Kavala is one of the largest settlements in northern Greece! The beautiful port city attracts tourists with its nearby crystal beaches, interesting architecture and many taverns. It’s worth taking a few hours and, if possible, days to examine it thoroughly!
Where is it located and where to park
The city is located between the districts of Macedonia and Thrace and is among the most important ports in the region. It is centered right in the middle of the other two big cities – Thessaloniki and Alexandroupolis. Each of them is 150 km from Kavala. From Bulgaria it’s easy to travel by car, and the nearest border checkpoint is Ilinden. The city is also accessible by plane and has its own airport.
Driving through the narrow roads of Kavala is a real experience. Motorcycles are flying everywhere, and the hilly location suggests many sloping streets. The most practical solution for parking is paid parking next to the port – HERE. The price is very good – 2 euro for 6 hours stay!
First impression – Imaret
Parked at the foot of the old town of Kavala, there isn’t way not to start our tour from it! Like many other places, Kavala has been an appetizing morsel for different peoples over the years. It came under the rule of the Franks, Turks, Venetians, Normans and others… Including several times it was conquered by the Bulgarians. Perhaps the most serious imprint was left by the Ottoman influence.
One of the most emblematic buildings in the city can be seen as soon as we look up at the parking lot… the orange facade of Imaret can be seen from afar! This is the largest Islamic building in Europe. It was built in the early 19th century by Mohammed Ali. It was originally used as an Islamic school and orphanage for the poor. Free food for the needy was offered every day at noon. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Imaret closed its doors forever for its original purpose, until it was turned into a luxury five-star hotel! In addition to the hotel there is a restaurant, as well as the opportunity to visit areas of the space after paying a fee. Inside you can see beautiful alleys, gardens and preserved parts of its original function.
Panagia – the old town of Kavala
It’s time for the steep streets of Panagia! This is the most impressive part of Kavala and is undoubtedly an attractive place for tourists. The architecture is unique, and among the old houses there is a great view of the port… There is a few deserted house to give additional color to the neighborhood. A walk through the old part is like a journey through time… From it you can see the layers of the long history of the city…
Mohammed Ali Square
The winding cobbled streets lead us to Mohammed Ali Square. The same one who built the iconic Imaret. Probably the most important inhabitant of Kavala! Declared ruler of Egypt, he introduced a reorganization of the army, government and even Egyptian life itself, instilling a European spirit in the local population. His reforms proved extremely beneficial and he is considered the founder of modern Egypt.
In the center of the square rises his bronze statue, and next to it is his native house, which has been turned into a museum. At the time of its construction, it was one of the largest houses in Kavala, with a traditional Ottoman style and a beautiful view of the port.
Up the streets
The old town is terraced on a small peninsula, and on top of it rises the most emblematic landmark in Kavala – the fortress. The fortress walls start at the foot of the neighborhood and surround it all! But to get to the very entrance for visitors and the iconic tower, we have to wander through a maze of more narrow streets and a steep climb…
Along the way we continue to admire the interesting architecture and curiously peek at the balconies of the locals or at the entrances of the buildings… Following the signs for the fortress… we still got lost somewhere at its eastern foot. Very quickly we were guided by the smiling Greek woman on a neighboring balcony, who did not doubt for a second that the only tourists in the 40-degree lunch heat went to the highest point of the old town…
The fortress of Kavala
The fortress is well maintained and the entrance is paid. The price for an adult is 2.50 euro. In the 15th century acropolis there is a summer theater, you can walk around some of the fortifications, see the several buildings that served as a prison, weapons depot and cistern and of course… to climb the tower! Undoubtedly the most desired thing when visiting Kavala!
View from the tower
The tower itself is very similar to the White Tower in Thessaloniki. The steep steps lead to the top, from where the view of the port is supreme! In fact, wherever you look from the tower, the view is worth it! This gives a clear idea of the scale and infrastructure of Kavala, looking at the interior and the many terraced residential buildings with typical Greek terraces and awnings… A view to the southeast reveals the clear outlines of the nearby island Thassos… We don’t want to go down… The advantage of a lunch visit when it is warmest is that these views are just for us…
The city aqueduct
From here you can see another landmark of Kavala – the city aqueduct. Although it looks like a Roman building, the 16th-century aqueduct has been inherited by the Turks. Over the years it has become a symbol of the city and can be seen in many souvenirs. It is called Kamares and its purpose was vital for the population of Kavala – it supplied the city with water from mountain springs. Beneath it pass important arteries for the traffic of the city, and we ourselves crossed it as soon as we entered the village…
We descend again through the narrow streets, watching out for passing local motorcyclists… We pass the Halil-Bey Mosque, declared a cultural monument. The walk down is extremely pleasant, as we discover a few more secret views of the port and we don’t miss the souvenir shops and variety of local specialties…
Ice cream next to Eleftherias Square
Upon arrival, we ate in one of the iconic – To Araliki. Lunch was very tasty, but I didn’t mention it to you because we were so hungry and tired that we didn’t want to take pictures at all… Well, after eating and a great walk… we need ice cream! Very close to the old town is one of the busiest squares – Eleftherias. Here you can feel the spirit of the city! Motorcycles are constantly flying, it is full of pedestrians, and car traffic is more than intense…
Very close to it is ΧΑΣΟΥΛΑΚΗ ΜΠΛΕΚΟΥ – a pastry shop offering great ice cream! Prices are completely affordable, about 1 euro for a scoop of ice cream, and the varieties are for every taste. Worth a try!
Kavala has a very beautiful promenade and a walk on it is a must! The alley along the coast is around 2 km long… It starts from the port and reaches all the way to Faliro Park. Various cafes and benches with palm trees around them provide the opportunity to sit and watch the arriving and departing fishing boats and yachts. And the view of the Acropolis and Panagia? It is awesome! The best view in the city… in my opinion!