Kozani, why the crossroads city of northern Greece should be your travel priority in 2024


At the crossroads between Epirus, Thessaly and Macedonia, as well as Greece and the Balkans, Kozani is not a city that defiantly flaunts its beauty. With its neoclassical buildings, its mansions, the coexistence of the modern with the classic and the Ottoman with the Christian, the city that stands proudly between three separate mountains allows its visitors to discover it gradually.

"Situated" between the mountain ranges of Vermio, Vourinos and Pieria and at an altitude of 720 metres above sea level, Kozani is only 125 km from Thessaloniki, a distance covered by road in one hour, and 472 km from Athens, about 5 hours by car.


A walk in the city should have as its starting point its historical centre, a place of meeting and interaction of the city's people and home of its beautiful, restored mansions. Nikis Square is right in the centre, and hosts many of Kozani's neoclassical buildings, such as the listed Ermionion Hotel (built in 1931), the Town Hall and the branch of the National Bank of Greece.

A few minutes from the square is one of the most emblematic sights of the city, the metropolitan church of Agios Nikolaos, built in 1664, with its impressive bell tower. It is a three-aisled, arched royal-style church and is the primary centre of worship of the locals.


Continue your walk with a visit to the Historical Folklore Museum of Kozani, which houses hundreds of highly interesting historical and folkloric exhibits and a gallery.

Historical-Folklore Museum of Kozani
Historical-Folklore Museum of Kozani.

At a distance of less than ten minutes is the Koventareios Municipal Library, a real jewel for the city, with its completely modern external design and internal educational wealth.

The library's history begins in the 17th century when the city of Kozani, due to its location, developed into an intellectual and commercial centre of the wider Balkan region. The library houses Aristotle's "After the Natural" and "On Historical Animals" (printed 1497), the "Map of Riga" (published 1796-97), the World Map of Anthimos Gazi (1800), the first Greek newspaper of the Markido Pouliou brothers ("Efimeris" 1790-1797) as well as 120,000 manuscripts, codices, maps, pamphlets and books, up to "Asterix and Cleopatra" by René Gossini and Albert Uderzo.

Finally, just outside Kozani, at a distance of 22 kilometres, is the archaeological site and the Archaeological Museum of Aianis. Ancient Aiani was the capital of one of the strongest kingdoms of Upper Macedonia. In the museum's collections, you will see findings from the Late Bronze Age and exhibits from the archaic classical period.

Archaeological Museum of Aianis
Archaeological Museum of Aianis

Not far from Aiani, you can also visit the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle in the village of Chromio. The village is on Mount Vourinos (Bourinos), 32 kilometres from Kozani.

 Museum of the Macedonian Struggle Chromio
Museum of the Macedonian Struggle Chromio

It is worth noting that your stay in Kozani can be combined with an excursion to Velvedo. The settlement, with preserved buildings of Macedonian architecture in its historical centre, showed economic and intellectual flourishing during Ottoman rule.

VelvedoYou can wander around its lovely narrow streets and visit the Folklore Museum to learn more about the place.

Stop at the Women's Agricultural Cooperative of Velvedo to get their famous jams.

Also, 27 kilometres southeast of Kozani is the artificial lake of the Polyphytos dam on the Aliakmonas River. The lake is crossed by one of the largest bridges in our country, the Servian High Bridge, which has a length of 1,372 metres.

Food and accommodation options

Suppose you want to get to know the city's culinary scene during your stay in Kozani, you will have the opportunity to get in touch with its prominent products, which include the infamous yolk, fine meats and game mushrooms, chestnuts, hazelnuts and walnuts. In addition, Kozani produces excellent feta cheese, kefalotiri and other cheeses.

If we want to be more specific, however, where you will eat well, several delicious stops are imposed.

Tripokarydos is a timeless choice in the city of Kozani. A typical brasserie, with warm dark wood inside, has various beers accompanied by the necessary appetisers (sausages, pork knuckle, pancetta). Strada has a more modern orientation, with special dishes such as chicken stuffed with cheddar, sour apple, Mediterranean nuts, and lamb chops with sauteed vegetables. If you still want fish appetisers, the Pelagos Fish Tavern will not disappoint you, with saganaki mussels and stuffed squid being the shop's specialties.

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Regarding your stay in Kozani, the Elimeia 3 hotel in Aiani stands out for the opportunity to provide you with a more pleasant stay of the highest quality. From there, many rooms and apartments are available on well-known short-term rental platforms.

VAGGELI MARINAKI is a columnist for Travel.

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