Sometimes a place may surprise you of how little you know about it, although it may be just nearby your hometown! That’s how I felt when I visited and got to know the beautiful town of Veria, located just an hour drive away from Thessaloniki, the city I live in! These couple of days gave me the chance to get accustomed to a town full of sightseeing sites, hospitable people and delicious local cuisine.
Veria is a small but very picturesque town in Northern Greece. I went by car and chose to stay for a couple of full days so I get the chance to visit all sightseeing sites and also get the chance to relax and recharge my batteries.
The most important site to visit here is by far the archaeological area of Vergina. This is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece so it’s definitely recommended to the visitor who must not miss visiting Vergina when in town. Vergina features the tombs of Macedonian kings, Phillipos the second, Alexander the Great’s father, being the most important and well known of all. Here one can feel to his skin how important this area was in the ancient times and the role it played to the Greek history!
Leaving Vergina, one must not miss to also visit the St. John’s the Baptist Monastery. There are many Monasteries in the area but this one is built on a unique landscape panorama! The monks are very hospitable and you will get the chance to enjoy the panoramic view of the entire area from above as well as get to know and understand a bit better the strong religious feelings of the Greeks.
Visiting Vergina and St. John’s the Baptist Monastery, we’ve already reached evening time without even noticing how time flew by! I decided that it was about time I return to my hotel, take a shower and rest a bit before dinner time! Two hours later I had the pleasure of tasting the famous local cuisine of Veria, well-known to Greece!
My choice of restaurant to enjoy my dinner was “Masna”, located at the central square of Elia (Olives square). This restaurant has a great reputation due to the exceptional dishes being served; therefore it’s the first choice not only by tourists but locals too! I enjoyed a delightful evening and fantastic dinner with the company of a bottle of white local wine as the area is also famous for its great vineyards!
Soon after my fulfilling dinner I returned to the hotel, took another relaxing shower and slept deeply all night like a baby. Next day I woke up completely fresh and rejuvenated, had a breakfast that filled me up with further energy and decided to walk around town and explore the rest of the sites. But first of all.. I needed to enjoy a great cup of coffee, my morning ritual!
I enjoyed my coffee downtown as it was the best location to use as base and explore the sites that I was interested in. I chose café “Seremeta” and not by accident as all locals recommended it for its incredible desserts and especially the local heavy syrup one called revani. I could not resist accompanying my coffee with a portion of the famous revani that has made Veria famous for throughout the entire Greece! It’s impossible to visit Veria and not have a taste of revani! You will find it everywhere and you have my word that once you taste the first bite, you’ll never ever forget its unique syrupy taste!
Soon after the unique pleasure of coffee accompanied by Veria’s revani, I started off my exploration. I walked up to the Old Metropolis of Veria. The church was rebuilt on the 11thcentury and all paintings inside are of great archaeological value, dated back to the 13th century AD.
Afterwards I went downhill to find the Jewish Synagogue of Veria. The building, as it stands today, was also rebuilt in 1850 AD and is the oldest synagogue of Northern Greece. In order to visit the specific site, you need to contact a few days in advance the Tourist section of the Veria Municipality and get special permission.
Noon was here already and what do they say? Being in Rome do as the Romans do! Well, the locals here are enjoying tsipouraki around this hour! Tsipouraki is the local alcoholic drink, quite strong, served with the company of delicious entry plates. I chose to enjoy mine at the “12 Grada” restaurant, located in the old town.
Despite the fact that tsipouraki and its accompanying entries are to boost up your appetite, they were so many and delicious that I could not have another bite – my stomach got full and completely satisfied! I decided to spend the rest of the day walking around the old town, admiring the traditional homes and beautiful corners of Veria until the sunset! Time flew by with all this beauty around me to soothe the eyes and mind!
Soon after returning to my hotel for a quick refreshing shower and resting a bit, I went out again to the centre of the town to enjoy my dinner this time at Angeliko restaurant. The service was great and I enjoyed all the dishes that I tried.
The day of my departure had risen. I enjoyed my morning coffee at the balcony of my room, collecting in my mind the beautiful scenes I had seen and the memories to remind me of the great time I had here. It was time to get back to my base and leave this beautiful town of relaxation behind but not for long. I made a promise to myself to get back here very soon and enjoy this town and what it has to offer again and again! Then with a last smiling look behind, I got behind the wheel and got back to my own city!