No man will be without a homeland, as long as Thessaloniki exists!
I don’t know if that would prove true or not for a person left without a home, but one thing we are sure of – Thessaloniki would welcome you and help you fall in love with it!
We’ve been passing Thessaloniki on our way to Chalkidiki so many times, that we realized we haven’t probably given the city a proper visit in quite a while. So while waiting for the sea to warm up to hit the beaches, let’s find out what Thessaloniki has to offer.
A walk in downtown
Thessaloniki is best explored and enjoyed on foot. Just start with no particular direction and you’ll find not just the good vibes of tiny cafes and restaurants with their food and drink delights, but also tons of history. Thessaloniki is full of churches that can keep the most pretentious architecture-, history- or religion-buff occupied for quite a while.
The open-air and half-covered markets are something else, where you can find anything you need from fresh produce to household goods to non-designer clothes and antiques. Markets are one of the best ways to explore a culture or a place.
Stroll along the sea promenade
We’re water people, or sea persons, what’s the right way to say that? OK, we are attracted to water in any form. That’s why we find Thessaloniki’s sea promenade so attractive. No matter when you go, it’ll be full of other passers-by and bikers, but nothing can be compared to the freedom you can feel over there.
Watching the sunset behind the Port of Thessaloniki is a memorable experience from our guide to the city. Don’t forget to take a selfie with the White Tower of Thessaloniki and know the stories about its significance back in time. Or even climb but for an elevated view. The higher you are, the better you feel in this otherwise crowded city.
If you’re a foodie or any drink connoisseur, you’ll have plenty of indulgences in Thessaloniki. Local cuisine, mixed with Mediterranean flavors, mixed with international tastes, and that’s just the beginning. Make yourself a present and indulge with Greek delights in Thessaloniki.
There are so many little cafes and bar where you can enjoy a cup of good coffee or fresh panini, or… don’t want to get started as we’re actually in Thessaloniki for a Street Food Festival.
Thessaloniki Street Food Festival
So it’s becoming kind of a nice tradition for Thessaloniki to host some street food stalls for a weekend once a year. The whole festival takes place nearby the Thessaloniki Town Hall.
It is literally one of the most crowded places we’ve ever been to. In the peak hour (which is almost always) it could take you half an hour to just pass the fair. If you want to stop by and check out what a particular stall offers, you could spend hours at the festival.
There are two seating areas and a party meadow. Loud music, tasty aromatic fumes, and tons of food everywhere around – that’s the festival. Highlights of what’s on offer were: souvlaki, gyro, falafel, pastrami sandwich, hot-dogs, freshly cooked anything, and some divine desserts as ice-cream and doughnuts you fill with chocolate yourself.
Let’s not forget it’s so hot in Thessaloniki so a pint of local beer is always appreciated! And the party can begin! As soon as the night falls, there are live concerts, DJs and whatnot to keep your mood high (with your stomach completely full at the same time).
The sunset cruise
A bunch of different kinds of boats and ships cruises the waters of Thessaloniki to give the spectator another perspective over the bustling city. But this kind of sailing would appeal to everyone, I believe.
First, it’s not a boat, it’s a bar. You get in and pay for your drink, and that’s also the entry fee. If you’re there earlier, grab first-row seats on the left-hand side and enjoy the sunset views of Thessaloniki.
As soon as you sail away, you’ll meet curious birds, city lights, and huge ships never sleeping. And all this while chilling to a nice music with your favorite cocktail in hand. I can hardly imagine a better sunset cruise.
Surprises behind the corner
Thessaloniki brings many more surprises than advertised. While walking in the city center, we stumbled a choir competition in the open-air. Angel voices were singing in harmony in an old amphitheater. And if you can stand the heat, you can stay there listening for the whole day…
Another stumble as a flower market. We didn’t expect to see so many cactus flowers or some many flowers of any kind. The practical side of this market is that you can get your favorite spice in a pot and grow it home to accompany your favorite meals. Like we did with some basil and oregano. 🍃
We know there are tons of other things to do in Thessaloniki, but the above list is a good start for first-timers in the city. When the weather allows it, make sure you include a visit to the nearby Chalkidiki peninsula and its amazing beaches.
And who knows, maybe Thessaloniki will become your second homeland one day, it will attract you with its Mediterranean charm and not let you go for a while…