Experience the authentic Greek atmosphere at the markets in Thessaloniki

Imagine: you walk through old cobblestone-paved roads. All around you a lot of hustle and bustle – both people coming to do their daily shopping and the loud announcements of the vendors. You breathe in and smell all kinds of different things. From meat and fish to spices and olives. These are the wonderful old, traditional markets that locals and tourists alike enjoy to the fullest. You definitely feel immediately welcome at these two traditional markets in Thessaloniki: Kapani and Modiano!

What makes these markets so unique?

When you are in Greece you will immediately notice how hospitable and friendly the locals are. An excellent example of that is visiting these markets. But what makes these markets special?

The shopkeepers not only open their stores, but also their hearts. Always a “kalimera,” always a smile. Want to taste something? No problem! They lovingly and proudly display and offer their products to everyone who visits these markets. Your taste buds will run wild at these markets, and your nose will lead you to the best traditional taverns where the locals serve and consume plenty of real Greek mezedes.

After a second visit you are practically already treated like family, and you are definitely going to be recognized the moment you step into a store or restaurant a second time. Contacts between shopkeepers are also truly family-like.

Walking through the centuries-old streets of the Kapani, you immediately get a taste of the Oriental atmosphere. Not surprising, of course, since this market was founded by the Ottomans in the 15th century. Jewish influences are not lacking either – of course, Thessaloniki is not called the “mother of Jerusalem” for nothing!

Discovering Greek cuisine at these markets is similar to participating in a food workshop – your hands will come in handy! Want to know if fish is fresh? Do you want to discover what spices you need to give a real Greek flavor to your food? Want to learn more about Greek food customs? Then visiting the Kapani and the Modiano is an extremely unique opportunity!


Things not to miss

Of course, there are a few standouts in every place. Experiencing the local atmosphere is best done at these places:

Familietaverna Paradosiako

You meet the delicious smells of this restaurant even as you stand at the entrance to the hidden indoor Modiano market. This nearly 100-year-old market can only be discovered on clues. This is also one of the reasons why it is mostly frequented by locals. Paradosiako has been serving delicious food to their daily regulars with great passion for Greek cuisine since 1955. The owners, Makis and Vangelis, begin preparations early in the morning each day so that by noon the locals can quietly sit down and enjoy a carefully prepared hot meal. What’s on the menu is a surprise every day, and has been for three generations! All dishes are 100% Greek. What they say about Greek cuisine is absolutely true – here we eat well!

The Flying Fig & Xantraki

The Kapani market is not only a place where you can enjoy delicious food, but the creative spirit also comes into its own here. At these two original Greek Art shops you can not only buy handmade souvenirs, but you can also create them yourself! That’s much more fun and personal to take home as a souvenir! Eftixia, owner of The Flying Fig, will even treat you to an authentic cup of Greek coffee during your workshop. Double delight!

Greeks love colorful beads and these are available in abundance at Xantraki.
This was a souvenir shop for tourists in 1968, but today it is a cozy DIY shop. The owner welcomes her customers with a warm smile and is happy to help you figure out what you need. If you have a creative knob you’ve definitely come to the right place!


At Karpos you are immediately welcomed with something delicious by Litsa. Whether it’s Turkish/Greek fruit (never ask where it comes from!) or caramelized, sesame-covered nuts, it always tastes like more here, not to mention the delicious halva! This candy store has been spoiling locals and tourists alike with Greek treats for five years. Sweets with flavors of masticha, ouzo and coffee are plentiful here. The place-to-be for the curious sweet tooth!


Discover here the greatest secret of Greek cuisine – spices! Stavros and Vasilis are true gurus of spices and herbs. The establishment has been sharing their expertise with spices to locals for 60 years. So don’t be surprised if you get advice in cooking from local grandmothers! Socrates, the forerunner of modern homeopathic medicine, would have been proud of their range, in terms of medicinal essential oils. In short – a true paradise for anyone who wants to imagine themselves in the Greek herbal world.

Manolis’ Olive Stand

The Greeks often say that olives and olive oil are the lifeblood of Greece. We couldn’t agree more, and so does stall owner Manolis! Those who love olives will certainly not be short of anything at this stall! Black Kalamata olives, green olives from Chalkidiki or the very special wrinkled olives – here you can taste them all. There is certainly no lack of the many varieties of olive oil either. And which kind will you take home? That choice is up to you!