Northern Greece Guide

The Bradt Guide to Northern Greece is a detailed guide to Thessaloniki, Halkidiki, Macedonia, Thrace, The Pelion, The Sporades and the rest of Northern Greece.

Bradt Guide to Northern Greece

This Bradt Guide to Northern Greece is in the Bradt tradition, of publishing travel guides that are comprehensive, thoroughly researched, and to destinations that are often a little off-the-beaten-track. Obviously parts of northern Greece like Thessaloniki, Halkidiki, and the islands of the Sporades, are already very well-known and very much visited, but you can't leave them out just because of that.

View of Mount Olympus from HalkidikiView of Mount Olympus from Halkidiki

Having driven the length and breadth of mainland Greece ourselves, from Parga in the east to Alexandroupoli in the west, and from the southern tip of the Peloponnese to the Prespa Lakes in the far north, we're familiar with northern Greece, but this very well-researched guide of almost 400 pages introduced us to some very out-of-the-way and fascinating places that make us want to return. It is a very special, dramatic and historic part of Greece.

Roussánou Monastery, MeteoraRoussánou Monastery, Meteora

Practical Information and Maps

The book begins with the usual section on Practical Information, like useful phone numbers, time zone, an overview map, and a list of all the many maps that are in the book, from Alexandroupolis to Zagorochória (or Zagoria).

stone bridge in ZagoriaZagoria

Northern Greece Guide on the Kindle

We read the book on the Kindle and unless you're a die-hard print fan, you might want to buy an e-book version of the guide. Everything is cross-referenced with links, and someone has put a lot of painstaking effort into this. If you're looking at the map and want to know more about one of the area's top features, like Meteora, one click takes you to the Meteora section of the guide, and hitting Back then returns you to the map.

The Prespa LakesThe Prespa Lakes

Best of Northern Greece

The next section then tells you what not to miss in Northern Greece, including Meteora and the Pindus National Park, followed by a lengthy section of lovely and vivid colour photos that definitely make you want to go there. 

Northern Greece at a Glance

Michael Palin quote

More practical information follows, with sections on topics like the region's geography, religion, politics, economy, architecture, literature, and history. Our one beef with the book - and it may not be the same for other readers - is that the history sections are way too long. Obviously you want some historical background, but the history goes on for page after page, till we started skipping it. That applies not just here but in the introductions to the different sections: you have to wade through pages of history till you get to the part that tells you what the place is actually like, and what there is to do. Now, some readers might enjoy that, and it is far better to have too much of something than too little, so it's not a serious fault. In fact other than that, it's hard to fault the book at all.

ThessalonikiThessaloniki

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know...

The author suggests several itineraries, depending how much time you have available, and she lists some tour operators both in the UK and within Greece, who can help you with your planning. Don't worry if you're not in the UK, as although Bradt is based there, this guide is for an international audience.

The practical sections tell you everything you could possibly want to know about travelling to northern Greece, travelling around, what to pack, when to go, family travel, budgeting, and much more. We had to smile at the budgeting section, having written numerous guidebooks ourselves. Every publisher has a standard list of what they want the author to find the price of. Most of these make sense, like the cost of petrol or a bottle of water, but Bradt seems to think travellers need to know the cost of a bar of chocolate in northern Greece (€1.20, if it's of interest.)

Church in KastoriaKastoria

Maps of Northern Greece

We've already mentioned the maps, and that there are a lot of them, but what's important is that they are good clear ones. They are also, like the whole book, cross-referenced superbly. On the overall map for Thessaloniki, by way of example, there are links at the bottom to a city centre map, to the section on places to stay, and the section on places to eat and drink. This was a little tricky on our small Kindle screen, but on something like an iPad it would be brilliant.

The Thessaloniki WaterfrontThe Thessaloniki Waterfront

Thessaloniki

Talking of Thessaloniki, the section on Greece's second city is so detailed that it could easily be extracted and sold as a city guidebook on its own. Acknowledging that this is Greece's gastronomic capital, the section on where to eat is very thorough, ranging from the gourmet temples to cheap and cheerful ouzeries, and there's even a separate listing just for recommended Pastry Shops.

The What to See and Do section is equally thorough, covering Thessaloniki's many fine museums, as well as its churches, historical buildings and monuments, markets... we couldn't find a single important place in the city that wasn't covered, and covered in detail.

Mount AthosMount Athos

Bradt Guide to Northern Greece

The rest of northern Greece is covered with equal attention to detail, and each chapter has separate features on topics relevant to the area, like the people who live there, the wildlife, the culture, special foods and drinks, that kind of thing.

As well as Thessaloniki, places covered include Halkidiki and Mount Athos, the Sporades, the Pelion, Meteora, Ioannina, Kastoria, Mount Olympus, and islands including Thassos and Samothraki. There's even a section on Athens, in case you're passing through there. It's not as detailed as, say, the Thessaloniki chapter, but would be perfectly adequate for a stay of 2-3 days. If you're staying longer we recommend you buy a dedicated Athens city guide.

In short, if you're going to northern Greece, you won't find a better guidebook. Even if you're only going to part of the region, this will be a good investment, and it's a credit to the publisher and the author, Dana Facaros, who has been writing about Greece since 1977 - and her knowledge shows.

Mount OlympusMount Olympus

Buying the Bradt Guide to Northern Greece

You can buy the Bradt Guide to Northern Greece direct from the publisher here.

You might also like these pages...

  • Macedonia and Thrace

    Macedonia and Thrace are the regions in Greece where travelers will find Thessaloniki, Mount Athos monasteries, Halkidiki and sites like Dion and Pella.

  • Scenic Drives in Northern Greece

    Scenic Drives in Northern Greece, Ioannina, Meteora, Kastoria, Prespa Lakes

  • Halkidikí

    Halkidiki is a three-pronged peninsula near Thessaloniki in northern Greece which comprises Mount Athos and the holiday resorts on Kassandra and Sithonia.

  • Kavala

    The city of Kavala in eastern Macedonia is the area's major seaport and the base for ferries to the islands of the North East Aegean, including Thasos.

  • Philippi

    Philippi is an ancient archaeological site near Kavala in East Macedonia and Thrace and is famous for being the place where the apostle St Paul was imprisoned.

  • Museums of Thessaloniki

    The Greek city of Thessaloniki in Macedonia has an array of wonderful museums and art galleries, and here's twelve of the best.

  • Dion

    Dion is a rather wonderful archaeological site in Macedonia, not far from Thessaloniki, with an archaeological museum nearby in the town of Dion.

  • Thessaloniki

    The capital of Macedonia and Greece’s second city, Thessaloníki has a lovely situation by the water, a wealth of history, many good museums, and good food.

  • The Royal Tombs and Archaeological Site of Vergina in Macedonia

    The archaeological site of Vergina in Macedonia is famous for the royal tombs which were the burial place of King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great.

  • The Prespa Lakes in Northern Greece

    The Prespa Lakes in northwest Greece is one of the most beautiful parts of Greece with abundant wildlife and also many ancient churches.

  • The Site of Ancient Pella in Macedonia, Greece

    Pella in Macedonia is famous for its mosaics and was also the birthplace of both King Philip II and his son, Alexander the Great.

  • Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece

    Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and is in the Mount Olympus National Park in Macedonia, with Litochoro being the best base.

  • Mount Athos

    Visiting Mount Athos in Greece requires a permit, but you can see the monasteries on a boat trip around the peninsula, known as the Monks' Republic.

  • Mount Athos Boat Trips

    Mount Athos boat trips are very popular with visitors to Halkidiki in Greece, as they are the only way most people get to see these spectacular monasteries.

  • Kastoria

    Kastoria is a lakeside town in West Macedonia which prospered with the fur trade and today has some handsome mansions, museums and many Byzantine churches.

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