Thessaloniki is an open-air museum. Walking in the centre of the city you will come across a wide range of attractions, architectural gems and cultural marvels that testify its charming character, as it merges the west with the east, the European with the oriental, resulting a multi-coloured, buzzing and hospitable city. It is famed for its abundant number of archeological sites, a refined destination for history aficionados. The city offers a wide range of open air archeological sites and buildings, seamlessly integrated with modern life, urban structures and entertainment. You just have to saunter around and find out by yourself! You could start with the centerous Aristotelous square,boasted about monumental mansions. It is one of the biggest and most impressive squares in Greece offering a view of Thermaikos Gulf. Then stroll down Nikis Avenue along the seafront, make a stop to the White Tower and walk up to the Statue of Alexander the Great to take a picture of the famous monument, “The Umbrellas” of Zoggolopoulos, by the sea.
A Crossroad of flavours
Thessaloniki has a multicultural background. Its plates are influenced by East and West. Mixed nations as Jews, Armenians, Turks and Greeks from Asia Minor, integrate food and flavours in the local cuisine, enhance the richness of Thessaloniki’s gastronomy which you could experience in every chosen spot. Our city is home to many flavourful dishes, a marriage between traditional Macedon cuisine and modern food techniques. You may find an unprecedented blend of old and new recipes. Walk through the Olympou area, home to new upcoming modern restaurants or enjoy a stroll around Ladadika, famous for its traditional restaurants & taverns. Savor the taste of locally made tsipouro in the many widely-known tsipouradika, alongside a serving of traditional Greek delicacies. Lastly, do pass by the Kapani Market for a walk as well as quaint little taverns & tsipouradika.
The radiant heart of the Balkans, Thessaloniki is an amazing destination for those who wish to enjoy the slow way of living. You could take your time touring the destination. Discover the hidden secrets of its surroundings. Biking, trekking and exploring the city to find local history & gastronomy is extremely captivating. The city itself offers wonderful walks along its 5km waterfront .
It is worth to be mentioned that everything in the city is in walking distance, just a stone throw away, a very trekking-friendly surrounding. The city is blessed with unparalleled elegance and easy access to a wide number of breath-taking vistas such as the Seih Sou Forest or Hortiatis mountain, a breath of fresh air with a green heart all while the entire city is accessible via beautiful bike rides along the beautiful Thermaikos Gulf or the old parts of the inner city.
Another interesting place to visit is the Byzantine Bath, close to Koule Kafe Square, dating back to the late 13th century, a rare discovery site of Byzantine Baths. There are also mosques worth visiting such as the Ishak Pasha Mosque (1484), situated close to Kassandrou Str. and the Hamza Bey Mosque(1467). The latter is situated at the junction of Egnatia and Venizelou Str. Bezesteni is located in the Market centre (Venizelou & Solomou Str.) and used to be the trading place for luxurious textiles. The city’s turkish baths include Bey Hamam (1444) at Egnatia Street, Pasha Hamam(1520), Bazaar Hamam and Yeni Hamam.
Do not miss the Jewish path of Thessaloniki that suggests the life and action of the large Jewish community of the past. The emblematic Allatini building, the Modiano farm where the Museum of war is located, the two synagoges, the Jewish museum of Thessaloniki which maintains collections of Tombstones from the destroyed Jewish Cemetery, building members from synagogues, religious objects, old and rare books in Hebrew, family heirlooms, ketoubot, public and private letters during the WWII, costumes and more. See the “Stones of Truth” the small bronze stones placed in the 1st high school of Thessaloniki in memory of the 149 Jewish students who were transferred to the concentration camps in 1943
Thessaloniki is a city with vivacious nightlife, one that is so varied and colorful that few other Greek cities can compete. The city’s thousands of students form a buzzing community. You’ll find clubs and bars with a cosmopolitan flair about them; rebetadika (restaurants where live rebetiko music is played); and lively parties hosted by the student community where everyone’s invited: these are some of the choices you have for a memorable night out in Thessaloniki.
Enjoy your drink in a bar at the waterfront Nikis Avenue; this is a great location twith a lovely view of Thermaikos Gulf, just choose one of the numerous locals’ hangouts in the avenue.
– The central city streets ( Tsimiski, Mitropoleos, Pavlou Mela, Proxenou Koromila, Egnatia, Svolou and Agias Sofias Pedestrian street) are flanked with bars and cafés with a cosmopolitan ambiance or with a relaxed cozy atmosphere.
– Syngrou & Valaoritou Streets are the city’s hotspot for youngsters. Go bar-hopping there and enjoy the variety of music genres both Greek and foreign, as they can cater to all tastes.
– Ladadika is located in the old marketplace area of the harbor, and it is famous for its eateries, bars, bistros, pubs, and restaurants.
– Kastra is the place to be for those of you with a romantic soul. This is the uphill area of the city, offering great views of Thessaloniki;
– Nea Paralia / Krini is an area at the seafront of Thermaikos Gulf. Visit Nea paralia Martiou (close to the Thessaloniki Concert Hall) and Krini, a beach in Kalamaria district. Fresh fish and seafood, stylish bars with an unimpeded view of the blue sea is what you get if you choose this part of the city.
Colorful Upper City
Enclosed within the city’s old walls, the colourful Ano Poli (old city) is a picturesque neighbourhood. You could walk to its narrow and meandering streets, with the bright colourful painted houses and its astonishing old doors. Make sure that you will make a stop to Tsinari, part of Ano Poli, with plenty of beautiful small tavernas and cozy bars. Moni Vlatadon it is a 14th-century Byzantine Monastery, near the Portara, offering panoramic view of the city. 500 meters away you could reach the Church of Hosios David, a late 5th-century church. In Byzantine times, it functioned as the katholikon of the Latomos Monastery, and received rich mosaic and fresco decoration. Make sure that you won’t miss Propylaia for a memorable picture with Thessaloniki in a plate!
The most interesting exhibitions in the country, from every point of view, are presented in Thessaloniki. Classics of modernism, international contemporary art, provocative thematic exhibitions with young Greek artists, and a Biennale that found pace and audience. Τhe city’s museums set up a network for co-productions, led by the State Museum of Contemporary Art. Visiting the permanent exhibitions of any of the two museums of contemporary art, art lovers could discover world-class collections of Impressionist, Modernist and post-war art. Moreover, they could browse at the most significant Russian Avant-Garde Collection outside Russia, the Costakis Collection, a representative collection of the paintings of Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Lyubov Popova and others, or find more about the new art movements at one of the periodical exhibitions all year around. A stop at one of the city’s many galleries will make you acquainted with modern art by Greek talented artists where at the opening day you may talk to them and get immersed in their perspective. The creative forces of the city breathe at Olympou and Valaoritou area. This multitude of youth groups, designers, graphic designers, architects, painters, visual artists e.t.c. with their innovative ideas sign the city’s new physiognomy and identity.
During October and November look for the cultural proposals of the biggest Festival, Dimitria.
Thessaloniki is a shopping paradise. Along Tsimiski street you will find many boutiques, fashion shops, delicatessens, large bookstores. “Plateia” (Plaza) shopping mall, with the famous “Odeon” multiplex cinemas, is also located on Tsimiski Avenue. Mitropoleos along with Proxenou Koromila Street, are a much more expensive choice as fashion concerns. Together with pastry shops with local delicacies you will discover some of internationally known fashion brands, stylish clothes by Greek designers and smaller boutiques. For the latest creations, designed by young up-and-coming designers, stroll to Valaoritou area.
“Mediterranean Cosmos”, at the east part of the city, is the biggest mall in Greece. Apart from approximately 200 stores, it also features 30 restaurants and coffee shops, 11 multiplex cinemas, a playroom for kids, a large super market, hairdressers & manicure services. “One Salonica” the outlet mall is hosting more than 100 boutiques, restaurants, cafes and cinemas.The mall combines internationally renowned brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Levi’s and more.
One of Thessaloniki’s highlights is its coastal front which extends throughout the city at a 5 km length. Besides the beautiful stroll thought the city or the refreshing bike rides choosing among many types of bicycles, you can board on one of the traditional boat that dock at the White Tower and enjoy the city from a different perspective. While having a coffee or a drink, you can feel the city’s vibrations. Altenatively, if you have more time to spent, you can choose a boat trip from Thessaloniki to one of its closer beaches at Thessaloniki’s “Riviera”. Sailing lovers can visit the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki at Sofouli Str., where almost every weekend sailing races take place. At the Marina of Kalamaria you can enjoy a beautiful walk by the sea while dawdling at the remarkable boats.
With Thessaloniki as a base you have many options to customize your trip according to your interests and make your holidays even more memorable. A must see is Vergina (76 km from Thessaloniki), a famous burial site for the past Macedonian Kings and the birth place of Alexander the Great. Take a journey to the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia and explore the royal tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, in this UNESCO-protected spectacular archaeological site. Not far from Vergina is a place of universal interest, the ruins of Aristotle’s School, where the most famous philosopher of the antiquity taught the greatness of classical Greek thought and the ideals of the Platonic philosophy to the King’s of Macedonia.
lovers of nature and history can combine both on a day trip to Olympus. Olympus mountain, the homeland of Zeus and the 12 ancient Greek Gods in mythology, is a paradise for climbers, hikers and nature lovers. You will come across beautiful paths, hidden gems, magnificent waterfalls, sky high trees, wildflowers and straggly rocks, below and above the clouds.
An ideal excursion for relaxation, in the close district of Pella you will come across the beauty of Greek nature and heighten your senses at Loutraki Aridaias, also known as Pozar Springs. Imagine yourself in a pool amidst steep rocks, natural waterfalls and wild vegetation. Feel the soothing warmth of the water (37⁰C) either in the individual baths or the outdoor pools taking the strain off your body, and rejuvenate your senses!
For those who appreciate wine tasting, the wine roads of North Greece offer a unique experience. The vinicultural routes extend from the close Epanomi area to the more distant Naoussa, Goumenissa, Kavala, Amintaio, Drama and so on. The area is well known for its direct and traditional production of wine and tsipouro. The varieties farmed are actually ancient Greek grapes such as “Ksinomavro” (sourblack) and whose recipe has withstood the test of time for generations.
At the widen area feel free to attend the production process, named ‘kazania’ in November.