Although there are tons of issues to do in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest metropolis just isn’t on everybody’s radar.
To Greeks, Thessaloniki is a legendary pupil vacation spot with a cool, relaxed vibe that distinguishes the 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.
Greatest Issues To Do in Thessaloniki, Greece
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 gorgeous seaside, and thrilling nightlife.
As a traveller, you might be questioning what to do in Thessaloniki, which is the place I are available. After studying this text, you’ll be stunned by the number of issues to do right here.
Listed here are the 15 finest issues to do in Thessaloniki, Greece.
1. Go to The White Tower
The fortified White Tower on the seafront is Thessaloniki’s major landmark, which homes an exhibition in regards to the metropolis’s Byzantine historical past.
Throughout Ottoman occasions, the White Tower was used as a jail and supposedly known as “Blood Tower” because of the many executions that occurred there. It obtained the identify “White Tower” after it was painted white, though at present it has a yellowish color.
From the White Tower, you might have a stunning 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 you must positively find time for. And due to its central location, you’ll in all probability need to begin any journey to Thessaloniki right here. This walking tour with an area takes within the White Tower and different highlights within the metropolis.
The White Tower is certainly one of many high issues to see in Thessaloniki and at solely €8, it’s fairly an reasonably priced attraction as properly.
The museum is open day by day from 9 am to 4 pm, and in the summertime, the hours lengthen from 8 am to eight pm. In case you’re not eager on climbing up the tower, you possibly can additionally simply have a look at it from the surface.
Deal with: White Tower, Thessaloniki 546 21, Greece. Get directions here.
2. Take a Stroll Alongside The Seafront
On the seafront, you may take pleasure in a stunning stroll alongside the promenade, probably the greatest locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
I bear in mind being fascinated that I had lastly discovered a place in Greece the place I may stroll for hours with out being disturbed by vehicles or motorbikes!
You possibly can 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 cross by the statue of Alexander the Nice who was born in Pella, about 1.5 hours from Thessaloniki. A visit to Pella is a good day journey from Thessaloniki. Be taught extra about that journey, here.
Thessaloniki’s waterfront can be house to one of many metropolis’s most instagrammable spots — the lovable umbrella sculpture. In case you maintain 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 will discover tons of bars, cafés, and eating places.
In case you’re into biking, this fun trip is a must. Thessaloniki’s promenade might be one of the best 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 youngsters will respect this car-free zone as properly.
3. Discover Aristotelous Sq.
Town’s greatest sq. is likely one of the hottest locations to go to in Thessaloniki and a terrific place to cease for a espresso. That is the fashionable heart of the town and a significant assembly place. You can find varied cafés and eating places on this pedestrian zone.
Individuals wish to buy groceries within the streets and markets near the sq., and you’ll positively cross by right here greater than as soon as throughout your time in Thessaloniki.
Aristotelous Square is likely one of the most well-known squares in all of Greece and one of the vital well-known spots within the metropolis. In case you go to throughout Christmas or New Yr’s Eve this can be a excellent spot to see how the locals have fun.
Don’t neglect to take a fast picture of the statue of Aristotle after whom the sq. was named. However, understand 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 group in Greece’s second-largest metropolis.
The Jewish group in Thessaloniki was notably sturdy through the Ottoman Empire when Jewish refugees arrived from Spain and Portugal the place they confronted extreme persecution.
Jews made up the largest group in Thessaloniki till the Great Fire in 1917 when many Jews left the nation. Throughout the Second World Struggle, nearly your complete Jewish inhabitants of Thessaloniki was deported to Auschwitz.
As we speak, solely about 1,200 Jews nonetheless reside in Thessaloniki which nonetheless makes it the second-largest Jewish group in Greece. Whereas the group may be very small at present, its impression on the historical past of Thessaloniki is big.
A good way to be taught in regards to the Jewish group and historical past is to join this private tour with a information which takes within the museum, synagogue, Jewish market, Holocaust Memorial and extra. Click here for details.
The Jewish Museum on Agia Mina avenue is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and tickets are an reasonably priced €5. In case you’re questioning what to do in Thessaloniki that’s not on everybody’s record, this museum is for you.
Deal with: Ag. Mina 11, Thessaloniki 546 24, Greece. Get directions here.
5. See The Roman Agora (one of many high issues To do in Thessaloniki)
Top-of-the-line issues to see in Thessaloniki is the excavations of the Roman Agora of Thessaloniki (often known as the Roman Discussion board). This historical Roman market is situated near Aristotelous Sq. and homes the stays of a theater and two Roman baths.
The most effective half is that it continues underground the place you’ll find out extra in regards to 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 the town.
In the summertime, going underground generally is a excellent spot to flee the warmth!
In any case, it’s definitely spectacular to see this historical sq. in the midst of the fashionable metropolis of Thessaloniki. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday between 8 am and three pm, and you will get in for €4.
Deal with: Roman Agora, Olympou 75, Thessaloniki 546 31, Greece. Get directions here.
6. Go to Agios Dimitrios Basilica
Thessaloniki’s major church, Agios Dimitrios, is likely one of the high locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
The basilica burned down nearly fully within the Nice Fireplace of Thessaloniki in 1917, however huge reconstruction efforts returned the church to its splendour. Contained in the church, you may even discover distinctive mosaics that survived the fireplace.
Agios Dimitrios Church is situated just some steps from the Roman Discussion board so be sure you mix the 2. Dimitrios is Thessaloniki’s patron saint which explains the basilica’s significance. You possibly can see the place the place he supposedly died within the crypt underground.
And, due to Thessaloniki’s fascinating historical past, you may even see the stays of a Roman bathhouse on which the church was constructed. This church presents a terrific overview of the town’s historical past. Images is allowed, and because it’s a church, entrance is free.
Deal with: Agios Dimitros, Ag. Dimitriou, Thessaloniki 546 33, Greece. Discover it on the map, here.
7. Take a Hike By means of Thessaloniki’s Outdated City: Ano Poli (Higher City)
Probably the most stunning a part of Thessaloniki is definitely its old town, or Upper Town. You possibly can go for a stroll by the cobblestone alleys and can see the normal Balkan homes that date again to Ottoman occasions.
A stroll within the picturesque Higher City is likely one of the actions in Thessaloniki which might be free and will be performed 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, you’ll find previous church buildings and towers right here and stays of the previous Byzantine partitions. You possibly can spend hours exploring this beautiful neighbourhood.
To many Greeks, Ano Poli is essentially the most genuine neighbourhood of Thessaloniki. It’s right here, that you’ll find conventional taverns enjoying rebetiko music, not for vacationers, however for the locals.
Take pleasure in getting misplaced within 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 interior a part of the wall was constructed by the Byzantines however obtained its identify (“Seven Towers”) when the primary Ottoman governor added further towers.
The fortress itself is kind of spectacular to take a look at, however the view from right here is spectacular because it’s the 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 situated 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 likely one of 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 twentieth century.
Deal with: Eptapyrgio Fortress, Επταπύργιο, Eptapirgiou 130, Thessaloniki 546 34, Greece. Get directions here.
9. See The Atatürk Home
For one thing rather less touristy, go to the start home of essentially the most well-known particular person from Thessaloniki, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The constructing now homes the General Consulate of Turkey, the state which Mustafa Kemal based.
This will not be of curiosity to everybody, however as an ethnic Turk, I used to be very moved by my go to right here.
A lot 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 should you’re not inquisitive about Atatürk and his life, there’s another excuse to go to his start home — it’s a superb option to see one of many conventional homes within the Higher City from the within. It’s open day by day from 10 am to five pm, and entrance is free.
Deal with: Consulate of Turkey, Ag. Dimitriou 151, Thessaloniki 546 34, Greece. Get directions.
10. Go to The Rotunda (one of many major issues to do in Thessaloniki)
If you head again down in the direction of the fashionable heart of the town, you’ll spot the traditional Rotunda. It’s one of many oldest issues to see in Thessaloniki and was once a Roman temple, then a church, and later a mosque.
Earthquakes have triggered critical 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 often known as Kamara.
This was once Thessaloniki’s major entrance gate, strolling by it is likely one of the actions in Thessaloniki that can join you all the best way again to Roman occasions.
The early Christian mosaics within the Rotunda are completely beautiful. Along with the Arch of Galerius, the Rotunda is taken into account one of the vital necessary locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
Deal with: Platia Agiou Georgiou Rotonta 5, Thessaloniki 546 35, Greece. Get directions here. The Rotunda is open day by day between 8 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 probably the greatest methods to get to know a brand new metropolis. These days, free strolling excursions with an area information are well-liked in most main cities.
Why pay for a tour when somebody will supply it at no cost and also you solely tip the information based mostly on how good the tour was?! In fact, the identical is true for Thessaloniki.
Being a significant pupil metropolis, you may positively discover a younger and dynamic information who will passionately let you know about their fascinating metropolis.
It will definitely present the fitting steadiness between archaeological sites and the extra fashionable points of life in Greece’s second-largest metropolis.
Free strolling excursions normally final between two to a few hours and introduce you to the most important landmarks.
That manner, you get some background details about issues you might have already seen or are planning to see later. There are a few corporations you may select from — FreeTour and GuruWalk each have good scores.
12. Expertise Ladadika (one of many coolest issues to do in Thessaloniki)
In case you ask any Greek particular person what to do in Thessaloniki they’ll definitely let you know 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 popularity however is now tremendous fashionable.
Ladadika has every part the traveller may hope for in a giant European metropolis — cobblestone streets, vibrant previous homes, and plenty of conventional meals and music.
In reality, the neighbourhood is so alive that many take into account it one of the best get together district in all of Greece. However, that doesn’t imply you gained’t take pleasure in a stroll by the realm through the day as properly.
The neighbourhood was named for the oil outlets that was once concentrated within the space. Throughout Ottoman occasions, the principle market was situated right here as properly.
Just like the promenade and Aristotelous Sq., it’s a pedestrian-only zone that any customer to Greece will respect. This neighbourhood is likely one of 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 major issues to do in Thessaloniki goes to an archaeology museum.
That is the place you will discover 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 situated close to the White Tower the statue of Alexander the Nice. The exhibitions cowl the interval between prehistory and late antiquity. A lot of the artefacts are from Thessaloniki and its neighborhood.
The museum is open all week from 8 am to eight pm, and a ticket is €8, however you would possibly need to make the most of the museum pass which permits entrance to the Archaeological Museum, the White Tower, the Galerian Complicated, the Museum of the Roman Agora, and the Museum of Byzantine Tradition.
For €15 you may see all of the necessary locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
14. See The Outdated Hamams (and Soak at The New Ones)
Thessaloniki has some Turkish baths you can 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.
Nonetheless, one of the vital stress-free actions in Thessaloniki can be to e-book a therapy on the new Hammam Baths as a spa expertise.
The Hamam is impressed by conventional Turkish baths and gives varied providers. You possibly can both go for a self-service go to or add on varied massages or therapies. After you calm down within the steam room, you get to bask in a glass of Turkish tea and some items of lokum (Turkish delight).
The self-service expertise prices €25 whereas the fundamental “Ali Mama” service prices €45. Ensure that to e-book an appointment prematurely to make sure availability. For pure thermal baths, take a day journey to beautiful 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 through the day, that is additionally a well-liked nightlife space. With its popularity as a pupil metropolis, one of many major actions in Thessaloniki is certainly trying out its vigorous pupil (get together) scene.
There are numerous bars and cafés right here, that are cheaper than those within the Ladadika neighbourhood. Take a look at Bulldog and the Beast, On The Road, and Pulp.
In case you’re in Thessaloniki in the summertime, you may spend the entire night time exterior. In case you’re on a extremely tight funds, you gained’t should 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 night time with musicians, artists, and students having a tremendous time. And as common in such neighbourhoods, you can too discover the most cost effective avenue meals right here.
Extra Enjoyable Issues To Do in Thessaloniki
There are such a lot of actions within the metropolis, I had so as to add just a few extra to the record.
Wine and Meals Tasting
This is likely one of the high issues to do in Thessaloniki for foodies. Meet at a market and find out about Greek meals, whereas sampling many alternative conventional meals and drinksa lengthy the best way. It is a enjoyable and reasonably priced expertise. Find out more here.
Prepare dinner and Dine With a Greek Household
What higher option to have an area expertise than cooking and consuming a meal collectively? The expertise takes place in a Greek house and also you’ll make new buddies whereas studying find out how to prepare dinner some tasty Greek Delicacies.
This enjoyable and the reasonably priced night contains studying find out how to make 4 dishes (and consuming them), tapas, drinks and even some Greek dancing! Be taught extra here.
Hop aboard this stunning sailboat and luxuriate in a half day cruise round Thessaloniki. On this luxurious journey, you’ll go to seashores, go snorkelling, and luxuriate in a incredible Greek lunch with wine aboard the boat. Included is an skilled captain, gas, meals, drinks, and gear. Find out more here.
Day Journeys From Thessaloniki
Whereas there are quite a few issues to see, do and eat within the metropolis itself, there are just a few nice day journeys you may take as properly.
- Meteora Monasteries: This awe-inspiring website is UNESCO listed and is likely one of the high locations to go to within the nation. Be part of a full-day, highly-rated tour and see what all of the fuss is about. Click here for particulars in regards to the tour, and be taught extra in our article: Meteora Monasteries: A Guide to Greece’s Mythical Landscape.
- Mount Olympus and Dion: Be taught in regards to the tradition and historical past of the spectacular Mount Olympus, hike Enipeas gorge and luxuriate in lunch with a surprising view. Be taught extra about this well-liked day journey here.
- Pozar Thermal Baths and Edessa: Soak in pure thermal scorching springs, gaze on the tallest waterfall within the Balkans, and luxuriate 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 these items to do in Thessaloniki, I’m certain you’ll have a enjoyable and thrilling journey to Greece’s second-largest metropolis.
You’re going to get to see plenty of historical past but additionally expertise the coed nightlife that’s typical of Thessaloniki. And also you’ll be taught extra in regards to the metropolis’s multicultural previous.
I really like Thessaloniki as a result of it’s quieter than Athens, the persons are friendlier, the service is healthier, and it’s much more relaxed.
And due to the numerous college students, plenty of the issues to do in Thessaloniki are both free or fairly low cost. So be certain that to make the most of all these items and e-book your journey to Thessaloniki now.
And should you’re questioning the place to go subsequent, don’t fear, there are many choices.
From Thessaloniki, you may discover different components within the north of Greece, such because the beautiful Chalkidiki peninsula with its beautiful seashores. Or you may journey additional north to discover a few of the different Balkan nations such as Albania (should you ask me my absolute favourite city in the Balkans is Tirana).
Are you travelling to different areas in Greece? Take a look at our high posts:
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