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Thessaloniki ), is the capital of the region of Central Macedonia, and is, at about a million inhabitants, the second largest city in the country. More importantly, it is a city with a continuous 3,000 year history, preserving relics of its Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman past and of its formerly dominant Jewish population. Its Byzantine churches, in particular, are included in UNESCO's World Heritage list.
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Points of Interest in Thessaloniki
The northernmost Byzantine walls of the city and parts of the western walls are still standing, as is the city's symbol - the White Tower, one of the 16th Century. AD fortified towers - which is the only surviving tower on the seafront. The rest of the walls are in the picturesque Upper Town which offers a spectacular view over the bay, especially in the late afternoon. Take a walk along the enormous seafront promenade (about 12 km altogether). See the the Roman Forum excavations.
Visit the upper town for its traditional old houses, small cobbled streets, Byzantine citadel, the Eptapyrgion fort.
The very lively and youth-oriented international film festival is held in November, the International Trade Fair in September.
On no account should you miss the Byzantine churches built between the 5th and 14th century ACE, such as Agios Demetrios, (7th Century. ACE) and Agia Sophia (Holy Wisdome, 9th Century. ACE), and many lovely smaller ones in the upper town (St Nicolaos Orfanos is particularly worth a look for its frescoes), which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. One of them, the Rotunda, started life as a Roman temple of Zeus, built by ceasar Galerius, and is almost as old as the Pantheon in Rome. Next to the Rotunda, see the Arch of Triumph of Galerius and the ruins of his palace.
The city is also known as "the mother of Israel", due to the once flourishing Jewish community here, which existed from the Roman period and grew substantially after the Ottoman Empire took in Jewish refugees expelled Spain, Portugal, and Spanish territories in Italy; these Jews are known as "Sephardim". Sephardi Jews formed a significant percentage of the city's population and infrastructure until World War II, when, in spring 1943, almost all were deported by the Nazis to the extermination camp at Auschwitz, never to return. However, there are still two Synagogues, and you can see the Jewish Museum.
Also interesting are the Turkish public baths Bey Hamam, the Bezesteni (Ottoman closed market for jewellery and precious materials) the Alatza Imaret (Ottoman poorhouse) and Hamza Bey Camii (both restored and used for exhibitions).
The traditional central food market, with hundreds of stalls selling meat, fish, fruit, vegetables (sometimes cheek-by-jowl, an unnerving experience for North Americans), cheap clothes and shoes, flowers, herbs and spices, between Aristotele Square and Venizelou street.
Aristotelous Square-the biggest of the city-and the promenade with its cafes and restaurants.
Museums and galleries
Thessaloniki is home to many museums, mostly archaeological and ethnographic. The two big archaeological museums are in the city centre, under the OTE Tower at the CHANTH Square.
- Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum. Andronikou st 6. Covers the history of Thessaloniki from prehistory to Roman times.
- Museum of Byzantine Culture. Stratou ave 2. Award-winning museum (2005 - best Museum of Europe).
- Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. Upper side of the Fairground at Egnatia st 154
- Teloglion Foundation of Art . Upperside of the Aristotel University Campus Agiou Dimitriou St.
- Olympic Museum. Tritis Septemvriou & Agiou Dimitriou St. (300 m to the east of Teloglion Foundation of Art). Sports related.
- Atatürk House. Agiou Dimitriou St. The house Kemal Ataturk was born.
- Museum at Aghios Demetrios. Agiou Dimitriou St.
- State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki. Kolokotroni 25, Stavroupoli district.
- Museum at the White Tower. Platia Lefkou Pyrgou
- Museum of Ancient Greek, Byzantine, and Post Byzantine Musical Instruments. At Katouni 12, in the Ladadika neighbourhood.
- Thessaloniki Museum of Photography. Harbor, Warehouse A.
- Museum of Cinematography in Thessaloniki. Harbor, Warehouse A.
- Museum of Science.
- Folklore and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia and Thrace. Vassilisis Olgas St 68.
- Jewish Museum. Agiou Mina St 13.
- Municipal Gallery of Art. Vassilisis Olgas St 162.
It is also useful to keep an eye on the website Museums of Macedonia  that covers the whole region.
Thessaloniki has a very active nightlife, as a 2007 New York Times article called it; "Seattle of the Balkans".
Thermaikos Gulf is a challenging place for yachting and sailing. Many days there are strong North winds but with low waves making sailing a fun and joy for all sailors. There are three sailing clubs in Thessaloniki and world championships take place here every year. Thessaloniki has several marinas with a new one containing 182 mooring places under construction in the centre of the city and next to Aistotelous square. There are many Yacht charter companies renting sailing yachts.
- Discovery Yachting, Thermaikou 21, ☎ +30 2310 343251,+30 6948 388098, e-mail: email@example.com. Bareboat charter or skippered sailing yacht, also night time tours.
- Yacht Charter Greece (Nautilia Yachting), Platonos 52, ☎ +30 2310 558192, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nautilia Yachting is based in Thessaloniki, Greece, officially licensed by the Greek National Tourism Organization and specialized in organizing yacht charters in Greece.
Other Greeks consider Thessaloniki a gourmet city - but bear in mind that this refers to the excellent local specialities and cheap-and-cheerful ouzo taverns rather than to haute cuisine or a range of foreign restaurants. The latter are best avoided in Thessaloniki.
- Try a crepe in one of the numberous crepe shops patronised by the student population at Gounari street, near Navarinou square.
- There are plenty of shops selling Gyros. Usually there is pork and chicken gyros. This is the best calories per money option, since with less that €3 you get a meal that, although not that healthy, can keep you going for many hours.
- During the winter you can try roasted chestnuts (Kastana in Greek) that are sold from carts.
- During the summer one can buy boiled or roasted corn on the cob that is sold from carts. Cost €1-2
- You can try Stafidopsomo, a small bread with raisins, or Koulouri a donut-shaped small bread with sesame. You can find them sold in a bakery or on carts. Cost: €0.50
- For breakfast you can have a Bougatsa, a type of cream pie, that Thessaloniki is famous for. You can accompany it with a cacao milk or coffee.
Local meal specialities
- For a carnivore's treat, try soutzoukakia: minced meat pellets either grilled (at the central market or rotisseries) and topped with chilli pepper flakes, or cooked in tomato and cumin sauce (Smyrna-style).
- For a late night (or early morning) meal try Patsas (Tripe soup).
- Seafood: Gemista kalamarakia (Stuffed squids), Mydopilafo (rise with mussels) or Mydia saganaki (mussels in tomato sause)
Go for a meal in one of the many downtown ouzo restaurants (ouzeri). Accompany your ouzo or tsipouro with a battery of small dishes - by far the best way to eat in Salonica. Particularly good are the fava beans, the octopus either grilled or in wine sauce and mussels (fried, or in pilaff, or with a hot cheese sauce, saganaki).
If you see "boiled vegetables' on the menu in wintertime, go ahead and order them- you'll be amazed at how good they taste. Another typical winter salad is politiki, a combination of shredded cabbage and pickles.
The area between Athonos square and Aristotelous street is full of taverns many of which are frequented by mostly young Greeks and tourists. Prices are usually low and the quality can vary greatly from tavern to tavern. Several restaurants have a small band playing local live music. Better to move around before sitting to eat, not only to choose the place, but to take a look at the old shops in the area selling fruit, spices, handmade small furniture etc. Many of the taverns in the area are tourist-traps, so choose a tavern where you see locals and preferably older people.
Bit-Bazaar and nearby streets
Durning the day the area hosts antique shops and cheapjacks selling anything useful or useless one can imagine. The evening it turns into a lively (and noisy) student hang-out that gets crowded on warm nights. Most of the shops are offering cheap wine, ouzo, beers and mezedes (=appetizers), and there are big differences in quality from shop to shop.
- Evi Evan, Olympou 68-Bit-Bazzar.
- Glykia Symoria, Ioustinianou and Zaliki 1.
- Selini, Bit-Bazaar, ☎ +30 2310 221778.
- To floro ke to laio, Baltadorou 11 and Benizelou.
- Agora (Off Ionos Dragoumi). Ouzo restaurant (ouzeri) in one of the most interesting old downtown areas
Kastra (Ano Poli)
Up the city’s hill, next to the Byzantine walls you can find the other tourist-trap of the city. Some quality places are here.
- Pyrgos, Kastra (Ano Poli). A brasserie.
- Makedoniko, Kastra (Ano Poli).
The old warehouse area near the port, around Morichovou sq., is chock-full of restaurants, bars and clubs.
- Ellinikon, Ladadika (Morichovou Sq.). Offers 'appelation d'origine' local delicacies.
An old district of Ano Poli hosting the eponymous tavern, along with some others.
- Ano Poli, Tsinari-(Ano Poli). Tavern
Traditional fast food include sandwiches with gyros (pork meat), souvlaki or soutzoukaki (meat balls) offered in many stores for a little over €2.
- Goody's. Is the greek fast-food chain. You will find classic hamburgers, also souvlaki, pasta, and salads.
- Pire kai vradiazei (Πήρε και βραδιάζει), Omirou 7 (Off Theagenio Hospital). Great Taverna, unique style, good food and some days (Thur-Sun) live music
- Tombourlika (Τομπουρλίκα), Navmachias Limnou 14 (Off Vardaris Sqare), ☎ +30 2310 548193. Great traditional ouzeri, with fresh fish and meat dishes and live rembetico music
- Tsarouchas (Τσαρούχας), Olymbou 78 (Off Ancient Forum). all night and morning open. is for those of you with adventurous tastes, preferably to go after a hard night's drinking, for a "patsás" (tripe) soup - a delicious way to prevent a hangover.
- Toicho-Toicho, Polydorou 1 (Ano Poli (Kastra)). An hipster hang-out, nice atmosphere, very expensive for the quality provided
- Kamaras (Near Rotonda). Great traditional dishes.
- Lila Cafe Bistro, Diogenus 23 (Ano Toumba district), ☎ 30 2310 947377. Traditional pies and sweets, croissant and dishes accompany the coffee or your drink. Porcelain miniatures and collective drinks are available for originally gifts.
- Pizza da Pepe, Stefanou Tatti 10 (side street of Egnatia, near the Aghia Sophia Church), ☎ +30 2310 242407. For the best pizzas in town head here.
- Myrsini (behind the State Theatre Etairia Makedonikon Spoudon). Good Cretan restaurant.
- Apo Dyo Horia (Navarinou Square). Cretan and Pontian restaurant. Here, order raki rather than ouzo or tsipouro.
- Odos Aristotelous (Lepen), Odos Aristotelous. Most Salonicans know it as the "Lepen"
- Krikelas, Ladadika (near Morichovou Sq.).
- Zythos-Dore (White Tower Square). An upmarket brasserie with a wide range of specialties and interesing ambience.
You won't wonder where to get a drink in a town with this many bars. The city centre also has many bars and cafeterias spread throughout.
A beer costs €4-6, an alcohol drink €7-10 and a coffee €2.50-5.
Thessaloniki is by far the liveliest city in Northern Greece- maybe even the whole country. Most of the trendy bars at the old sea-front (Nikis Ave.) and around, many of the tavernas are either downtown or in the old city (Kastra). You can also find numerous bars and tavernas at Krini, an area in eastern Thessaloniki. If you want to check out what the whole bouzoukia scene is all about, try the clubs Pyli Axiou and Mamounia, at Vilka. You will also find a lot of night clubs, bars and restaurants in Ladadika, the neighbourhood with the old warehouses next to the port. The student area is around Kamara (the Arch of Galerius), home to many cheaper cafe's and bars.
If you will be in town during summer, take a ride on the floating bars plying the harbour. Every 2 hr or so they leave from the White Tower area for a short evening trip (30 min) in the Gulf of Thessaloniki. They play mostly ethnic and alternative foreign music.
Among the most popular places to drink a coffee or a beer are:
Aristotle Sq (Aristotelous)
The most popular tourist cafés and bars lie in the central square of the city and the homonymous street. One can find quiet cafes or noisy ones usually preferred by the young. Breakfast is also served, some restaurants are also available.
The center’s seafront avenue is full of cafeterias usually crowded around the clock, available for coffee in daytime and beer or drink at night.
Proxenou Kroromila St
Parallel to the seafront Nikis avenue is Pr. Koromila street with some cafés and bars.
Another place in the city with cafes and bars and a couple of restaurants
At the west side of the center lies the picturesque neighbourhood of Ladadika (meaning: oil stores). Named this way by the many stores selling oil arrived from the adjacent harbour. Formerly notorious district, recently renovated with many stone build warehouses now host the most known nightclubs with all sorts of music including traditional Greek bouzoukia. Although not the favorite by Thessaloniki’s highest class (modern bouzoukia are not considered a classy kind of entertainment) worth a visit. Quite controversial, some delicate restaurants and greek taverns are located in Morichovou Sq., popular during lunch time
Aretsou is located in the southeast part of the city, in the Kalamaria District. In the seafront Plastira Av. one can find delicate cafeterias which change to bars during night featuring loud music and hosting many young.
A place in Kalamaria district hosting delicate bars, restaurants and pizzerias. All of them along Sofouli street right next to the seashore.
Quite interesting are the boats near the white tower’s seafront, which make a short trip around Thermaikos gulf where you can enjoy a late night city view. Most of them play ethnic and alternative foreign music.
Mylos and Vilka
A set of high-range café, bars, restaurants, ouzeris some with live music at the city’s west. Also hosting concerts, events, exhibitions, music bands, famous greek artists etc.
Valaoritou and Syggrou
Over the last 2 years a lot of Thessaloniki's nightlife has moved here. The old industrial centre has become a place for entertainment for everybody. Many bars, clubs and cafes may remind you of Berlin, or English pubs.
For fashion, Proxenou Koromila, Mitropoleos and Tsimiski. You won't find many bargains, but the shopping area is conveniently small and full of cafes when you get too tired. For cheaper clothing, check out Egnatia street.
Books and maps in various languages can be bought in stores such as:
- Ianos bookshop, Aristotelous Sq, (city centre). Books & art-objects, cultural events.
- Papasotiriou bookstore
- Eleftheroudakis bookstore
- Traveler map store
- Maliaris-Pedia bookstore
Also in the 9th International Book Fair, that is held anualy in late spring, .
You can buy local food products, such as olive oil, sometimes at significaly lower prices than in nearby countries.
For eating out see the eat section below
For food specialities, go to Modiano market and try the Terpsis and Omega delicatessens (the most famous is Kosmas, but it specialises in Asian food). Any Greek will expect you to bring back sweets from Salonica, so try tsoureki, plaited sweetened breads for which Terkenlis is famous, and desserts (baklava and galaktoboureko) e.g. or Nikiforou on Venizelou street. The most famous of the baklava joints is Hatzis, but fame has not made it any better - it's become overpriced and not as good as in previous years.
For a morning or late-night snack, try Bougatsa pies: cream (sweet) or cheese (savoury) filling.
Sweets and pastry
If you like sweets, there are 3 typical pastry-shops you should try, typical of this city:
- Chatzis.  is famous for its collection of Greek Asia Minor sweets (politika glyka) originating from Istanbul.
- Terkenlis.  is famous for its variety of "tsoureki", a sweet bread much like brioche but containing spices too, covered and filled with several combinations of chocolates/creams/nuts, etc.
- Elenidis.  is considered the expert in "trigona" (triangles made of sfoglia, filled with cream).
Best winter dessert: baked quince.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Thessaloniki on Wikivoyage.