1. Visit the White Tower the monument-symbol and most photographed sight in the city. It’s located on the waterfront and it houses an exhibition dedicated to the city and its history throughout various periods.
Opening hours :Tuesdays to Sundays from 08.30 to 15.00.
Price: Full: €3, Reduced: €2.
Official site: www.lpth.gr
2. Saint Demetrius Church is a must see as he is the patron saint of the city but also because of the church’s historical and spiritual significance. Below the Church it is the place where Saint Demetrius was martyred and believe me you will get the chills when you visit the crypt. The entrance is of course free and there is a little shop inside where you can buy objects related to Christianity like crosses and small frames with pictures of the saint. His remnants are also located in a small shrine inside the Church and you can take some Holy Water with you before you leave .
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday, 06.00-22.00
Address: 83 Agiou Demetriou, city center
Official site: www.inad.gr (in Greek only)
3. Aristotelous square is the place to go in order to feel the city vibe. It is the main and most famous square of the city and it is used for many cultural events, such as festivals and the annual Christmas and carnival celebrations. It is an important tourist attraction, and there are numerous cafeterias and bars that line up in the square making it popular with the younger crowds. After all, it is full of young students as the city has one of the best universities in the country.
4. Another thing you should definitely consider doing is cycle or just walk down the Nea Paralia which is the new seafront. You should find some time on your schedule, to witness the sunrise or the sunset (or both!) from there. Without a doubt this is not a sight to miss. For me is one of the best sunsets I have ever seen. This breath-taking promenade allows you to admire the statue of Alexander the Great, take some amazing photos of the umbrella sculpture and take a city ride with a horse drawn carriage. It is the most romantic thing to do if you are visiting with your better half! If you only have some hours in the city then I suggest walking down Nea Paralia.
5. While strolling down on Egnatias street you will see the Arch of Galerius and Rotunda which is the oldest monument in town. Nowadays the locals use them as meeting points although, these two monuments from the early 4th century, have a story to tell. You can visit them at any time of the day for pictures while you are enjoying your coffee at a nearby cafeteria.
Address: Ayios Yioryos Square
Opening hours: Daily 08.30 – 15.00
Entrance : Free
6. Ladadika is THE go-to place for lunch, dinner and entertainment during your stay. These old olive oil shops which have turned into bars, restaurants and tavernas are one of the best options in the city for a pleasant dinner. If you happen to be there on a Saturday , I would suggest making a reservation to a tavern with live music and enjoy some delicious Greek dishes.
7. Not everybody knows about the revolving restaurant of the OTE Tower, situated in what used to be the International Exhibition Center of Thessaloniki. Even though the drinks are overpriced and the decor is dated, I think it is worth visiting, since you can have a circling view (360 degrees) of the city in 1h and 30min. It is very close to the White Tower and the entrance is free.
8. Your trip there would NOT be complete without a visit to the castles also known as Kastra and Ano Polis which means upper city. The panoramic views of the city and gulf and the beauty of the Byzantine Walls and tower surely worth the trip. I remember as a student we used to buy some drinks and Greek kebabs and sit in front of the tower watching the amazing view while eating and listening to Greek music. There are many taverns there as well for a descent meal accompanied by a cold retsina (traditional Greek wine).
9. This is for those who want to go for a day trip out of the city on a Sunday (or any other day!). There are many options for you although, the best one in my opinion, is visiting the tumbling Edessa waterfalls. It takes almost 1h and 30min to arrive there by car (80 km). I used to make this route by train as it passes through small villages and i could admire the Greek countryside. Watching the view outside the window while making this trip was always a calming and relaxing experience for me. This waterfalls aren’t far from the train station so you could just walk there when you arrive at the village. The area offers many facilities for the visitors so you can definitely spent the whole day there.
Edessa city site: www.edessacity.gr
10. I have a completely different proposal for those who are interested in science and technology. I am referring to NOESIS the Thessaloniki Science Center & Technology Museum. It is located in Thermi area, outside of the city centre so you have to go there by bus or a taxi. I remember visiting it with very little expectations (I assumed that it was an educational centre mainly for kids) but I was wowed by the facilities especially the Planetarium! It has a giant 3D Screen Cinema, a Digital Planetarium, a Motion Simulator, a museum a library and so much more!
Official site: www.noesis.edu.gr/en
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Until next time xxx!