In this post, we will let you know about the best things to do in Thessaloniki. After our amazing time in the islands of Mykonos and Santorini in Greece, we decided to visit Athens and the monasteries in Meteora. Our last stop in Greece was Thessaloniki.
If ancient stories and historic places fascinate you, Thessaloniki is the best place for you with a lot of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and more than 30 museums in the city. Click here to book online Thessaloniki to Meteora day trip
Thessaloniki is located in the Northern part of the country and the second-largest city in Greece. There are a lot of things to do in Thessaloniki and you can feel its east meets west vibes from markets to ruins, tasty cuisines and many more. Please continue reading to learn more in this Thessaloniki travel guide!
SIM CARD IN GREECE
I wouldn’t recommend you to buy a sim card at Athens airport. If you wish comfort you can buy eSim online and if you aren’t in a hurry just go around phone shops in the city and compare prices to buy the cheapest sim card in Greece. Read here best Greece sim card for tourist and best Greece eSim
WHERE TO STAY IN THESSALONIKI
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Thessaloniki Travel Guide- Best Things to do in Thessaloniki
1. Explore the district of Ladadika
It is one of the hot spots of Thessaloniki when it comes to entertainment. It’s full of colorful buildings! Here is where the old merges with the new. The colors, sounds and smells of Ladadika will give you a taste of Thessalonian entertainment.
It is most frequently visited both by locals and foreigners. There are a lot of available shops and stores that you might want to try and enjoy.
2. Visit the White Tower
It is the most recognizable spot of Thessaloniki. With its distinctive cylindrical shapes, this six-story building became the city’s trademark. It has become a meeting point and a good place for a walk. You can go to the viewing platform located at the top of the Tower. It is an extension of the exhibition center.
3. Learn about history in Rotunda
A fascinating piece of history in the heart of Thessaloniki. It is a mausoleum for Galerius, and also it is where you’ll be able to admire the artworks of Roman and Byzatine Era, the most magnificent remains from the Early Christian. Entrance fee is only €2.
4. Visit Hagia Sofia
It is one of the oldest churches in Thessaloniki and one of the World Heritage Sites on the UNSECO list. Hagia Sofia is a beautiful “Domed Basilica” style temple, a really astonishing architecture.
5. Walking around Aristotelous Square
It is the beating heart of Thessaloniki. The place is lined with shops, restaurants, bars and hotels. As one of the city’s center’s only open outdoor space, it is frequently chosen as the site for large public events. Holiday season is one of the best time to visit the square because it hosts enormous celebrations throughout that month.
6. Anno Poli
It is the upper part of Old Town, the unique style of the structure in the area will make you feel like traveling back to the city’s Byzantine past. You can reached the top by walking or by bus. Take a stroll on the graphic stone paced little streets surrounded by a small beautiful ottoman houses.
7. Τhe Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
It is one of the largest museums in Greece and the central museum of the Northern Greece. A museum for all, all visitors are welcome to experience its unique collection of ancient artifacts. Admission fee is €4.
More Things to do in Thessaloniki
8. Museum of Byzantine
The museum is a scientific function institution, open to the public with exhibits and study of the works and objects of the early Christian, Byzantine.
9. Nightlife in Thessaloniki
The area around Valaoritou Street is the perfect destination if you want to experience nightlife in Thessaloniki. There are many bars and it´s full of people especially at midnight on weekends. People in Thessaloniki go out late and the place is ideal for party people.
Parties start around 11 o’clock or even midnight. Along the streets of Syggrou and Valoritou is where you will find more rock and alternative bars. The party can last until next day, so be ready for this!
10. Culture Hamams
Bey Hamam is the oldest of all the Ottoman in Thessaloniki and it is one of the most important buildings in the country. It is an architectural jewel at the center of the city where you’ll be able to view arts and decoration that are considered unique for their impressive colorful designs and wall paintings.
11. Navarinou Square
It is known for the great variety of people that hang out on the square. You can see the ruins of the Palace of Galerius, but unfortunately, only a small part is saved . Navarinou square is known, apart form other things, for the crepes with sweet and salty fillings and is considered to be the best in town.
12. Kapani Market
It is one of the traditional markets of Thessaloniki that serves consumers’ needs ever since Ottoman occupation. There are varieties of products available in the market, such as meat, fish, fruits, vegetable and many more at a low price.
13. Try Koulouri
A delicious Greek bread rings covered with toasted sesame seeds are the most popular street food one can find in Greece. These famous Koulouri are sold almost everywhere and sold along with a cup of coffee.
14. Vlatadon Monastery
The monastery of Vlatades is a Holy Royal Patriarchal. Located at Ano Poli of Thessaloniki, it is considered the chief Byzantine Monastery of the city. It is still in use and it offers visitor a spectacular view of Thermaikos bay in Thessaloniki.
15. The Ruins of Rentina
It is an important castle in North Greece, on the top of the hill with a very beautiful landscape. It is a big castle that is very close to the road which has heavy traffic. It is not easily visible and currently not open to the public.
16. Visit Mount Olympus
The shoreline at the foot of Mount Olympus, a 70km coastline, residence of the twelve Gods. Area is known as Pieria, has a 16 pristine beaches that will make you want to swim and relax. You can enjoy exotic bays, beaches with golden sand and as well as pebbly shores.
Where to stay in Thessaloniki
Our choice was Antigon Urban Chic Hotel in the heart of the city. The location of this Boutique hotel is great and our stay was amazing. Once you stay at Antigon Urban Chic Hotel, you will realize why is part of The Leadings Hotels of the World and why in Booking.com it has a rating of 9.6.
The breakfast and brunch (it´s amazing they give you the option of eating anytime in the morning) were great! You can have your breakfast and you can look through the ground with the views of ruins. That´s amazing because you can feel the vibes of the history of Thessaloniki first thing in the morning.
Our room was so cozy and we loved it so much! Another awesome part is the jacuzzi on the top floor! Breakfast was amazing apart from the views the food was tasty and we loved it so much!
Check out our experience in the pictures below:
Foods to try in Thessaloniki
Souvlaki and Gyros
Our favorite ones for a quick snack when walking around Thessaloniki were Gyros and Souvlaki . The difference of the two is that gyros comes from turned meat and souvlaki is grilled from the stick. Both are delicious and are served with salad, sauce and French fries. Prices start from €2-3.
Thessaloniki is famous for its pastries and one in particular is the semolina custard pastry, bougatsa. You can find this at every corner of the streets in Thessaloniki. It can be made by different ways depending on the place where you are. It is served with light custard, with hand-rolled croissants.
A classic dessert from the Byzantine ages and Constantinople is Kazan Dibi. It is a burnt-milk pudding, a type of caramelized pudding of a Turkish dessert. It is traditionally made by burning the bottom.
It is a bread ring coated with sesame seeds. The dough is slightly sweet and you can also find larger, thinner rings that are much more crispy and toasty in flavor. This is available from street vendors.
Festivals in Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki International Book Fair
Thessaloniki has become the focal point for the book world in Greece and in 2003, it has grown as the leading cultural event for books in Greece.
It is a three-month-long festival named after St. Demetrius, the patron Saint of the city. It has become an institution for the city and very popular one with the locals. The festival includes musicals, theatrical performances, street shows and many more. It is organized and overseen by the Municipality of Thessaloniki.
This festival attracts filmmakers all over the world. The main program focuses on documentaries that explore global social and cultural developments. The Festival aims to offer the public an annual gathering in Thessaloniki. It was also made for others to explore its people and landscapes through documentaries.
Are you going to Thessaloniki soon? How did you like our favorite things to do in Thessaloniki? Please share this Thessaloniki travel guide to your friends if you think this is helpful!
About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.