Thessaloniki city guide: Where to stay, eat, drink and shop in this buzzy Greek coastal hotspot


AhAs far as floating cities go, Thessaloniki isn’t outlandish. Instead, tucked away in the turquoise bay of the North Aegean Sea, this port city is a rugged patchwork of seaports brimming with a variety of 20th-century and Byzantine architecture (and everything in between).Not as perfect as a postcard, but positively oozes character – graffiti, traditional bouzouki Music and a thriving arts scene.

An edgy enclave of Northern Greek culture, the city is nothing like the whitewashed island towns you think of when you think of Greece in travel brochures. Instead, it’s a mix of galleries and wine bars, Orthodox, Ottoman, Sephardic, and Balkan heritage, keeping it’s quirky little sibling to Athens in a spirit all its own.

Thessaloniki has all the chilling elements of a sunny city by the sea. There are bikes, scoots, 3 miles of waterfront trails for leisurely strolls while eating ice cream to your heart’s content, and a navigable grid street system. Look for colorful awnings, sophisticated hotels, fashionable and enterprising locals, and always walk with an iced cappuccino.

MOMU Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki

(mom)

What should I do

immerse yourself in culture

Art lovers and history buffs will enjoy a full day of gallery hopping. Modern, ancient, or both, MOMus – See the city through the ages at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Byzantine Culture, or Thessaloniki’s Jewish Museum. If you like perched on platforms with glittery emojis in the background, you can also stop by the Selfie Museum. Fortunately, most temporary and outdoor exhibits in the city center are free to visitors, and only the permanent collections require tickets. Prices range from around 4 to 15 euros, depending on the exhibits.

see the city from the water

Waterfront lunch or brunch is also a must here. But if you’re adventurous, turn those casual dining reservations into a mini-cruise to Thermaikos Bay – boats depart hourly from the city’s White Tower. Exploring the waters here by boat, from a one-hour trip to a half-day or his full-day trip, is sprinkled with the atmosphere of the Southern Mediterranean. With a wide range of boats to choose from, you can choose between kitschy and swanky experiences. Explore Termac Bay on a 6-hour round-trip trip to Shipwreck Bay. Tickets start at €83 and the boat runs from May to October. Alternatively, you can find a 30 minute lighter tour in the form of a ‘floating bar’. It’s not a sensitive place on the ocean, but it’s a fun place. Mastiha (Pine resin liqueur) Mojito A pleasant tune side. Operates from May to October.

Spend time in the Ladadika district

Most of Thessaloniki’s must-sees are in the rugged and cool Ladadika district. Here, old tea and coffee warehouses have been turned into dive bars, and fairy lights shade effortlessly cool dining and drinking venues. Lembetico Music hangouts spill out onto the cobbled streets. It’s especially magical at dusk, when gentle laughter and clinking glasses ring out into the night.

Seaside views from ON Residence

(ON Residence)

accommodation

On Residence

Opening in April 2022, the opulent ON Residence is housed in a sophisticated Art Deco building on the seafront. A stone’s throw from the theater’s Aristotelous Square, this relaxed, sophisticated hotel embodies Thessaloniki’s youthful soul with a distinct city-centre ambiance. An attentive concierge greets guests from the checkered entrance lobby, while chic patrons sip coffee. The spacious rooms are airy enough to evoke minimalism, but with all the decadence (for example, a shower the size of a small mini-bath) and amenities you’d expect from a five-star. Double from 164 euros. onresidence.gr

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Excelsior

Located on energetic Mitropoleos Avenue, The Excelsior Hotel offers sophisticated boutique options, luxurious interiors and instant access to the town centre. Offering only double rooms and suites, this surprisingly affordable hotel is full of modern charm and lacks nothing when it comes to the hustle and bustle of the city. Expect soft jazz playing in the corridors and a swanky lounge filled with fashion books on the coffee tables. Charlie D. Brasserie on Mezzanine Level offers an all-day menu of steaks, burgers, sandwiches, and salads, and there’s no shortage of olives and cheeses for breakfast. Doubles from 159 euros, suites from 265 euros. Excelsior Hotel.gr

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City Hotel

To save money, City Hotel is affordable and you don’t have to sacrifice location. This eco-friendly, green-themed 4-star hotel shares a street with some of the coolest bars and restaurants in town, featuring bamboo swings, exposed stone walls, ocean views and locally sourced food. It’s a delicious city wonder. Double from 90 euros. cityhotel.gr

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Locals dining out in Thessaloniki

(Hellenic National Tourist Office)

where to eat

coffee and cake

It’s no secret that the Greeks make the best iced coffee in the world, and Thessaloniki has an opportunity to get an iced coffee on almost every block. Café culture is a big part of the city’s identity, with cafés and coffee shops filled with chatty people day and night, often congregating around board games. For the most frothy Fred Cappuccino with something sweet to match, head to Terkenlis Bakery, a family-run chain with multiple locations in town. Their Dark His Chocolate Sorbet is the stuff of myth and legend.

brunch and lunch

Brunch culture in Greece has come a long way in the last five years, with a steady cultural movement towards embracing vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets. Achilleion is a place that serves free Greek-style eggs, ridiculously fluffy pancakes, and freshly ground coffee. For a casual taverna lunch, there’s no better place than Neos Galerios (Apellou 3, Thessaloniki 54622).A plate of traditional fava (pee puree), meatballs, salads and more Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) is brought to a cantina-style table, has an English menu for non-locals, and no reservations are required.

Charoupi, on the other hand, is a modern rustic Cretan restaurant in Ladadika, Octopus (crusty bread topped with feta and tomato), smoked lamb and a plate of sautéed sea bass to share. The menu also appears as a giant printed paper tablecloth. cute.

Market and street food

Food markets and individual vendors fill the city. A Saturday morning at the Kapani Market will excite the senses. The sheer volume of fresh produce is mind-boggling, and the entire space is devoted to jams, honey, tea, and everything you need in your kitchen cupboard. , one of the most traditional markets and a multicultural hub for Greek, Italian, Balkan and Jewish cuisine. The aim is to fully restore it to its former grandeur, with an abundance of artisanal delights.

do you want to melt in?order iced coffee

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

where to drink

Epsilon

For a downtempo jeans and T-shirt night, head to Epsilon. Tucked away in Ladadika’s tiniest street, this coffee shop and bar is an art space and work hub by day and a spacious, candlelit study by night. “Light” (remember we are in Greece) snacks are on offer and the whole place and crowd play a big part in the creative scene. Expect gallery show invitations and gig flyers on the table.

gorilla

If you’re looking for a cocktail, Gorilla at Ano (Upper) Ladadika is the place to go. It’s dark and moody and has everything you need for a midnight cocktail bar. A sprinkle of nasturtium leaves or matcha powder could be a garnish for the Old Fashioned.

Casablanca Social Club

A glamorous picture of the 20th century, the Casablanca Social Club is a downtown hangout for dressy events, whether you’re dining or drinking. In a high-ceilinged, large-windowed establishment, nothing tailored or sparkly is out of place. Our guest mixologists and themed cocktail weeks keep things changing and vibrant. I’m here.

where to shop

Vintage shopping is thriving in Thessaloniki. A strong music scene has clearly influenced the city’s fashion sense, and locals clearly love his ’90s metal band. In addition to the expected European high-street chains, the city is also home to trendy boutiques, second-hand stores and vinyl record stores. For bohemian, alternative and vintage outfits, head to the Rotunda district.

V for Vintage never disappoints with their beloved merchandise. The Ladida jewelry shop covers you with evil eyes and dangling earrings. The streets surrounding the Kapani Market near the center are filled with antique stalls and vintage homewares. For glossy boutiques and high-street staples, head to Cominion. And if you want a typical mall-like but trustworthy shop, Hondos Center is for you.

Greek-designed jewelery at the Ladida boutique

(Ladida)

architectural highlights

The White Tower dominates the city’s waterfront skyline. A tall brick monument dating back to the Ottoman Empire. Home to a small museum, open daily from 8am to 8pm, it’s a popular spot for a quick introduction to local history.

structure

what language do they speak

Although Greek, most Thessaloniki speak good English.

What currency do you need?

Euro.

do you need a tip?

10 to 20 percent is kind and well received, but no one frowns if you don’t.

What is the time difference?

Like the rest of Southern Europe, Thessaloniki is two hours ahead of GMT and BST.

How should I move?

The city is walkable and easy to navigate using your phone or local tourist map. All essentials are within a 20 minute walk. Cycling is also encouraged and there are obvious bike lanes in the city centre. If you prefer to travel by car, taxis are plentiful and cheap, and the city’s bus system is extensive. Hop-on hop-off bus tours are an option for keen tourists and can be booked individually or through most hotels.

What’s the best view?

Grab a bench at the end of the harbor pier at sunset.

Insider tip?

Thessaloniki hosts some kind of festival every month. Check online in advance for art house movies, street food, hip hop, craft beer and more.

access

Want to fly less?

Take the Eurostar to Paris, take the train to Milan, and then to Italy. From there, take a train south to Bari, then a ferry to Patras, Greece. From there a bus to Thessaloniki runs twice a day for him.

can i fly

You can find direct flights to Thessaloniki (SKG) from most European international airports by EeasyJet, WizzAir, Aegean, British Airways and Ryanair.



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