The Greek north remains largely unexplored by many travelers visiting Greece. The first time you explore it, you will not only be amazed at how exquisite its beaches, routes, and taverns are but also how many things you were unaware of. And this is one of the secret ingredients that make any trip exciting. The rest… leave it up to us. We are sharing tips on how to effectively plan a road trip in Northern Greece. Giving you insider knowledge and details that will make your road trip enjoyable and memorable.
So, fill up your tank, charge your cameras, and appreciate Northern Greece’s spectacular scenery on this road trip!
How many days?
The more you have at your disposal, the better. Ideally, two weeks, to dive into all the breathtaking beaches, to walk paths that cross forests, to canoe down the Nestos River, to spend the night in Thessaloniki and Xanthi, to eat kebab in Pomakochoria, and to see ancient magical cities, like Vergina, Stageira and Philippi.
Where do you start?
From Veria, to which the road will take you from Athens in five hours and ten minutes. It is worth staying here for at least one night, not only to visit the (really fascinating, even if you are not an archaeologist) archeological site of Vergina, but also to stroll in the quaint old town of Veria, and to try amazing local cuisine in a tavern called 12 Grada.
And then what?
You will drive up and down for an hour and a half to the Pozar Baths which are not at all the thermal waters you are used to. Popular and super fun, for all ages, they are located in the heart of a beautiful forest and are full of impressive waterfalls, hot streams, and facilities for indoor and outdoor massages. On your way, you could stop in Edessa, to see not only its famous waterfalls but also the wonderful old town called Varosi.
Road trip to the north without Thessaloniki is not possible
Even if you have visited Thessaloniki before, you must walk on the coastal road of Nikis, and explore Ano Poli with its castles. Make a stop for food at our favorite Academia Art Restaurant or the legendary I Rouga. Firstly, it is on your way, before you head to the beaches of Halkidiki, secondly, it is less than a two hours’ drive from Pozar Baths.
There is nowhere like Halkidiki & that’s a fact
Halkidiki and its beaches comfortably fill a road trip alone. However, for the needs of your first road trip to the north, we will focus on the second leg. The second leg gathers the biggest portion of spectacular sandy beaches. And we will definitely tell you to dedicate 3-4 days to them. Firstly, dive in the calm lake waters of Porto Koufo, secondly, to sunbathe on all-white rocks, thirdly, to dive in turquoise waters in Kavourotripes, and finally, to enjoy the magical sunset lying on the powdery sandy beach in Karydi. Do not miss leaving Halkidiki without stopping in Stageira, the ancient city in which Aristotle was born. Today, it is a very interesting, as well as green, archaeological site.
Did anyone say Dunes?
One of the most beautiful beaches of Northern Greece, hides outside Halkidiki, just outside Kavala, and is… called Ammolofi. It actually is what its name means in Greek; a series of dunes that end in deep blue waters. It is everything you need for some refreshing dives before or after the walks in the port and the old town of Kavala. Just outside the city, the archeological site of Philippi is definitely worth a stop on your road trip, firstly because of its famous ancient theater and secondly because where else do you have the opportunity to walk on an original Roman road from those who led everyone to Rome. For food in Kavala, you should grab a table in Sousouro, and for coffee in the fairytale Imaret.
Whatever you do, do not miss Nestos River
Based on the wonderful Stavroupoli of Xanthi (an hour and a bit away from Kavala) you could go canoeing on the most impressive river we have in Greece. If you have more days at your disposal, it is worth walking the impressive Forest of Haidous, to see the impressive waterfall of Livaditis. Eat fresh fish and seafood in Porto Lagos, where the waters of Lake Vistonida meet the Thracian Sea.
Xanthi and Pomakochoria
If we are a little subjective, we will say that Xanthi is the most beautiful city in Northern Greece. With an old city eye-popping, a river framing its modern version, mouthwatering cuisine, and many opportunities for nature-loving excursions. Therefore, it is not difficult for her to claim this title of the most beautiful city in Northern Greece.
Twenty minutes outside Xanthi, at Pomakochoria, the time has stopped. The smells of oriental aromas, perched high on the slopes of Rodopi, will make you feel that you’re in another decade. Sminthi with its elaborate minarets rising to the sky. Echinos with its arched bridge over the stream that separates it from the main road. Thermes with their thermal baths and the outdoor pool that steams from the natural hot water by the road. And Kottani with the wonderful tavern that serves one of the best yogurt kebabs you have ever eaten.
For more tips for where to go on road trips in Greece, contact one of our expert travel designers here.
Feature Image by Tony Hisgett