Pulsating, exhilarating, vibrant, fascinating, dynamic! Just some of the adjectives used to describe this second city of Greece. And no wonder. Thessaloniki is where the 21st century combines brilliantly with thousands of years of amazing history and culture.
It’s a richly rewarding mixture for visitors who are enjoying Thessaloniki in ever-growing numbers.
This laid-back capital of cafe-culture and fun sits in the north-east corner of the Aegean Sea. Its lovely, largely traffic-free waterfront has more than two miles of stylish walkways, coffee shops, monuments and 12 themed gardens.
Its where the locals and visitors meet for the evening volta – strolling and chatting as they admire the splendid sunset. The walk includes the stunning statue of local boy Alexander the Great, sitting on a rearing horse, and the amazing White Tower, a 500-year-old fortress, now a museum.
But Thessaloniki is more than just a resort steeped in history. This lively university city is a shoppers’ heaven with smart, modern shops, large and lively markets, lanes and courtyards teeming with boutiques and cafes.
And with tens of thousands of students at Aristotle University this city knows how to enjoy itself with clubs and bars staying open all night. The university is named after the famous Greek philosopher who was born nearby and there’s an impressive statue of him in a city square.
Byzantine, Roman and Turkish influences are scattered through the city. Thessaloniki’s tumultuous past includes five centuries under Ottoman rule. It’s a heady mix of history and culture in a thriving city that appreciates how busy people need to unwind and relax.
There are sandy beaches a few miles away and Thessaloniki is a gateway to some spectacular parts of Greece. Mount Olympus, the country’s highest mountain and legendary home of the gods, can be seen from the waterfront on a clear day. And the first beaches of beautiful Halkidiki are about an hour’s drive away.