3 Days in Thessaloniki
In need of a city-break, a romantic getaway or just a short vacation? In 72 hours, Thessaloniki can make you fall in love with her - you have been warned!
Your first encounter with the city should start at Aristotelous square. Of course no walk starts without coffee first, and in Thessaloniki, you won't have to search for long! If you’re a connoisseur, in The Blue Cup (8 Salaminos), you can choose specialty coffees prepared by experienced baristas.
Just a 10-minute walk will bring you to the Modiano Market, which will soon undergo a makeover. Until then, the ouzo bars and other eateries in its arcades will continue to pay tribute to the local meze culture. Everything comes together over tsipouro, ouzo and lively conversation, often accompanied by street musicians.
At the Grocery of Thessaloniki (12 Komninon) you’ll find small-batch products, a wide range of sauces and jars of everything imaginable, olive oil and vinegar, salted fish and canned items.
Thessaloniki is famous for rich history, too, and on your first day here you may start with the Jewish Museum (11 Aghiou Mina).
Thessaloniki is well-known among Greeks as the food capital of Greece, so come prepared! Walk along Ladadika District and Athonos square and you'll be amazed by the wide variety of taverns.
If you feel up to it, it’s worth exploring the nightlife of Valaoritou Street, the surrounding alleys and the historic neighborhood of Frangomachalas - just 5 minutes on foot from our Urban Apartments (Urban Dream, Urban Jungle and Urban Charm). For unusual cocktails, choose Gorilla (3 Verias). For a smoke-free environment and a great selection of spirits, including rare whiskeys and rums, head towards the seafront and the bar Vogatsikou 3 – its name is also its address. Both bars are among the hippest watering holes in the city. Cheers
The obvious choice for your first breakfast in Thessaloniki is… the famous bougatsa! Alternatively, on Aghias Sofias Street, enjoy breakfast at the patisserie-brasserie Blé.
A Roman mausoleum or temple similar in design to the Pantheon in Rome, later consecrated as a Christian basilica, then converted into a mosque, before being re-dedicated as a Greek Orthodox church, the Rotunda is an amazing monument that bears living testimony to the city’s complex past; it also provides an ideal starting point for your sightseeing tour.
The Church of Aghios Dimitrios, the patron saint of Thessaloniki, is another place of interest. Close by, as you head towards Olimpou Street, you’ll come to the site of the Roman Agora (2nd c.) with its restored Odeon, also a great view from our Ethnic Apartment. Here, don’t just remain on the surface: the reconstructed Cryptoporticus, a covered passageway stretching for 138m, leads to an underground museum with exhibits covering 17 centuries of history.
Thessaloniki owes its identity to the sea. Few cities can claim to have such an exciting seafront. We suggest you start your walk from the port’s Pier A, where old warehouses have been converted into modern cultural venues, including the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum, the Thessaloniki Center of Contemporary Art and the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography.
Strolling south along the waterfront on Nikis for about 20 minutes, you’ll come to the iconic White Tower, which boasts an incredible view of the Thermaic Gulf from its viewing platform, 34m above ground level. Here begins the most beautiful seafront stretch, the Nea Paralia (New Waterfront). Its redevelopment, completed in 2013, endowed the city with a 3.5k-long recreation zone that features themed gardens, playgrounds, wooden decks and countless places for sitting and taking in the sea view (as far as Mt Olympus) or for people-watching.
Here, everyone finds an opportunity to take some time out. A selfie in front of the renowned “Umbrellas” sculpture, a work by George Zongolopoulos, is a must.
Return to the city center and dine at the cozy bistro Maitr & Margarita (2 Verias), where you’ll find a convivial atmosphere and exceptional value-for-money Greek cuisine based on quality ingredients sourced from small producers.
Walk a bit further to a new favorite Thessaloniki corner, Ypsilon (5 Edessis). This place is a great option for enjoying a cup of coffee, but is also serves as a place for artistic diversity, entertainment, open collaboration and education.
Visiting Thessaloniki and not getting at least a taste of its nightlife is inconceivable. So: try Thermaikos Café Bar (21 Nikis) for your first (or last) tipple in a vintage atmosphere; this is an all-time classic hangout for locals, and a real experience for visitors. Uberdooze (Danaidon & Sfetsiou) offers loud beats from Greek and foreign DJs in a creative space which at night is transformed into a fashionable club.
Whatever you’ve been up to, a hot, freshly baked bougatsa is the best snack before curling up in bed. Giannis (106 Mitropoleos) takes special care of night owls, adding hazelnut cocoa spread in addition to icing sugar and cinnamon. And if you wash it down with chocolate milk, then you have officially become a local.
One of the most popular places for brunch in Thessaloniki is Estrella (48 Pavlou Mela), just a few meters away from our Boho Chic Apartment, at Agia Sofia District.
Thessaloniki boasts a fascinating museum neighborhood, where centuries are only minutes apart. A convenient starting point is the award-winning Museum of Byzantine Culture (2 Stratou), housed in an architecturally impressive building designed by Kyriakos Krokos, where you’ll find all kinds of objects on display.
Next stop, less than half a kilometer north, is the beautifully minimalist Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki (6 Manoli Andronikou), where you’ll find excellent thematic displays that cover prehistoric times, ancient daily life, the rise of cities, religious worship and funerary customs.
For your contemporary art fix, the collections of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (154 Egnatia) contain more than 1,800 paintings, sculptures and works of video art by Greek and foreign artists. At present, the museum is one of the main venues for the 6th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art.
For a perfect ending to your Thessaloniki city break, we saved arguably the loveliest, most authentic part of the city. Ano Poli (Upper Town) is a maze of small squares and stone-paved alleys lined with brightly painted houses. Also known as the Old Town, this district hosts an excellent choice for lunch. Established in 1914, Taverna Igglis (32 Irodotou) is one of the city’s oldest tavernas serving authentic Greek cuisine that also tickles the taste buds of tourists.
Here's extra tips in case you are visiting Thessaloniki with family.