Even supposing 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.
Best Things 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 effectively price visiting. It actually has all of it — tons of attention-grabbing historical past, a phenomenal seaside, and thrilling nightlife.
As a traveller, it’s possible you’ll be questioning what to do in Thessaloniki, which is the place I come in. After studying this text, you’ll be shocked 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 principal landmark, which homes an exhibition concerning the metropolis’s Byzantine historical past.
Throughout Ottoman occasions, the White Tower was used as a jail and supposedly referred to as “Blood Tower” because of the many executions that befell there. It acquired the identify “White Tower” after it was painted white, though at this time 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 have only some hours in Thessaloniki, a go to to the White Tower could 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. This walking tour with an area takes in the White Tower and different highlights in town.
The White Tower is certainly one of many prime issues to see in Thessaloniki and at solely €8, it’s fairly an inexpensive attraction as effectively.
The museum is open each day from 9 am to 4 pm, and in the summer season, the hours prolong from 8 am to eight pm. If you happen to’re not eager on climbing up the tower, you might additionally simply take a look at it from the surface.
Handle: White Tower, Thessaloniki 546 21, Greece. Get directions here.
2. Take a Stroll Alongside The Seafront
On the seafront, you possibly can take pleasure in a beautiful stroll alongside the promenade, top-of-the-line locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
I keep 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 automobiles or motorbikes!
You could possibly simply spend a number of hours on Thessaloniki’s waterfront, particularly if the climate is especially good.
If you happen to 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 residence to one of many metropolis’s most instagrammable spots — the lovable umbrella sculpture. If you happen to 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 wonderful, and farther north one can find tons of bars, cafés, and eating places.
If you happen to’re into biking, this fun trip is a must. Thessaloniki’s promenade might be the most effective place in all of Greece to have the ability to trip your bike for a number of kilometres with out worrying about automobiles. Mother and father with youngsters will recognize this car-free zone as effectively.
3. Discover Aristotelous Sq.
The town’s largest sq. is among the hottest locations to go to in Thessaloniki and an awesome place to cease for a espresso. That is the fashionable middle of town and a serious assembly place. You can find numerous cafés and eating places in this pedestrian zone.
Individuals prefer to buy groceries in the streets and markets near the sq., and you’ll undoubtedly cross 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 well-known spots in town. If you happen to go to throughout Christmas or New Yr’s Eve this can be a good spot to see how the locals have fun.
Don’t neglect to take a fast photograph of the statue of Aristotle after whom the sq. was named. However, preserve in thoughts 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. Throughout the Second World Battle, virtually your complete Jewish inhabitants of Thessaloniki was deported to Auschwitz.
At the moment, solely about 1,200 Jews nonetheless reside in Thessaloniki which nonetheless makes it the second-largest Jewish neighborhood in Greece. Whereas the neighborhood may be very small at this time, its affect on the historical past of Thessaloniki is gigantic.
A good way to be taught concerning the Jewish neighborhood and historical past is to join this private tour with a information which takes in the museum, synagogue, Jewish market, Holocaust Memorial and extra. Click here for details.
The Jewish Museum on Agia Mina road is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and tickets are an inexpensive €5. If you happen to’re questioning what to do in Thessaloniki that isn’t on everybody’s checklist, this museum is for you.
Handle: Ag. Mina 11, Thessaloniki 546 24, Greece. Get directions here.
5. See The Roman Agora (one of many prime issues To do in Thessaloniki)
Top-of-the-line issues to see in Thessaloniki is the excavations of the Roman Agora of Thessaloniki (also referred to as the Roman Discussion board). This historic 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 will discover out extra concerning the Roman Discussion board in its personal museum. When you have any curiosity in archaeology in any respect, a go to to the museum is a should — particularly since one of many two Roman baths continues to be buried beneath town.
In the summertime, going underground is usually a good spot to flee the warmth!
In any case, it’s actually spectacular to see this historic sq. in the center 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.
Handle: Roman Agora, Olympou 75, Thessaloniki 546 31, Greece. Get directions here.
6. Go to Agios Dimitrios Basilica
Thessaloniki’s principal church, Agios Dimitrios, is among the prime locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
The basilica burned down virtually fully in the Nice Fireplace of Thessaloniki in 1917, however huge reconstruction efforts returned the church to its splendour. Contained in the church, you possibly can even discover distinctive mosaics that survived the fireplace.
Agios Dimitrios Church is situated only a few steps from the Roman Discussion board so make sure you 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 in the crypt underground.
And, due to Thessaloniki’s attention-grabbing historical past, you possibly can even see the stays of a Roman bathhouse on which the church was constructed. This church presents an awesome overview of town’s historical past. Images is allowed, and because it’s a church, entrance is free.
Handle: Agios Dimitros, Ag. Dimitriou, Thessaloniki 546 33, Greece. Discover it on the map, here.
7. Take a Hike By means of Thessaloniki’s Previous City: Ano Poli (Higher City)
Probably the most stunning a part of Thessaloniki is actually its old town, or Upper Town. You may go for a stroll via the cobblestone alleys and can see the standard Balkan homes that date again to Ottoman occasions.
A stroll in the picturesque Higher City is among the actions in Thessaloniki which can be free and might be executed at any time of day.
This a part of Thessaloniki survived the 1917 hearth and due to this fact stored its conventional appear and feel. Plus, you will discover previous church buildings and towers right here and stays of the previous Byzantine partitions. You could possibly spend hours exploring this attractive neighbourhood.
To many Greeks, Ano Poli is essentially the most genuine neighbourhood of Thessaloniki. It’s right here, that you will discover conventional taverns taking part in rebetiko music, not for vacationers, however for the locals.
Get pleasure from getting misplaced in the maze of streets in Thessaloniki’s oldest neighbourhood.
8. Verify Out The Eptapyrgio (Yedikule)
If you happen to 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 internal a part of the wall was constructed by the Byzantines however acquired its identify (“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 in town. Whereas the view from the White Tower can’t be crushed, you get a distinct perspective from the Eptapyrgio — which is situated on Thessaloniki’s historic 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 in this well-known jail. The doorways and cells are a haunting reminder of what happened here in the twentieth century.
Handle: 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 delivery 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 continues to be authentic, 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 in Atatürk and his life, there may be one more reason to go to his delivery home — it’s a superb strategy to see one of many conventional homes in the Higher City from the within. It’s open each day from 10 am to five pm, and entrance is free.
Handle: Consulate of Turkey, Ag. Dimitriou 151, Thessaloniki 546 34, Greece. Get directions.
10. Go to The Rotunda (one of many principal issues to do in Thessaloniki)
While 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 induced critical injury to the constructing, however a number of the mosaics inside have been restored.
Just some 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 principal entrance gate, strolling via it is among the actions in Thessaloniki that can join you all the best way again to Roman occasions.
The early Christian mosaics in the Rotunda are completely beautiful. Along with the Arch of Galerius, the Rotunda is taken into account one of the necessary locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
Handle: Platia Agiou Georgiou Rotonta 5, Thessaloniki 546 35, Greece. Get directions here. The Rotunda is open each day between 8 am and 5 pm in the winter and till 7 pm in the summer season.
11. Take a Free Strolling Tour
I firmly consider that free strolling excursions are top-of-the-line methods to get to know a brand new metropolis. These days, free strolling excursions with an area information are widespread in most main cities.
Why pay for a tour when somebody will supply it totally free and also you solely tip the information primarily based on how good the tour was?! After all, the identical is true for Thessaloniki.
Being a serious scholar metropolis, you possibly can undoubtedly discover a younger and dynamic information who will passionately inform you about their fascinating metropolis.
This can actually present the correct steadiness between archaeological sites and the extra trendy facets of life in Greece’s second-largest metropolis.
Free strolling excursions normally final between two to 3 hours and introduce you to the most important landmarks.
That manner, you get some background details about issues you’ve gotten already seen or are planning to see later. There are a few firms you possibly can select from — FreeTour and GuruWalk each have good scores.
12. Expertise Ladadika (one of many coolest issues to do in Thessaloniki)
If you happen to ask any Greek particular person what to do in Thessaloniki they may actually 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 may hope for in an enormous European metropolis — cobblestone streets, vibrant previous homes, and plenty of conventional meals and music.
In actual fact, the neighbourhood is so alive that many take into account it the most effective social gathering district in all of Greece. However, that doesn’t imply you received’t take pleasure in a stroll via the world in the course of the day as effectively.
The neighbourhood was named for the oil outlets that was concentrated in the world. Throughout Ottoman occasions, the principle market was situated right here as effectively.
Just like the promenade and Aristotelous Sq., it’s a pedestrian-only zone that any customer to Greece will recognize. This neighbourhood is among the prime locations to go to in Thessaloniki, don’t miss it.
13. Tour The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
As in many locations in Greece, one of many principal issues to do in Thessaloniki goes to an archaeology museum.
That is the place one can 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 may be a lot to see in 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 benefit from the museum pass 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 possibly can 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 that you may 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 stress-free actions in Thessaloniki could be to guide a therapy on the new Hammam Baths as a spa expertise.
The Hamam is impressed by conventional Turkish baths and provides numerous providers. You may both go for a self-service go to or add on numerous massages or remedies. After you loosen up in the steam room, you get to indulge 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. Make certain to guide an appointment in advance 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 Scholar Space Round Kamara/Rotunda
Whereas the Arch of Galerius and the Rotunda are widespread 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 principal actions in Thessaloniki is certainly testing its vigorous scholar (social gathering) scene.
There are numerous bars and cafés right here, that are cheaper than those in the Ladadika neighbourhood. Try Bulldog and the Beast, On The Road, and Pulp.
If you happen to’re in Thessaloniki in the summer season, you possibly can spend the entire night time exterior. If you happen to’re on a very tight finances, you received’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 an incredible time. And as ordinary in such neighbourhoods, it’s also possible to discover the most affordable road meals right here.
Extra Enjoyable Things To Do in Thessaloniki
There are such a lot of actions in town, I had so as to add a number of extra to the checklist.
Wine and Meals Tasting
This is among the prime issues to do in Thessaloniki for foodies. Meet at a market and study Greek meals, whereas sampling many various conventional meals and drinksa lengthy the best way. It is a enjoyable and inexpensive expertise. Find out more here.
Cook dinner and Dine With a Greek Household
What higher strategy to have an area expertise than cooking and consuming a meal collectively? The expertise takes place in a Greek residence and also you’ll make new pals whereas studying how one can cook dinner some tasty Greek Delicacies.
This enjoyable and the inexpensive night consists of studying how one can make 4 dishes (and consuming them), tapas, drinks and even some Greek dancing! Be taught extra here.
Hop aboard this stunning sailboat and revel in a half day cruise round Thessaloniki. On this luxurious journey, you’ll go to seashores, go snorkelling, and revel in a incredible Greek lunch with wine aboard the boat. Included is an skilled captain, gasoline, meals, drinks, and tools. Find out more here.
Day Journeys From Thessaloniki
Whereas there are quite a few issues to see, do and eat in town itself, there are a number of nice day journeys you possibly can take as effectively.
- Meteora Monasteries: This awe-inspiring website is UNESCO listed and is among the prime locations to go to in 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 be taught 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 surprising view. Be taught extra about this widespread day journey here.
- Pozar Thermal Baths and Edessa: Soak in pure thermal sizzling springs, gaze on the tallest waterfall in 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 these items 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 lots of historical past but additionally expertise the scholar nightlife that’s typical of Thessaloniki. And also you’ll be taught extra concerning the metropolis’s multicultural previous.
I really like Thessaloniki as a result of it’s quieter than Athens, the individuals are friendlier, the service is best, and it’s much more relaxed.
And due to the numerous college students, lots of the issues to do in Thessaloniki are both free or fairly low-cost. So make certain to benefit from all these items and guide 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 possibly can discover different elements in the north of Greece, such because the attractive Chalkidiki peninsula with its beautiful seashores. Or you possibly can journey additional north to discover a number of the different Balkan nations such as Albania (when you ask me my absolute favourite city in the Balkans is Tirana).
Are you travelling to different areas in Greece? Try our prime posts:
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