Ano Poli - Old town of Thessaloniki
In the spring, before the heat starts, it’s time to explore the inland of Thessaloniki. As soon as the temperature rises, the distance from the sea is not too pleasant.
The Old Town of Thessaloniki or Ano Poli, most commonly called by the Greeks, is interesting to visit, but only if you are in Thessaloniki for a long time and if it is not particularly hot. It’s nice to see a different architecture, medieval buildings, a church from the Byzantine period, a view of the city from the fort, but we can not say that you should plan to visit the old city if you are staying in Thessaloniki only one or two days.
You can visit Ano Poli in several ways. The first is of course walking. For this you need 40-50 minutes walk from the center of Thessaloniki uphill. The old town and the old walls can be the landmark of all parts of the city, so no matter where you go from uphill, you will definitely get to the old town.
We advise you to go to the old city by city bus. Line 23, one-way ticket for € 1, and the bus starts from Freedom Square (Eleftherias square or Plateia Venizelou). This square is located very close to the sea and the old harbor. You can buy a one-way ticket on any of the stores in Thessaloniki, where you can also find out about lines and stations. You can buy tickets on the machine, on the bus, in which case the card costs 1.10e. Make sure you have the right amount of money, because the machine does not return the change. Also, you can only buy individual tickets, you can not buy or pay more at once. Of course, it is necessary to denounce the ticket on the bus. The controls are fairly often, so smuggling is not impossible, but it is not recommended.
The third option to go to the old city is by bus line 50. It is a special, tourist line with an audio guide in several languages, but we have already written about it and will write again in a little more detail.
If you decide to take the regular bus line, it’s best to get out of the bus at the Palio Terma Station. You will hear the names of the stations or read them on the bus.
As soon as you get out of the bus you will see the walls of Acropolis, called Eptapirgio - meaning seven towers. Eptapirgio was built in the 15th century in defense of the Ottoman attack, but it is presumed that the first fortress was formed even before the new era. Along the high walls there are several large gates to enter the old town. In the eastern part of the wall there is an entrance leading to the tower of Trigonion, from where the most beautiful view of the city is provided. The view is especially nice when the day is windy and without fog. Then you can see Olympus very clearly from the tower. In this part of the city there is also a small square, a church, several taverns and cafes and several souvenir shops.
Inside the high walls there is a common life. Ano Poli is still inhabited and the locals live a peaceful life in it. The walls protect from the hustle and bustle of Thessaloniki, and you will enter a different Thessaloniki by entering the old town. A lot of greenery, landscaped lawns, old taverns, benches and shade will make you feel that the time stopped. From about ten taverns in the old town, we recommend that you visit the tavern Tiho Tiho (Τοίχο Τοίχο).
In our opinion, the best time to visit the old town is late afternoon hours, so you can enjoy the sunset from the fortress or from the terrace of a café. The return is much easier and you can reach the city by foot, but not before visiting the Vlatadon Monastery and the small church Osios David from the 5th century. The church is famous for the 5th century fresco where Christ is presented without a beard. From the small courtyard of the church there is a beautiful view of the city, the sea and Olympus.
With a slight downhill towards the city you will enjoy in the winding and narrow streets, interesting chalets and a beautiful view of Thessaloniki and the sea. If you have a little more time before you leave, you can also visit the church dedicated to the Saint Nicholas Orphanos, but also the Ataturk House which is one of the most popular and important attractions of Thessaloniki.