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.
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.
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.
For summer on the other hand there are three popular open space venues with a nice atmosphere and they all serve great cocktails. Both Cookoovaya and the Camelot are set in restored ancient buildings boasting traditional architecture. The third is Delante, located in Elia in the city centre. This particular bar operates from morning as a cafe until the evening when it becomes a bar.
Things to see & do
–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.
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
-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