Torn between the old and the modern, Xanthi is a city rich in color, culture and architecture. Lately, it’s also become a small businesses hub with many local retail brands getting established and a highly developed sense of aesthetics. Add to that a distinctive architecture style and you certainly have a small-city gem in the Northern part of Greece.
Amphitheatrically built on the foot of Rhodope mountain chain, the city is divided by the Kosynthos River, into the west part, where the old and the modern town are located, and the east part that boasts a rich natural environment. Although the city is known for its spring carnival, Xanthi is also a great place to visit in early summer!
You can reach the city from Thessaloniki in less than 3hrs , from Istanbul in about 5hrs and from Athens in about 7hrs. Wherever you are, just make sure you get to visit Xanthi for a weekend getaway sooner rather than later!
The city is not that big and it is easy to navigate around it on foot. Just make sure you have enough time and pace yourself as there will be many excuses along the way to stop for a quick coffee, a dessert or a small bite. Xanthi is home to the legendary karioka dessert from Papaparaskevas, a treat first created back in 1926 by George Papaparaskevas. The original shop still remains in the old city with the 3rd generation of the family taking over. The best spot to get a coffee or a drink is at the Bahamas, a newly launched meeting point that also dubs as a gallery at times as well as the hangout place for young locals. If you’re looking for breakfast then head to Forêt which opened in 2017 and serves great egg dishes and other brunch treats.
The old city is a real beaut to navigate around. You can get lost in the small alleys and catch snapshots of another era as the east meets the west in a very colorful and serene manner. Some buildings still date back to the 18th century making this part of the city a great cultural heritage. You can still catch a few mansions from the Ottoman era, as well as more classic buildings like the Folklore and Historical Museum of Xanthi.
Xanthis’s Bazaar – run every Saturday, this colorful mix of all nations is a feast to the eye
Municipal Covered Market – local produce and fare at this nice plaza full of vegetables and other locally-sourced daily goods
Folk and History Museum of Xanthi – great stone-built building and a nice collection
Dagkli – a cute pedestrian street that has recently started filling up with local entrepreneurs ranging from barbers shops to art galleries and cafes
Palea Polis – traditional taverna with a nice patio at the back for some lunch outside
Papapareskevas – famous and best tasting kariokes, a local confectionery dating back to the 20th century
To Kati Allo – another traditional confectionery store, also known for their kariokes
Bougatsa Anixi – one of the best bougatsa places in town, that traditional phyllo-pastry pies from Northern Greece
Bahamas – most hip and relaxing all-day coffee and drinks spot. Make sure you also catch a glimpse of the art installations occasionally running at one of the rooms
Foret – a newly launched nice spot for breakfast and some coffee
Tiflomiga – nice spot for a quick coffee and people watching inside the cobbled streets of the old town