You can easily fall in love with Thessaloniki. This is exactly what happened to me a few years ago, when I first visited Greece’s second city. I remember it was during the Thessaloniki International Film Festival some time in November and my daily routine included movies (of course), wanderings around the city and food.
But Thessaloniki is far more than this. It’s a city rich in history and culture and extremely vibrant. Oh the food as well. One amazingly tasty cuisine!
The city is walkable at its biggest part, so put on your comfy shoes and let’s go!
1. Let’s start from the Aristotelous square, the most central one of Thessaloniki and the meeting point for the locals. There you can see the Olympion, a cultural landmark and also, one very important venue of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which takes places every November.
2. Walk down the Nikis street, enjoy a coffee at one of the many coffee shops that overlook the sea and then continue walking until you see the White Tower.
3. The White Tower is imposing and the city’s most famous sight. It was used for the city’s fortification and now it’s a museum.
4. Later on, you will come across the ‘Ompreles’, a beautiful piece of art by the Greek artist Giorgos Zogolopoulos (see main image).
5. Kapani and Modiano are two of my favorite traditional markets in Thessaloniki. They will time-travel you to the old Thessaloniki, whilst the scents and colors will make a strong presence.
6. Louloudakika (flower place in Greek) is a very cute neighborhood with many cafes and restaurants around. There, you will come across Yahudi Hamam, the old Ottoman bath.
7. Ladadika now, it’s the heart of the nightlife. The atmosphere is vivid, the walks on the paved alleys enjoyable and there are various restaurants which offer unique tastes!
8. Apothikes (this is how locals call the end of the marina) is also a nice place to visit and it’s the second main venue of the Film Festival, as it hosts many screening areas.
9. Kamara, Rotunda and Galerius Arch are three very significant sites of Thessaloniki and worth a visit.
10. The Agios Dimitrios church with its crypt is one of the most important Byzantine churches of the city.
11. The main shopping street are Tsimiski and Aristotelous street.
12. Last but not least: ‘Bougatsa’! Please don’t leave Thessaloniki without trying this pastry dessert, that only locals know how to do it properly. ‘Trigona’ as well. Oh, and ‘tsoureki’.
Some of my favorite cafes and restaurants
1. For the best bougatsa, this Greek specialty which is a pastry consisting either of cream, cheese or minced meet between layers of phyllo, visit ‘Giannis’ at Mitropoleos street.
2. Trigona is specialty that consists of layers of phyllo filled with cream and folded into triangles. The best offered are from ‘Elenidis’ (Dimitriou Gounari street- in more locations as well).
3. ‘Terkenlis’ offers tasty ‘tsoureki’, the sweet yeast bread and it’s either plain or filled with chocolate and chestnut. If you are into sweets then this one is for you! Stores can be found all over the city.
4. ‘Diatiriteo’ and ‘Enohes’ are the cutest retro cafés that you will love!
5. For delicious food you have to visit the ‘Aficionados’ restaurant, ‘Duck’ and the Rooftop at Electra Palace.
Thessaloniki is all about good vibes. Lovely places and friendly people. Did you know that you can now fly directly from Doha? Don’t think about it. Just go!