Thessaloniki’s Kalamaria district is defined by the sea; the magical view from the edge of Mihaniona all the way to the Mount Olympus summit; the endless seaside strolls with a full-red sunset; the area’s rich history, greatly shaped by the refugee influx of ethnic Greeks from the Pontus region on the southern coast of the Black Sea; wide footpaths, linden trees, red plum trees and well-kept apartment blocks.


The district is also characterised by the dazzling beauty of Kyverneio, a large neoclassical mansion in the Karabournaki area; as well as the beauty of the Aretsou and Nea Krini areas.

Kalamaria, which could well be described as the Riviera of Thessaloniki, is a vibrant area making dynamic progress, in constant search of improvement.

Where to go

Walkers, runners, pet lovers walking their dogs, middle-aged individuals exercising on their doctors’ advice, as well as romantics desiring full-sea views, are all drawn to favourite sections along Kalamaria’s seaside front.

Seaside walking is a passion that is evident in various seaside parts of the Kalamaria district, including the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki – this, too, is in Kalamaria – Palataki, the Aretsou marina, as well as Krini, between yachts and fishing boats and embraced by the Thermaic Gulf. The seaside area at the Kodra military base, featuring dense greenery, is also proving increasingly popular. This part of Kalamaria also hosts the Apollon Kalamarias football club, founded in 1926 and currently playing in the country’s second-tier competition.

Outings, dinner and coffee

The seaside area of Kalamaria has it all covered, from tavernas with a nostalgic touch to shinier modern spots filled luring local celebrities.

Shark: This bar-restaurant is a major attraction for teenagers as well as slightly older crowds.

Nautical Club of Thessaloniki: According to urban legend, more official agreements have been achieved here than at the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace and more inheritance issues resolved than at all the notaries in Thessaloniki. Every Thessaloniki resident has been here for one celebration or another – university graduation, business deals, weddings etc.

Lez Zazous: Skilled bartenders, signature cocktails, brunch, avocado-topped pancakes, premium meat cuts, as well as irresistible Nigiri and Norimaki dishes are among the features at this exquisite seaside restaurant and bar.

Gialos: As made clear by its name, meaning seaside in Greek, this spot specialises in fish and seafood dishes.

Hamodrakas: A traditional taverna intertwined with the history of the coastal Nea Krini area, Hamodrakas was founded in 1926 by Leonidas Hamodrakas, offering fresh fish to locals and passersby, next to the boats at the Thermaic Gulf, overlooking the Kara-Bournou lighthouse. Over the decades, this taverna has attracted scores of luminaries, including high-profile politicians, artists, European officials, as well as ordinary folk, for fish meals.

Harkas: A no-frills spot at a small bay filled with fishing boats, this serene seaside setting makes you forget that you are in a city.

Remvi: A historic shop that remains a strong meeting point, it serves fresh fish and exceptional meat dishes. Remvi is renowned for its lobster spaghetti.

Hara: This is my favourite place! Its outdoor space has a garden. It is simple, tastefully designed, and serves real food, offered by a very likeable team. The menu includes rock samphire recipes, anchovies, skipjack tuna, bouyiourdi (spicy baked feta cheese with tomato, peppers and oregano), as well as crayfish orzo and steamed mussels.

Beyond the seaside area, the hotspots extend to the Kalamaria pedestrian street, Komninon, with cafes for all tastes. Roasters Colectiva, serving its own coffee blends, is the trendiest of the lot, with stylish design. Besides good spots for coffee and green tea, the pedestrian street is also home to the well-known Ilios confectionery shop, offering various delights, including exquisite chocolate profiterole and truffles.

For loukoumades (bite-sized, fluffy, honey-drenched dough pieces), both traditional and tweaked, head to; for nuts, look for Sporia Tis Kalamarias, in business since 1953; for piroski (boat-shaped buns with various fillings) and tsoureki (sweet, fluffy bread) Sweet Stories is the place; while, for a large range of fruit and vegetables, go to Aslanidis.

Meat and fish dishes can be enjoyed at the Lavasas taverna, a throwback to a former time. Mirali To Kapileion, a modern-style taverna, serves dishes such as honeyed beef and fillet with mushroom sauce and white truffles.

Even though off the pedestrian street, at 99 Sofouli St, Vyzantino, serving Anatolian cuisine, deserves a mention. We started with hünkâr beğendi (eggplant puree with honeyed veal) and continued with adana kebab (kebab with sumac) and ursa kebab (filled with kaseri cheese and almonds). For dessert, we had kunefe, syrup-soaked to perfection.

Delicatessens and Pontian perek (crepe-thin pita bread)

Being an area where Pontian refugees settled as a result of 1923’s Treaty of Lausanne, entailing a Greek-Turkish exchange of populations, Kalamaria features many small delicatessens stocked with Anatolian culinary delights, including pastourma (cured meat) and spicy sausages. You will also find renowned Pontian perek (crepe-thin pita bread), ideal for making pies and pizzas in just a few minutes.

Pasta varieties made by Agrozymi, a small-scale producer reviving flavours, memories and products from Pontus, may also be found in the Kalamaria area. Products to look out for include exceptional groats, nowadays a key ingredient for many gourmet vegetarian recipes; hard-to-find makarina pasta (thin noodles); and couscous, perfect when cooked with chicken.

Our favourite grocery stores are:

Pantopoleio Tis Kalamarias, 27 Pasalidi

Mesogeios, 7 Ethnikis Antistaseos

Teseres Epohes, 4 Ethnikis Antistaseos

Peri Gis, 32 Dodekanisou

Two history-filled spots

The Historical Archive of Refugee Hellenism and the Christos Kalemkeris Photography Museum are two exceptional places renowned for their work well beyond Kalamaria. Offering some solace to the area’s wounded refugee souls, the Historical Archive of Refugee Hellenism houses photographs, testimonies and sound recordings, all part of a wave that transformed the lives of thousands of people.

The Historical Archive’s existence continues to offer compassion and puts emotions into words, raising awareness on the history of Pontian refugees. Its colossal collection sheds light on small moments in life. Visit the archive’s website,, and listen to the monthly testimonial uploads.

Directly opposite the Historical Archive, a gigantic collection of over 55,000 photographs as well dozens of old cameras are on display at the Christos Kalemkeris Photography Museum, established by Kalemkeris, a Kalamaria native and avid collector with a passion for history. He accumulated a major collection of rare photos that stretch back to the roots of photography, depicting moments from the country’s past. Battles, moments of celebration, rare depictions of monuments, as well pictures portraying a nation in transformation are among the collection’s themes. This inexhaustible collection also includes rare samples of work by professional photographers, Greek and foreign, who captured Greece through their lens during the 19th century. The museum disseminates its collection through exhibitions, publications as well as a strong online presence.

Visit the museum’s website,, and enjoy a journey to 40 Greek railway stations of the past.