|My Favourite Planet > English > Europe > Greece > Macedonia > |
||How to get to Kavala
A Kavala fishing boat on its way home.
|The cheapest and most convenient way to travel to Kavala is by bus.|
There are frequent buses between Kavala and Thessaloniki, Philippi and Alexandroupoli and several local destinations, and less frequent services to Athens and other cities. For many destinations you will need change buses at some point.
There is no railway station here, but for inveterate train travellers we have included a section on train connections.
Kavala also has ferry connections to nearby Thasos and other Aegean islands.
There are generally fewer buses and ferries in winter (October - April), and schedules, routes and fares change (i.e. get worse) continually due to the economic crisis.
For an overview of transport for Macedonia,
see How to get to Macedonia, Greece.
How to get to Pella
How to get to Stageira and Olympiada
How to get to Veria
|Flights within Greece should be booked well in advance,
especially in summer and around public holidays.
Thessaloniki International Airport
Thessaloniki International Airport "Macedonia",
53103 Kalamaria, Macedonia
IATA code: SKG
The largest and most important airport in Macedonia. For further information, including transport connections to Thessaloniki city centre, see Macedonia page 4: How to get to Macedonia, Greece.
15 km south of the city centre.
Well connected by taxi and bus 78.
Bus number X1, about every 30 mins; at night N1 every hour.
Connects airport to the city centre, railway station and central KTEL "Macedonia" intercity bus station.
See details of buses to/from Kavala below.
Kavala International Airport
Kavala International Airport "Alexander the Great"
(Μέγας Αλέξανδρος, Mégas Aléxandros)
Near Chrysoupolis (Χρυσουπολης), 30 km east of the city!
Tel: +30 25910 53273
IATA code: KVA
It seems a little misleading to call it "Kavala Airport" since it is 30 km east of the city!
The airport is served by domestic flights, a few international airlines and charter operators, and is convenient for those who want to travel to Thasos island from the nearby ferry port at Keramoti.
Transport to/from Kavala Airport
Until recently there was no public transport between Kavala and the airport. Now there are a couple of buses a day, but the KTEL Kavalas website information about the route is less than helpful, and the English translation is awful.
See details of bus connections below.
A taxi between Kavala and the airport costs about 50 Euros.
For information about Athens and Alexandroupoli airports, see:
How to get to Macedonia, Greece
How to get to Alexandroupoli, Thrace
Flights to/from Athens
There are 2 flights daily each way
between Athens and Kavala.
Journey time 1 hour 5 minutes.
Typical single fares 30-180 Euro.
Flights operated by:
Both websites (Greek & English)
offer the same flights and prices.
Kavala inter-city bus station.
KTEL Kavalas inter-city bus station
The busy bus station is conveniently located in the city centre, at the corner of two streets, one block from the harbour and 5 minutes walk from the ferry terminal (see below).
There are often long queues for information and tickets, especially in summer. Bus tickets can not be booked in advance, and are usually on sale a few hours before departure. The staff are generally friendly and most speak English.
There is a left-luggage room, toilets (clean but not luxurious), a waiting room with a snack bar, and benches outside (often full).
There are grocery shops, bakeries and cafes near the bus station. If you have an hour or so to wait for a bus, you may prefer to do some shopping or sit at a cafe or in the nearby Heroon Park than hang around the noisy bus station.
Buses leave from the streets outside the bus station. Sometimes departures are called by loudspeakers or by the driver around 15 minutes before departure. However, such announcements may be impossible to understand or hear over the general noise. Find out where your bus is leaving from, and try to find other people (locals) who are waiting for the same bus.
Usually tickets show your seat number(s). Generally there is a mad scramble at the last minute as passengers stuff their bags in the luggage holders beneath the bus and try to get to a seat.
4 Mitropolitou Kavalas Street,
on the corner of Filikis Eterias Street.
Tel: 2510 22 22 94
Ticket office: 2510 23 22 67
Although the website nominally offers timetable and ticket information in English, the site is slow, geeky and not very helpful. It uses an automatic computer translation programme which is awful. For example, the destination Laspi (ΛΑΣΠΗ) is translated as "MUD"! There is no information about fares in English, just a political declaration about government policies.
For better timetables and ticket information for buses between Kavala and Thessaloniki see:
This is the website for KTEL Macedonias, which offers information which is easier to find and understand.
The addresses, phone numbers and websites of other bus stations are listed below.
Destination signs at Kavalas bus station indicate
where, in theory, you should wait for your bus.
Since this photo was taken (2008) the bus station
has had a facelift, and the old signs have been
replaced by red neon panels on the wall of the
new facade (see photo above).
Dramatic destination sign.
|Inter-city bus connections
|For further details about bus travel and bus stations in Macedonia, see:|
How to get to Macedonia, Greece
|Travelling by bus is generally the easiest and cheapest way to explore Greece. Buses are usually modern, comfortable and fast. Finding out how and where to catch your bus and the cost of tickets is not always easy, especially once you get off the main inter-city routes or want to visit smaller towns and villages.
Most bus stations in Greek towns and cities are in the centre, as at Kavala. Usually small buildings, they contain ticket booths, toilets and a cafe, and some also have left luggage facilities. Buses arrive and depart from outside the smaller stations, and you often have to find your bus among several parked along the adjacent streets. This is not always easy, as when buses arrive there is usually a huge, confused scramble and the sidewalks are choked with passengers trying to find their bus.
The trend in recent decades has been to move bus stations out of town centres, which is quite understandable due to the noise, diesel smog and traffic congestion they cause. In cities such as Athens, Thessaloniki, Trikala, Corinth and Argos they are quite distant from the centre and other facilities such as railway stations. Some are difficult to get to by local public transport, particularly the two inter-city bus stations in Athens (see below).
Inter-city buses in Greece are run by 62 independent regional KTEL (ΚΤΕΛ) bus companies, each with its own services, schedules and website (mostly in Greek only). At present there is no central source of information, and the bus companies do not usually cooperate with each other to provide inter-regional information.
Most employees at KTEL bus station information desks speak English, but they are not all very forthcoming with information. Printed schedules and routes are difficult to obtain, and staff are often unwilling to provide information about connections with other KTEL companies.
For an overview of inter-city bus services in Macedonia, including information about the various regional KTEL bus companies bus, stations and fares.
See How to get to Macedonia, Greece: by bus.
The KTEL Kavalas website has timetables in English, but they are not very intelligible:
The quality of information on most KTEL websites is very poor. It would be very helpful to know, for example, which roads, towns and villages are on particular routes. Fare information would also be useful.
Often it is possible to travel by bus from one location to another, often with a change of buses, despite the information to the contrary on timetables and websites. Usually you have to ask at the local bus station.
|To / from Athens|
The bus journey between Athens and Kavala
takes around 8 hours.
Kavala - Athens every day 8:45, 20:30
Athens - Kavala every day 8:45, 20:30
Fare 55 € one way.
We recommend a train from Athens to Thessaloniki and a bus from there to Kavala. Although trains are less frequent and a little more expensive than buses, they are more comfortable - and they have toilets. The train stations in Athens and Thessaloniki are near the respective city centres. The main bus station in Thessaloniki is also easier to get to than Terminal A in Athens (see below).
Athens "Terminal A" inter-city bus station
Athens has two main inter-city bus stations, generally known as Terminal A and Terminal B.
Buses between Athens and Kavala, and other destinations in northern Greece depart and arrive at the Kifissou Street KTEL Bus Station, also known as Terminal A.
Tickets can be purchased at the bus station which has a snack bar, toilets, and a kiosk (sweets, drinks, newspapers, cigarettes...) There are no decent shops within easy walking distance.
KTEL Kifissou, 100 Odos Kifissou, Kifissos, 10442 Athens.
Ticket office: +30 2105 12 94 07
The bus stations in Athens have no website. Why? Currently the only source of information about schedules and fares are photocopied pages from the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO).
Terminal A is hidden away in the side streets of a northern suburb of Athens and can be difficult to get to from the city centre. If there are two or more of you travelling, or if you have luggage, you may find it less stressful to take a taxi, which costs around 20 Euros from the centre (ask the driver the price before you get in!).
Buses to Terminal A
X93 express bus from Athens Airport (Door 5). Around every 35 minutes. Every 65 minutes at night. Fare €1 one way. It also stops at the Liossion Street bus station (Terminal B).
51 from the centre, at the corner of Menandrou Street and Zinonos Street, near Metaxourgeio Square, 2 blocks west of Omonia Square. Every 15 minutes. Fare €1 one way.
From Terminal A into the centre, the 51 bus stops at the Metaxourgeio metro station.
420 from Piraeus, at the corner of Thermopilon and Akti Kondili streets.
Terminal A is quite a long way north of the city centre and not easy to find. We do not recommend walking. It is possible to get to the bus station by a combination of metro trains and buses, but it really is a chore, especially with luggage. If there are 2 or more of you, take a taxi.
KTEL ticket office at Omonia Square,
59 Sokrates Street, Omonia Square.
In a narrow side street, just west of Omonia Square.
+30 Tel: +30 210 52 37 889
Monday - Friday 7:00 - 17:00, Saturday 7:30 - 15:30,
A very useful office and good service. The helpful staff speak English, and tickets for all destinations from Athens can be bought in advance!
|To / from Thessaloniki|
Buses from Thessaloniki to Kavala and other destinations in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace depart from the KTEL "Macedonia" inter-city bus station, 5 km west of Thessaloniki city centre.
For details and directions see:
How to get to Macedonia, Greece
There are about 15 buses daily between Thessaloniki and Kavala (around 165 km, depending on route), although some do not run on Saturdays or Sundays.
4 of the buses travel the mountain route via Eleftheroupolis. Journey time 2 hours 30 minutes.
5 bus per day travel the coastal route via Peramos.
Journey time 2 hours 20 minutes.
7 buses per day are non-stop "EXPRESS".
Journey time 2 hours.
Ticket: €16.30, return €30.
Thessaloniki ticket office: +30 2310 59 54 22
Thessaloniki KTEL bus station: +30 2310 59 54 76
Bus schedules and ticket information: www.ktelmacedonia.gr/en/routes/tid=17
The website of the KTEL Macedonia bus station is much more intelligible and better organized than that of KTEL Kavalas.
|To / from Kavala Airport|
Kavala International Airport "Alexander the Great" is 30 km east of Kavala, near Chrysoupolis (see details above).
KTEL Macedonias has recently started a bus service between Kavala and the airport. Why did it take so long?
There are two "express" buses a day, except Tuesday and Sunday.
Once again, the KTEL Kavalas website www.ktelkavalas.gr
is not very informative about fares, routes or journey times.
The journey time should be around 30 minutes.
Kavala - Airport
Monday to Friday 6:15 (except Tuesday) and 18:15
Saturday 6:15 and 18:15
Sundays and Holidays 18:15
Airport - Kavala
Monday to Friday 7:10 (except Tuesday) and 19:15
Saturday 7:10 and 19:15
Sundays and Holidays 19:15
|To / from Alexandroupoli, Thrace|
The Alexandroupoli KTEL Evrou inter-city bus station is in the town centre, 10-15 minutes walk from the ferry port and train station.
Odos Eleftheriou Venizelou 36 (corner of Leoforos 14th Maiou),
Booking office : +30 25510 26479
KTEL Evrou website: www.ktelevrou.gr (Greek only)
Kavala - Alexandroupoli
Monday to Friday 10:00, 13:15, 16:45, 20:30, 1:45
Saturday 10:00, 13:15, 16:45, 20:30, 1:30
Sundays and Holidays 10:00, 13:15, 16:45, 20:30, 1:30
Alexandroupoli - Kavala
5-7 buses per day, schedule unavailable.
Distance 149 km
Journey time around 2 hours 30 minutes
Tickets: one-way 14.90 €, return 26.90 €
See: How to get to Alexandroupoli
|To / from Drama - also for Philippi|
Drama (Δράμα), 36 km north of Kavala, is the capital of the regional unit of East Macedonia and Thrace.
Buses between Kavala and Drama travel along the National Road EO12, and usually stop at the village of Krinides (Κρηνίδες), 1 km from the Philippi Archaeological site (see below).
Kavala - Drama
Monday - Friday 6:00, 7:00, 8:00,
then every 30 minutes until 16:00;
17:00, 18:00, 19:00, 20:00, 20:45, 21:30
Saturday every hour 7:00 - 19:00; then 19:30, 20:00, 21:30
Sunday and holidays every hour 8:00 - 20:00; then 21:00, 21:30
Drama - Kavala
Monday - Friday 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, then every 30 minutes until 15:00; then 16:00, 17:00, 18:00, 19:00, 20:00 21:00
Saturday every hour 7:00 - 21:00
Sunday and holidays every hour 8:00 - 21:00
Journey time 50 minutes. Fare 6 €.
KTEL DRAMAS bus station
1 Vitsi Street, 66100 Drama.
Ticket office : +30 25210 32421 and +30 25210 37431
Website: www.kteldramas.gr (Greek only)
A taxi from Kavala to Drama costs about 50 €.
There are 25 hotels in Drama.
|To / from Philippi|
Direct buses from Kavala to Philippi (Φίλιπποι), 17 km north, stop at the village of Krinides (Κρηνίδες), just east of the National Road EO12.
The bus stop is 1 km from the Philippi Archaeological site. The way to the site and museum is clearly signposted.
Buses between Kavala and Drama (see above) usually stop at Krinides.
According to the KTEL Kavalas website Kavala - Philippi buses depart from Kavala at the following times:
Monday to Friday 07:30, 11:00, 15:15
Saturday 7:30, 14:30
Sundays and Holidays 7:15, 16:55
The website does not mention fares, journey times, tell you how you are supposed to return to Kavala or that you can use the Kavala - Drama bus.
Current fares are not available, but should be less than 4 Euros.
Journey time around 20 minutes.
Krinides has a restaurant and a couple of shops near the bus stop.
A taxi from Kavala to Philippi costs about 25 €.
For further details about Philippi, see:
page 5: Activities and sightseeing in Kavala
|To / from Chrysoupolis - Keramoti - Xanthi|
Bus schedules for this service can be found on the website of KTEL Kavalas: www.ktelkavalas.gr
There is no information about fares, journey times or the route the buses take. It also seems that buses do not actually stop at Keramoti on the route from Xanthi to Kavala. Is this an oversight or just a typing error?
If it is correct, it seems absurd that there is no bus to take Keramoti ferry passengers to Kavala. Perhaps it is a result of competition between the two ferry ports?
Chrysoupolis (Xρυσούπολης) is a town 36 km east of Kavala, and northeast of Kavala Megas Alexandros International Airport (see airports above) and 16 km north of Keramoti.
One way fare 3 €. Journey time 35 minutes.
Bus station: +30 2591 02 24 15
Keramoti (Κεραμωτή), 45 km southeast of Kavala, and 15 km south of Kavala Airport, is a small town (or large village) with a small port for ferries to Thasos (see ferries below).
Xanthi (Ξάνθη), 56 km northeast of Kavala, is the capital of the Xanthi regional unit of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. The small city has a picturesque old town and a railway station on the Thessaloniki - Alexandroupoli line.
Information about Xanthi in English:
Xanthi KTEL bus station
6 Dimokritou Street, 67100 Xanthi.
Ticket office: 25410 22684
website: www.ktelxanthis.gr (Greek only)
Kavala - Chrysoupolis - Keramoti - Xanthi
Note: Not all buses go to Xanthi
Monday - Friday first bus 5:50,
then every 30 mins, 6:30 - 20:00
Departures on the hour and half hour.
Only buses departing on the half hour go to Xanthi.
21:30 and 22:30 to Chrysoupolis ONLY
Saturday 06:00, 06:30, then hourly until 21:30
Sunday and holidays 12 buses, 06:30 - 21:30
Xanthi - Chrysoupolis - Keramoti - Kavala
Despite the name of the service, it seems from the published schedule that buses travelling in this direction do not actually stop at Keramoti.
Does this mean that from Keramoti buses only travel to Xanthi and not to Kavala? Or is there another bus between Keramoti and Chrysoupolis with a connection to Kavala?
Monday - Friday 14 buses a day, 7:00 - 21:30
Saturday 13 buses, 8:30 - 21:30
Sunday and holidays 8 buses, 9:30 - 21:30
|To / from Komotini|
Komotini (Κομοτηνή), 101 km east of Kavala, is the capital of the Rhodope regional unit of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.
The small city on the Thracian Plain, just south of the Rhodopi Mountains, has a railway station on the Thessaloniki - Alexandroupoli line.
45% of the population are Muslim, so there are mosques as well as churches, an archaeological museum, a folklore museum, a museum of Roma basket-making, a natural history museum and a museum dedicated to the Greek mathematician Karatheodoris.
Information in English about Komotini, Alexandroupoli, Orestiada and Xanthi: www.duth.esngreece.gr
Website For Erasmus students at the Democritus University of Thrace.
Komotini KTEL bus station
KTEL Rhodopis (ΚΤΕΛ Ροδόπης)
4 Odos Georgiadou Mameli, 69100 Komotini.
Booking office: +30 25310 22912
(Greek only, schedules but no fare info)
Kavala - Komotini
Monday - Friday 08:30 and 20:30
Saturday no buses
Sunday and holidays 20:30
Komotini - Kavala
Monday - Friday 7:00 and 19:00
Saturday no buses
Sunday and holidays 7:00 and 19:00
Journey time around 1.5 hours.
|To / from Serres|
The city of Serres (Σέρρες) is 94-118 km northwest of Kavala, depending on route.
Serres KTEL bus station
KTEL Serres (ΚΤΕΛ Ν. Σερρών)
Apameias Terma, 62124 Serres. In the city centre.
Ticket office: +30 23210 22822
Bus station: +30 23210 26606
Website: www.ktelserron.gr (Greek only)
Serres - Kavala
Monday-Saturday 4 bus daily.
Sunday and bank holidays 2 buses.
Journey time around 2 hours.
Buses travel via Rodolithos (Ροδολίβους) and Protis (Πρώτης).
Serres - Athens
3 buses daily. Journey time 7.5 hours. Ticket €49.
Serres - Thessaloniki
Frequent buses to/from Thessaloniki.
Journey time: 1.5 hours. Ticket: €9.
Schedules in Greek and English: ktelmacedonia.gr/en/routes/list/tid=33
There are also bus connections from Serres to Amphipolis.
|To / from Eleftheroupoli|
Eleftheroupoli (Ελευθερούπολη, Freedom City) is a farming and market town 17 km northwest of Kavala, at the foot of Mount Pangaion, which has old houses and tobacco warehouses, as well as a wax museum (see page 5: Activities and sightseeing in Kavala). It is also a good base for trekking up Mount Pangaion.
Journey time 25 minutes.
4 buses daily between Thessaloniki and Kavala travel the mountain route via Eleftheroupolis (see above).
Eleftheroupolis bus station: +30 25920 23222
There is also a local bus service between Kavala, Amisiana (ΑΜΙΣΙΑΝΑ), Eleftheroupoli, Palaiochori (ΠΑΛΑΙΟΧΩΡΙ) and Nikisiani (ΝΙΚΗΣΙΑΝΗ).
Kavala - Amisiana - Eleftheroupoli - Palaiochori - Nikisiani
Monday - Friday every 30 minutes 6:30 - 22:40
Saturday every hour (on the half hour) 06:30 - 22:40
Sunday and holidays 9:00, 11:00, 15:00, 17:00, 20:40, 22:40
Nikisiani - Palaiochori - Eleftheroupoli - Amisiana - Kavala
Monday - Friday every 30 minutes 6:00 - 12:00;
then every 30 minutes 13:00 - 19:30; then 20:30
Saturday every hour 6:00 - 14:00; then 14:30, 15:30, 16:30, 19:30, 20:50
Sunday and holidays 8:30, 10:30, 13:30, 16:30
We are continuing to research bus services to and from Kavala. Here are some of the other nearby destinations:
Kavala - Laspi (ΛΑΣΠΗ)
Kavala - Zygos (ΖΥΓΟΣ) - Kryoneri (ΚΡΥΟΝΕΡΙ)
Kavala - Lekani (ΛΕΚΑΝΗ)
Route along the coast west of Kavala
Kavala - Paleo (ΠΑΛΗΟ) - Irakleitsa (ΗΡΑΚΛΕΙΤΣΑ) - Agios Andreas (ΑΓΙΟΣ ΑΝΔΡΕΑΣ) - Peramos (ΠΕΡΑΜΟΣ) - Eleftherai (ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΑΙ) - Elaiochori (ΕΛΑΙΟΧΩΡΙ) - Myrtofyto (ΜΥΡΤΟΦΥΤΟ) - Folia (ΦΩΛΙΑ)
Schedules for these services can be found on the website of KTEL Kavalas: www.ktelkavalas.gr
5 buses daily between Thessaloniki and Kavala travel the coastal route via Peramos (see above).
A KTEL Kavalas bus passes under the
Kamares Aqueduct on the way to Xanthi.
The KTEL Evrou bus station,
A KTEL Kavalas inter-city bus about to depart for Drama from the bus station.
Local Kavala city bus of the Asitka Kavala company at Eleftherias Square.
Bus route 1, "ΒΥΡΩΝΑΣ - ΚΑΛΙΘΕΑ", runs a circuitous route between the
Kallithea district, through the city centre and then up to the Byronas
district (Βύρωνας, pronounced Vironas), northwest of the centre.
|The local blue and white city buses are run by Astiko KTEL Kavalas (Aστικό ΚΤΕΛ Καβάλας Α.Ε.). Most of the bus routes are short, and as a visitor you may prefer to walk around the town. However, the buses are very handy, especially considering Kavala's steep streets. The furthest route runs along the coast west of the city as far as Nea Iraklitsa, from where the local beaches (e.g. Kalamitsa Beach) can be reached.
website: www.astiko-kavalas.gr (Greek and English)
Timetables and routes:
The area covered by the buses is divided into two fare zones,
A and B.
The normal ticket price within the central Zone A is 1.10 Euro,
to the outer Zone B 1.50 Euro.
Tickets can be purchased from newspaper kiosks (peripteros)
or from the bus driver.
The website details the latest timetables, routes and fares, including fares for children and discounts.
There is a useful interactive map showing the local bus routes at
Among the routes served by the bus stop in the photo on the right, the number 11 bus runs up to the new General Hospital and the Agios Silas Monastery in the hills northwest of the centre, near the start of the 2 km section of the ancient Roman Via Egnatia.
The end of a walk along Via Egnatia brings you to the junction of the streets Odos Egnatias and Odos Makedonias in the Byronas district, from where you can take the number 1 bus back to the city centre. Fares each way are €1.50.
One of the many bus stops of the local
Astiko KTEL Kavalas bus company.
This one is on Erithrou Stavrou Street,
100 metres west of the inter-city bus
station and over the road from the
Kavala Archaelogical Museum.
|In September 2011 all international trains to and from Greece were suspended.
Since 2014 train services have been operating again between Thessaloniki
and Sofia, Bulgaria and Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia.
See: How to get to Macedonia, Greece: International trains
|Trains are still running within Greece - albeit with reduced services, closed lines and increased fares - and are generally remain an excellent and economic way to travel around the mainland.
Trains have more leg room, and usually a buffet car - and you can go to the toilet whenever you want. However, since the fast inter-city trains were taken out of service, train travel has become slower, less frequent and often more expensive than inter-city buses.
Trains in Greece are run by OSE (Ο.Σ.Ε.):
www.ose.gr (Greek and English)
Train schedule and fare information at Trainose, the official OSE website for passenger train information:
www.trainose.gr (Greek and English).
The west-east railway line between Thessaloniki and Alexandroupoli (near the Turkish border) follows an inland route, via Strymona, Serres, Drama, Xanthi, Komotini and Mesti.
The nearest station to Kavala is Drama (36 km north). There are regular buses between the two cities. The archaeological site of Philippi (recommended) is on the highway and bus route between Drama and Kavala, so it possible to visit it en route.
Other nearby stations include Xanthi (56 km east) and Serres, near Amphipolis. Both of these cities are connected with Kavala by regular bus services (see above).
For further information about rail transport to, from and around Macedonia (e.g. to/from Athens and Thessaloniki),
How to get to Macedonia, Greece: by train
How to get to Alexandroupoli, Thrace: by train
An OSE (Ο.Σ.Ε.) Athens-Thessaloniki train
arrives in Livadia, Central Greece.
The old provincial road which runs along the foot of the south slope of Mount Pangaion,
through villages and towns such as Eleftheroupoli. Since most traffic through this part
of Macedonia now uses the new Egnatia Odos motorway, these roads are relatively quiet.
|Numerous firms in Greece rent a variety of cars, vans, motorbikes and scooters.
At present it is beyond the scope of this website to recommend companies.
There are two main roads which run west-east through Macedonia,
between Thessaloniki in the west and Alexandroupoli, Thrace,
towards the border crossings with Bulgaria and Turkey, both passing
through Kavala. There is also a stretch of ancient country road along the way.
Kavala is also easy to reach from the borders with Bulgaria and FYRO Macedonia to the north.
|1. By motorway
The new A2 (E90) "Egnatia Odos" motorway across northern Greece,
from Epirus in the west, via Thessaloniki, Kavala, Xanthi, Komotini
and Alexandroupoli, to the Turkish border and on to Istanbul.
This is quickest way to Kavala, taking around 3 hours from Thessaloniki.
Whether you are coming from the west via Thessaloniki, Asprovalta, Serres or Drama, or from the east via Alexandroupoli, Komotini or Xanthi, leave the motorway at exit number 31 (Άγιος Σίλας, Agios Silas), then follow the signs southwards into the centre.
This also the exit for the National Road 12 to Drama (36 km north), via Philippi (15 km).
The new Kavala General Hospital (see page 3: practical information) is immediately south of the motorway, close to exit 31.
NOTE: Greek motorways are toll roads. During the recent economic crisis, Greeks have complained that the tolls are far too expensive, and many are avoiding the motorways and using the old national roads.
Information about motorways and roads in Greece, including maps:
A2 "Egnatia Odos"
E90 "Egnatia Odos"
|2. The old National Road EO2
(Greek, Εθνική Οδός 2, Ethniki Odos 2, abbreviated as EO2)
Before the motorway was built, this was known as the Odos Egnatias, roughly following the route of the ancient Roman Via Egnatia (see History of Stageira and Olympiada Part 7) from the Albanian border across northern Greece to the Turkish border.
Between the Albanian border, through West and Central Macedonia to just west of Thessaloniki the road is part of the E86 European route. Among the places it passes along this stretch are Florina, Edessa, Skydra, Giannitsa and Pella.
It is a bit slower, but it is a pleasanter drive, with less traffic; and if you're on a bicycle it is the least challenging route.
From the northeast of Thessaloniki the road heads east, passing south of Koroneia and Bolbe (Volvi) lakes, and the ancient city of Apollonia (near the village of Nea Apollonia) and a Byzantine fortress at Rentina.
After passing through the wooded Vale of Rentina the route arrives at the Strymonic Gulf and the east coast of Halkidiki just north of Stavros (turn off for Ancient Stageira), then follows the coast through Asprovalta, to the mouth of The River Strymon (turn off north for Amphipolis and Serres).
Between the Strymon and Kavala the road hugs the coast along the foot of the south slope of Mount Simvolo (Όρος Σύμβολο). Along this isolated stretch there are a few seaside villages and service stations. The road passes through the centre of Kavala.
After Kavala the EO2 heads inland towards Xanthi and Komotini on the Thracian Plain, then Komotini back to the sea at Ennato (Έννατο) 2 km east of Makri (Μακρή) and 10 km west of Alexandroupoli. It passes through the centre of Alexandroupoli as Leoforos Dimokratias, just north of the port.
Continuing east from Alexandroupoli, the road merges with the A2 (E90) motorway (see above) 1 km before the Feres-Ipsala border crossing with Turkey and the bridge over the Evros River. On the Turkish side of the border the road is known as E84 to Tekirdağ and Istanbul.
The great thing about this road, apart from the wonderful scenery and the places it passes through, is that there are many beaches en route. Take a break, have a picnic, go for a swim.
EO2 National Road
|3. The old road via Eleftheroupoli
If you have time, you may like to make a slight detour along a minor country road between the River Strymon and Kavala, through the villages and towns along the lower south slope of Mount Pangaeion.
The road does not appear to have a number, although it is referred to as "the Old National Road Thessaloniki-Kavala" and "the 11th provincial road". The single-carriageway road is fairly-well paved, and has the advantages of having less traffic than the motorway or EO2 and no tolls.
This was the course of the ancient road taken by the army of the Persian King Xerxes I in 480 BC on his way to Athens, during his enormous, well-planned, but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to conquer Greece (see History of Stageira and Olympiada - Part 4).
Although the Romans rerouted the Via Egnatia so that it ran around the north of Mount Pangaion to connect with Philippi, this road remained the most direct route between Thessaloniki and Kavala until the building of the National Road EO2 along the coast, which itself has recently been sidelined by the new Egnatia Odos motorway.
The main attraction along the route is the farming town of Eleftheroupoli (Ελευθερούπολη, 17 km northwest of Kavala), which has old houses and tobacco warehouses, as well as a wax museum (see page 5: Activities and sightseeing in Kavala). Some of the other villages also have small museums and historic buildings.
There is also some wonderful countryside along the way with great views of the mountains and the valley of the River Marmara (Μαρμαρά ποταμό), which has recently appears to have reacquired its ancient name Pieria Valley (Πιέρια Κοιλάδα). Although the river was described as pretty in the 1960s, much of its length has since been chanelled for irrigation and drainage and has recently been the centre of a local controversy concerning sewage dumping. There are remains of four late Byzantine/Ottoman bridges along the valley.
Travelling from the west (Thessaloniki, Serres), turn off the A2 (E90) "Egnatia Odos" motorway or National Road EO2 after Asprovalta and Kerdilia, at the mouth of the River Strymon, motorway exit 28 Strymonas (Στρυμώνας) or 28A Galipsos-Orfanio (Γαληψός-Ορφάνιο), and follow signs for Eleftheroupoli.
To reach the villages and towns along this road more directly from the motorway, take exit 28B Moustheni (Μουσθένη) or 28Γ Eleftheroupoli (Eλευθερούπολη).
The settlements along the road (west to east) include:
Galipsos (ΓΑΛΗΨΌΣ), Kokkinochori (ΚΟΚΚΙΝΟΧΏΡΙ), Podochori (Ποδοχώρι), Platanotopos (ΠΛΑΤΑΝΌΤΟΠΟΣ), Moustheni (ΜΟΥΣΘΈΝΗ), Domatia (ΔΩΜΆΤΙΑ), Melissokomeio (ΜΕΛΙΣΣΟΚΟΜΕΊΟ), Avli (ΑΥΛΉ), Panagia (ΠΑΝΑΓΊΑ), Eleftheroupoli (ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΟΎΠΟΛΗ), Kokkinochoma (ΚΟΚΚΙΝΌΧΩΜΑ) and Stavros (ΣΤΑΥΡΌΣ).
The road ends in the east at the junction with the Kavala-Drama National Road EO12, near Stavros, 6 km north of Kavala.
Heading east along the Egnatia Odos motorway A2 (E90), east of Kavala.
To the north (left) are the Rhodope Mountains.
The Kavala passenger ferry terminal, on the east side of the main harbour.
|Kavala ferry port is on the east end of the main harbour, immediately below the Panagia peninsula. The passenger terminal is 10 minutes walk from the city centre and bus station. The terminal, consisting of a ticket office, waiting room, snack bar and toilets, is in a long, low, modern building along the quay.
There are ferry connections from Kavala to:
Thasos, Limnos, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Ikaria, Patmos, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Rhodes, Kymi,
Agios Konstantinos, and Piraeus. There is even a connection to Lavrion, on the east coast of Attica (southeast of Athens) near Sounion.
Most connections are once or twice a week in summer.
Ferries to Thasos run several times a day (see below).
Most of the destinations have further connections to other islands and ports.
From Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Rhodes there are daily ferries to Turkey in summer. Ferries to Turkey are far more expensive than domestic ferries.
Ferries between Kavala and Samothraki are currently suspended. The only way to get to the island is by ferry from Alexandroupoli, Thrace.
Central Port Authority of Kavala
Odos Averof 1, 65403 Kavala.
Tel: +30 2510 223 691, +30 2510 223 282,
+30 2510 225 192
Fax: +30 2510 223628
website: www.portkavala.gr (Greek and English)
The waiting room of Kavala ferry terminal
The ANETH Lines ferry "Thassos V" in Ormos Prinou harbour, Thasos, August 2010.
See also the photo below.
Ferries to / from Thasos
In summer there are several ferries every day between Kavala and Thasos (Θασος), and also between the nearby port of Keramoti (see below) and Thasos town, locally known as Limenas (Λιμένας, literally "port").
The two companies which operate the routes are ANETH Lines and ANEK Lines.
ANEK Lines (Thassos Ferries):
A "multilingual" (terrible computer translations) Flash site which takes ages to load. Non-Flash timetables open in annoying pop-up windows. Not very helpful or informative.
Current timetables for all Kavala and Keramoti to Thasos ferries, in English and Greek: www.thassoslines.gr
A useful and user-friendly website, with timetables and fares:
Kavala - Thasos ferries
There are currently no hydrofoil services to Thasos.
See details below.
Ferries from Kavala to Thasos land on the northwest coast of the island, at the small port of Ormos Prinou (Όρμος Πρίνου), also known as Skala Prinos, 17 km west of Thasos town (Limenas).
Fares: adults 4.70 €,
children 5 - 10 years 2.40 €, children under 5 FREE
Journey time 1 hour 15 minutes.
It takes about 20 minutes by road (a good single carriageway along the coast) to the main town, and there are regular buses, which run hourly in summer.
Thasos bus information: +30 2593 02 21 62
NOTE: Buses from Thasos town to Ormos Prinou do not synchronize with ferry departures. If you take a bus which should, in theory, bring you to the port in time for a ferry to Kavala, you may arrive just in time to see your ship sailing away.
This means that you will almost inevitably have to wait at least an hour in Ormos Prinou. You may begin to believe that the bus and ferry timetables have been cunningly designed to force you to spend time and money in this village. There are a couple of seafront cafes, restaurants and small shops, and an OK beach within walking distance of the ferry landing, and while it is a pleasant place, it is not particularly attractive and there is not much to see here.
One wonders why ferries from Kavala land here and not at the main port. It may be handy for those headed for the island's small west coast resorts, and those with their own transport may not mind the 17 km drive to Thasos town. But it is hardly an inter-city connection.
Ironically, ferries from the small mainland harbour of Keramoti, 36 km southeast of Kavala (see below) do land at Thasos town. So, either way, the choice is between crossing from a remote port to a town or vice versa. It all seems a bit screwy.
Keramoti - Thasos ferries
The ferries to Thasos from the small port of Keramoti (Κεραμωτή), 45 km southeast of Kavala, and 15 km south of Kavala International Airport (see airports above), arrive and depart at the island's main port Thasos town (Limenas).
See above for information about Kavala - Keramoti buses.
Keramoti - Thasos (Limenas) ferries
Schedules: see above
Fare: adults 3.00 €
children 5 - 10 years 1.50 €, children under 5 FREE
Journey time 40 minutes
Keramoti is only 10 km from the main port of Thasos town (Limenas), and closer to the island than Kavala, making it more convenient for those travelling from the east and those arriving or leaving the area from Kavala International Airport, 30 km southeast of Kavala.
Unfortunately, reliable information about public transport between Kavala, the airport and Keramoti seems to be non existent: at Kavala we were advised to take a taxi, which apparently costs about 50 Euros from Kavala (1 hour) and 15 Euros from the airport (20 mins).
See new information about buses above.
Keramoti Harbour Office: +30 2591 051204
Long distance ferries
Nel Lines ferries
NEL Lines runs ferries to many ports in Greece. From Kavala there are connections to: Limnos, Mytilene (Lesbos), Chios, Vathy (Samos), Karlovasi (Samos), Agios Kirikos, Lavrion, Psara and Agios Efstratios.
The NEL Lines website has schedules and fares: www.nel.gr
Further information about Greek ferries:
Who's in the driving seat?
The bridge of one of the older ferries.
The old ragged flag
Happy ferry passengers
The SAOS ferry "Samothraki" in Kavala harbour.
Currently ferry services between Kavala and Samothraki are not operating.
Ferries to the the island now only sail from Alexandroupoli, Thrace.
The ΑΝΕΘ Lines ferry "Thassos V" in the Gulf of Kavala, July 2010.
A typical small cary ferry, with an open vehicle deck
in front, used for shorter journeys in the Aegean Sea.
This excellent ship may no longer be in service between Kavala and Thasos, as the ANETH Lines
has recently brought newer, larger "ro-ro" (roll on-roll off) ferries into service on this route.
The Hydrofoil "HF Maria F" leaving Kavala harbour for Thasos, July 2010.
|The twin Comet high-speed hydrofoils "Maria F" and "Konstantinos F", which used to take passengers from Kavala to Thasos in 40 minutes, ceased operating in 2011.
The Kometa type hydrofoils were built 30 years before in what was then the Soviet Union. Developed in 1961, the Kometa (Russian Комета) was the first Soviet sea-going hydrofoil. 86 Kometas were commercially produced at the More (Russian Море, "Sea") shipbuilding plant at Feodosia (Russian Феодо́сия; Ukrainian Феодо́сія) on the southeast coast of the Crimean between 1964 and 1981, including 34 for export. 39 Kometas were also built 1962-1992 at the Poti (Поти) Shipyard, Georgia, on the Black Sea coast at the mouth of the River Rioni (Риони).
They were equipped with high-speed diesel engines built by the Leningradskii Star (Russian лениградским Звезда, Leningradskii Zvezda) engingeering factory in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg - again). With a full-load displacement of 59.5 tons, a top speed of 32 knots, a range of 240 nautical miles, and capable of taking up to 120 passengers, they proved very popular as passenger ferries on the Black Sea and Mediterranean.
In Greece hydrofoils used as ferries are generally referred to as "Flying Dolphins", although early models were painted brown and looked more like flying cockroaches.
After 30 years of service, the two Kavala dolphins were due for their statutory safety checks and maintenance. However, the Greek operating company Thassos High Speed Boats, reportedly facing financial difficulties, decided to sell the vessels in March 2011.
It seems that they quickly found a purchaser, and by August 2011 they had been repaired, refitted, given a new livery and new names - Kometa 1 and Kometa 2 - and were carrying passengers on the Black Sea in Bulgaria.
They are now operated by Bulgaria Hydrofoil Ltd., carrying summer holidaymakers between the beach resorts of Nessebar, Pomorie and Sozopol. See http://fastferry.bg/ for further details.
All this left Kavala and Thasos without a high-speed ferry connection, and since the fast, convenient service was popular among many locals and tourists, efforts have been made since to start a new hydrofoil service here. However in October 2013 the Greek Council of Coastal Communications rejected a proposal to reassign the Ilida II, currently running between Corfu and Paxos, to the Kavala-Thasos route. Objections to the proposal were raised, not surprisingly, by operators of the local, slower, conventional ferries.
Many people prefer the convenience and speed of the hydrofoils, especially for longer routes, despite the fact that fares are typically double those for the slower "steamers". But others argue that they are noisy, fuel-guzzling monsters, despite their sleek, space-age looks. They can also only operate in summer, when the sea is not too rough, which makes their services less reliable than those of sturdier conventional ships.
Personally, I am more a fan of conventional ferries. Ferry operators in Greece are facing hard times, and working on low margins. Their services are not only essential to the tourism industry and local infrastructure but also to the very survival of many isolated coastal and island communities, local life and business. So it is no wonder that they jealously guard their routes.
Interactive map of Macedonia, Thrace, Central Greece and the Aegean.
Colour key for Greek island groups (west-east)
See also our interactive map of Greece.
|Photos, maps and articles: copyright © David John,
except where otherwise specified.
Some of the information and photos in this guide to Kavala
originally appeared in 2004 on davidjohnberlin.de.
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