Thessaloniki - a city of sun, sea, history, students and, of course, nightlife and entertainment for every taste at any time of day and any day of the week!
Beautiful architecture and blue sea of Thermaikos Bay, the White Tower and the ancient monuments of early Byzantine churches and modern houses surrounded by the unique beauty and heady environment of pleasure - all this awaits you in Thessaloniki, Greece's northern capital.
Nightlife is very diverse. Fine cuisine and a wide selection of drinks, impeccable service and great prices are famous throughout Europe restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, bouzouki, bars and cafes that are open until the last customer is in, located in different areas of the city and, certainly within most popular tourist spot - center.
It is impossible, visiting the city of Thessaloniki without trying traditional Greek frappe style coffee, on Aristotle Square, where an unspoken division of “couples” on one side and “free of relationship” on the other hand takes place. All these coffee shops located alongside Aristotle Square are highly preferred by Thessalonikians. On Aristotle Square as well as on its surrounding alleys, traditional taverns and great restaurants where scrumptious Greek cuisine dishes can be tasted.
After shopping or lunching as the day declines, take a walk down to seafront (follow Leoforos Nikis Avenue). Within a few- minute walking distance – and Thermaikos Bay is at your feet, romantic sunset and evening city beauty swimming in a sea of lights. Dozens of coffee shops, glamorous bars and restaurants are allocated alongside of Leoforos Nikis Street – ranging from White Tower and down to city’s port. The area is a perfect choice for leisure, at any time of the day: drink a morning coffee, relaxing lunch while enjoying delicious cuisine, enjoy relaxing glass of wine after shopping or sightseeing discoveries or start a night full of fun by ordering cocktail at first. All coffee shops, bars and restaurants are open until midnight or according to Greek traditions until the time of last customer leave. Excellent service and a variety of suggestions, amazing views, proximity of White Tower- city’s symbol, spectacular sunsets and romantic sunrise will all be much appreciated.
Ladadika is a distict that one must visit while visiting Thasalloniki city. Ladadika is city’s famous historic district located opposite its port. Its role is of great significance for city’s nightlife. Taverns, bars, discos, nightclubs as well as bouzouki are all clustered around this area. Wherein, Ladadika is considered as one of the most charming areas in Thessaloniki. Its architectural character has been preserved from the last century and represents itself a mixture of different styles. In the past, it used to host port warehouses and public houses. Yet, today, Ladadika district is crowded with stylish cafes, trendy bars, both expensive and affordable restaurants and taverns as well as a choice of nightclubs to satisfy and host the most challenging guests. This area is regarded as the embodiment of fun, great entertainment and endless partying!
Slightly above Ladadika district, is located Valauritu Street surrounded by Siggrou and Vilara Streets – “fascinating” triangle of vivid nightlife. This is the perfect place for “full” relaxation choose the most suitable spot for an unforgettable youth hangouts: jazz, rock and mainstream bars, cafes and taverns, working the entire year.
Other areas of Thessaloniki
Aforementioned places certainly are not the oly ones. Interesting places for entertainment can be found within all districts of Thessaloniki. One thing is certain, city never falls asleep, its heart rate increases in nightclubs and discos. Remember to visit Milos, Vilka and Arettsu – in Kalamaria (Coastal region of Thessaloniki); New Quay close to Megaro Mouzikis concert hall, bars located on Iktinou Street (near Hagia Sophia) and various spots within the area for those choosing a more alternative way of entertainment.
It is simply impossible to visit all places of Thessaloniki, but main and few favorite should be! Be immersed in the special nightlife environment, experience city’s unique energy, meet with the Greeks, discover something new and become more familiarized with amazing Greek culture!
Thessaloniki - beautiful city with rich history dating back in centuries. During the Byzantine era it was an important center, evidence of heyday can be witnessed at each step made. There are many monuments and archaeological sites that are of great interest. Accept city’s invitation for an enchanting walk that will reveal its hidden side. Its attractions and special aura endow an irresistible journey around the city.
It is considered that familiarity with the city of Thessaloniki begins from here. It is the most extensive city’s Square and most majestic within Greece. It is located on the waterfront of Thessaloniki. Its present form has been acquired after the devastating fire in 1917 when almost the whole city was burnt, designed by French architect E. Embrara. The upper part of Aristotle Square is framed by two most beautiful and culturally important buildings – Olympion –hosts the annual International Film Festival of Thessaloniki, and its twin – Electra Palace Hotel, oppositely located to Olympion. Aristotle Monument, located at the top of the square, not merely as a tribute to honor the great philosopher. It is believed that by touching the big toe of Aristotle, all potential desires will be fulfilled. For it, on a regular basis it is polished to shine. It should be noted that all important events and activities are held and take place on Aristotle Square.
Ancient or Roman Agora
The Roman market – is a large rectangular area located in the city center of Thessaloniki. The Roman market was the economic, commercial, social and administrative center of the city up until the 5th century. The complex consists of two levels and covers an area of 20 hectares. Back in time, the area was crowded by public buildings such as the conservatory Odeon, the exhibition venue, the archive, the Mint, the baths, the shops and large galleries – of which the best preserved is cryptoporticus (a covered corridor or passageway) gallery. The museum stores findings from excavations at the area of the Agora, representing both its history and that of entire city. The Royal Route, present Egnatia Street, was located slightly below the Agora. Turkish Baths or Hammam Bay of 15th century are located on the southeastern part of the Agora, while on the southeastern side of the Agora, the magnificent Panagia Chalkeon Church (Chalkeon Dame) is located. The Ancient Agora can be considered the very center of the city even nowadays, since routes to all historical places begin from here. With first path leading to famous Ano Poli (Upper Town of the city).
Ano Poli (Upper Town)
Ano Poli - one of the few parts of Thessaloniki- surviving after the devastating fire of 1917. Located on the north of St. Demetrius Church - on the highest point of the city - reaching the Byzantine walls. The area had been inhabited since the Hellenistic period. The coolest microclimate of Thessaloniki city is indicated at this area. Breathtaking panoramic view opens in the front picturing the lying city and Thermaikos Bay in the background. The complex of Ano Poli, consists of some of the most important monuments of the city: Eptapirgio (Seven Towers), St. David Church, Vlatadon monastery – Aladza Imaret, Archagelon Church and many others. Houses and residencies within this district are characterized by Macedonian and Balkan tradition and architecture. Ano Poli succeeds in keeping its unique style despite of being located only a stone’s throw away from busy and noisy city center. Yet, maintaining more relaxed life temper and calm environment. Visit to Thessaloniki cannot be completed without taking a walk through narrow paths of Ano Poli; without visiting its cute and warm little taverns; without dazing from their aromas and flavors and certainly without visiting all those small souvenir and gift shops grabbing one for remembrance.
Equally interesting area of Thessaloniki is definitely the Kamara area.
Triumphal Galerius Arch is one of the most distinctive sights of the city. Also known as “Kamara”. It is only a part of a complex of buildings located on the southeastern part of historical city center of Thessaloniki. The arch was built in 305, in the honor of Galerius Roman Emperor as a tribute of his victory over the Persians. Three columns and part of the upper masonry is all that have been survived from the Arch. Two main pillars covered with marble reliefs depict battle scenes. Famous Egnatia Odos – road leading to Rome- used to pass under the Arch of Galerius. It is impossible leaving the city without taking picture under the Arch. Those staying longer in Thessaloniki will certainly assign Kamara as a meeting point as locals do.
Rotonda together with Galerius Arch, the Palace and the Octagon, is built at the time of Galerius Emperor. Rotonda was built around 300AD by the emperor for his personal use alike Pantheon and Mausoleum. When Byzantine Emperor Theodore the Great was reigning Rotonda was converted into Christian Church whereas during the Turkish rule it was functioned as a mosque. Rotonda has circular shape with a diameter of 24meters and having 8 large rectangular niches inside. Today, it operates as a museum wherein temporary exhibitions take place allowing visitors to admire rare mosaics and frescoes of 4th century. Such an opportunity should not be missed.
The White Tower
This is the most famous building in the city – its symbol. It was built during the 15th century as fortress tower. During the Turkish rule it was used as a prison and therefore was known as “Red” (bloody) tower. After the liberation from Turks, it was painted white so that blood spilled was no longer evident. Since then it became known as the “White Tower”. Today it operates as a museum. It is a permanent dedicated exhibition of city’s history and culture.
The tower was not always been isolated; it was part of city’s fortifications, protecting it from the east side. In the past the wall had the length starting from Ano poli, where now only the ruins are evident, stretching all the way down to White Tower the whole complex was defending the city from potential enemies from the sea side. The in-between walls were demolished in 1867.
Thessaloniki is named as a museum under the open blue sky. It is regarded as the second city having the most important and numerous Byzantine Churches, followed by Istanbul.
The Church of the Acheiropoietos (“not made by hands icon”)
It is closely located to Galerius Arch (Kamara). The Church was built back in 5th century and is the only one in Thessaloniki city with form of the basilica. Marble columns adorned with decorative acanthus leaves, creating a contrast with mosaic images of a gold cross and decorative floral patterns and vines interspersed with images of birds. Frescoes of 13th century have been well-preserved depicting 40 martyrs. Various frescoes were destroyed when the church was converted into a mosque in 15th century, during the Turkish rule.
Agios Demetrios (Church of St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki)
Agios Demetrios – the biggest and most famous church in Greece, one of its most important Byzantine monuments. It is located in the heart of Thessaloniki city, above the Roman Agora, having the form of a 5 sided basilica. The church inside has been decorated with beautiful mosaics. According to legend, it was founded on the site of the Roman baths, where martyr Demetrius- a Roman army officer- deriving from a family adapting Christianity. It was here, at this location, after Demetrius death appeared a source emitting strong scented myrrh. It was accredited with several medical properties. Year 1978, is considered as an important date in the history of church, relics of St. Demetrius returned from the Abbey of St. Lawrence in Campo (Italy) and since then are kept in a silver urn in the church. Mosaics and frescoes depicting the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, the Kantakouzenos VI, as well as the Archbishop of Thessaloniki, Gregory Palamas, can be admired at St Demetrius church. The vault part of the church operates as a museum, exhibiting various sculptures and other objects belonging to church.
Church of Hagia Sophia
The church of Hagia Sophia was built in 8th century, on a massive location of early Christian basilica, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 620. It is a replica of the famous Agia Sophia in Istanbul. During the Byzantine period, Hagia Sophia was the cathedral of the city. The church was built on the site of the Roman baths. The interior is decorated with beautiful mosaics and frescoes of the early times of the Byzantine era. Particularly interesting is the mosaic of the Ascension of Christ. Dome of the church is decorated with mosaics made in the era of iconoclasm. Notwithstanding the above, frescoes of the 11th century and sculptural decoration that adorns the columns and pulpit, can also be admired. The church of Hagia Sophia, as most churches in the city of Thessaloniki, recurrently operates.
The museum exposition includes findings of the Neolithic, Iron Age, Archaic, Classical and Roman periods. Gold ornaments and ancient weapons from the region of Macedonia and neighboring areas can be seen. Part of the museum is specially devoted to unique findings from the tomb of Philip of Macedon, discovered, in Vergina, by famous Greek archaeologist M. Andronikos in 1977. Relics of King Philip are included among the findings. Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is considered as one of the best museums in the world with regards to its kind.
Museum of Byzantine Culture
The permanent exhibition includes artifacts that represent different kinds of Byzantine art from the heyday of the Byzantine Empire until the time of its decay in 1453. These artifacts are not merely works of art; they are also witnesses of nation created them, its culture and surrounded society. The museum also hosts periodical Byzantine art and culture related exhibitions from other museums in the world.
Contemporary Art Museum
Contemporary Art Museum was established in 1997. Acquisition of G. Kostakis’ collection of masterpieces of famous Russian avant-garde pioneers, unclosed a new phase for its own history. The museum is located within Moni Lazariston building. Exhibitions hold on regular basis together with its main exhibition makes it one of the most interesting museums of modern art in the world.
Other museums of particular interest in Thessaloniki are the Cinematography Museum- located within city’s port premises as well as the Ataturk Museum - Ataturk was the founder of modern Turkish state who was born in Thessaloniki – and many others.