - Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Veria

Best cafes

When it comes to coffee, locals tend to head to the neighbourhood of Agora and sit at one of the many cafes such as Kivotos, O Kochlias, or Bıstro. You can also head to the area of Elia and enjoy a Freddo or Greek coffee at the all day cafes/bars Lounge, Coin, or Mall.

For a night out 

If you are looking for a good night out, you should know that different venues are open in winter and summer. If you visit during the winter head to the pedestrian street of Veria and if you would like to listen to some Greek music I recommend bars such as Spiti, O Afros and Public. If you prefer alternative music head to Stop Fourno while for foreign rock you will go to La Grange. You should also know on Fridays and Saturdays many taverns offer live music. 

Things to see & do

Insights Greece - Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Veria

The Arts Hall and Stegi. These are places where theatrical, dance performances, conferences and all kinds of events take place. The newly built Conference Center of Veria combines modern architecture and an innovative design. The interior is perfectly shaped into two large amphitheaters.

-The large open theatre Melina Mercouri is located in the Papagou Grove. The theatre hosts many musical and theatrical performances. It is open in summer only. 

-The presence of green is visible everywhere in Veria, either thanks to nature or to people. The river Tripotamos crosses the western part of the city and you can walk over the bridge and its riverbed.

-The central square of the city, Elia, was rightly named “balcony of Veria” since it is located on a slope, on the borders of the center of Veria and the surrounding area. It features various cafes and restaurants as well as a fountain in the main square.

Neighbourhoods to visit 

-Areas such as Roloi, Barbuta, Elia, Gipedo, Prometheus and Tsermeni are the best neighbourhoods to check out for some local architecture and to get a real feel for the town.

-Barbuta is the Jewish quarter, dating back to Roman times (50 AD) and owes its name to a fountain in the area, which is still preserved today. It is located northwest on the city map, next to the river Tripotamos. It originally served as a small Jewish community, in the late 15th century AD.

Insights Greece - Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Veria

-Images from the history of the city during the 18th century are brought to life by the Christian district of Kyriotissa, with its narrow streets, stone alleyways and the roofs of the houses that seem to touch each other. Behind the high courtyards and next to the alleys, small stone churches emerge. The district has many Christian and Byzantine churches. Kyriotissa follows the architectural style of Barbuta with many of the listed houses having been restored and converted into places of recreation and entertainment.


Most stores that sell local and international brands are located in the centre, in what is known as the “Agora” area in the heart of the city. Here you can find a range of clothing, footwear, jewellery, book stores and homewares. 

Where to stay

Most hotels are located in Elia and Barbuta. For some traditional hospitality and design check out Kokkino Spiti and Veritas, or for more modern hotels we recommend Olganos and Veria Suites.  

Insider tips… 

Insights Greece - Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Veria

-The city became even more famous last year as much of the filming of a popular Greek TV series took place in the city of Veria, mainly in the area of ​​Barbuta.

-Due to Vermio, which is a verdant mountain with many springs, the city has the advantage of having rich water resources. In fact, a characteristic element of Veria, which is rarely found in other cities in Greece, is the many public fountains with cold water that run 24 hours a day. These are usually built of red brick and are scattered in every corner of the city! 

*Eleni Orfanidou is a school teacher who was born and raised in Veria and is very proud of the local traditions, culture and history of her home town. 

Cover Image @kokkino spiti

Cruise to Halkidiki’s Secret Island

Those of you who travel frequently to Halkidiki, surely have heard of Diaporos, a small island opposite the village of Vourvourou, where the beaches boast crystal clear turquoise waters. 

By Maria Athanasopoulou 

The beauty of the Diaporos and the surrounding tiny islands is a local secret that is shared only with those who often visit the area of Vourvourou for their summer getaways. This is an area that can only be experienced by boat, and those who do so, do not regret it.

In fact, in recent years, boat rental companies have increased their activity to Vourvourou, since the interest of visitors has increased every year, as many tourists want to see up close the beautiful small islands of the area. 

Last year, we decided to take a daily cruise in the waters of the Diaporos, and imagine our joy when we learned we can in fact rent a boat for the entire day, that does not require a skipper! So, we started very early in the morning, departing from Thessaloniki and in about an hour and a half, arrived at the boat rental company we had chosen, in Vourvourou!

Insights Greece - Cruise to Halkidiki's Secret Island

Initially, the manager showed us the basics and we went for a short walk to steer the boat in front of him (we were two families with one boat each and two aspiring drivers for each boat). The boat had a 30-horsepower engine and was really easy to drive, as long as you realise that this is not a toy and you do not need to go too fast. We must respect others in the water, the environment and always be careful when driving!

After the boat’s demonstration was over, we loaded our belongings and our all-day cruise in the waters of the diaspora began! First of all, for those who want to have a comfortable experience, make sure you have with you your hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Also, be prepared that when you are on a boat for many hours it will be somewhat different from when you are on the ground. You will be spending a lot of time in the water so if you get seasick, it may be an idea to be prepared for hours in the sea. 

Our first stop was at a beach of Diaporos, with green shallow waters, which was amazing! Since we also had small children with us, a shallow beach was the appropriate solution, especially since the children could get on and off safely from the boat and enjoy the sea! We stayed there for almost four hours, enjoying the pristine waters of the Diaporos island and the experience of getting to remote beaches. 

Insights Greece - Cruise to Halkidiki's Secret Island

We enjoyed the sea and some lunch, which we had prepared (the portable refrigerator with snacks, ice water, soft drinks, coffee, etc. is necessary when you are on a boat all day and visiting pristine beaches that are not organised and have no taverns or beach bars). We boarded the boat again and for about four hours we toured all the area, seeing as many beaches as we could and admiring the natural beauty of this area. We dropped anchor wherever took our fancy and dived into the green waters. We swam in gorgeous places, took many photos, captured short videos and made memories as we enjoyed riding the boat at sea! 

It was an unprecedented experience for all. A unique way of seeing many places that we would not have been able to get to without a private boat. After that, we decided that every summer from now on, we will rent a small boat, so that we can visit other places with unspoiled natural beauty- that aren’t very crowded!

Check out the Diaporos Island here 

Our recommended boat rental here 

Maria Athanasopoulou is the founder of the tourism marketing company Respond On Demand. She is also the founder of the non-profit urban company Top Tourism. She serves as the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the World Food Travel Association and she is also a Master Culinary Travel Professional. She serves as an ambassador of the World Gourmet Society in Greece and Cyprus, and she also serves as an ambassador of Green Destinations. She has given seminars for tourism professionals, as well as many speeches and presentations on tourism issues, in events in Greece and abroad. She is also a Sustainable Tourism marketing expert.

Grilled Red Peppers Recipe 

Red peppers are used in various Greek dishes and although this recipe is simple it is extremely flavoursome. Having originated in Florina, Macedonia, where this popular pepper is cultivated, you can also dry and pickle peppers and keep them stored in jars for months. 

  • 1 kilo red sweet peppers
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste
  • wine vinegar to taste 
  • Wash and dry peppers. 
  • Drizzle peppers with olive oil and place them on paper lined baking tray in the oven at high temperature (around 200 degrees Celsius) until their skins start turning black. Turn over and repeat on other side. 
  • Place the roasted peppers in a plastic bag and seal for around 10- 15 minutes and allow them to sweat. 
  • Open the bag and peel. Remove and discard the skin and seeds from inside. 
  • Allow to cool and then add salt, pepper, and garlic. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil before adding a splash of wine vinegar.

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

Relax and Unwind at Loutraki Pozar Thermal Springs

If you are searching for a unique healing destination where you can unwind and let your body, mind, and soul relax, Loutraki Pozar thermal baths in the Pella district of northern Greece offers the perfect escape. 

The majestic thermal springs complex features 48 individual baths, 6 indoor pools, an Olympic-size outdoor pool, two outdoor waterfall pools with a temperature of 37 °C, indoor private baths, hammams, four new hydrotherapy pools, massage and spa services, as well as jacuzzis. 

Insights Greece - Relax and Unwind at Loutraki Pozar Thermal Springs

Recommended for those with muscular aches and pains as well as other ailments, the Pozar hot springs are beneficial for overall wellbeing, either by bathing in them, or drinking their water. 

Pozar’s water contains elements proven to help ease many physical discomforts as it includes ideal levels of sodium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and fluoride to help replenish and restore muscles. 

Originally named Loutraki Aridaias, the springs are located 110 km from Thessaloniki and 40 km from Edessa, the capital of Pella, one of the loveliest cities in Greece- making it a great spot to explore. 

After relaxing in the hot springs you are able to enjoy some adventurous activities including climbing and mountaineering, as well as hiking at the nearby Dark Forest, known as one of the most beautiful and lush forests in the country. If you are visiting during winter you can also ski at Kaimaktsalan ski resort, which is also great for snowboarding. 

Insights Greece - Relax and Unwind at Loutraki Pozar Thermal Springs

When it comes time to eat, make sure you try the fish at the local taverns, which feature the catch of the day from Vegorítida Lake and meat lovers will rejoice in the wide variety on offer. And don’t miss the nearby town of Amyntaio where there are plenty of surrounding wineries; we suggest you try the famous ‘xinomavro’ and pink champagne. 

Getting there

You can drive to Loutraki Polar from Thessaloniki, which is 110km and takes around two hours or an hour’s drive from Edessa. 

Opening Hours 

The Polar Thermal Springs are open from 8 am until late in the evening.

Monday through to Thursday, the waterfall pools close at around 10 pm. While Friday to Sunday, the waterfall pools close at 2 am.

The outdoor Olympic-sized pool is open from 8 am to 9 pm in winter, and 8 am to 10 pm in summer.

A: Aridaia 584 00, Greece