Although there are tons of issues to do in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest metropolis shouldn’t be on everybody’s radar.
To Greeks, Thessaloniki is a legendary scholar 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.
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 effectively price visiting. It actually has all of it — tons of attention-grabbing historical past, a phenomenal seaside, and thrilling nightlife.
As a traveller, you could 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.
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 most important landmark, which homes an exhibition in regards to 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 obtained the identify “White Tower” after it was painted white, though as we speak it has a yellowish color.
From the White Tower, you have got a stunning view of the complete metropolis and the Mediterranean Sea.
You probably have just a few 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 most likely need to begin any journey to Thessaloniki right here. This strolling 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 effectively.
The museum is open day by day from 9 am to 4 pm, and in the summertime, the hours prolong from 8 am to eight pm. In case you’re not eager on climbing up the tower, you may additionally simply take a look at it from the surface.
Handle: White Tower, Thessaloniki 546 21, Greece. Get instructions right here.
2. Take a Stroll Alongside The Seafront
On the seafront, you’ll be able to get pleasure from 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 spot 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 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 good day journey from Thessaloniki. Be taught extra about that journey, right here.
Thessaloniki’s waterfront can also 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 wonderful, and farther north you will see that tons of bars, cafés, and eating places.
In case you’re into biking, this enjoyable journey is a should. Thessaloniki’s promenade might be the perfect place in all of Greece to have the ability to journey your bike for a number of kilometres with out worrying about vehicles. Mother and father with kids will respect this car-free zone as effectively.
3. Discover Aristotelous Sq.
Town’s largest sq. is without doubt one of the hottest locations to go to in Thessaloniki and an amazing place to cease for a espresso. That is the fashionable middle of the town and a significant assembly place. You will see 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 undoubtedly move by right here greater than as soon as throughout your time in Thessaloniki.
Aristotelous Sq. is without doubt one of the most well-known squares in all of Greece and some of the well-known spots within the metropolis. In case you go to throughout Christmas or New Yr’s Eve it is a excellent place 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, take into account that the sq. can also be well-known for the truth that political protests often 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 robust through the Ottoman Empire when Jewish refugees arrived from Spain and Portugal the place they confronted extreme persecution.
Jews made up the most important group in Thessaloniki till the Nice Fireplace in 1917 when many Jews left the nation. In the course of the Second World Warfare, nearly the complete Jewish inhabitants of Thessaloniki was deported to Auschwitz.
At the moment, 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 as we speak, its affect on the historical past of Thessaloniki is big.
An effective way to be taught in regards to the Jewish group and historical past is to affix this personal tour with a information which takes within the museum, synagogue, Jewish market, Holocaust Memorial and extra. Click on right here for particulars.
The Jewish Museum on Agia Mina avenue is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and tickets are an inexpensive €5. In case you’re questioning what to do in Thessaloniki that’s not on everybody’s checklist, this museum is for you.
Handle: Ag. Mina 11, Thessaloniki 546 24, Greece. Get instructions right here.
5. See The Roman Agora (one of many prime issues To do in Thessaloniki)
Among the finest 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 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 you will discover out extra in regards to the Roman Discussion board in its personal museum. You probably 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 the town.
In the summertime, going underground could be a excellent place to flee the warmth!
In any case, it’s definitely spectacular to see this historic sq. in the course of the fashionable metropolis of Thessaloniki. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday between 8 am and three pm, and you may get in for €4.
Handle: Roman Agora, Olympou 75, Thessaloniki 546 31, Greece. Get instructions right here.
6. Go to Agios Dimitrios Basilica
Thessaloniki’s most important church, Agios Dimitrios, is without doubt one of the prime 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’ll be able to even discover distinctive mosaics that survived the hearth.
Agios Dimitrios Church is positioned only a few steps from the Roman Discussion board so remember to 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 attention-grabbing historical past, you’ll be able to even see the stays of a Roman bathhouse on which the church was constructed. This church presents an amazing overview of the 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, right here.
7. Take a Hike Via Thessaloniki’s Previous City: Ano Poli (Higher City)
Probably the most lovely a part of Thessaloniki is definitely its outdated city, or Higher City. You possibly can go for a stroll by the cobblestone alleys and can see the normal Balkan homes that date again to Ottoman instances.
A stroll within the picturesque Higher City is without doubt one of the actions in Thessaloniki which are free and may be performed at any time of day.
This a part of Thessaloniki survived the 1917 hearth and subsequently stored its conventional appear and feel. Plus, you will discover outdated church buildings and towers right here and stays of the outdated Byzantine partitions. You possibly can 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 within the maze of streets in Thessaloniki’s oldest neighbourhood.
8. Examine 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 internal 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 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 historic Acropolis.
What I discovered much more spectacular are the outdated jail corridors which join the place to Greek rebetiko music.
“Yedikule” is without doubt 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 occurred right here within the twentieth century.
Handle: Eptapyrgio Fortress, Επταπύργιο, Eptapirgiou 130, Thessaloniki 546 34, Greece. Get instructions right here.
9. See The Atatürk Home
For one thing rather less touristy, go to the delivery home of essentially the most well-known individual from Thessaloniki, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The constructing now homes the Common Consulate of Turkey, the state which Mustafa Kemal based.
This might 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 for those who’re not thinking about Atatürk and his life, there’s one more reason to go to his delivery home — it’s a superb method 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.
Handle: Consulate of Turkey, Ag. Dimitriou 151, Thessaloniki 546 34, Greece. Get instructions.
10. Go to The Rotunda (one of many most important issues to do in Thessaloniki)
Whenever you head again down in the direction of the fashionable middle 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 precipitated severe harm 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 once Thessaloniki’s most important entrance gate, strolling by it is without doubt one of 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 beautiful. Along with the Arch of Galerius, the Rotunda is taken into account some of the essential locations to go to in Thessaloniki.
Handle: Platia Agiou Georgiou Rotonta 5, Thessaloniki 546 35, Greece. Get instructions right 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 provide it totally free 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 scholar metropolis, you’ll be able to undoubtedly discover a younger and dynamic information who will passionately inform you about their fascinating metropolis.
This can definitely present the suitable steadiness between archaeological websites and the extra trendy points of life in Greece’s second-largest metropolis.
Free strolling excursions often final between two to a few hours and introduce you to the key landmarks.
That approach, you get some background details about issues you have got 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 scores.
12. Expertise Ladadika (one of many 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 near the port is stuffed with eating places and bars. As is commonly the case with these neighbourhoods, it used to have a nasty popularity however is now tremendous stylish.
Ladadika has all the pieces the traveller may hope for in an enormous European metropolis — cobblestone streets, vibrant outdated homes, and many conventional meals and music.
In reality, the neighbourhood is so alive that many think about it the perfect occasion district in all of Greece. However, that doesn’t imply you received’t get pleasure from a stroll by the realm through the day as effectively.
The neighbourhood was named for the oil retailers that was once concentrated within the space. Throughout Ottoman instances, the principle market was positioned right here as effectively.
Just like the promenade and Aristotelous Sq., it’s a pedestrian-only zone that any customer to Greece will respect. This neighbourhood is without doubt one of 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 most important issues to do in Thessaloniki goes to an archaeology museum.
That is the place you will see that 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 positioned 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 move 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 essential 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, some of the stress-free actions in Thessaloniki can be to guide a remedy on the new Hammam Baths as a spa expertise.
The Hamam is impressed by conventional Turkish baths and affords varied companies. You possibly can both go for a self-service go to or add on varied massages or therapies. After you loosen up 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 guide an appointment upfront to make sure availability. For pure thermal baths, take a day journey to beautiful Pozar and Edessa. Be taught extra about that tour right here.
15. Go For Drinks in The Scholar 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 preferred nightlife space. With its popularity as a scholar metropolis, one of many most important actions in Thessaloniki is unquestionably trying out its energetic scholar (occasion) 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 Street, and Pulp.
In case you’re in Thessaloniki in the summertime, you’ll be able to spend the entire night time exterior. In case you’re on a extremely tight funds, you received’t must 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 college students having an incredible time. And as common in such neighbourhoods, you may also 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 a number of extra to the checklist.
Wine and Meals Tasting
This is without doubt one of the prime 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. This can be a enjoyable and inexpensive expertise. Discover out extra right here.
Prepare 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 house and also you’ll make new mates whereas studying the right way to cook dinner some tasty Greek Delicacies.
This enjoyable and the inexpensive night consists of studying the right way to make 4 dishes (and consuming them), tapas, drinks and even some Greek dancing! Be taught extra right 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 incredible Greek lunch with wine aboard the boat. Included is an skilled captain, gas, meals, drinks, and gear. Discover out extra 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 effectively.
- Meteora Monasteries: This awe-inspiring website is UNESCO listed and is without doubt one of the prime 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 on right here for particulars in regards to the tour, and be taught extra in our article: Meteora Monasteries: A Information to Greece’s Legendary Panorama.
- 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 well-liked day journey right 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 right 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’re going to get to see a whole lot of historical past but in addition 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, a whole lot of the issues to do in Thessaloniki are both free or fairly low cost. So ensure that to benefit from all these items and guide your journey to Thessaloniki now.
And for those who’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 attractive Chalkidiki peninsula with its beautiful seashores. Or you’ll be able to journey additional north to discover a number of the different Balkan international locations corresponding to Albania (for those who ask me my absolute favorite metropolis within the Balkans is Tirana).
Are you travelling to different areas in Greece? Take a look at our prime posts:
Observe: some pictures on this article are offered by Shutterstock.com. Examine them out for superior royalty-free pictures and movies.