We will start our day just as the local Greeks do, sipping a freshly brewed Greek coffee. You’ll learn all about this coffee culture from one of the oldest traders; in 1919 the brothers of the Loumidis family — Antonios, Nikos and Iason — opened their own general store in Piraeus. It was a grocery store that was the first selling point of Loumidis Coffee. Since then, their business has expanded not only throughout Greece but worldwide.
If you look around at the other customers in the coffee shop, you will probably notice that most of the men are playing with kombolói, or “worry beads.” Kombolói is a string of beads that are passed through the fingers as a way to fidget away the time and are a part of traditional Greek and Cypriot culture. They’re also a great souvenir to take home and are sold in just about every tourist shop in Greece — but we won’t take you to just any tourist shop. Instead, we’ll lead you to the workshop of one of the last remaining kombolói artisans.
Next up, we’ll visit a gastronomic shop that boasts shelves carrying the "heritage" of the Greek land, all honouring small producers. We’re talking about olives, olive oil, honey, and other organic products — and these are just some of the hundreds of items that you can find in this store that first opened its doors in 1920!
We’ll then head to a herbal paradise. Greece is famous for its unique herbs and spices, which are not only used for cooking but also as a medicine. We’ll visit one of the most famous herb shops in Greece and learn all about their use as a raw material in medicine, perfumery, fabric painting and, of course, the kitchen.
Before strolling further through the artisans’ quarters of the city, we will have a bite of Thessaloniki’s most popular sweet: a tsoureki. (And maybe you’ll want to bring one home with you…) With the sweet taste left in our mouths, we’ll wander through the neighbourhood of the last remaining handcrafted traders and artisans. Here, you will have the opportunity to buy locally made souvenirs such as t-shirts, mugs, bags and a wide selection of perfumes made only with Greek ingredients.
With our hands full of shopping bags we’ll end our tour sipping local wines (two different varieties) and nibbling on a platter of local goodies. Here your friendly guide will bid you farewell, but not before giving you suggestions on where to go for discount shopping and bargains.