Xanthi

Thrace

Xanthi has an undeniable fascination that may want to make you use it as a base for a few days rather than merely a place in which to pause for a quick look around.

Xanthi, Thrace, Greece

Xanthi has a distinctly eastern feel to it, combined with the energy that comes from its being the seat of the University of Thrace, and the large numbers of young people that brings. It is a small city of bars, bistros and galleries, with a population of about 65,000. The liveliest place is the main square, which has an attractive modern feel to it, with fountains in the middle and restaurants and cafés surrounding it.

The Pomaks

Xanthi is also home to one of the best markets in the region, and if you are here on a Saturday morning you will see the town invaded by a colourful mix of Greeks, Turks, gypsies, and Pomaks. 

The Pomaks are a highly localised indigenous group, being Muslims with Slav rather than Greek origins. There are an estimated 30-35,000 of them in Greece, mostly living to the North of Xanthi, and their language is a mix of Bulgarian, Greek and Turkish.

The Greeks don’t treat them favourably, and require them to have travel permits, and you too would need a permit if you wanted to visit one of their villages, such permits not being easily handed out. The Pomak language is also under threat, as the Greeks discourage them from using it and have put sizable obstacles in the way of the Pomaks who would like to have their own-language newspaper, for example.

Tobacco Plantations and Museums

As you travel through Thrace you will see the large tobacco plantations, and Xanthi became rich on the proceeds. Merchants built their mansions, mostly in the 19th century, and these are concentrated in the old town, a jumble of narrow streets and alleys. One such mansion now houses the town’s Folklore Museum, with displays on the tobacco industry as well as local costumes and jewellery. It is also a chance to see inside one of the mansions, as it has been restored to its former glory.

As well as the Folklore Museum Xanthi has several other museums worth visiting. They include a Natural History Museum, Ecclesiastical Museum, a Museum of Children's Art, a Tobacco Museum, a Traditional Costume Museum and a general Xanthi Museum. Read more about the Museums of Xanthi here.

Old stone bridge near Xanthi, Thrace, GreeceBridge near Xanthi

Where to Stay in Xanthi

Try some more of our Thrace pages...

  • Avdira (or Abdera) and its ancient archaeological site in Thrace

    The village of Avdira, or Abdera, with its ancient archaeological site is close to Xanthi in Thrace, Greece, and has its own beach and nearby is Lake Vistonida.

  • Alexandroupoli in the Thrace region of Greece

    Alexandroupoli is a city in the Thrace region of Greece, in the extreme east of the country, the closest Greek city to the border with Turkey.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Komotini in Thrace, Greece

    Komotini is a town in eastern Thrace in Greece, with many Turkish influences, and it is also home to the Pomak people.

  • Evros Delta National Park in Thrace, Greece

    The Evros Delta National Park is one of the most important wetlands in the whole of Europe, and a magnet for birdwatchers, with nearby accommodation.

  • Dadia Forest Reserve and Ecotourism Centre

    The Dadia Forest in eastern Greece is famous for wildlife, especially birds, with accommodation and information available at the Dadia Ecotourism Centre.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Kos on its Way to Become a Greek Biking Destination

    The comparative advantages of Kos as an emerging biking destination were presented by Deputy Transport Minister Michalis Papadopoulos during an event held recently on the island by local authorities…

    Read More

  2. Covid-19: Greece Still in CDC’s ‘Very High’ Travel Risk Category

    The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is warning Americans to avoid travel to some 75 countries, including Greece, after adding on Monday, Germany and Denmark to its “Level Four: Very High” Covid-1…

    Read More

  3. Greek Mountain Destinations Aching for Bookings

    The second winter season in the pandemic finds hotels in Greece’s striking mountain villages in a fragile state.

    Read More

  4. What to Eat at Syntagma – Petraki Street

    Petraki Street, near Syntagma Square, has everything a foodie wants, whether you’re looking for a good wine bar, cocktail bar, bakery, pastry shop, or restaurant worth visiting again and again.

    Read More

  5. Bringing Ancient Olympia Back to Life

    A new digital revival project, "Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds," harnesses artificial intelligence to bring the ancient sanctuary back to life like never before.

    Read More

  6. Athens Tops Europe’s Meeting Destinations Ranking, Says AmEx Report

    Athens, Greece’s capital city, ranks first in the top 5 meeting destinations in Europe in the 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, the 11th annual report produced by American Express Meetings & E…

    Read More

  7. Covid-19: Greece Bans the Unvaccinated from More Indoor Places

    Adults in Greece not vaccinated against the coronavirus (Covid-19) will be banned from entering more indoor spaces, including cinemas, theaters, museums and gyms as of Monday, November 22, according t…

    Read More

  8. South Aegean Islands Introduced to Luxury Wedding Planners

    The South Aegean islands were introduced to some of the world’s leading wedding planners during the 7th Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress 2021, that took place on Rhodes earlier in November…

    Read More

  9. Greece Promotes Western Macedonia as Top Wine Tourism Destination

    Western Macedonia, its wineries and wines are spearheading a far-reaching tourism ministry campaign to establish Greece as a leading wine tourism destination, said Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zachar…

    Read More

  10. A foodie guide to Thessaloniki

    Welcome to our foodie guide to Thessaloniki, where you’ll get to know all about what and where to eat in one of the best culinary getaways in Greece.

    Read More