In search of Alexander the Great in Greece: Kavala (4)

After visiting the remains, the plunge into history in search of Alexander the Great, we returned to today's Greece. And there we discovered a city that we loved very much, but that very few foreign tourists know: Kavala some 160 kilometers from Thessaloniki.

Latest edition : 26 April 2020

But the city still has something to do with our historical tours. It is near Philippi and it is here that the apostle Paul would have accosted to go to Philippi. A beautiful mosaic in front of the Church of St Nicholas tells of his arrival.

Inside, you can admire magnificent Byzantine icons.
Kavala is a city that at first glance you might not like: when you look at it from above, all of the space seems to be built.
But from each district, you can see the sea. And when you get lost in the alleys of the old town, you quickly fall under its spell. Past and present are intimately linked.

A very eventful past since its port was an important crossing point between Thessaloniki and Constantinople. The armies of the First Crusade stop there. Lombards, Franks, Ottomans and Venetians succeed one another. The port city accommodates the warehouses of the merchants of Smyrna, Egypt.
In 1922, after the “Great Catastrophe” (Second Greco-Turkish War), more than 25,000 Greek refugees from Turkey settled in Kavala. In 1941, the city was taken over by Bulgaria, then occupied by the German Wehrmacht. The city has changed its name several times: Neapoli, Christoupoli before becoming Kavala. An eventful past which has inevitably left its traces in the urban image of this city in eastern Macedonia.

We were fortunate to be invited to the house of Babos, member of the historical society and expert of Alexander the Great.

From the outside, you can't imagine the space that these old houses can offer! Babos being an interior designer, the clever and artistic layout is not surprising.

Small stalls and bistros line the cobbled streets leading up to the citadel.

A building dating from the Ottoman period is surprising, topped with domes covered with lead and narrow chimneys. At the time, it was an Imaret, a sort of “popular soup kitchen” and a school for the poor. Today it is a 5 star hotel.

At the top of the hill, we arrive at the place of Méhémet Ali, former viceroy of Egypt. Born in Kavala, he had the Imaret built there in 1813 to help destitute inhabitants. His equestrian statue stands proudly at the top of the square, next to his house.

Right next to it, the small mosque of Hali Bey, erected on the foundations of the old Byzantine church Agia Paraskevi which can be seen under the glass floor. Today, it serves as a musical space.

Let's continue to climb. Stairs lead to the Byzantine fortress. It's quite steep,

and there is not really much to visit within the castle grounds.

But the climb is still worth it: from the tower you have a 360 ° view of the Aegean Sea, the bay of Kavala and its sandy beaches.

By the way, if you've been to Mykonos you've probably walked in the sand of Kavala: as this region was not very touristy,  its beautiful sand had been transported to Mykonos which was lacking nice sand for its beaches!
Going back down to the modern city, a few houses in ruins and street art paintings remind us that life was not always easy in Kavala.

The impressive two-story aqueduct, one of the 10 largest in the world of Roman origin, bears witness to past glory.

But the modern city center also has its charm. Former tobacco warehouses are transformed into shopping centers.

Magnificent villas bear witness to the riches of the tobacconists.

After the historical visit, we take advantage of a stroll in town to taste some culinary specialties. A ride that is all the more pleasant as ourr guide is none other than the famous chef Stelios Digkas, who knows all the good gourmet addresses in all of Greece. 

First gourmet stopover, at Anna-Maria's, which offers the famous Keramotti mussels to eat on the go.

Even for me who does not like mussels, it is a delight!

In the pedestrianized street, stop at the lively Pénélope to taste bougatsa, delicious puff pastry filled with spinach, cheese or meat.

We preferred the sweet version, with cream and cinnamon.

What a surprise when Pénélope, with contagious good humor and who does not speak a word of French, begins to sing "Alouette", a french popular song ...

After these (hearty) appetizers, head to the fishing port and its good restaurants.

There, with the added bonus of the lovely view of the citadel, we definitely succumb to the charm of Kavala!


Psaraki, ouzo bar + fish restaurant, in the fishing port of Kavala, magnificent view of the citadel and excellent seafood and fish.

Bomo Tosca Beach Hotel
Leoforos Paliou 1, Kavala 651 10
A group of pavilions, small buildings on the hillside in a landscaped environment with trees, flowers and impeccably maintained. Very nice view of the cove with the central building where the restaurants and bars are. Well-maintained fine sand beach.

Batis Multiplex
For the younger tourists, the Batis campsite in a wooded park overlooks the sandy beach of a protected cove. Playground for children, typical tavern, trendy bar.


Greek tour operator Yalos Tours.