Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece. It is a modern metropolis by the sea with a rich history, incredible gastronomy and vibrant nightlife. It makes an excellent destination for a city break and can be used as a base to discover nearby places of interest like the archaeological sites of Vergina and Dion. There are many things to do in Thessaloniki.
Things to do in Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki is a melting pot of many civilisations; the Romans, Ottomans, Jews and the Christians and that is evident in its culture and gastronomy. There are many interesting sights one can visit in this beautiful town.
- The White Tower located on the beach of Thessaloniki was built in the 15th century by the Ottomans and is considered the landmark of the city. I totally recommend that you climb at the top and admire the incredible view.
- The Triumphant Arch of Galerius known as Kamara that was built in 305 AD to commemorate his victories.
- The Rotunda, a Roman building of the early 4th century that was used both as a mosque and as a Christian church.
- The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki houses important artifacts from the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and the Roman period from the town of Thessaloniki and the surrounding areas.
- The Aristotelous square is a waterfront public square and a meeting point for the locals. It has beautiful classical buildings, luxurious hotels, restaurants and cafes.
- The Byzantine Church of Aghia Sophia which is one of the largest and oldest in Thessaloniki and the church of Aghios Dimitrios who is also the patron saint and protector of the city.
Thessaloniki also has a long promenade which was completed only three years ago. It extends from the White Tower to the Concert Hall. It is one of the liveliest parts of the city and is the place where people from all ages like to take their walk and socialise. Here you will also see the iconic sculpture “Umbrellas” by artist George Zongolopoulos. From here you can also embark in one of the ships that do a small cruise around the port for the price of a coffee and admire the town from a different angle.
There are two neighbourhoods worth visiting in Thessaloniki both within walking distance from the centre. Ladadika which was an infamy quarter many years ago and now it has been turned into a lively neighbourhood with restaurants, bars and cafes. Ano Poli (Upper Town) is another beautiful part of the town with a maze of alleyways and stone houses. Here you will find many Ottoman monuments as it used to be their quarter and many Byzantine churches. From Ano Poli, you can admire a breathtaking view of the city and the Thermaic Gulf.
Things to do around Thessaloniki
Very close to Thessaloniki one can find two of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. The Archaeological site of Vergina and the archaeological park of Dion.
Vergina or Aigai used to be Macedonia’s ancient royal capital, very close to the new one Thessaloniki. The archaeological site was declared as a UNESCO heritage site, and it is considered one of the most significant archaeological findings of the 20th century. Some of the most important remains are the monumental palace and the burial ground where the royal tomb of Philip the II, father of Alexander the Great was discovered. Significant finds include the two golden urns, containing the bones of Philip II and one of his wives, two oak and one myrtle golden wreaths worn by the royal dead.
Dion is located at the foot of mountain Olympus, the home of the Olympian Gods. The excavations at the archaeological park brought to light an ancient city with fortified walls. Today the visitor can see the remains of public buildings, houses and shops. One of the most important findings is the Dionysus Villa which contained a large Dionysus Mosaic that can be seen at the museum. Outside the walls, the excavation unearthed the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, the sanctuary of Isis and the sanctuary of Demeter among others. Other important findings include a Roman Theater. Near the archaeological park is the archaeological museum of Dion that houses findings from the excavations like the statue of Isis, the large Dionysus Mosaic and an ancient hydraulic organ.
Thessaloniki and the surrounding area is a place you shouldn’t miss on your next visit to Greece. It can be visited all year round, and during the summer months, it can be combined with nearby beaches of Chalkidiki. Antelope Travel offers a great Thessaloniki vacation package and can also design one according to your needs.
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