For most tourists from the former Soviet Union, acquaintance with Greece begins precisely from here. The international airport, seaport, railway station – Thessaloniki, the second largest Greek city, the capital of the region of Macedonia is a major transport hub. But thanks to its rich history, Thessaloniki (Greece) also has its sights. Monuments of three eras are concentrated in the city: Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine.
Therefore, you should not, having arrived in Thessaloniki, use this place only as a transit point on the way to the famous Greek resorts, devote several days to it yourself. There are more than enough interesting places in Thessaloniki, where ancient excavations can be seen in the courtyard of modern residential quarters. Using the advice of those travelers who have been here more than once, we will try to guide you around the city and suggest what you can see in Thessaloniki in 3 days.
For many, this city initially makes a mixed impression due to the unthinkable combination of eras and architectural styles. Nearby can be a beautiful park, flowers, domes of old and new temples, ancient excavations and rusty fences, unsuccessful sloppy graffiti on the walls of dull high-rise buildings … and suddenly, on the wall of another house – a completely original work of modern art art! And all this alternates in Thessaloniki, quarter after quarter.
But gradually you find in this leapfrog and kaleidoscope some special harmony. Some tourists leave Thessaloniki, realizing the soul of this city and even falling in love with it a little.
And our journey has just begun. What to see in Thessaloniki is a must and cannot be missed?
Walk along the embankment, the White Tower and an hour tour along the “Cultural Route”
Thessaloniki is located on the shores of Thermaikos Gulf. Take an early morning walk along the wide and beautiful promenade, look at the sea, port, fishermen with fishing rods. Turning to face the city, you will see the outline of the most iconic city building, the architectural symbol and the visiting card of Thessaloniki – the White Tower with a flag developing over it.
And although in fact it is not completely white, but “buffalo-colored”, the history of the sights (XV century) is very entertaining and deserves a separate story. You can find out about it by looking at the museum, located in a circle on 8 floors inside this 33 meter (23 m in diameter) impressive building. At the very top of the tower is an observation deck, from here a beautiful view of the embankment, port and city opens.
There are so many attractions in Thessaloniki that just a simple listing of the main ones would take a whole page. But there is a wonderful opportunity to see their impressive part even in 1 hour. Of course, this is impossible on foot, but just getting on bus number 50 right there, on the square near the White Tower. A blue sightseeing bus leaves for the “Cultural Route” every hour from 8:00 to 21:00. And for 2 euros in overview mode, you will travel by time machine. And the stops (there are 15 of them) are like different eras that the northern capital of Greece survived over 25 centuries. Like nowhere, the past is closely adjacent to the present.
An audio, video and tour guide accompany the tour in English and Greek. But for the first visual acquaintance, this is enough, and you can later return to places you especially like, taking along a map of Thessaloniki with attractions in Russian, so as not to get lost. The route begins and ends at the tower.
What will the sightseers see along the way? There are several interesting buildings near the White Tower:
- Royal Theater / National Theater of Northern Greece
- Archaeological Museum and Museum of Byzantine Culture
- Telephone service tower
- International Exhibition
- Macedonian Museum of Modern Art
Further along the way alternate:
- monuments of the era of Ancient Rome – excavations of the palace of Galerius, Rotunda of St. George, ruins of the hippodrome and Arc de Triomphe, Aristotle square, excavations of the Roman Agora
- Byzantine and early Christian churches and monuments – Agia (Saint) Sofia, Church of Our Lady of Mednikov (XI century), Church of St. Demetrius of Solunsky; Monasteries of Thessaloniki – St. Theodora and Vlatadon (XIV century); the ruins of the Byzantine baths.
The route passes by Aristotle Square, the upper town of Ano Poli with cute colorful Macedonian houses.
We will tell you more about one of the objects along the route of the sights of Thessaloniki.
Rotunda (Τάφος του Γαλερίου)
The rotunda of St. George, built at the end of the 3rd century and the Arc de Triomphe (4th century), are part of the palace (or funerary) complex of Emperor Gaius Galerius. In the 15th century, it served as a Christian church, which was named after Gregory the Victorious. In Ottoman times, the Turks built a minaret nearby, and for almost four centuries there was a mosque in the temple.
At the beginning of the XX century, the building was returned to the Orthodox Church, and since then there is a Museum of Christian art. The rotunda is on the list of monuments of Thessaloniki, which are included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
For the last decade, restoration work has been carried out on the territory of the complex. Among the descriptions of the sights of Thessaloniki, photos of these works are often found in the stories of travelers on the forums. Indeed, during the restoration, it was sometimes possible to enter some rooms (free of charge) with cameras, and it was not forbidden to take pictures. After the official opening, the entrance fee is 2 euros.
Divine services are performed only on the great Orthodox holidays.
Address: 1 Vassou, Thessaloniki 546 35
The Rotunda is located next to the University campus, it is one of the gathering and meeting places for students and local youth.
The morning of the second day and its first half can be devoted to canyoning at Olympus, and in the evening to watch a performance or concert in the Forest Theater.
Mount Olympus Canyoning
Canyoning is an extreme sport that allows fans of traditional walks, climbers and swimmers to combine all three pleasures in a single bottle.
And it looks something like this: you jump into a mountain river and rush through it with stormy foaming streams without any boats, rafts and canoes. Your only watercraft is a life jacket, and equipment is a wetsuit and helmet. At first it will be scary: wild speed, falling down from small waterfalls, dizzying whirlpools; then the river will become wider and a measured calm drift will begin, during which you will definitely pay attention to the beautiful landscapes around Mount Olympus.
There are two advantages of this extreme pastime while exploring the nearby attractions of Thessaloniki.
- The descent along the river favorably affects the nervous system, because during canyoning after the release of adrenaline, pleasant relaxation soon comes.
- For the basic one-day tour, participants are not required to have special skills, only the ability to stay at least half an hour on the water, and at a fast pace for about the same time, climb up or down the mountain trail. And this means that pleasure is available to the masses of tourists.
The tour lasts 3-4 hours, during which time the participants will gradually go down to 280 from the initial height of 480 meters. But first you will need to make several descents on the rocks on a rope and 6 jumps down, while breaking four water slides from 5 to 12 meters high.
A group of tourists (6-12 people) is accompanied by two certified instructors, and at the very beginning follows a half-hour safety briefing and a small training on the use of equipment.
The cost of a one-day tour is from 65 euros, this includes: depreciation of equipment and equipment, a disk with a photo album to remember the trip and mini snacks during a break.
For more experienced athletes, there are two-day individual routes.
Canyoning tours can be booked at the Thessaloniki office (16 Amfitrionos); on the company’s official website www.baselinesports.gr online or by phone listed there.
Forest Theater (Theater Theater or Theater Dassous)
This theater among the vast expanses of forest is one of several NTNG divisions – the National Theater of Northern Greece, and includes a theater school, an excellent reserve for the troupe. Students are often engaged in theater productions. Look at the play is really interesting.
Each season, the Teatro Dasus schedule includes premieres and previous performances of its own troupe, and touring performances by other Greek theaters.
In addition to theatrical performances themselves, major conferences and festivals, concerts of Greek and visiting celebrities, various exhibitions are held here throughout the summer season. Such a busy schedule and busyness are due to the excellent acoustics of the forest scene in the form of an amphitheater and good technical equipment. The number of seats – 3894.
Hence, beautiful views of the surroundings of Thessaloniki. And even if there is no performance or other event on the day of your visit, you can still have a great time outdoors, in a cafe, see the surroundings, admire the scenery, and bring home beautiful photos of the sights of Thessaloniki.
Theater Address: Forest of Seich Sou * Agios Pavlos Thessaloniki 554 38
Devote the last day to shopping or just a tour of the Modiano market, and the evening to the famous Ladadika and Greek cuisine.
And be sure to walk before leaving along the evening promenade.
Modiano Market in Thessaloniki is a tourist attraction often found in reviews and photos of tourists, the descriptions of its “entices” are colorful and delicious. If you have 3 days in Thessaloniki, Modiano is the place that is definitely worth a look.
Although the market is not the largest, but otherwise, in its color and many features, it resembles a typical oriental bazaar. Everything is there: noise, buzz, screams of merchants.
Rows of meat – a complete set for gourmet meat-eaters. A little further you can try and buy the freshest cheese and butter.
A huge selection of olives: green, black, pickled, salted, with and without seasonings, in a ready-made convenient container and by weight.
Seasonal fruits, sweets and seasonings – everyone will find everything they would like to find.
But the most interesting are the rows with seafood. You can buy fresh seafood and immediately, in the nearest tavern, turn them into a delicious lunch. All meat and fish, food, vegetables and fruits on Modiano are only local.
The market is located in the center, at the beginning of Aristotle Avenue (from the ruins of the Roman Forum)
Buses: No. 03, 05, 05A, 06, 12, 33, 33A, 39, 39A; Platia Aristotelous & Ermou stop.
- Tuesday-Friday: in the afternoon from 9 to 13, in the evening from 17 to 19
- Saturday: from 17 to 21 hours
- Sunday: from 8 to 15 hours.
- Monday is a day off.
Modiano has many cafes and restaurants; try deliciously prepared Greek dishes and drink Greek coffee. Lunch will be inexpensive, even the most satisfying. And at a meal it is interesting to look at the daily life of the inhabitants of Greece and to recognize the city from this side.
Ladadika (Τα λαδάδικα)
The historical area of Ladadik is a continuation of the promenade and the architectural heritage of Thessaloniki. The vicious place and concentration of vicious institutions in the past, from the beginning of the 2000s, has turned into one of the brightest and most modern nightlife centers in Thessaloniki.
In two parts, Ladadiku is divided by the central street Tsimisku. On the left is a fragment of the city wall. Take a stroll through the small old streets. The highlight of this district of Thessaloniki in the architectural mix of mid-19th century styles and later buildings is precisely this eclecticism that attracts tourists. And the Greeks themselves always loved to spend time here in idleness, taking a break from everyday worries.
Since 1985, the port Ladadika is a protected historical monument and the construction of new houses is prohibited here.
The existing residential buildings were restored by entrepreneurs, who then opened their business on the first floors of the repaired buildings. The lower part of the buildings is the core of the historic center of Thessaloniki. His special style: forged iron doors against a background of red brick. Previously, there were many such houses.
Half a dozen buildings of the Bank of Thrace were also repaired, warehouses and hangars were converted into shops and clubs. Many new restaurants, cafes, taverns of discos and clubs have opened.
During the day, locals and tourists dignifiedly drink coffee here, and in the evening and at night the doors of all establishments open and the streets are flooded with the warm yellow color of the lanterns. Outdoor terraces in taverns and cafes are lit. With a glass of wine or a glass of ouzo, you can spend the evening in a cozy restaurant with Greek cuisine and lively folk music, there are many of them. And you can cross the road and open the door of any club, get to a noisy disco and listen to the same live concert, but in a heavy metal bar.
Several popular Ladadiki restaurants among tourists:
- “Krikel” (Krikelas, 6 Salaminos)
Family restaurant. The best wine list in Thessaloniki: wines from all Greek to the rarest vintage. The cuisine is traditional Greek and any seafood dishes: “Nail” menu – game and snails from Crete.
- “Zifo” (Zifo, 5 Katouni) – Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, nice design, reasonable prices.
Almost every more or less large institution on Ladadik has its own website, and places can be booked in advance online or by phone.
So the program has been completed for 3 days: “Thessaloniki Greece Attractions” And although this is only a small part of what you can see in this city, the memories of everything you see will surely fall into the memory box. And they will stay with us until the next “vacation in Greece.”
Map of Thessaloniki with landmarks in Russian.
How to spend 1 day in Thessaloniki with 50 euros – watch the video.