Thessaloniki is the second largest city of Greece and definitely one of the most popular and interesting destinations of the country. Thessaloniki is easy to fall in love with – it has beauty, chaos, history and culture, a remarkable cuisine and wonderful, vast sea views. Large avenues, parks and squares, lines of trees that frame commercial streets with showy shop windows. Old houses, neoclassical buildings, stand side by side with modern dwellings which makes a walk through any section of the city an interesting journey.
Historically, Thessaloniki is the most important port in the Balkans. It used to be dominated by its Jewish community which came from Spain in 1492. The predominant language of the city used to be Spanish. But the entire Jewish community was shipped off to the concentration camps where all but a few thousand were exterminated within hours of their arrival.
Thessaloniki is a very different city from Athens but no less sophisticated and (some might say) culturally superior. The influence of the east is more pronounced, not just in the delicious food, but in the relaxed lifestyle. The nightlife in Thessaloniki is exceptional, the bars and clubs play great music. The restaurants and ouzeries are among the best in Greece. There are many cinemas showing first-run English language films. The city is also the site of the renown Thessaloniki Film Festival in October-November. The women, considered the most chic in Greece, support a high-fashion industry that rivals Athens so if you like to shop for clothes, shoes and jewelry you will be quite happy here. There are not a large number of ancient ruins within the city but there are enough Roman and Byzantine sites to keep any history-minded visitor occupied, plenty of museums and of course the ruins of Vergina which include the tomb of Phillip, father of Alexander the great. It's also a good starting point for seeing the best beaches of Halkidiki and some of the most beautiful spots in Greece!
As said, It’s one of the most important ports of the Balkans, and yeah that means that the city is surrounded by water, fact that makes it extremely blue and picturesque. While visiting Thessaloniki you get the feeling that it’s a college town…and yes it is! It’s one of the top students’ destinations since it offers a variety of education options combined with the wild night life – honestly the city never sleeps-, with the good food and of course with the great weather. It’s known as the city of “halara” (χαλαράαααα) – relaxed lifestyle- since there’s always enough time for everything and the stress is missing out from people’s lives.
The different neighbourhoods are little worlds unto themselves, and when you climb up to the Byzantine walls and take in the whole of Thessaloniki at sunset, you see what a sprawling, organic city it is. Old and new cohabit wonderfully: the Arch of Galerius, an intricate 4th-century monument, overlooks the busy shopping drag of Egnatia, while Thessaloniki’s most famous sight, the White Tower, anchors a waterfront packed with cocktail bars. The New Waterfront has breathed life and opened up space for long walks and cycling.
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