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Visitors Guide to Thessaloniki

The northern city of Thessaloniki in Greece is the capital of the region of central Macedonia. It is rich with historical landmarks and has a vibrant cultural heritage. Thessaloniki is home to a number of ancient Roman, Jewish and Ottoman architectural sites that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites today, and offer fantastic sightseeing opportunities.Along with incredible history, Thessaloniki is also full of lively bars, restaurants and clubs that contribute to the city’s reputation for a thriving nightlife. If you plan to visit Thessaloniki in the future, use this guide to get to the area, find accommodations and visit top attractions and tour historical landmarks.

Getting to Thessaloniki

Many visitors to Thessaloniki come to the region by plane, landing at the Macedonia International Airport. Transport from the airport is efficient, affordable and includes public buses, trains and even private shuttles. Rental cars are available but the transport system is so affordable and extensive that cars are certainly not a necessity for travellers to the area. Buses are very cheap and cost €0.80 for any journey in the city. Even a full twenty-four hour pass will only be €4.

Historical Landmarks in the Thessaloniki

There is no shortage of historical landmarks or museums in the city of Thessaloniki. The most popular sites are the sections of Byzantine City Walls that remain along the seafront. It is free to walk among the ruins of the wall and admire the architecture as well as the nearby White Tower, which is built directly into the walls. Many of the city’s Byzantine churches are over one thousand years old and are designated UNESCO Heritage Sites. Some have free entry and a few have very minimal fees. The most popular include St Nicolaos Orfanos, Agios Demetrios and Agia Sophia.

Aristotelous Square

Aristotelous Square (or Plateia in Greek), formerly called the Alexander the Great Square, this attraction is located in the very heart of Thessaloniki.

Popular Attractions in Thessaloniki

This city was once a major destination within the Ottoman Empire. There are several attractions like the large Turkish baths and markets that clearly show the city’s heritage and culture. Visitors should be sure to visit the Aristotelous Square in the heart of Thessaloniki. This public plaza is full of quaint cafes and traditional restaurants. Shoppers should head to the Modiano Market for a chance to buy homemade foods items, sweet treats and authentic Greek and Macedonian specialties. Olive oil is a common purchase as it is a much higher quality product than found in surrounding countries and is also quite reasonably priced.

Accommodation Options

The large city has an unending array of accommodation options to fit any budget. Visitors who are planning to stay for quite some time should consider renting Greek apartments in the heart of the city, which provide a more genuine atmosphere. Luxury options include a number of villas with pools that take advantage of the warmth in Greece. There are dozens of hostel dormitories which offer beds for less than €12 per night. In the middle of the range are several wonderful hotels that are comfortable and more affordable than other Mediterranean cities.

Nightlife in Thessaloniki

This city boasts a very lively nightlife scene in its many bars, clubs, lounges and restaurants. A fun way to combine the culture of Greece with the excitement of a great bar is by visiting one of the bouzoukia establishments which play traditional music and are frequented primarily by locals. The larger clubs that are preferred by the youth of the city are located in the districts of Valaoritou and Syggrou. Most drinks will cost upwards of five Euros at even the cheapest bars and increase in price up to fifteen Euros for cocktails in clubs.
Thessaloniki is one of the most popular destinations in Greece thanks to the perfect blend of history, culture and attractions.


Image credits:

Aristotelous Square image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5e/Aristotelous_Plateia.jpg
Gallery image: Courtesy of Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/imagelink/3052946427/