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Top 10 things to do in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is a modern big city with more than 1 million inhabitants, it is the largest urban center in Northern Greece and the second largest city in Greece. Thessaloniki is a town with long history and a variety of monuments that remind the visitor its rich multicultutal history. Following, you will find some suggestions about things to do, sightseeing proposals and lifestyle options.

1. Visit the white Tower

The White Tower is perhaps the most recognizable spot in Thessaloniki. Depicted on all types of souvenirs and favourite clothes, photographed from all angles, in all seasons and at each hour of the day, it has come to be imprinted on our collective unconscious, an archetypal image. With its distinctive cylindrical shape, its six storeys and its memory-charged history, it has become the city’s trademark. When one sets eyes on the White Tower, it means that one has made one of the most fascinating journeys and is in the city of a thousand promises, Thessaloniki. Today the renovated White Tower is used as an exhibition centre.


The White Tower - image source:
The White Tower - image source:

2. Discover Great Museums

Thessaloniki is located at the crossroad of the European and Ottoman culture and this reflects in the museums of the city. The Archaeological museum of Thessaloniki is one of the largest museums in Greece and hosts artifacts and collections of ancient times. The Museum of Byzantine Culture is home to collections that cover the transformation of Roman religion and the early Christian Church to the 15th-century fall of Constantinople. 

Other museums and galleries of the city are the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, the Olympic Museum, the Museum of Photography, the Jewish Museum and the Cinema Museum.


Archaeological museum in Thessaloniki, Image source:

Byzantine museum in Thessaloniki, Image source:
Byzantine museum in Thessaloniki, Image source:

3. Explore Ano Poli and the Castle

The area of Ano Poli is famous for its traditional houses and magnificent views. The are was once destroyed by fire at 1917. Ano Poli is located to the heighest point of the city and extends to the Byzantine walls. Overall, this part of the city is a high contrast with the rest of the city, mainly due to narrow streets, the traditional residences and the castle that compose a picturesque atmosphere. Ano poli district offers a variety of small taverns where you can enjoy local tastes and enjoy fascinating views from the castle walls.

Creation:Nicolas Economou, Photography:Nicolas Economou
Ano Poli area, Creation:Nicolas Economou, Photography:Nicolas Economou

4. Visit Unesco Heritage sites

The city of Thessaloniki was the second-most important city of the Byzantine Empire and had an important role for Christianity during the Middle Ages. In 1988, fifteen monuments of Thessaloniki were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

City Walls (4th/5th centuries)

Rotunda of Saint George (4th century)

Church of Acheiropoietos (5th century)

Church of St. Demetrios (7th century)

Latomou Monastery (6th century)

Church of St. Sophia (8th century)

Church of Panagia Chalkeon (11th century)

Church of St. Panteleimon (14th century)

Church of the Holy Apostles (14th century)

Church of St. Nicholas Orphanos (14th century)

Church of St. Catherine (13th century)

Church of Christ Saviour (14th century)

Blatades Monastery (14th century)

Church of Prophet Elijah (14th century)

Byzantine Bath (14th century)

Source: wikipedia

Jean Housen [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]
Rotonda in Thessaloniki, Jean Housen [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

5. Walk along the sea promenade

Thessaloniki is a beautiful city that lies on the shore of the Thermaic Gulf. Its seafront has always been one of the most often frequented places, both by tourists and locals.On a clear day, its magnificent view of the sea and the mountain of Gods, Olympus will absolutely enchant you.

Heading from west to east would be the best way to make this long walk by the waterfront; it’s not that big a distance but considering that you might need to stop a few times at monuments or other sights, you should probably leave a whole morning or afternoon just for that.

You can have a rest or have a snack or a drink at the nearby restaurant/bar. You’ll soon discover that this spot is really popular, especially during the summer!


Promenade, Thessaloniki
Promenade, Thessaloniki

6. Enjoy the nightlife in Laladika area

Laladika disctict is located downtown and it is renowned for its nightlife. The area's listed buildings are made of stone and colored bricks. The name Ladadika derives from the fact that the ground floor shops were trading oil and other edible products. Gradually, and especially after the 1978 earthquake and the devastation the buildings suffered, the area began to decline and became infamous.

In 1985, however, following a regulation, Ladadika were declared a listed area, constructions were banned and many old buildings were restored. It is still one of the most popular destinations in the city especially to foreign visitors. Bars, clubs and restaurants are usually crowed especially during the summer months.


Laladika district-Thessaloniki, Image
Laladika district-Thessaloniki, Image

7. Choose from a variety or restaurants and taverns

Thessaloniki is famous for its taverns and local traditional cuisine. Modern restaurants and traditional taverns are located in several areas, such as the city center, the Ano Poli disctrict, the Laladika area, the Aristotle square and along the seafront. There is a variety of cuisine to taste, including seafood, traditional greek cuisine, international menu choices and street food.

Ergon, traditional food in the city center. Image
Ergon, traditional food in the city center. Image

8. Drink a frappe,(coffee) in Aristotle square

Aristotelous Square is the main square of Thessaloniki and is located on Nikis avenue (on the city's waterfront), in the city center. It was designed by the architect Ernest Hébrard in 1918, but most of the square was built in the 1950s. Many buildings surrounding the central square have since been renovated and its northern parts were largely restored in the 2000s. The twelve buildings that make up Aristotelous Square have been listed buildings of the Hellenic Republic since 1950.

There is a variety of coffee shops and restaurants on the square level or at the top of the buildings, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the bay.

Source: Wikipedia

Aristotle square. Image
Aristotle square. Image

9. Attend Thessaloniki International Film festival

Thessaloniki International Film Festival is a November celebration of contemporary filmmaking with shows, forums, professional masterclasses, and discussions. If you are in the city on November don't miss the chance to visit the festival.

Thessaloniki Film Festival, Image source:
Thessaloniki Film Festival, Image source:

10. Visit the waterpark, (not just for kids for adults also)

The park is one of the biggst parks in Europe and offers water activities both for kids and adults. Waterland is a water paradise and is located near the village Tagarades, at the outskirts of the city. You can visit the park by bus or by car.

Waterland Thessaloniki
Waterland Thessaloniki

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