Thessaloniki, Greece, is a great place to see the magnificent Mediterranean food markets, fascinating Byzantine culture, extensive art displays, and ancient ruins that can be found all around the Hellenic republic.
Thessaloniki, a Greek city in the country’s northern area, has lived up to its name throughout its long and eventful history, which combines the princess’s name (Thessaly) with the Greek word for victory (Nike).
Let’s look at 5 exciting and unique things to do in Thessaloniki to get your thoughts flowing for your next trips to Greece’s largest northern metropolis, from its breathtaking natural wonders like Lake Kerkini to the lively Aristotelous Square and young university environment.
1. Visit the White Tower of Thessaloniki to get insight into the culture and history of the area.
Explore the White Tower of Thessaloniki, erected by the Ottoman Empire after it conquered the city in the 15th century.
The White Tower, located on the Palia Paralia (the ancient shoreline), functioned as a jail and site of execution, an air defense against attackers, and the home of a university’s meteorology institute, among other functions. The White Tower has been transformed into a museum showcasing the city’s rich history, people, and religions over six levels.
2. Go for a stroll around Aristotelous Square.
The Aristotelous Square, commonly known as the beating heart of Thessaloniki, is adorned with signature French and Byzantine buildings.
The plaza on Nikis Avenue is Greece’s most famous and recognizable public area. It was built around the turn of the twentieth century as part of an initiative to provide a spacious public meeting place for the city’s residents.
Go for a walk around the area and take in the sights and sounds of the stores, restaurants, and cafés while listening to the music coming from the adjacent street performers and keeping an eye out for ships on the horizon.
3. Learn about Thessaloniki's Heptapyrgion and its shady past.
It is a must to see the “Acropolis of Thessaloniki,” a stronghold constructed by the Ottoman Empire after they conquered the city in the 1400s.
Heptapyrgion of Thessaloniki residents do not have fond recollections of the building due to its history as a jail, torture of detainees, dictatorships, and ties to the Nazis.
The jail was abandoned in the late 1980s. Still, the facility has since been rebuilt, so curious tourists can explore its 10 towers and learn about its gloomy past without paying a dime.
4. Learn about Roman history and culture in Thessaloniki's Roman Forum.
The Roman Forum of Thessaloniki, devoted to social and political life, was constructed by the Romans in the late 1st century AD and is easily recognizable due to its proximity to Aristotelous Square.
Witness the impressively preserved theaters, the vestiges of fountains, arches, and more, and imagine what this urban, bustling city must have been like in its heyday.
Going to the subterranean museum, you may see maps and pictures of the magnificent forum without leaving the site for only 2 euros. Eleftherios Venizelos, one of the most prominent historical Greek characters during World War II who contributed to modernizing Greece, has a monument nearby.
5. You should take a day excursion to Mount Athos.
Mount Athos, home to around twenty monasteries and two hundred monks, is a major center of Orthodox Christian worship and study across the globe. Those who want to make Mount Athos their home can do so by freely devoting themselves to religious practice and a life apart from the world.
Women have been forbidden entry to the sacred peninsula for hundreds of years because of strict Orthodox laws. Now, the only chance for women or non-Orthodox people to view it is from a distance on a ship.