Even though there are tons of issues to do in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest metropolis will not be on everybody’s radar. To Greeks, Thessaloniki is a legendary scholar vacation spot with a cool, relaxed vibe that distinguishes town from the remainder of the nation. However, many vacationers haven’t even heard of it!
This port metropolis has 3,000 years of historical past, and its early Christian and Byzantine structure are listed as UNESCO World Heritage websites. To not point out, the influences of Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, and Jews give Thessaloniki a really distinctive character.
Having lived in Greece for nearly six years, I can testify to the truth that Thessaloniki is a dynamic metropolis properly price visiting. It actually has all of it — tons of fascinating historical past, a good looking seaside, and thrilling nightlife.
As a traveller, it’s possible you’ll be questioning what to do in Thessaloniki, which is the place I are available in. After studying this text, you’ll be shocked by the number of issues to do right here.
Right here it goes, my checklist of the 15 finest issues to do in Thessaloniki!
1. Go to The White Tower
The fortified White Tower on the seafront is Thessaloniki’s fundamental landmark, which homes an exhibition concerning the metropolis’s Byzantine historical past.
Throughout Ottoman instances, the White Tower was used as a jail and supposedly known as “Blood Tower” because of the many executions that occurred there. It acquired the title “White Tower” after it was painted white, though at present it has a yellowish color.
From the White Tower, you’ve gotten a beautiful view of your complete metropolis and the Mediterranean Sea. When you’ve got only some hours in Thessaloniki, a go to to the White Tower can be the one factor it’s best to undoubtedly find time for. And due to its central location, you’ll in all probability need to begin any journey to Thessaloniki right here.
The White Tower is unquestionably one of many high issues to see in Thessaloniki and at solely €4, it’s fairly an reasonably priced attraction as properly. The museum is open daily from 9 am to Four pm, and in the summertime, the hours lengthen from Eight am to eight pm. In case you’re not eager on climbing up the tower, you would additionally simply take a look at it from the skin.
2. Take a Stroll Alongside The Seafront
On the seafront, you’ll be able to take pleasure in a beautiful stroll alongside the promenade, the most effective locations to go to in Thessaloniki. I keep in mind being fascinated that I had lastly discovered a place in Greece the place I might stroll for hours with out being disturbed by vehicles or motorbikes!
You would simply spend a number of hours on Thessaloniki’s waterfront, particularly if the climate is especially good. In case you stroll south from the White Tower alongside the promenade you’ll go by the statue of Alexander the Nice who was born in Pella, about 1.5 hours from Thessaloniki. A visit to Pella is a superb day journey from Thessaloniki. Be taught extra about that journey, here.
Thessaloniki’s waterfront can be residence to one of many metropolis’s most instagrammable spots — the lovable umbrella sculpture. In case you preserve strolling farther south, you’ll see a number of small parks, such because the Backyard of Sands and Backyard of Remembrance.
The view of Thessaloniki’s port from the promenade is superb, and farther north you’ll find tons of bars, cafés, and eating places. In case you’re into biking, Thessaloniki’s promenade might be the most effective place in all of Greece to have the ability to journey your bike for a number of kilometres with out worrying about vehicles. Dad and mom with kids will recognize this car-free zone as properly.
3. Discover Aristotelous Sq.
The town’s greatest sq. is among the hottest locations to go to in Thessaloniki and a terrific place to cease for a espresso. That is the fashionable middle of town and a significant assembly place. You will see that varied cafés and eating places on this pedestrian zone.
Folks wish to buy groceries within the streets and markets near the sq., and you’ll undoubtedly go by right here greater than as soon as throughout your time in Thessaloniki. Aristotelous Square is among the most well-known squares in all of Greece and one of the crucial well-known spots within the metropolis. In case you go to throughout Christmas or New 12 months’s Eve it is a excellent spot to see how the locals have a good time.
Don’t neglect to take a fast picture of the statue of Aristotle after whom the sq. was named. However, remember the fact that the sq. can be well-known for the truth that political protests normally happen right here. Throughout a rally or protest, you would possibly need to keep away from the sq..
4. Be taught About The Metropolis’s Jewish Historical past at The Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki presents the historical past of the Jewish neighborhood in Greece’s second-largest metropolis. The Jewish neighborhood in Thessaloniki was notably robust in the course of the Ottoman Empire when Jewish refugees arrived from Spain and Portugal the place they confronted extreme persecution.
Jews made up the largest neighborhood in Thessaloniki till the Great Fire in 1917 when many Jews left the nation. In the course of the Second World Warfare, virtually your complete Jewish inhabitants of Thessaloniki was deported to Auschwitz. As we speak, solely about 1,200 Jews nonetheless dwell in Thessaloniki which nonetheless makes it the second-largest Jewish neighborhood in Greece.
Whereas the neighborhood may be very small at present, its impression on the historical past of Thessaloniki is big.
The Jewish Museum on Agia Mina road is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and tickets are an reasonably priced €5. In 2020 the Jewish Museum is scheduled to maneuver to an even bigger constructing, so it’s finest to examine their web site for the most recent information. In case you’re questioning what to do in Thessaloniki that’s not on everybody’s checklist, this museum is for you.
5. See The Roman Agora (One in all The High Issues To Do in Thessaloniki)
Top-of-the-line issues to see in Thessaloniki are the excavations of the Roman Agora of Thessaloniki (also referred to as the Roman Discussion board). This historical Roman market is positioned near Aristotelous Sq. and homes the stays of a theater and two Roman baths.
One of the best half is that it continues underground the place yow will discover out extra concerning the Roman Discussion board in its personal museum. When you’ve got any curiosity in archaeology in any respect, a go to to the museum is a should — particularly since one of many two Roman baths remains to be buried beneath town. In the summertime, going underground could be a excellent spot to flee the warmth!
In any case, it’s definitely spectacular to see this historical sq. in the course of the fashionable metropolis of Thessaloniki. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday between Eight am and three pm, and you may get in for €4.
6. Go to Agios Dimitrios Basilica
Thessaloniki’s fundamental church, Agios Dimitrios, is among the high locations to go to in Thessaloniki. The basilica burned down virtually utterly within the Nice Fireplace of Thessaloniki in 1917, however huge reconstruction efforts returned the church to its splendour. Contained in the church, you’ll be able to even discover distinctive mosaics that survived the fireplace.
Agios Dimitrios Church is positioned only a few steps from the Roman Discussion board so make sure to mix the 2. Dimitrios is Thessaloniki’s patron saint which explains the basilica’s significance. You may see the place the place he supposedly died within the crypt underground.
And, due to Thessaloniki’s fascinating historical past, you’ll be able to even see the stays of a Roman bathhouse on which the church was constructed. This church presents a terrific overview of town’s historical past. Pictures is allowed, and because it’s a church, entrance is free.
7. Take a Hike Via Thessaloniki’s Previous City: Ano Poli (Higher City)
Probably the most lovely a part of Thessaloniki is definitely its old town, or Upper Town. You may go for a stroll by way of the cobblestone alleys and can see the normal Balkan homes that date again to Ottoman instances. A stroll within the picturesque Higher City is among the actions in Thessaloniki which are free and will be achieved at any time of day.
This a part of Thessaloniki survived the 1917 fireplace and due to this fact stored its conventional feel and appear. Plus, yow will discover previous church buildings and towers right here and stays of the previous Byzantine partitions. You would spend hours exploring this beautiful neighbourhood.
To many Greeks, Ano Poli is probably the most genuine neighbourhood of Thessaloniki. It’s right here, that yow will discover conventional taverns taking part in rebetiko music, not for vacationers, however for the locals. Get pleasure from getting misplaced is the maze of streets in Thessaloniki’s oldest neighbourhood.
8. Test Out The Eptapyrgio (Yedikule)
In case you head farther up from the Higher City, you’ll attain the Eptapyrgio fortress which gained notoriety when right-wing totalitarian Greek regimes imprisoned political prisoners there. This inside a part of the wall was constructed by the Byzantines however acquired its title (“Seven Towers”) when the primary Ottoman governor added further towers.
The fortress itself is sort of spectacular to have a look at, however the view from right here is spectacular because it’s the very best level within the metropolis. Whereas the view from the White Tower can’t be crushed, you get a special perspective from the Eptapyrgio — which is positioned on Thessaloniki’s historical Acropolis.
What I discovered much more spectacular are the previous jail corridors which join the place to Greek rebetiko music. “Yedikule” is among the most well-known rebetiko songs, and the protagonist is a prisoner on this well-known jail. The doorways and cells are a haunting reminder of what happened here within the 20th century.
9. See The Atatürk Home
For one thing rather less touristy, go to the beginning home of probably the most well-known individual from Thessaloniki, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The constructing now homes the General Consulate of Turkey, the state which Mustafa Kemal based. This is probably not of curiosity to everybody, however as an ethnic Turk, I used to be very moved by my go to right here.
Many of the furnishings right here remains to be unique, and there are even a few of Atatürk’s and his household’s belongings. It’s one of many locations to go to in Thessaloniki if you wish to see one thing that’s not on everybody’s radar.
Even when you’re not thinking about Atatürk and his life, there’s another excuse to go to his beginning home — it’s a superb strategy to see one of many conventional homes within the Higher City from the within. It’s open daily from 10 am to five pm, and entrance is free.
10. Go to The Rotunda (One in all The Primary Issues To Do in Thessaloniki)
If you head again down in direction of the fashionable middle of town, you’ll spot the traditional Rotunda. It’s one of many oldest issues to see in Thessaloniki and was a Roman temple, then a church, and later a mosque. Earthquakes have brought on severe harm to the constructing, however a few of the mosaics inside have been restored.
Only a few steps from the Rotunda you’ll discover one other Roman monument, the Arch of Galerius. It commemorates the Roman victory over the Persians and is also referred to as Kamara. This was Thessaloniki’s fundamental entrance gate, strolling by way of it is among the actions in Thessaloniki that may join you all the best way again to Roman instances.
The early Christian mosaics within the Rotunda are completely gorgeous. Along with the Arch of Galerius, the Rotunda is taken into account one of the crucial necessary locations to go to in Thessaloniki. It’s open daily between Eight am and 5 pm within the winter and till 7 pm in the summertime.
11. Take a Free Strolling Tour
I firmly consider that free strolling excursions are the most effective methods to get to know a brand new metropolis. These days, free strolling excursions with a neighborhood information are well-liked in most main cities. Why pay for a tour when somebody will provide it free of charge and also you solely tip the information primarily based on how good the tour was?! In fact, the identical is true for Thessaloniki.
Being a significant scholar metropolis, you’ll be able to undoubtedly discover a younger and dynamic information who will passionately inform you about their fascinating metropolis. This may definitely present the best stability between archaeological websites and the extra trendy elements of life in Greece’s second-largest metropolis.
Free strolling excursions normally final between two to 3 hours and introduce you to the foremost landmarks. That means, you get some background details about issues you’ve gotten already seen or are planning to see later. There are a few firms you’ll be able to select from — FreeTour and GuruWalk each have good scores.
12. Expertise Ladadika (One in all The Coolest Issues To Do in Thessaloniki)
In case you ask any Greek individual what to do in Thessaloniki they may definitely inform you to discover Ladadika. This charming neighbourhood close to the port is filled with eating places and bars. As is usually the case with these neighbourhoods, it used to have a nasty status however is now tremendous fashionable.
Ladadika has all the things the traveller might hope for in a giant European metropolis — cobblestone streets, vibrant previous homes, and plenty of conventional meals and music. The truth is, the neighbourhood is so alive that many contemplate it the most effective occasion district in all of Greece. However, that doesn’t imply you received’t take pleasure in a stroll by way of the realm in the course of the day as properly.
The neighbourhood was named for the oil retailers that was concentrated within the space. Throughout Ottoman instances, the principle market was positioned right here as properly. Just like the promenade and Aristotelous Sq., it’s a pedestrian-only zone which any customer to Greece will recognize. This neighbourhood is among the high locations to go to in Thessaloniki, don’t miss it.
13. Tour The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
As in lots of locations in Greece, one of many fundamental issues to do in Thessaloniki goes to an archaeology museum. That is the place you’ll find out extra about Thessaloniki’s historical past till the Roman period. You’ll in all probability want round two hours right here as there’s a lot to see within the exhibition.
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is positioned close to the White Tower the statue of Alexander the Nice. The exhibitions cowl the interval between prehistory and late antiquity. Many of the artefacts are from Thessaloniki and its neighborhood.
The museum is open all week from Eight am to eight pm, and a ticket is €8, however you would possibly need to reap the benefits of the museum go which permits entrance to the Archaeological Museum, the White Tower, the Galerian Advanced, the Museum of the Roman Agora, and the Museum of Byzantine Tradition. For €15 you’ll be able to see all of the necessary locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
14. See The Previous Hamams (and Soak at The New Ones)
Thessaloniki has some Turkish baths which you could go to: Bey Hamam, Yeni Hamam, Paşa Hamam, and Yahudi Hamam (Pazar Hamam). Sadly, none of them are nonetheless in use. So, whilst you can marvel on the structure, you will be unable to expertise an genuine Turkish tub there. They’re now used as eating places and for cultural occasions.
Nevertheless, one of the crucial stress-free actions in Thessaloniki can be to e-book a remedy on the new Hammam Baths as a spa expertise.
The Hamam is impressed by the normal Turkish baths and provides varied providers. You may both go for a self-service go to or add on varied massages or remedies. After you chill out within the steam room, you get to take pleasure in a glass of Turkish tea and some items of lokum (Turkish delight).
The self-service expertise prices €25 whereas the essential “Ali Mama” service prices €45. Be certain to e-book an appointment prematurely to make sure availability. For pure thermal baths, take a day journey to gorgeous Pozar and Edessa. Be taught extra about that tour here.
15. Go For Drinks in The Pupil Space Round Kamara/Rotunda
Whereas the Arch of Galerius and the Rotunda are well-liked locations to discover in the course of the day, that is additionally a preferred nightlife space. With its status as a scholar metropolis, one of many fundamental actions in Thessaloniki is unquestionably testing its energetic scholar (occasion) scene.
There are numerous bars and cafés right here, that are cheaper than those within the Ladadika neighbourhood. In case you’re in Thessaloniki in the summertime, you’ll be able to spend the entire evening exterior. In case you’re on a very tight funds, you received’t need to enter a bar in any respect — merely get booze from a kiosk and drink it exterior.
Don’t miss this space because it involves life at evening with musicians, artists, and college students having an incredible time. And as standard in such neighbourhoods, you may as well discover the most affordable road meals right here.
Day Journeys From Thessaloniki
Whereas there are quite a few issues to see, do and eat within the metropolis itself, there are a number of nice day journeys you’ll be able to take as properly.
- Meteora Monasteries: This awe-inspiring web site is UNESCO listed and is among the high locations to go to within the nation. Be a part of a full-day, highly-rated tour and see what all of the fuss is about. Click here for particulars concerning the tour, and study extra in our article: Meteora Monasteries: A Guide to Greece’s Mythical Landscape.
- Mount Olympus and Dion: Be taught concerning the tradition and historical past of the spectacular Mount Olympus, hike Enipeas gorge and revel in lunch with a shocking view. Be taught extra about this well-liked day journey here.
- Pozar Thermal Baths and Edessa: Soak in pure thermal sizzling springs, gaze on the tallest waterfall within the Balkans, and revel in lunch in a picturesque village. Discover out extra about this enjoyable day journey here.
Now You Know What To Do in Thessaloniki!
With all this stuff to do in Thessaloniki, I’m positive you’ll have a enjoyable and thrilling journey to Greece’s second-largest metropolis. You’ll get to see loads of historical past but additionally expertise the scholar nightlife that’s typical of Thessaloniki. And also you’ll study extra concerning the metropolis’s multicultural previous.
I like Thessaloniki as a result of it’s quieter than Athens, the persons are friendlier, service is best, and it was much more relaxed. And due to the numerous college students, loads of the issues to do in Thessaloniki are both free or fairly low cost. So be sure that to reap the benefits of all this stuff and e-book your journey to Thessaloniki now.
And when you’re questioning the place to go subsequent, don’t fear, there are many choices. From Thessaloniki, you’ll be able to discover different elements within the north of Greece, such because the beautiful Chalkidiki peninsula with its gorgeous seashores. Or you’ll be able to journey additional north to discover different a few of the Balkan international locations (when you ask me my absolute favourite city in the Balkans is Tirana).
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