Kavala (Neapolis), Greece

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Northern Greece is often overlooked as a destination, and many will not even have heard of the Macedonian port of Kavála. But the city, and the region it provides an entry point into, are both picturesque and culturally important, with a history that encompasses classical times as well as the more modern era. Kavála itself epitomizes this mélange of influences. Known in antiquity as Neapolis, or \"new city,\" it has long been one of the first ports of call for Middle Eastern traders, providing an entry into the markets of Europe. Perhaps the most famous traveler in this direction was not trying to sell goods, though, but ideas. Saint Paul landed here in 49 C.E., and the congregation he founded was one of the first to flourish in the continent. Later, the port was important for Normans, Franks, Venetians and the Ottomans; in the 19th century it grew rich on the export of the local tobacco crop. Nowadays the alleys of the Ottoman old town still lead up to a Byzantine citadel, and Kavála provides a spellbinding gateway into Northern Greece.