Although being the second larges city in Greece (after Athens – the capital), Thessaloniki is certainly the most picturesque, fascinating and popular one. Thessaloniki is a World Heritage Site and a centre of the Thessalonian Eparchy and the Church of Greece.
The history of Thessaloniki starts with King Cassander, who founded the city and named it after his wife – Thessalonika, Alexander the Great’s sister. In Greek, the name Thessalonika means ‘The Victory (Nika) of the Thessalians’, who helped Cassander win in an important battle. T
Through the years Thessaloniki was always an important administrative and trade centre – first in the boundaries of the Roman Empire, and after its partition – in the Byzantine Empire. In Thessaloniki were born Saints Cyril and Methodius, the creators of the Glagolitic alphabet. The city often fell in the hands of different empires and kingdoms until March 29, 1430 when the Ottomans captured it after an eight-year blockade. It remains in the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire until year 1912.
There are many things you can see or do in Thessaloniki. A modern European city, it creates a magnificent fusion between the culture of different historical eras and the requirements of the modern world. You can start your tour around the city by seeing a play at some of the theatres and amphitheatres in Thessaloniki – Forest Theatre and Earth Theatre. Then you can look around Tsimiski street and Koromila avenue – two of the most popular and expensive shopping streets in Greece.
Of course, not everything is theatres and shopping. You can rest actively in some of the parks of Thessaloniki. Some of the parks, such as the National Park Pieria, which are near, or even part of the coastlone, so you can combine different outdoor ground and water activities. Swimming, snorkelling, diving as well as rock climbing, jogging, cycling or hiking are only some of the sports you can practice while staying at Thessaloniki.
Thessaloniki is considered as Greece’s cultural capital and there are located a lot of museums and galleries there. The most attractive and interesting museums in the city are the Archaeological museum of Thessaloniki, the Thessaloniki Science Centre with its Technology Museum (where is the biggest planetarium in Greece), the Museum of Byzantine Culture, the Thessaloniki Olympic museum, the Railway Museum of Thessaloniki and many others. The White Tower of Thessaloniki is a museum on the coastline and is regarded as one of the symbols of the city.
A must-visit part during your tour around Thessaloniki are the archaeological sites. You may visit the well-preserved large Roman forum, the complex of the imperial palace built by Emperor Galerius and the Arch of Galerius. As for the transport, you will be able to move easily around the town, as there are regular bus lines, metro network and developed infrastructure. The railway transport is also developed and there are ferry connections and an international airport.
You can visit Thessaloniki in every part of the year and it will fascinate you with something different depending on the season. The summer will be perfect for the lovers of the sea and the sunbathing, while the colder months will be better for those tourists, who prefer to visit the cultural sites outside the peak times.