Kavala is mentioned in most guidebooks only marginally, although it is one of the most beautiful and most livable cities in Greece. A wealth of possibilities for excursions in the surrounding area and many interesting, often little occupied beaches, archaeological sites and natural beauty makes it a fun-filled vacation address. It not as crowded as the famous sights in Central and Southern Greece and the climate in Kavala is much milder than e.g. in Athens.
The eventful history of the city began in the 7th century BC. In the year 1391 Kavala was conquered by the Turks and completely destroyed. In the following centuries (under Turkish rule) it developed to a commercial center of east Macedonia because of the convenient location. From the 40th to the 60th of the last century Kavala was a center of tobacco growing and processing. Many of the tobacco storage and processing houses are still a part of the cityscape. In the 70th to 90th, the textile industry was of great importance . The decline took place with the opening of Bulgaria after the fall of the Soviet Union and the shift of sewing industry to there. Since then, the service sector and tourism is economically most important.
Kavala is situated in northern Greece, and is the birthplace of modern Egypt's founder Muhammad Ali. His house still stands and is visitable. Ancient city of Phillipoi, 10 mins from kavala, was founded by Alexander the Great's father, Phillip. Phillipoi is situated next to Pangaio mountain where Ancient Macedonia's gold mines were. The Roman road "Egnatia" which connected Constantinople (modern Istanbul) and Rome, still exists in parts near both Phillipoi and Kavala.
Kavala has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and wet cool winters. The swimming season begins in early May and ends in October. From mid-June to late August, there are only very rare precipitations and is the best travel season, but also the hottest. For those who do not like the heat and do not mind occasional rainy days best traveling time is from mid-May to mid June and September to mid-October.
Kavala is a major port. it is possible to reach it by ferry from Lemnos, and several other north Aegean islands. With a bit of careful planning, or aimless wandering, it is possible to reach Kavala from almost any Greek island with a ferry via other islands.
The "Alexander the Great" airport is located about 30 km east of Kavala near the village of Chrysoupolis. There are direct flights to many European countries, especially in summer and daily flights to Athens. Except with Taxis, the airport is hard to reach by public transport. Car rental at the airport is available.
By regional coach
Interurban coaches "KTEL" buses are by far the most convenient way to travel around Greece, as well as for intra-regional travelling. Intercity buses drive to all major cities in Greece. The bus station is located in the city center near the harbor (Filikis Eteria Str). There is frequent bus service from Athens Kifisos Station to Kavala, as well as from Thessaloniki bus terminal "Macedonia" to Kavala.
The first bus from Kavala to Thessaloniki departes at 6 am and the last one leaves at 8:40pm. There is one each our (6 am,7am, 8am, 9am..... and so on) The busses at 9am, 1pm and 5pm are scheduled as "Express" so these busses won´t stop on their way to Thessaloniki. The fare for a ticket to Thessaloniki is about 15€ and it will take about 2 and 2 and a half hour until the bus arrives at Thessaloniki.
From Thessaloniki to Kavala you have also every hour one bus from 8am until 10 pm (exept 7am and 9pm)
To Athens there is a bus twice a day: 8:45am and 8:30pm. From Athens to Kavala it´s the same: Two busses each day at 8:45am and 8:30pm
The timetable for busses to Ioannina is 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm
A train station does not exist. The nearest train station is in Drama.
The Center and the Old Town can be traversed on foot. There is a small tourist train from the central square to old town for those who are not so well by foot. The transport of choice to experience all the sights outside the town is certainly by rental car. By public transport many places are hard to reach or only very time consuming.
There is an efficient public transport system with lines going around the city (ticket price about 1.5Euro). Tickets are not on sale in the buses, but they must be solved at specialized outlets (often kiosks) in advance. No ticket, no transport! Detailed info in the regional bus terminal (called "Astiko KTEL", Filikis Eteria Str).
Taxi in Kavala, as everywhere in Greece are comparably cheap. You should not pay more than € 5 if you hail a cab (white or orange colour) on the road to take you anywhere in the city. Note that taxi meters have two rates - rate 1 applies from 5am till midnight, and rate 2, the double rate, from midnight to 5am. Taxi fare fraud is not widespread but it still happens, so make sure the rate is correct. If you feel you have been overcharged, ask for a receipt (they are obliged to give one) and take the plate number, then phone the tourist police to report the driver on 171. Expect to pay € 1 or € 2 extra if you take a taxi from the bus station, the train station or the port, and a surcharge if you call for a taxi service on demand.
Walk along the main port in town center with its ferries to Thassos, Limnos, Lesvos and other Aegean islands and picturesque fishing and sailing boats. Following that promenade you reach the archaeological museum. On Saturday morning there is an interesting fruit & clothing market (Bazaar). Sit in one of the many cafeterias along the promenade in summer to enjoy the view over the harbor and old town. Especially in the night its a good place to drink a cold beer and watch people walking along the promenade.
The business district is to the west of the central square (Platia Eleftheria). Its partially a pedestrian area with narrow streets, shops of all kinds and many street cafeterias
A very nice place is the Fishing harbor with restaurants and bars at the east end of Kavala. It is particularly romantic to sit there in one of the many restaurants in the evening watching the small fishing boats and the sea.
Places to see are:
The castle and the old town are at a hill above the center. To get there it will take a 15-20 minutes walk from the harbour.In the Old Town you should visit:
The circular route around the city wall is a worthwhile walk. Beneath the Mohammed Ali equestrian statue starts a path around the city wall. The path leads down to the sea, around the headland of the the old town and then branches to the port or back uphill to the old town near Panagia Church.
It is worthwhile to go in back alleys in old town to visit the typical Byzantine houses in the narrow streets. Along the main street of the old town (Poulidou) restaurants and bars are lined up. Especially in the evening its a romantic place to sit and enjoy Retsina, Ouzo and Souvlaki.
The Aqueduct. 25m high, built in 1550 to supply the town with drinking water, was restored a few years ago.
The quality of the beaches and the sea water quality increases going from the east to the west in the Kavala area.
The city beaches on the east end of Kavala (Kara Orman, Periali) and on the western periphery (Kalamiza) are flat and suitable for children. In the summer months, sun loungers, parasols and chairs are available for free but in limited numbers. The beaches are all easily accessible by city buses. Close to the west end of Kavala are the campsite "Batis” and the Bungalow Hotel "Tosca Beach”, offering all comfort for a relaxed day at the beach. They can be reached by public bus from the main bus terminal.
West of Kavala are the localities Palio (10km) , Irakliza (15km) and Nea Peramos (20km), all with nice beaches and beach bars. The latter two are typical holiday places with a lot of beach bars, restaurants, cafeterias, etc. Especially younger people prefer the beaches of Amolofos (at the west side of Nea Peramos). At the beach bars there parking, sun loungers, parasols, chairs and loud music are available for free. Of course a drink must be taken from the bar. The crystal clear waters and fine sand provides a relaxed holiday atmosphere for those who love more action than repose. The further you drive from Nea Permaos along the expressway towards Saloniki, the more "lonely" the beaches get, with crystal clear water and beautiful surroundings. The best known beaches there are “Sarakina” (near Hotel Ocean View) and the Pirgos beach (at the ancient tower 50 km from Kavala) . Further to the west, about 2 km after the turn of “Loutra Elefteron” (hot springs) is the only nudist beach (unofficially, www.capnbarefoot.info/mainland:macedonia).
East of Kavala, in the Nestos Delta area of Chrysoupolis, near the villages of Eratino and Agiasma there are spacious shallow beaches where a lot of camping is done (although wild camping is banned there, but so far tolerated). These beaches are often not so clean with a lot of algae. Especially recommended are the clean and superb beaches at Keramoti which belong to the best of the area.
All year round
Winter bars, pubs and clubs, usually close down during summer. Most of them have a different facility for the summer, usually by the sea.
Most bars, pubs and restaurants that are open in winter are located along the harbor and the promenade.
Bars and cafeterias where you can sit outside are favored in summer and are located along the harbor, the promenade, in the quarter at Ag. Nicolas Church and in the street to old town (Poulidou Str.)
On the east side of Kavala (called Periali) is a little fishing Barbour (called Sfagio) with bars and restaurants (Thasou Str.) lined along the water front. Its a very nice place in the evening.
On the way to the west side of Kavala next to the new court is a bar which is located on a pier and is built into the sea with a great view over Kavala.
The main shopping area is around the central square "Platia Eleftheria" and in its side streets. Typical Greek souvenirs you can get on the street side of the harbor and on the way to the Old Town (Poulidou Str). Big food supermarkets are at the east end of the city near the stadium.
The choices for eating are Taverns (Ταβέρνα) where mostly meat dishes are served, Restaurants (Εστιατόριο) where Greek dishes can be found, Psistaries (Ψησταριά) (Grill houses) where the main dish is grilled meat, Fast Food choices are local Souvlatzidika (Οβελιστήριο or Σουβλατζίδικο) where souvlaki is served, and typical fast food chains such as Goody's and Everest.
People in Greece usually eat late in the evening (21:00 - 24:00), so during the day most Taverns, Psistaries and Restaurants are closed. However, Tsipouradika and Fast Food restaurants are open all day long.
Most restaurants with Greek dishes are near the harbor, in the district around the Ag. Nikolas Church (Kontouriotou Str), up in the street to the old town and at the fishing port at the east end of Kavala (Sfagio / Thasou Str). In terms of price, the places differ only slightly. Allow about 15 euros per person inluding drink. Fish dishes can be much more expensive. Throughout the city there are gyros stands for small appetites (2.5 euros), sandwich and pizza service. International restaurants are not present, except a German restaurant in Nea Peramos.
Restaurants (Εστιατόριο) and Taverns (Ταβέρνα)
"To Kastro tou Germanou", a German restaurant in Nea Peramos
Psistaries (Ψησταριά) (Grill houses)
Psistaries serve mostly meat, salads and french fries. The meat usually is ordered by weight, and the price is per kilo also. One portion is 330gr of grilled meat.
There are many hotels in Kavala. Most are in center near the sea. Car parking could be hard to find in the center of Kavala. Even in the high season Kavala city never shows a "resort" atmosphere, but the bustle of a city, where life is not determined by tourism. It may therefore be better for most travelers to find accommodation in the suburbs, such as Palio, Nea Irakliza, Nea Peramos. Especially in the popular resort of Nea Peramos this atmosphere is present. At the beaches of Amolofos regularly beach parties take place and make Nea Peramos one of the best places to stay. Alternatively Keramoti in Nestos Delta is very popular too.