Even supposing 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 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.
Finest 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 nicely price visiting. It actually has all of it — tons of fascinating historical past, a good looking seaside, and thrilling nightlife.
As a traveller, chances are you’ll be questioning what to do in Thessaloniki, which is the place I are available in. 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 referred to as “Blood Tower” because of the many executions that happened there. It received the identify “White Tower” after it was painted white, though at this time it has a yellowish color.
From the White Tower, you could have a stunning view of the whole 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 you must undoubtedly find time for. And due to its central location, you’ll most likely wish 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 unquestionably one of many prime issues to see in Thessaloniki and at solely €8, it’s fairly an inexpensive attraction as nicely.
The museum is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm, and in the summertime, the hours prolong from 8 am to eight pm. In the event you’re not eager on climbing up the tower, you might 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’ll be able to take pleasure in a stunning 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 automobiles or motorbikes!
You can simply spend a number of hours on Thessaloniki’s waterfront, particularly if the climate is especially good.
In the event you stroll south from the White Tower alongside the promenade you’ll move 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 also be dwelling to one of many metropolis’s most instagrammable spots — the lovable umbrella sculpture. In the event you hold 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 the event you’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 experience your bike for a number of kilometres with out worrying about automobiles. Dad and mom with kids will respect this car-free zone as nicely.
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 heart of town and a serious assembly place. You will see that varied cafés and eating places on this pedestrian zone.
Folks prefer to buy groceries within the streets and markets near the sq., and you’ll undoubtedly move 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 vital well-known spots within the metropolis. In the event you go to throughout Christmas or New 12 months’s Eve it is a good spot to see how the locals rejoice.
Don’t neglect to take a fast photograph of the statue of Aristotle after whom the sq. was named. However, understand that the sq. can also be well-known for the truth that political protests normally happen right here. Throughout a rally or protest, you would possibly wish 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 significantly 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. Through the Second World Warfare, virtually the whole Jewish inhabitants of Thessaloniki was deported to Auschwitz.
As we speak, solely about 1,200 Jews nonetheless stay in Thessaloniki which nonetheless makes it the second-largest Jewish group in Greece. Whereas the group could be very small at this time, its impression on the historical past of Thessaloniki is big.
An effective way to study 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 road is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and tickets are an inexpensive €5. In the event you’re questioning what to do in Thessaloniki that isn’t on everybody’s checklist, 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 prime issues To do in Thessaloniki)
Among the best issues to see in Thessaloniki is the excavations of the Roman Agora of Thessaloniki (also called 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’ll find out extra in regards to 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 could be a good spot to flee the warmth!
In any case, it’s actually spectacular to see this historic 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 among the prime locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
The basilica burned down virtually utterly within the Nice Hearth 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 hearth.
Agios Dimitrios Church is situated only a few 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 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. 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)
Essentially the most lovely a part of Thessaloniki is actually its old town, or Upper Town. You may go for a stroll by way of the cobblestone alleys and can see the standard Balkan homes that date again to Ottoman occasions.
A stroll within the picturesque Higher City is among the actions in Thessaloniki which might be free and will be accomplished at any time of day.
This a part of Thessaloniki survived the 1917 fireplace and subsequently saved its conventional feel and appear. Plus, you’ll find previous church buildings and towers right here and stays of the previous Byzantine partitions. You 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 the event 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 received its identify (“Seven Towers”) when the primary Ottoman governor added further towers.
The fortress itself is kind of spectacular to have 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 overwhelmed, 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 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 beginning 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 is probably not 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 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 if you happen to’re not enthusiastic about Atatürk and his life, there’s another excuse to go to his beginning home — it’s a superb method 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.
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 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 prompted 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 called Kamara.
This was Thessaloniki’s major entrance gate, strolling by way of it is among the actions in Thessaloniki that may join you all the way in which again to Roman occasions.
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 vital vital locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
Deal with: Platia Agiou Georgiou Rotonta 5, Thessaloniki 546 35, Greece. Get directions here. The Rotunda is open daily 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 the most effective methods to get to know a brand new metropolis. These days, free strolling excursions with an area information are fashionable 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 serious pupil metropolis, you’ll be able to undoubtedly discover a younger and dynamic information who will passionately let you know about their fascinating metropolis.
It will actually present the fitting stability between archaeological sites and the extra trendy features 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 approach, you get some background details about issues you could have already seen or are planning to see later. There are a few corporations you’ll be able to select from — FreeTour and GuruWalk each have good rankings.
12. Expertise Ladadika (one of many coolest issues to do in Thessaloniki)
In the event you ask any Greek particular person what to do in Thessaloniki they’ll actually let you know to discover Ladadika.
This charming neighbourhood close to the port is filled with eating places and bars. As is commonly the case with these neighbourhoods, it used to have a foul fame however is now tremendous fashionable.
Ladadika has the whole lot the traveller might hope for in a giant 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 get together district in all of Greece. However, that doesn’t imply you received’t take pleasure in a stroll by way of the realm through the day as nicely.
The neighbourhood was named for the oil outlets that was concentrated within the space. Throughout Ottoman occasions, the principle market was situated right here as nicely.
Just like the promenade and Aristotelous Sq., it’s a pedestrian-only zone that any customer to Greece will respect. 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 lots of locations in Greece, one of many major 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 most likely 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 wish to reap the benefits of 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’ll be able to see all of the vital locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
14. See The Outdated Hamams (and Soak at The New Ones)
Thessaloniki has some Turkish baths which you can go to: Bey Hamam, Yeni Hamam, Paşa Hamam, and Yahudi Hamam (Pazar Hamam).
Sadly, none of them are nonetheless in use. So, when you can marvel on the structure, you won’t be able to expertise an genuine Turkish bathtub there. They’re now used as eating places and for cultural occasions.
Nonetheless, one of the vital enjoyable actions in Thessaloniki could be to e-book a remedy on the new Hammam Baths as a spa expertise.
The Hamam is impressed by conventional Turkish baths and affords varied companies. You may both go for a self-service go to or add on varied massages or therapies. 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 fundamental “Ali Mama” service prices €45. Make sure that to e-book an appointment upfront 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 Scholar Space Round Kamara/Rotunda
Whereas the Arch of Galerius and the Rotunda are fashionable locations to discover through the day, that is additionally a well-liked nightlife space. With its fame as a pupil metropolis, one of many major actions in Thessaloniki is unquestionably testing its energetic 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 the event you’re in Thessaloniki in the summertime, you’ll be able to spend the entire night time exterior. In the event you’re on a very tight finances, 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 night time with musicians, artists, and students having a tremendous time. And as traditional in such neighbourhoods, you can even discover the most cost effective road 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 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 way in which. It is a enjoyable and inexpensive expertise. Find out more here.
Cook dinner and Dine With a Greek Household
What higher method to have an area expertise than cooking and consuming a meal collectively? The expertise takes place in a Greek dwelling and also you’ll make new mates whereas studying cook dinner some tasty Greek Delicacies.
This enjoyable and the inexpensive night consists of studying make 4 dishes (and consuming them), tapas, drinks and even some Greek dancing! Be taught extra here.
Hop aboard this lovely 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 implausible Greek lunch with wine aboard the boat. Included is an skilled captain, gas, meals, drinks, and tools. 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 a number of nice day journeys you’ll be able to take as nicely.
- Meteora Monasteries: This awe-inspiring web site is UNESCO listed and is among the prime 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 in regards to the tour, and study 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 revel in lunch with a shocking view. Be taught extra about this fashionable day journey here.
- Pozar Thermal Baths and Edessa: Soak in pure thermal scorching 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 lots of historical past but in addition expertise the coed nightlife that’s typical of Thessaloniki. And also you’ll study extra in regards to the metropolis’s multicultural previous.
I 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, lots of the issues to do in Thessaloniki are both free or fairly low-cost. So make certain to reap the benefits of all this stuff and e-book your journey to Thessaloniki now.
And if you happen to’re questioning the place to go subsequent, don’t fear, there are many choices.
From Thessaloniki, you’ll be able to discover different components 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 a few of the different Balkan international locations such as Albania (if you happen to ask me my absolute favourite city in the Balkans is Tirana).
Are you travelling to different areas in Greece? Take a look at our prime posts:
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