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Thessaloniki

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13°
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8:31 PM

Thessaloniki

Byzantine churches, crumbling ruins, modern architecture, intense nightlife and the stunning sea — this is the essence of Thessaloniki. The second largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki combines more than 2,300 years of history with young student population. The city is a perfect destination for urban explorers and a gateway to the prefecture of Halkidiki in the southeast, with the characteristic shape of the three 'legs' — Kassandra, Sithonia and Athos — a favorite vacation destination for locals. Pristine beaches and charming villages aplenty.

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White Tower
Leoforos Stratou 2, Thessaloniki

The White Tower is the most iconic symbol of the city. The tower was constructed by the Ottomans sometime in the early 15th century and once guarded the eastern end of the city's sea walls. In the 19th century, this tower was used as a notorious prison. Nowadays, it is a welcoming museum of art and local history. The museum offers a rapid lesson in the history of the city. Ideally, you'll take in this well-dosed overview before continuing to the more specialized museums and archaeological sites. For best results, grab the free audio guide at the entrance. The last floor of the tower gives you a wonderful view of the city.

Explore the Halkidiki Region
Halkidiki, Central Macedonia, Greece

The region of Halkidiki lies southeast from Thessaloniki. It is known for its jutting peninsulas, Mediterranean forests and sandy beaches in warm, sheltered bays. The region is often described as having three 'legs' — Kassandra, Sithonia and Athos peninsulas. Kassandra, the westernmost peninsula, is the most developed, offering modern resorts and nightclubs. Sithonia, also known as Longos, offers over a 100 beaches, cute villages and is a popular destination for families. Athos is an important centre of Eastern Orthodox church. Its main point of interest, Mount Athos, is home to 20 monasteries.

Full tou Meze
Katouni 3, Thessaloniki

Smack in the centre of Thessaloniki sits Full tou Meze — a wildly popular and forever crowded restaurant. Take the opportunity to try an array of small dishes like dolmas, fresh tzatziki, spicy grilled peppers, fava and all sorts of grilled meatballs, meats, seafood and vegetables with delectable sauces. The food pairs nicely with local beer, wine or ouzo. No need to reserve a table, but you might need to wait a bit to be seated.

Mia Feta
Pavlou Mela 14, Thessaloniki

Mia Feta is a cheese bar that’s all about the salty and crumbly Greek delicacy. Grab a bite right there or get a delicious bundle to go. This shop/bar combo uses ingredients delivered daily from their organic farm, giving old traditions a modern reinterpretations. Try the creamy yogurt swirled with pomegranate and linseed, bite into a black olive cookie filled with feta cream and studded with beetroot pearls. Pair exceptional Greek wines with sweet-and-sour desserts.

Jumbo
Port of Thessaloniki, 26is Oktovriou 43, Thessaloniki

Jumbo is the nation's largest toy retailer in Greece including baby items, stationery, seasonal products and home decor items. It’s made of joy, fun and carelessness. There are two more Jumbo stores south of Thessaloniki, close to 16 and 24 highways. If you're planning to take a car trip to Halkidiki or to the beach, they are conveniently on your way.

Markets — The Old & The New

Exploring local markets is an excellent way to discover the city's culture. Foodies will appreciate seasonal fruits and veggies, regional cheeses and street food. Additionally, you can find anything from modern necessities of life to artisanal handmade cosmetics. Here are some of the main markets you should check out: Kapani Market — the oldest open public market in Thessaloniki. Focused on Greek delicacies, traditional cafes, tavernas and bakeries. Smack in the city centre, it sprawls over several pedestrian streets and some parts are covered. Athonos Square — a spot for small traditional shops that offer spices and food products, handmade patio furniture and wicker crafts. Some jewellery, clothing and craft designer shops have sprung up in the last few years. Modiano Market — was built in the 1920s and resembles some Parisian markets. Here you'll find traditional food items and a good selection on modern and old-fashioned tavernas. Bezesteni Market — a former Turkish bath with from the 15th century now houses clothing, florist and jewellery shops. You can take the stairs to the attic and have a closer look at the six domes. Worth a visit for the architectural value alone. Martiou Market — takes place every Saturday at Martiou, a neighbourhood in the eastern part of the city. Fishermen bring fresh catch from the Northern Aegean and from around the Halkidiki region. Fish of all sizes, mussels and octopuses won't stay on the counters long! Come early.

Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia (SKG)
Thessaloniki Airport, Thessaloniki

The Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia (SKG), in the area of Mikra, is the second largest airport of Greece and is linked with most destinations of Europe and Balkan countries in particular. Getting from the airport to the city centre will take you from 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the traffic. You can go to the centre of Thessaloniki using bus route X1 “KTEL – Airport”. It runs every 30-ish minutes and it takes approximately 45 minutes. You can buy a ticket at the kiosk before boarding or pay using a machine inside the bus (90 cents, exact change).

FAQ

Is Thessaloniki the same as Thessalonica? Yes. Thessalonica was the most common spelling in early 20th century, which later changed to Salonika, and finally to the version we have now. In English, the city can be called Thessaloniki, Salonika, Thessalonica, Salonica, Thessalonika, Saloniki, Thessalonike, or Thessalonice. Is Thessaloniki in northern Greece? Yes. Thessaloniki is located at the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea, on the Thermaic Gulf. But 'north' does not mean 'cold'! Expect sunny weather and perfect beach conditions from April to late September. Are there beaches in Thessaloniki? There are no beaches in the city centre, since Thessaloniki is a real port city. However, you can easily reach sandy beaches by boat, car or bus. Alternatively, explore the Halkidiki area after a few days in the city. Thessaloniki's Macedonia airport is very well connected.

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