Thessaloniki has a strong coffee culture. You’re never far from a take-out coffee shop – sometimes you’ll see more than one on a single block. But In Thessaloniki, people take their leisure as seriously as they take good coffee. Join the locals at their favorite cafes in Thessaloniki for an authentic Greek coffee experience.
How to Order Coffee, Thessaloniki-Style
There are many popular coffee drinks in Greece – which one you order depends on where you are.
For centuries, the Greek coffee drink was Greek coffee. This is actually the original coffee drink, introduced from Yemen in the 16th century and popular throughout the Ottoman Empire (of which Thessaloniki was a part, for nearly five centuries). So for a thick and rich taste of history, you want to go to a “kafeneio” – an old-style cafe where Greek coffee is still the main drink. The fluorescent lighting, super-low prices, and lots of old men will tip you off that you’re definitely in the right place. A Greek coffee at a kafeneio is a classic Thessaloniki coffee experience
At contemporary cafes in Thessaloniki, European coffee drinks are the usual. Espresso (and espresso “freddo”), cappuccino (and cappuccino “freddo”), caffe latte, and so on. The only difference is, your server will usually ask you how you want it – sweet (“glyko”), medium (“metrio”), or no sugar (“sketo”). The best cafes in Thessaloniki will be serving quality coffee brands.
The Best Cafes in Thessaloniki – Downtown
The area just south of Agia Sophia church is central and pretty, with lots of pedestrian streets and wide sidewalks – prime urban cafe territory. These are our three favorites:
Local – which is pronounced “locál” by, well, locals – has the best spot in the heart of downtown. At the intersection of Paleon Patron Germanou and Pavlou Mela – two chic streets with broad sidewalks – it makes for lively people watching and a convivial atmosphere.
Local, Paleon Patron Germanou 17 at Pavlou Mela
You’ll also see this place listed in the best Bars in Thessaloniki, for their premium cocktails and bar food. But during the day this is also one of the nicest cafes in Thessaloniki. In winter, you’ll enjoy the stylish and juicy mid-century meets Caribbean vibe indoors in this elegant building on a pedestrian street. In summer, these are the absolute best tables in all of downtown, perched outdoors overlooking the secret sunken gardens of Agios Ioannis church.
Cin Cin, Iktinou 22
Linking Paleon Patron Germanou with the pedestrian street Iktinou is another popular pedestrian street – Zefxidos. The mood is vintage meets adorably kitsch at Pastaflora Darling (“pastaflora” is a jam tart with a lattice crust like your auntie makes if you’re fortunate). We love dog-friendly cafes! This Thessaloniki coffee place with its skilled baristas and sweet service is one of them.
Pastaflora Darling Cafe, Zefxidos 6.
Best Cafes in Thessaloniki – On the Waterfront
Nikis Avenue along the waterfront is narrow so you’re right up on the sea here. Furthermore, the municipality has just added a bike lane and removed a lane of parked cars. Predictably, this is the most popular stretch for cafes. Of these, two are classic Thessaloniki local favorites:
Cafe Nikis 35
Nikis avenue along the waterfront is crowded with one loud and trendy cafe after another, some of which change hands frequently. Cafe Nikis 35 not one of them. Thessaloniki locals prefer the relaxed “Trianda-pende” – which is just how you say “35” in Greek – this popular standby with a good crowd and really nice service doesn’t need a name. You’ll sometimes find exhibitions and events happening here.
Cafe Nikis 35, Nikis Avenue 35 at the waterfront, between Agias Sophias and Vogatsiou.
The other standard for Thessaloniki locals on Nikis Avenue, with its black and white checkered floor and vintage buzz (marble tables, Viennese style cafe chairs), has been around for at least a generation. Lively car and happenings bu night, nice waterfront coffee experience by day.
Thermaikos, Leoforos Nikis 21
Best Cafes in Thessaloniki in the Port
The Port of Thessaloniki, which is right downtown, is a prime destination for coffee and culture. There are three museums here, in the old warehouses of the port. There’s also a large promenade with benches and loungers and an unbelievable view of the Thessaloniki waterfront across the way, and Mt. Olympus. If it’s a nice day, you might want to do like the locals do and grab a take out coffee to enjoy on the pier. Otherwise, here’s two fine choices:
The Kitchenbar Thessaloniki
An undisputed favorite since it open, the cozy industrial Kitchenbar is open day and night. They have a great menu for breakfast and all day into night (brunch dishes, salads, burrata, burgers, etc). plus drinks and coffees. There’s lots of outdoor seating right on the edge of the pier. And the inside is also really nice, especially upstairs – exposed brick, contemporary furnishings. it can get busy and crowded, especially during the film festivals.
The Kitchenbar Thessaloniki, Warehouse B2, Pier one – you really can’t miss it.
The Museum of Photography Cafe
This is kind of a secret cafe that locals really like. Inside the excellent MOMus Thessaloniki Musuem of Photography there’s a small cafe with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the back of the gorgeous French-style 1910 customs house from across the water and the huge cranes of the industrial harbor. This is a great place for a coffee on a stormy day. Open museum hours (check link below).
The MOMus Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Warehouse A, Port of Thessaloniki
Coffee in Thessaloniki in the Ladadika/Ano Ladadika
The Ladadika of Thessaloniki is the charming historic district across from the harbor, a long-popular nightlife and restaurant destination. The Ano Ladadika (upper Ladadika) above Tsimiski Street is the neighborhood of the moment for socializing and evening culture.
This vacant lot between buildings is a little piece of beach holiday in the city. Never mind that there’s no sea – the white gravel, macrame furniture, bamboo, and relaxed house music will do the trick just fine. This outdoor cafe bar is an urban sanctuary, an all-day haven with good coffee and drinks. Renew your sense of well-being in this 700 square meter garden of serenity.
Whope, Loudia 4, Ladadika
Ypsilon is in one of the former “Hans” (inns for travelers with stables for their animals – Thessaloniki once had almost 100 of them). It’s been extremely popular since opening a couple of years ago, thanks to a minimalist decor that lets the historic patina of the structure shine through. This is a relaxed work space and cafe, and often an interesting cultural venue by night.
Ypsilon, Edessis 5, Ano Ladadika
Thessaloniki Cafes Near the Roman Forum
The Roman Forum/Roman Agora neighborhood above Egnatia street is one of the most interesting cultural districts in the city. The cafes here have plenty of personality and style