Thessaloniki

INTRODUCTION
Thessaloniki is Greece’s second largest city and also its most vibrant! Built on the Thermaic gulf with a view of Mt. Olympus you will find yourself strolling from the warehouses of the Old Port now transformed into multi-event art spaces to Aristotelous Square, down to the White Tower all the way to the Megaro Mousikis.  The sounds and smells of the Ladadika where you will find restaurants and bars for all tastes including a few very traditional ones, will mesmerize you and keep you up at nights.  The city is also host to Greece’s largest international trade fair and International Film Festival bringing many visitors to the city and giving it a cosmopolitan air.

HISTORY
Thessaloniki is a great walking city, and a walking tour of the city will give you a sense of both its historical significance but also its modern lifestyle.  All of the cities Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman monuments are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  Besides the White Tower, the city’s symbol, you will also visit the 4th century Roman monument of the Arch of Galerius and the Rotunda which actually used to be connected.  You will really get a sense of how huge it was when you walk it!  Also check out the Ano Polis, the Byzantine walls and the Eptapyrgion, but use your driver don’t walk up!  Lastly visit the home where Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, was born to get a better understanding of how intertwined history in the Balkans is!

CULTURE & ART
The Thessaloniki International Film Festival is the city’s most significant art happening, but besides that there are several other museums worth visiting here with first and foremost the Museum of Byzantine Culture, the National Museum of Contemporary Art at the Lazariston Monastery, and the Photography Museum located in one of the old pier warehouses.

ACCOMMODATION
Well we won’t tell you here which one we are talking about, but Thessaloniki has one of our favorite city hotels in Greece.  Besides that it has some great other options depending on the style and location you prefer.

DINING
Thessaloniki is famous in Greece as the city with the best food!  From street food, to traditional tavernas, and elegant restaurants, the city has it all.  Our favorites though to be honest are only a handful as we feel that only these meet our high standards for quality of food & service, atmosphere, and charm.  Our short list includes the city’s best fish restaurants, traditional Greek tavernas, and even a couple serving international selections.

NIGHTLIFE
The city has a large amount of college students who create a buzz all over the city and make it upbeat.  But besides that there are several more exclusive options when one can enjoy the evening in more stylish and surroundings.  Still you will need to party like a local for at least one night and head to the bouzoukia to understand why the city has the party reputation is has.

AROUND THESSALONIKI

  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Vergina.
  • An eco-tour to the Delta of Alkiamonas and Axios rivers with a certifies eco-guide who will point out secrets of the Delta and its wildlife.
  • Venture to Mt. Olympus either to visit the ancient site of Dion or for activities such as trekking, rock-climbing, rafting, and even paragliding.
  • Visit Naousa for its traditional architecture, its beautiful cave with stalagmites and stalactites as well as some of the best vineyards in Greece.
  • If gambling is your thing visit the Hyatt Regency Casino located by the city’s airport and try your luck!
  • Have an early start and head to Kaimaktsalan for some skiing or snowboarding (seasonal).
  • Visit Chalkidiki for the day and chill out on one of its many magnificent beaches.

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