A city easy to love — Thessaloniki is home to fine food, rich history, stunning coastlines, and so much more. Vibrant and full of things to do, this Greek city houses Byzantine landmarks scattered through its ancient, yet modern terrain. Take a step back in time by day and spend your nights dancing at the latest clubs. And that’s not all: Thessaloniki is also home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches. Sound like fun? Read on and check out the video below to see the city from a local tour guide’s perspective.
1. Wine and dine like a local
Food and drink have everything to do with the local culture. Eat your way through the city by sampling traditional dishes from the Byzantine era with a local guide. Try strongly brewed Greek coffee and wander through the two of the city’s best-known open-air markets, Modiano and Kapani. While you’re there, nibble on treats like koulouri and bougatsa — carb-rich delicacies dating back several hundred years. From fresh vegetables and fish to homemade confectioneries and delicious ouzo, enjoy the sights while taking in the town through your taste buds.
2. Set sail
What better way to get a true sense of Thessaloniki’s landscape than from the perspective of a sailor at sea? Board a beautiful yacht and see the city from its stunning coastline while witnessing the unique White Tower, the park Fokas, and the Makedonia Palace Hotel. This serene setting is the perfect way to take in the local sights while getting some sun.
3. Get cultured
Thessaloniki has a lot to offer: vivid coastlines and mouthwatering cuisine are just the beginning. Take a tour and explore the history of the famous White Tower, the Agia Sofia, and Agios Dimitrios, a beautiful Byzantine church with a chilling crypt. Finish off with some Byzantine castles and the old port of Thessaloniki.
4. Head to the beach
Grab your swimsuit, sunglasses, and some sunscreen — no trip is to Greece is complete without a trip to the beach. For the most scenic and serene swimming experience, cruise out to the Drenia Islands. There you’ll find six small islets complete with sandy coastlines and crystal-clear water. Enjoy the authentic azure waters of Chalkidiki, discover uninhabited islands, and maybe even spot some local wildlife. Swimming, snorkeling, and salty sea air: what better way to take in the Greek sunshine than relaxing on a remote beach oasis.
5. Go beyond the city limits
Just beyond the borders of Thessaloniki lies another world of Greek history, so why not take a peek? Enjoy a day trip into the land of Alexander the Great and the Macedons — only a short trip from the city lies Pella, the former capital of the kingdom of Macedon and the current location of an impressive archeological site and museum. Experience the Royal Tombs of Aigai, enjoy gorgeous views, and fresh country air just outside the city.
6. Dance the night away
Make sure you’ve had your fair share of strong Greek coffee and pack your dancing shoes because if there’s anything that Greeks know how to do, it’s how to stay out all night. Whether it’s a taverna with live rembetika music or a never-ending nightclub, Thessaloniki features more bars and cafes per capita than any other European city.
Planned your trip yet?
Watch the video above and let a local do the talking! We spent the day with Danai Spania of Epiculiar Tours to find out what to see, eat, drink, and do in Greece’s sun-soaked second city. Born and raised in Thessaloniki, Danai has spent the last 18 months showing people around her hometown. She took time out from her top-rated food and culture tour to share some insider tips.