Mini Guide to Volos

Volos is an ideal destination all year round- whether it’s for a weekend getaway or a few day’s stay! 

One of the largest and most modern cities in Greece, Volos is one of the most important ports in the country, located in central Greece (320 km north of Athens and 219 km south of Thessaloniki). A natural harbour in the Pagasetic Gulf and steps away from Mount Pelion, here you will be surrounded by the mountain and the sea all at once- as it’s right between the sea of the Pagasetic Gulf and Pelion Mountain.

What to See & Do

-The sea creates a fabulously long coastline boasting some of the city’s finest taverns, tsipouradika, serving the traditional “tsipouro” aperitif and special seafood appetizers, or “meze”. Make sure you try the local delicacies and dishes of the area. 

Insights Greece - Mini Guide to Volos

-The pedestrianised waterfront Argonaut Road, with the passenger port at its west end and the impressive view of the sea and tree-covered hill of Pefkakia, it’s the most popular meeting spot for locals. Starting from the port, take a stroll by the wonderful seaside promenade lined with cafés, bars, and shops and discover the many neoclassical buildings. 

-Explore the building of the University of Thessaly, which was originally a warehouse of the Papastratos Tobacco Company.

-Walk along the entire length of the Kordoni, which allows you to get a different view of the city.  

-Visit the Church of Agios Konstantinos and Eleni and the adjacent Saint Constantine Park.

– Explore the Tsalapatis multi-space complex, where the 1920s Brickworks Museum is located, together with the contemporary LabArt space where performances and art exhibitions are presented. Fascinating for children and adults alike, the Tsalapatas Museum is a rare example of a surviving industrial complex in Greece. The museum is housed in a former roof tile and brickworks factory and it aims to showcase the industrial heritage of the city of Volos.

Insights Greece - Mini Guide to Volos

-See Neolithic and Palaeolithic artifacts in Greece’s oldest museum, the Athanasakio Archaeological Museum, built in 1905.

– View the impressive architecture at the Bank of Athens and the Volos Railways Station.

-Spend time at The Palia district which is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Volos. In the evening, the area is the most vibrant place to be in the city with locals staying up until late at its tasteful and top quality bars and restaurants.

Best places to eat

-For traditional tavern-style food head to: Tampakis, Bokos, To Filaraki and Kritamo.

MeZen, here you can taste amazing Greek meze with a gourmet touch, accompanied by an endless list of labels and preparations of tsipouro.

To Pirounaki is a quaint eatery with natural lighting and a creative menu inspired by local ingredients and global delicacies.

Make sure you try …

Insights Greece - Mini Guide to Volos

-The city of Volos boasts the best peynirli (pide) in Greece and you can try it at many shops across the city. According to locals, you will find the best peynirli at Rainbow on Iasonos.

-Have dessert at Café Mineravas. The historical café at the promenade first opened its doors in 1935. Ever since then it has been known as the classic spot to have traditional Greek coffee. 

Do as locals do… and explore the city on a bicycle. Pelion Scout and other organisations have mapped out a scenic three-hour ride around the city. 

How to get there & around 

Volos lies about 330km north of Athens and 210km south of Thessaloniki. Buses connect Volos to both cities as well as many other destinations. Volos also has an international airport and is also connected to many European cities including direct flights from London and Amsterdam. 

Once in Volos, you can get to most or all of the places we include in this itinerary by means of public transport. However, keep in mind that buses don’t run frequently on all routes so this could mess up your schedule big time. The best way to explore Volos is by car. 

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.

How to be a Sustainable Traveller in Greece

Over recent years people have become more interested in sustainable tourism. Many of us have already tried to reduce (as much as possible) our negative imprint on the environment during our stay in another country; and this is becoming more important than ever. 

As we all navigate through what will be a new way of travelling, Greek tourism and travel expert Maria Athanasopoulou shares her tips on how we can become more sustainable tourists during our next visit to Greece. 

By Maria Athanasopoulou

To be a sustainable tourist, you need to travel, stay, eat and have fun at places that implement sustainable practices. You also need to try to give back as much as possible to the local community you are visiting; as well as ensuring you respect the locals, their culture, and customs.

Let us not forget that when we travel, we always become guests. And guests should always respect their host.

Sustainable tourism is a philosophy and a way of life, which is not difficult to adopt. I believe it will not take us long to get used to this idea and it will hopefully become easier to see the positive aspect as we give back to our environment, to the people, and to the places we visit. 

Greece is a country where sustainable practices have been constantly evolving and in recent years many food and tourism companies have invested their time and money to sustainable tourism.

Here are some tips on what we, individuals can do to be responsible – ethical and sustainable – tourists in Greece.

1Pay attention to the way you move, while you are at your destination.

Insights Greece - How to be a Sustainable Traveller in Greece

 Opt to walk where possible, or cycle where you can instead of driving. Otherwise, let us not forget the means of public transport.

An example is your movement while vacationing on one of the Greek islands. Usually, the distances to the capitals but also to the villages of the Greek islands and the mainland, are not far.

So, you will have the opportunity to move on foot and get to know the place much better. One of my favourites is the promenade walk in the capital of Mykonos, from the new port to the windmills. Also, a walk in the old port of Chania, or a walk on the promenade of Thessaloniki is always a good idea! Wherever you are, you can walk to your destination and see many hidden sights as you go. 

2. Choose carefully where you stay

Many hotels and hostels in Greece have started to implement sustainable practices. Wherever you travel in Greece, you will have a choice regarding sustainable accommodation.

Even if you choose to stay in a big city like Athens or Thessaloniki, you will definitely find a hotel that applies energy-saving practices, uses local products for the food they serve, has local vendors, local staff, etc. All these are sustainable practices and it is important to financially support the businesses who are trying to implement them.

For example, in northern Greece, in beautiful Halkidiki, you will find Nine Muses Studios, next to one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, Kalamitsi. The accommodation is located in nature, while the owners support sustainable tourism in many ways. Serving breakfast using excellent local products, supporting Greek wine and Greek beer producers, making sure they are reducing food waste, recycling, etc.

You will find such accommodations with similar action everywhere in Greece and there is a great range of hotels that are on board, so you will definitely find one that suits your taste and budget.

3. Eat locally

Insights Greece - How to be a Sustainable Traveller in Greece

During your vacation, try to taste the authentic recipes of the region you visit. In Greece, wherever you travel, you will find restaurants that cook with fresh and organic local ingredients, and the dishes are of great variety and quality.  This way, you support the local producers, but also the owners of the restaurants that support traditional Greek gastronomy.

For example, in Kalamata, the restaurant “Ta Rolla”, has already started to implement many sustainable practices, such as using local authentic products in all their dishes, offering food that is leftover every day to groups of people who need it, etc. In “Rolla” you can choose what to eat from a wide variety of local recipes and drinks.

4. Respect the environment

Wherever you are in Greece, you will no doubt have a great time. While you enjoy your holidays, show your respect towards Greek nature and the Greek cities, with your daily behaviour. Avoid reckless use of natural energy sources, avoid using plastic, avoid using a car even for your short transfers, in general, try to burden the environment as little as possible.

5. Support the local communities

Buy gifts and items from small local shops. You will have better service, better prices and this way, you will financially support the local community of the place you visit. Shopping is a first-class opportunity to meet the locals, to chat with them, and through this communication you can discover the special identity of each place.

6. Become one with nature

No matter what destination you decide to visit in Greece, try spending a day in an area with activities that bring you close to nature; such as bird watching, swimming in a lake, hiking in nature, etc. There are gorges of exceptional beauty in Greece such as Samaria in Crete and Vikos in Epirus, places where one can indulge in bird watching such as Dadia in Thrace or Lake Kerkini. Look for places where you can go horseback riding, or get to know one of the mythical rivers of Greece such as Acheron in Epirus or Ladonas in the Peloponnese.

Greece is an ideal holiday destination for millions of people around the world. It has imposing monuments, beautiful nature and most of all, hospitable people. Visit Greece as often as you can, and show the country and its people your love!

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.

Cover image Nine Muses Studios 

21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021

Greece has become increasingly sought-after by travellers around the world. It is said to be one of the first places people want to visit as soon as they are able to book a holiday—and it’s easy to see why.

One of the world’s most beautiful countries, Greece has the stunning Aegean Sea, magical sunsets, lush mountains, and rich cuisine that caters to everyone’s palate. Here, we take you on a visual tour of the country’s best sites, from breathtaking isles to small charming villages- we reveal why it’s so appealing to visit! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
            A tiny village on Tinos island | Image @Labettarosa

Greek Islands: Greece has 6000 islands in total and 227 of those are inhabited. From the Ionian to the Dodecanese, each has its own unique beauty, making it hard to choose which one to explore next! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
  A tiny village on Tinos island | Image @Labettarosa

Charming Villages: The Greek islands aren’t only about beaches and sunsets. Endearing little villages reveal so much about Greek history and culture and are well worth a visit. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                 Athens’ National and Kapodistrian University

Athens: The Greek capital is dominated by striking 5th-century BC landmarks and while you are there make sure to check out the outstanding neoclassical building at Athens Kapodistrian University. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
            Chic cafe in Thessaloniki | Image @urban_wanders

Thessaloniki: Greece’s co-capital is known as the centre of Greek gastronomy. Spend some time here trying the local dishes and delicacies; and enjoy long coffee breaks at one of its many cool cafes. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
          Olive oil gelato | Image @the_greek_olive

Delicious Desserts: Those with a sweet tooth will be more than satisfied with the range of desserts on offer. From classic Galaktoboureko and Bougatsa to more modern treats like olive oil gelato, you won’t be disappointed!  

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
            Fresh lunch | Image @melisses.andros

Fresh Produce: Simplicity is the key to Greek gastronomy and there is always a wide range of seasonal foods to savour. Without a doubt the best place to head to is the local taverna, where they serve up authentic dishes using fresh produce. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
              Modern Greek house designs | Image @homadhome

Amazing Architecture: Classical Greek architecture is famous for its intricate detail, symmetry, harmony, and balance. Greece’s current architects are also leading the way with award-winning designs in both residential and commercial properties that combine old-world charm with a modern chic look. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
         Discover the Ancient Theatre Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Archaeological Sites: From Olympia and Delphi to the Temple of Apollo and the Acropolis, there are so many historically important sites of Ancient Greece to explore. Also add the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus as a must-see attraction to your list, as it’s considered one of the best open-air theatres in the world.

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                   Stylish ceramics | Image @kerameio.serifos

Chic Ceramics: If you want to take a piece of Greece home with you, we recommend sourcing a few stunning ceramic items that are handmade by talented local artisans. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                 Ftelia Beach Bar in Mykonos

Best Beach Bars: Greece is known for its buzzing island life. And if sitting by turquoise waters (day & night) in your designer bathing suit (with a glass of Prosecco in hand) listening to the latest dance tracks sounds appealing- Mykonos is calling your name! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
          Sarakiniko Beach in Milos | Image @itsnedkelly

Breathtaking Beaches: Choosing the country’s best beaches is a tough one as Greece is filled with stunning waters. And while all visitors no doubt have personal preferences as to what makes a Greek beach perfect, there’s no denying there are hundreds of great ones to choose from! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                                            Vorres Museum

Magnificent Museums: Wandering through the numerous museums around the country brings everything about Greek antiquity to life. From grand-scale monuments to simple items of everyday life, the exhibits are filled with endless treasures

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
            5-Star Luxury Hotel in Crete | Image @minosarthotel

Greek Island Hotels: Boasting majestic views and 5-star facilities & services, these pretty hotels are designed to appeal to those in search of a slice of Greek island life. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
               Volcanic Slopes Vineyards Winery in Santorini

Greek Vineyards: Wine lovers rejoice! Age-old techniques are producing distinctive wines from its resilient grapes and Greece’s beautiful Santorini island is most famously known for its indigenous white grape varieties Assyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
              Church in Ano Syros | Image @silversurferberlin

Holy & Spiritual Sites: Found by the sea or perched on a mountain top, the monasteries, churches and chapels in Greece are of unique beauty and a familiar feature of the country’s landscapes. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
            Classic Greek jewellery | Image @inukoo

Stunning Jewellery: If you are looking for a statement piece make sure you visit one of the many local jewellers who use traditional techniques to create stunning one-off pieces that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the world.  

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
         Panigiri in Astypalaia | Image @rizesmas

Local Festivities: To truly immerse yourself in Greek culture it’s a great idea to attend a local Panigiri (festival) where you can taste authentic dishes, try house wines and enjoy local music and dancing- everyone is invited to join! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
             Village in Monemvasia | Image @kasetophono

Magical Mainland: Greece is starting to become an all-year-round destination and some of the places we love to visit during autumn and winter are Monemvasia, Nafplio, Meteora, Zagori and Veria

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
Fig & watermelon salad | Image @thecraftyhostess

Lush Fruit: Greece’s great climate is ideal for producing flavoursome fruit and if you are there during the right season trying locally grown watermelon and figs is an absolute must! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                    Pyrgos in Santorini | Image @lavienblog

Whitewashed Houses: The first thing that catches your eye when you step foot on the Cycladic islands is the whitewashed houses, that blend in beautifully with the light blue sky and the vast Aegean Sea. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                                        Breathtaking views

Mesmerising Sunsets: Greece has always been known for having some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world and even if you are not in Santorini, you will still be captivated by the sheer prettiness of a Greek sunset.  

*Main image of Folegandros Island captured by IN+SIGHTS GREECE Senior Writer Polina Paraskevopoulou © (Copyright) Lavien Blog  

Step Inside This Stylish Apartment in Thessaloniki 

How can timeless architecture unite in harmony with modern aesthetics? Leading Greek design studio Urban Soul Project shows us how beautifully this can be done with their stunning makeover of an apartment located in a listed 1930s deco building in downtown Thessaloniki.

The result is a sleek, elegant, unpretentious, and, above all, easy living apartment that gives us serious design envy. 

Insights Greece - Step Inside This Stylish Apartment in Thessaloniki 

From the moment you step inside the chic wooden double door you are presented with “a mix of old-world charm and urban cool”. By bringing these styles together, the designers were able to create a wondrous space that redefines traditional architecture.

All spaces are open to the front view and unified in a square room, with the living and dining room and master bedroom all connected. The master bathroom is located centrally and opens up through a glass curved wall featuring a fixed glass curtain for when privacy is required.

Insights Greece - Step Inside This Stylish Apartment in Thessaloniki 

The finishes in the bathroom include green marble from Tinos, which is displayed on both the bench space and on the floor.

Materials throughout the space include mixed green, black and light green terrazzo tile, oak wood floors, as well as white woven reed incorporated in the lacquer doors and closets. Brass details are also featured on doorknobs, light fixtures and floor finishings.Insights Greece - Step Inside This Stylish Apartment in Thessaloniki The curved glass curtain opens towards the entrance, where there is extra storage space, as well as access to the kitchen and the guest toilet. 

Insights Greece - Step Inside This Stylish Apartment in Thessaloniki The final effect is both stylish and serene, with the entire space being transformed into an inviting and airy home. 

Insights Greece - Step Inside This Stylish Apartment in Thessaloniki 

Photo Credits: Kimberley Powell

Architects and Designers: Urban Soul Project 

Greek Grilled Corn on the Cob

In all regions of Greece, you’ll find street vendors selling grilled sweet corn brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt- it is by far one of the country’s favourite street foods! 

If you would like to try your hands at cooking corn the Greek way, it’s good to know how to choose the freshest and tastiest corn.

Insights Greece - Greek Grilled Corn on the Cob

What to look out for in picking corn

-Pure green leaves with shiny tassel.

-Dense seeds without gaps between each, make sure there are no white seeds and no hard and dry corn pieces.

-The fresher they are the tastier and sweeter they will be. Try and buy your corn from a local organic market, where the fruit and vegetables are fresh. 

-If you can’t cook them immediately, wrap them in paper and put them in plastic bags, that way they will last for 2-3 days.

Insights Greece - Greek Grilled Corn on the Cob

How to cook Greek corn on the cob 

-The classic method of cooking corn the Greek way is to peel the green leaves off the corn and rub some olive oil or butter over it.

-Light your charcoal BBQ and make sure coals are burning hot before cooking your corn. Charcoal is the key to giving the corn a smoky and roasted flavour. You will need to cook them for around 10-15 minutes over high heat. 

–  Serve corn hot with butter and sea salt. 

Tips for cooking corn on the cob

-If you want them to cook faster, you can boil the corn for 1 minute before grilling.

-If you prefer your corn sweeter, add sugar to water, and allow to boil for a minute.

-If you would like your corn to have a more yellow texture, add turmeric to your corn. 

*Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

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) 

Greek Honey, A Love Story  

Like olive oil, honey is one of the miraculous staple foods of Greece and comes in a multitude of beneficial and delicious varieties. As a variable ingredient it can be used in everything from tea to yogurt to cakes and even savoury dishes to offer flavour, texture and dimension.

For the love of honey

Insights Greece - Greek Honey, A Love Story  

Beekeeping has been vital to Greek life since antiquity, when it was established as a large-scale practice. Archaeologists have discovered that during the Hellenistic period beekeepers were so ahead of their time that they interchanged their beehives throughout big regions in order to make the best of utilising different varieties of plants endemic to each area.

Greece is well recognised for its extraordinary variety of medicinal and aromatic herbs and plants, which carry their aromas and essence into honey. Various scientific research has revealed that Greek honey is rich in compounds such as polyphenols, phenolic acids and many more.

In recent news, since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Greek reality, honey consumption rose by 15%. This is owed to several factors – the high and widespread production nationwide, the accessibility and the inherent, ancient knowledge Greeks hold about it being a superfood. In fact, research at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki has even shown that Greek honey has higher antioxidant qualities than Manuka honey, which is regularly lauded as the most beneficial honey globally.

During the Greek financial crisis, many people left the city or urban-based activities and turned to the ancient art and science of beekeeping. As a result, today there are around 20-25,000 beekeepers in the country with over beehives. It’s estimated that outr of this number of beekeepers, 5000 are professionals, 10,000 are part-timers and another 10,000 are amateurs. The Greek Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) says that Greece produces around 17 tons of honey per year.

Variety, variety, variety

Insights Greece - Greek Honey, A Love Story  

Because of Greece’s great variety of flora – around 6,500 different types, of which 1,500 are endemic, textures and colours -there are many different types of honey with an exciting range of tastes and properties. The most commonly found varieties of honey one can find are Pine, Flower, Thyme, Chestnut, Orange, Sage, Eriki, Carob and Mainalos Vanilla.

Honey is certainly a blessing for Greeks and for the world, and an especially healthful and delightful ingredient to enjoy every day.

Honey Health Benefits

  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Is anti-inflammatory
  • Supports digestion and improves gut health
  • Is high in B vitamins which help strengthen the nervous system
  • Is high in antioxidants and has anti-carcinogenic properties
  • Soothes the throat
  • Induces relaxation and helps sleep
  • Gives energy

Bonus recipe!

Pasteli, the Ancient Greek honey health bar:


1 1/3 cups thyme honey

3 cups white sesame

1 lemon peel


  1. In a deep pan heat the honey and lemon peel until it reaches a boil.
  2. Add the sesame and stir well, until it reaches a second boil.
  3. Remove from the heat, and remove the lemon peel.
  4. Pour onto a baking sheet spreading to a 5cm thickness and place onto a cool surface.
  5. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, place it in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours.
  6. Remove and slice or break into pieces.

Some awarded Greek honeys to look out for (and order online!) 

Insights Greece - Greek Honey, A Love Story  
E-La-Won Honey


Fir Honey Helmos



Apiculture Amfipolis

Tea Honey



Apiculture Amfipolis

Rose Honey


Artius Mt Taygetos Thyme Honey



Likou Eftixia


Foodcross Natural Products



Geranos Stefanos-Forest


& Geranos Stefanos-Antheon


Attiki Honey – Wild Flora & Thyme


Greece &

Attiki Greek Dark Brown Forest Honey




Gypsy Queen


Nomad Premium Greek Honey


Insights Greece - Greek Honey, A Love Story  


Voria Chora


ennea Premium Honey-Conifers & Herbs



ennea Premium Honey-Flowerz,Herbs & Thyme


Thyme Honey Metamorphosis

Smari Cretan Honey-Nikolarakis Emmanouil

Smari Cretan Thyme & Pine Honey



Mint and Chocolate Infused Honey

Little Donkey Honey


Georgakas Family







Follow the Footsteps of Ancient Greek Philosophers

If you aren’t already aware of it, you will very soon come across it. Greeks and their knowledge.

Whether it’s regarding their ancient Greek ancestors, modern history, politics, or literature, they are walking encyclopedias of everything they have contributed to the world. It can be overwhelming finding yourself on the receiving end of a flurry of facts and figures. To make sure you know a thing or two about Ancient Greek philosophy, and be able to hold your own in conversation, here is a crash course on the most famous Greek philosophers- making it easier for you to discover more about the birthplace of modern philosophy during your next visit to Greece.


Insights Greece - Follow the Footsteps of Ancient Greek Philosophers
Artistotle in Aristotle Square Thessaloniki

Considered the father of Western philosophy, Aristotle was born in 384 BC Stagira, Halkidiki in Northern Greece and was the founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic School of Philosophy and the Aristotelian tradition. Taught by Plato, he became Alexander the Great’s teacher and was the first to develop a formal system for reasoning. He observed that the deductive validity of any argument can be determined by its structure rather than its content.

Famous quoteWe are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Visit- The Statue of Aristotle in Aristotle Square. Located in Thessaloniki, the central square is named on honour of Aristotle. The statue appears to be holding a pergamine paper in his left hand while his right hand rests with serenity on a higher marble base.


Insights Greece - Follow the Footsteps of Ancient Greek Philosophers
Socrates at the Academy of Athens

Born in Athens in 399 BC, Socrates is considered to be the father of Western philosophy, and being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought. Plato was his most famous student. Unlike many philosophers of his time, Socrates focused on ethics and how people should behave rather than on the physical world. He said that happiness came from leading a moral life rather than material possessions and encouraged people to pursue justice and goodness rather than wealth and power.

Famous quote- “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

Visit – The Academy of Athens is Greece’s national academy and the highest research establishment in the country. The Academy’s main building is one of the major landmarks of Athens and features the Statue of Socrates.


Insights Greece - Follow the Footsteps of Ancient Greek Philosophers
Plato at the Academy of Athens

Born in 428 BC, Plato founded the first institute of higher learning in the Western World, the Academy in Athens. He believed that ruling a state must not be based on persuasion but on wisdom. Giving his theories a metaphysical aspect, Plato believed that two parallel worlds exist, the real world and the world we live in, which is a reflection of the real world. Like this dualism of reality, Plato also believed that humans are of a dual nature: body and mind.

Famous quote- “Love is a serious mental disease.”

Visit- The Statue of Plato in front of the Academy of Athens


Not quite a philosopher, this physician features on our list because of  the impact his medical philosophies made on the world. Regarded as the father of medicine, Hippocrates

was born in 460 BC on the island of Kos. He based his medical practice on observations and on the study of the human body. He held the belief that illness had a physical and a rational explanation and believed that the human body has the power to heal itself. According to Hippocrates, all is a matter of balance between the four elements of the body and people become ill when the balance was disrupted. To restore this balance, he didn’t use drugs, except for natural extracts and soothing balms.

Famous quote- the Hippocratic Oath. A modern version of the Hippocratic oath is still taken by medical students today and begins with “I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant. One of the promises within that oath is “first, do no harm.”

Visit- The Tree of Hippocrates in Kos is the plane tree under which, according to legend, Hippocrates taught his pupils the art of medicine. With a crown diameter of about 12 metres it is said to be the largest plane trewme in Europe.

Top 26 Things to Do in Thessaloniki

There are huge celebrations that take place in Thessaloniki on October 26, as it marks the Feast Day of Agios Dimitrios, the protector and Patron Saint of the city, as well as the Liberation of Thessaloniki by the Greek Army, which took place on this day in 1912. To honour this festive day, we’ve put together the Top 26 things to do when visiting Greece’s co-capital.

1. Take a long stroll along Nea Paralia, the city’s much-loved waterfront.

2. Make sure you stop off at Thessaloniki’s Concert Hall, where one of the buildings was created by famous Japanese architect Arata Isozaki- it’s a strikingly contemporary structure with impeccably simple geometry. 

3. Along the way you will come across a few parks, sit down and enjoy a little picnic at Rose Park or the Sound Park. 

4. As you walk along Nea Paralia you will also discover art installations including the popular Ombreles, which has become one of Thessaloniki’s most Insta-worthy spots.  

5. Shop till you drop along Stsimiski Street, where you will find a range of boutiques featuring all the latest shoes, accessories and clothes.

6. And if you are looking for some upmarket labels make sure to hit Nikis Ave. and Mitropoelos St, with many boutiques that stock local and international luxury brands. 

7. Discover stunning mansions on Vasilissis Olgas Avenue, which is lined with prestigious properties built in the late 1800s to early 1900s.

8. Eat your way around Thessaloniki! And first, you must try the city’s famous bougatsa at- Bantis: operating since 1969, Serraikon: one of the oldest bougatsa shops in town, or Yiannis: open all day and night. 

9. Then head to Ladadika for some traditional tavernas or to the seaport for some great fish.

10. For some authentic local dishes we recommend Pezodromos Restaurant, which serves fresh seafood and Sebrico for gourmet Greek with a Cretan twist. 

11. The Culinary Market is a must for discovering local delicacies, herbs, honey and oils, which you can take home. 


11. One of the best bakeries in the country is Ble, serving artisan bread, homemade pies and other sweet treats. 

12. Sticking to sweets, another famous delicacy to try here is Trigona, a triangle pastry filled with custard- for this you must head to Elenidis

13. And you can’t leave the city without trying the popular Tsoureki (a Greek brioche-style bread) from Terkenlis

14. Thessaloniki is coffee central and we suggest you try Valenio, CinCin, and Nooon, which is in the heart of the city and a favourite amongst locals and visitors who enjoy the buzzing atmosphere, stunning décor, and great espresso.

15. If you can only get to one we suggest you make that Ypsilon, which has been named one of the coolest cafés in the world.

16. Now for the real drinks. For some mouthwatering cocktails head to Mojo, this is where the local crowd hangs out and also check out Gorilla

17. And we have to give a special mention to Sinatra Espresso Wine Bar, which is a nice and cozy spot for a glass or two. 

18. And if you are after an all-day bar check out Local Thessaloniki, which is open for brunch, lunch and dinner!

19. For an outdoor experience head to Palio Hamam, with a great rooftop bar, which is transported into a more cozy atmosphere over the cooler months.  

20. For the view of all views (from up high) head to Electra Palace’s Orizontes Roof Garden bar, which overlooks Aristotelous Square. 

21. And speaking of views- make your way up to Kastra (castles), which also offers some of the finest glimpses in town. Just sit on one of the benches and watch the sunset. 

22. For a real cultural experience head to the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, which is one of the largest museums in Greece. 

23. Although this is an obvious one, we can’t not mention The White Tower, which is a monument and museum on the waterfront of the city- this just can’t be missed. 

24. And discover many treasures at the Museum of Byzantine Culture, where different aspects of a specific historical period of Byzantium are highlighted. 

25.  For a modern museum head to  Toss Gallery and Nitra Gallery, where you can browse artworks and exhibitions by featured artists. 

26. Also make your way to the Jewish Museum, which features several exhibits and photos for visitors to view the religious and everyday life of the Jews of Thessaloniki up to WWII.

Tsipouro Distillery in Thessaloniki Making International Waves

Tsipouro is Greece’s famous ‘firewater’, known for its strong alcoholic taste. Distilled from grapes, pits, stalks, and skins of the fruit, the production of Tsipouro, is said to date back to around seven centuries ago in Mount Athos.

Dorodouli Distillery, which is located in Thessaloniki, is a family-run company specialising in the production of Tsipouro. They were inspired to launch their product in 2014, after many years of playing around with a secret family recipe, which goes back at least four generations. The popularity of their product is based on combining traditional, authentic, and ancient methods with modern techniques and sleek branding- which has seen their Tsipouro label rise to international fame. It has been very well received in many parts of the world – especially Switzerland, Germany, and Italy.

Not only is Dorodouli Tsipouro being exported overseas, but each year thousands of international visitors are making their way over to the distillery to learn more about the process of how this alcoholic drink is made and to discover the perfect food to pair it with.

Insights Greece - Tsipouro Distillery in Thessaloniki Making International WavesInspired by her ancestors’ traditions Lidia Dorodouli, who is a Spirit Sommelier and Creative Director of the company, spoke to IN+SIGHTS GREECE about the distillery which offers informative tours and taste testing all year round- teaching local and international visitors about this unique drink, while also sharing her tips on how to prepare luscious cocktails using Tsipouro.

Tell us about Dorodouli Distillery. When was it launched? 

We started in 2012 after we traced our tradition back four generations- that we know of. Then with respect to the tradition, we added new touches to the art of distillation. For two years we were dedicated to researching the techniques and analysed the old recipes, then we started creating our new, flavourful development. In order to achieve genuine distillates and innovative recipes, 120 different tests were conducted and studied. In 2014 our mission began and that was to elevate the traditional Greek distillate with three key values: Excellent raw materials, scientific controlled quality, and NO sugar, NO additives!

What makes your Tsipouro so special?

Well, the secret is in the recipes. We made the Classico collection specialising in grape distillation, seven different products with seven different characters. To create each recipe we blend different local varieties of grapes and then we distill Insights Greece - Tsipouro Distillery in Thessaloniki Making International Wavesit. The clear spirits rest for one year in inox vessels but the aged tsipouro remains for a total of two years in three different barrels. In the Classico Collection, you will find the elegant Tsipouro (Classico T)  the rich (Classico E), and from the aniseed (Classico G) to the botanic Tsipouro (Classico V). Also, for the whisky-lovers there (Classico X), for the cognac- enthusiasts (Classico C), and of course, my favourite Classico P, which you can enjoy in a cocktail or with tonic water.

Furthermore, our Nostalgia collection focuses on the flavours of Thessaloniki’s culture. It’s inspired by the gastronomy of our city, known as the crossroad of flavours. With two types of Tsipouro with and without anise, “Nostalgia Tsipouro of Thessaloniki” was created by three basic characteristics: fresh materials, rich aromas, and elegant flavors.

What do think makes Tsipouro so unique?  

It’s produced by distilling grape marc so like every other spirit in this category (grappa, pisco) you can find aromas and tastes like: fruits, blossoms, raisins, citrus and it is usually 40% ABV (alcohol by volume). This spirit can also be aged in barrels, giving a more woody, mature character with aromas and tastes like spices, vanilla, and caramel. But there are always exceptions because of the different grape varieties and methods used. Usually, Tsipouro is consumed in a taverna with seafood and mezedes, and of course with friends by the sea. It’s so popular in Greece because it is rooted in our culture and you can find it everywhere from amateur producers to commercial distilleries.

Till now our traditional distillate was so underestimated. Most people believed that Insights Greece - Tsipouro Distillery in Thessaloniki Making International WavesTsipouro is a secondary product because it uses the remains of wine production (in any condition). In our four years of research, we realised that the grapes skin and wine lees have to be from fresh and well-treated grapes so as to keep the amazing aromas and flavours and to avoid the harsh or sharpness in the spirit. As the Tsipouro is a premium distillate, it accompanies the fine dining experience nicely.

Where are your products stocked? 

Mainly, our products can be found in European countries like Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Greece of course. It’s easy to find them on our e-shop or from our partners’ e-shop for international shipping.

Insights Greece - Tsipouro Distillery in Thessaloniki Making International WavesTell us about your actual distillery. Can people visit all year round?

Yes of course. We have specific tours ‘flights’ based on different themes where visitors can see the distillation process in the production area, and they learn about the art of distillation in the information architect hall. Here you can also experience the concept of food pairing through with spirit tasting. Also, for the more adventurous I would invite them on a “cocktail experience” flight with me, where fun and creativity take place.

What kinds of taste testing and tours are there?

Every flight- tour is so interesting. In the Signature ‘flight’, you can find out about the process of distillate-making and have a basic degustation with a food pairing of Greek flavours. If you would like to explore more, then the Hidden secrets experience is perfect for you. And of course, my favorite, the Crystal Melody ‘flight’ where all the senses meet to travel you to another world, as it combines special bites, carefully selected melodies, and storytelling with premium spirits. Last but not least, the luxurious Bold Blend ‘flight’ where a premium degustation and our brandy in the Alchemestes private club with our Master Distiller is a must.

You are a Spirit Sommelier and a bartender. What are your favourite spirits to work with?

My favorite spirit for cocktails is Alchemestes No.6- this sour spirit has such a unique character. With this, I created our signature cocktail ‘6th Plaza’. This cocktail was a very special recipe to create, as I was inspired by my trip to Italy some years ago.

Insights Greece - Tsipouro Distillery in Thessaloniki Making International Waves What food do you recommend to pair with your Tsipouro?

I have so many recommendations, usually, it depends on what you are craving. The idea is that every dish has a matching spirit, which we highlight in our food pairing map. I would start with a seafood mezze (appetizer) like Scallop with Lemon Sauce, Red Pepper Florinis, and Rosemary and that would be paired with the Classico T. Next would be a salad like Green Salad with Strawberries, Manouri, Walnuts and Balsamic, paired with Alchemestes No.7. For the main course which is based around Classico X, I would recommend Smoked Tuna with Celery Roots, Apple, and Crithmum. For dessert- this is a must- Black Chocolate, Espresso, and Alchemestes No.9.

Doroudouli Distillery

Veria: Greece’s Charming Town Bursting With Rich History

If you are looking to visit a beautiful town that is bursting with rich history, culture, museums and archaeological sites, look no further than Veria.

Part One | History 

By Eleni Orfanidou 

Located in Macedonia, it is set on the foothills of Mount Vermion and crossed by the River Tripotamo. From the 11th to the 14th century it was the third most important city of the Byzantine Empire, after Constantinople and Thessaloniki.

Now known as “Little Jerusalem,” the city is filled with an impressively large number of Byzantine, post-Byzantine churches as well as lots of archaeological sites and historical museums.

Here is a list of must-see places for when you visit!

Religious Sites

Step of the Apostle Paul is a historical monument of global interest and a source of religious tourism for the city. Every season of the year people from all over the world arrive in Veria to see up close the traces of Apostolos’ tour.

Agios Patapios was the center of ancient, but also of the early Christian Veria, as it was located on the east side of the main road, which led from the north gate of the fortified enclosure inside the ancient city. The most extensive ensemble was excavated in the ruins of buildings of the Roman period, which provides a very important picture of the organization of the city during the early Christian period. Discovered here were parts of a building complex with extensive mosaic floors, an early Christian baptistery, as well as part of the diocese.

Byzantine churches

Veria is known for its numerous Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches (about 48 surviving today) and 72 originally, resulting in the name of a ‘Small Jerusalem’, as well as unique collections of Byzantine icons. Particularly famous is the Church of the Resurrection. Other important temples are the Church of St. John the Theologian (13th century), the Church of Saints Kirikos and Ioulitis (16th century) and the Church of Saints Peter and Paul (11th century.) Make sure to pay a visit to the church of Panagia Dexia, built in the 19th century, in place of a former church of the 14th century. Take a look at the easternmost surviving sector of the former church where you can gaze upon the sanctuary’s niche and wall paintings.

Insights Greece - Veria: Greece's Charming Town Bursting With Rich History 

Jewish Synagogue

The Jewish Quarter was built in 1850 and is located next to the Tripotamos River, boasting cobblestone streets and grand mansions. It is one of the oldest Synagogues in Europe and in the heart of the Jewish quarter is Barbuta, the stone building of the Synagogue, with ornate interior decoration. Today it is closed and open only when Jewish people travel and come to pray. The Apostle Paul preached here when he visited the city in 51 and 57 AD.

Archaeological Sites

Vergina: A short distance from Veria is Vergina, built geographically on the site of the ancient Aigai, where the excellent archaeologist Manolis Andronikos excavated and discovered the ancient tomb of King Philip V. The modern underground museum of Vergina is astonishing. Royal tombs and exhibits from the entire history of Macedonia are found here. At the Royal Tombs Museum, you can admire many findings and wall paintings in an impressive underground construction. Philip II’s tomb and the magnificent golden urn are the items that stand out.


Byzantine Museum: The prosperity of Veria during the Byzantine era is presented in every detail. It is housed in the old Mill of Markos, near the city walls. Finds include mosaics, manuscripts, pottery, wood carvings and coins.

Archaeological Museum: Recently renovated, it attracts enormous archaeological interest from all over the world and offers a flashback to the rich past of Veria, while referring to the historical grandeur of the Ancient City of those years. In the three rooms of the Museum one can see findings from the Paleolithic era to the period of Ottoman rule.

Museum of Education: There is a permanent exhibition, which presents the evolution of education and its teaching aids in Greece, from the time of waxed plates, parchments, ancient ink and conveyors to the age of notebooks, desks and computers.

Museum of Modern History and Art: Known as Vlachogiannio, it exhibits in a unique way the flourishing of art and the progress of modern history in this place.

Folklore Museum: It is housed in the old mansion of Sarafoglou. The museum focuses on the folklore of the area, highlighting the rich history of the habits of the inhabitants of Veria. The material of the museum is of astonishing interest, while at the same time it is housed inside an old mansion, which allows you to see the architecture of the city inside.

Vlach Folklore Museum: The Museum is housed in a listed building next to Orologiou Square, highlighting the cultural heritage of the Vlachs. In the museum there are exhibits with traditional costumes, rich photographic material and a collection of traditional material related to the Vlach tradition of the area. The purpose of the museum is the preservation, promotion and dissemination of elements of Vlach culture. For this reason, events are held in the area accompanied by traditional music.

*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. Over the coming weeks, Eleni will be sharing with IN+SIGHTS GREECE readers what to see and do when visiting Veria.