What to visit in Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki is a city that is often on the route to the seaside for our tourists. It is a place of great historical importance, famous for its gastronomy, and a favorite place for shopping,
In the text below we will introduce you to Thessaloniki, and places to visit and share helpful information related to the city, ticket prices, opening hours, discounts, and similar.
What is good to know about Thessaloniki?
It’s well known that Thessaloniki is the second largest Greek city, and also the second most important port in Greece.
Thessaloniki is the capital of Central Macedonia and is known as the “bride of the Thermaic Gulf” (poetically named).
Geographically, it is located at the starting point of the natural road that leads from the Aegean Sea, through the valleys of the Axios River (Vardar, Morava), on the way to Central Europe. It is a central point on the road between the West and East, via the Via Egnatia (Egnatia Road). These have long been strong geographical and strategic factors that continuously contributed to the city’s economic development.
In its rich history, Thessaloniki was, therefore, a constant target of attacks by various invaders. From the 3rd century onward (Goths, Avars, Slavs, Saracens, Franks, Byzantine Thessaloniki, then Ottoman rule in the city, as well as two world wars in 1914-1918. and 1939-1945.). All those historical changes left their traces and consequences.
These traces of the past, together with the natural beauty surrounding Thessaloniki, give the image of a strong Hellenistic city, with elements of the Roman era, and with a pronounced Byzantine and Ottoman stamp.
It is impossible to visit the city and not get acquainted with that unique spirit - past and present intertwined with images, smells, and tastes of both East and West.
What can you visit in Thessaloniki depending on the time you have?
A visitor to Thessaloniki, depending on the time he has, can get to know the city in several ways.
If you have half a day to visit Thessaloniki, we suggest you a walk along the old city promenade by the sea (Palia Paralia), visit the White Tower and the park around it with the monument to Alexander the Great.
At the White Tower throughout the year, you can take a boat that takes you on a panoramic tour of Thermaic Bay. The ticket includes at least one drink (prices start at 6.50 euros for a cold coffee, while a drink for children is 2 euros), and the duration of the ride is about one hour. You can get all the information on their website.
Continue your walk through the old city of Thessaloniki - Aristotelis, Platia Elefterias, Ladadika, where you can try the specialties of Greek cuisine in one of the taverns in the traditional spirit of old Thessaloniki. Some of them are the “Ladadika” tavern, “Kantouni”, “Haroupi” restaurant with traditional Cretan flavors, and, “Agkalitsas” tavern (with very affordable prices and traditional cuisine).
You will get to know Greek cuisine, so if you stay for several days, it will be a real gastronomic trip to Thessaloniki.
You can continue your tour by visiting the parks and monuments of Nea Paralia (New Promenade by the Sea). In that part of the city, in the circle of Vasilisis Olgas, Markou Botsari, and 25rh Martiou streets, you can visit a series of villas and buildings in the neoclassical style.
One of them (Casa Bianca) is the headquarters of the city Gallery where you can see a valuable collection of works of art. Within the facility, there is also a cafe.
The address of the City Gallery is Vasilisis Olgas 162
Tuesday - Friday: 09.00-13.00, 17.00-21.00,
Saturday - Sunday: 09.00-13.00.
The entrance is free.
In addition to this text, there are several others useful texts on our website on the topic of Thessaloniki, combined into one Thessaloniki Guide.
If you are interested in the history, religion, and museums of Thessaloniki in more detail, we suggest you visit one of the Byzantine churches: Saint Sophia, the Baptistery and catacombs of Saint John the Forerunner, Panagia Chalkeon, Saint Demetrius, Saint Nicholas the Orphan. In them, you can admire Byzantine church architecture and magnificent frescoes and mosaics.
The churches are located within the wider city center and can be visited on foot, while the entrance is free.
It is also worth seeing the Kamara - Gallery’s triumphal arch\, the Rotunda\, and the Galerius Palaces\, which are located in the center of the city and are Roman monuments.
Finally, you can see the International Fair, with an exceptional program throughout the year. You can find out about the program on the HELEXPO fair’s website.
Then, the Thessaloniki student campus, within which there are many monuments, old and new buildings that house the faculties and headquarters of Aristotle University, the Observatory, and a large number of green areas with benches and walking paths, several small lakes, bordered by a fence and lots of trees. A true little oasis in the very center of the city, because it is located 10 minutes walk from Kamara. A wonderful place for relaxation, available not only to students but also to all visitors.
We recommend visiting the two main museums - Archaeological and Byzantine. Both museums are located in the very center of the city\, a 5-minute walk from the White Tower\, near the Municipality of Thessaloniki. Each of them takes about an hour or two to tour.
Archeological Museum on Thessaloniki
Official website of the Museum
Address: 6 Manoli Andronikou Street
Opening hours are every day: 8:30-15:30.
The museum is closed on December 25 and 26, January 1, March 25, May 1. and Easter Day. The full price of the ticket is 8 euros, the discounted ticket is 4 euros. From 11.01. until 31.03. a reduced ticket price applies to all visitors.
Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki
Official website of the Museum
Address: 2 Stratou Avenue
The opening hours of the museum are 08:30 - 15:30.
The museum is closed: on 25 and 26 December, 01 January, 25 March, 01 May, and on Easter. Good Friday 12:00-17:00, Holy Saturday 08:00-15:00.
The full price of the ticket is 8 euros, the discounted ticket is 4 euros. From 11.01. until 31.03. a reduced ticket price applies to all visitors.
The opening hours of the White Tower are 08:30 - 15:30; the full ticket price is 6 euros, and a discounted ticket is 3 euros. From 11.01. until 31.03. a reduced ticket price applies to all visitors.
If you have one whole day in Thessaloniki, you can visit some of the above, but also Ano Poli The Old Town of Thessaloniki, with its extremely beautiful characteristic folk architecture of houses and narrow streets and alleys.
Just above Ano Poli are the Byzantine walls of the Thessaloniki fortress, which end at Eptapirgia, from where there is a wonderful panoramic view of Thessaloniki. There you can take a break and drink coffee in an authentic atmosphere. You can reach the Upper Town and the Fortress by car following the Ano Poli and Eptapirgio signs, but also by city bus (more information in the text Public transportation in Thessaloniki).
You can also visit and walk through the forest with a thousand trees - Seih Su\, or the Hill of Cedars\, the most popular picnic spot and promenade of Thessaloniki.
Just 15 minutes from the city center by car, you can follow the signs for Asvestochori and Agios Paulos Hospital to reach the viewpoint located at 450 meters above sea level and enjoy a wonderful view of the city, Thermaic Bay and Mount Olympus when the weather permits. A network of well-maintained trails offers the possibility of walking in nature at such a short distance from Thessaloniki.
You can also visit the Zoo (open daily from 9:00 a.m. to dusk, admission is free), as well as Theatro Dasus - an Open-air Amphitheater, which hosts a series of concerts and shows during the summer. Seih Su is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful hidden secrets of Thessaloniki, which does not require more than an hour or two to visit.
At the exit from the ring road around Thessaloniki to Agios Paulos, there is also a temple dedicated to Saint Paul in the area of the same name, just above the Agiasma - Holy Spring of the Apostle Paul. That part of the city is associated with his pilgrimage, when in 50 AD. passed through Thessaloniki. According to tradition, in this area, there was a spring of water at the foot of the Kedrinos hill where the Apostle Paul refreshed himself when he stopped there to rest on his way to Veria. This spring became known as the “Holy Spring of the Apostle Paul” and was a place of worship for the faithful for centuries.
Today, on the estate of the Philoptochos brotherhood of Thessaloniki, in the shadow of the imposing large temple, you can visit the small church where the Holy spring used to be, tour the beautifully landscaped courtyard, see the place where the Apostle Paul rested during the tradition, and admire the view of Thermaic Bay.
You can also reach this place by public transport from the city center.
Surroundings of Thessaloniki
If you have extra time, it is worth getting to know the surroundings of Thessaloniki: tourist attractions, organized day trips, and excursions.
During the summer, from May to October, boats run from the White Tower to the nearby coastal suburbs of Perea: Agia Triada, Mihaniona, and Epanomi, where you can even swim. The drive takes about 50 minutes one way.
One-way tickets are €5, for children up to 6 years old, with free entry, while for children 6-11 years old, the ticket is €3. See more information on the website.
Thessaloniki offers a lot, so it is not out of place to consider two whole days in this city.
If you plan to stay longer, read our text Weekend in Thessaloniki
About 20 km from Thessaloniki is the area of the international airport “Macedonia”, which is full of nightclubs for those who want good entertainment. They are located in the wider area of the airport (the most famous is the Casino Regency Thessaloniki), but also on the main road Thessaloniki-Perea, as well as near the town of Nei Epivates.
It is worth visiting from the seaside suburbs of Thessaloniki and trying fresh fish, grilled, seafood, or appetizers in the famous Marina Arezzo (Kalamaria). Ozeri “Aretsou”, Tavern “Ta Varelakia”, and “En Plo”, are just some of the taverns you can visit.
Areco Marina is known for its beautifully decorated yacht dock and anyone who has time and is a fan of ships but also likes to have an imagination about it can take a walk here.
There are also very picturesque mountainous suburbs of the city such as Panorama with beautiful houses and a beautiful view of Termaj Bay. It is located northeast of the center of Thessaloniki at an altitude of 250 meters. Due to its location, but also its natural beauty, it is considered one of the most privileged areas of the wider region.
Trigona Panoramatos - triangles from Panorama is a famous cake that comes from this part of Thessaloniki and we suggest you try it. Some of the pastry shops where you can enjoy this sweet are: “Trigona Elenidi”, “Tassos” and “Panorama”. You can read about the best pastry shops and sweets HERE.