The big-hearted city of the northern Greece
The White Tower of Thessaloniki Yorgos triantafyllou
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Warm and generous, Thessaloniki is at the same time historic and avant-garde: the second-largest city in Greece, ideal for a city break, is a fascinating mix of cultures and holiday memories

Greece’s second city is unlike anywhere else in the country. It is a at the same time a sprawling urban centre and a cultural melting pot, where dreams, ideas, visions and trends percolate in an alternative, avant-garde scene. Its history is written upon everything that surrounds you: the Thermaic Gulf, White Tower, Nikis Avenue, Aristotelous Square, Mitropoleos Avenue, Tsimiski Avenue, the Ladadika district, Modiano Market, Bit Bazaar and the Old City.

Impressive attractions, cafes, bars, traditional tavernas, gourmet restaurants, and lively nightlife – you’ll find everything here in Thessaloniki, the beautiful ‘bride of the Thermaic Gulf’.


A multicultural centre

You can trace the civilisations and peoples that have left their mark on this great city. The Palace, Triumphal Arch and impressive Rotunda, which formed the city’s administrative and religious centre in Roman times, offer an insight into the reign of emperor Galerius Maximilianos in the early 4th century. And in an elegant listed building from 1904 on Agiou Mina Street, Or the Jewish Museum recreates the life of the Jewish community in pre-war Salonica and its subsequent extermination by the Nazis. And don’t forget to visit the former home of Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey.

Spend as long as you can exploring the narrow lanes of Ano Poli, one of the oldest districts of Thessaloniki, above the modern town. You’ll find numerous attractions, most of which are castles and religious monuments: the Trigoniou Tower, the Eptapyrgio fortifications, Ottoman monuments, the Vlatades Monastery, and the Byzantine churches of Osios David and Agios Nikolaos Orfanos. This is the most unspoilt district of the old city, with wonderful views of the Thermaic Gulf and (on clear days) Mt Olympus. And let’s not forget, of course, the iconic 16th century White Tower, by Aristotelous Square in the city centre.

A fun and vibrant city

The White Tower, Ano Poli, Aristotelous Avenue, shopping on Tsimiski Street, bar-hopping on Valaoritou Avenue, the International Film Festival held in the warehouses of the port, live music at Ladadika’s eateries, walks through the vaulted arches and the open-air markets, visits to museums and Byzantine monuments… it’s not surprising Thessaloniki is regarded an ideal city-break destination. 

In the city centre, the atmosphere is filled with youthful energy, day and all night. With every step, you’ll discover hidden treasures: historic cafes, cosy bars, as well as clubs with impressive designs in renovated industrial spaces and music venues in old warehouses, hosting live rock concerts. Nightlife is one of the city’s strengths. Follow the locals to their favourite haunts, sure to satisfy all styles and tastes. In this city in northern Greece, fun is a local tradition, just like the warm soup you’ll be served when the sun comes up.

Gastronomy of Thessaloniki

Leaving Thessaloniki, you’ll take with you thousands of memories, and a few (worthwhile) grams of weight. High-end restaurants and historic eateries, trendy dining options, as well as out-of-the-way ouzeries, tavernas and all-day restaurants will offer you a lifetime’s worth of foodie fun. Istanbul and Pontos, the Balkans and the Mediterranean, Macedonia and Thrace… all these cultures will make their way onto your plate.

Thessaloniki’s cuisine is known for its meze (small plates intended for sharing) that the 1920s refugees brought with them from Asia Minor. They also brought the tradition of patsa (tripe soup) and Thessaloniki’s famous bougatsa (a sweet-cream breakfast pastry).

A business-and-pleasure hub

Thessaloniki hosts several major exhibitions and conferences each year, including the International Film Festival and the Thessaloniki International Exhibition. And if you’re here for business, your off-duty needs will be well-covered with great food and entertainment options, including a selection of internationally-renowned and easily accessible archaeological sites, including Philippi, Pella, Ancient Dion and Vergina.

View of Thessaloniki from Ano Poli

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  • A multicultural centre
  • A business-and-pleasure hub
  • The White Tower
  • The Arch of Galerius
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