Thessaloniki - Greece
Visit to Thessaloniki during New Year's holidays...
|Docks - Thessaloniki|
Just two days for visiting city of more than 1 million inhabitants, impossible task? We have planned a tight itinerary, with little of everything. Stroll through the city center, nigh out in one of many great local coffee shops and clubs, next day more walking down the docks, lunch in local restaurants and a long shopping evening, after which we go on return trip home.
|Alexander the Great Statue - Thessaloniki|
Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and capital city of Central Macedonia's administrative district, also familiarly known as Thessalonica or Salonika. Its nickname is η Συμπρωτεύουσα (Symprotévousa), literally "the co-capital", a reference to its historical status as the Συμβασιλεύουσα (Symvasilévousa) or "co-reigning" city of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, alongside Constantinople.
Thessaloniki is Greece's second major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre, and a major transportation hub for the rest of southeastern Europe. It's commercial port is also of great importance for Greece and the southeastern European hinterland.
|Port - Thessaloniki|
The city is renowned for its festivals, events and vibrant cultural life in general, and is considered to be Greece's cultural capital. Events such as the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, and the Thessaloniki Song Festival are held annually, while the city also hosts the largest bi-annual meeting of the Greek diaspora. Thessaloniki was the 2014 European Youth Capital.
The city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. It was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430, and passed from the Ottoman Empire to modern Greece on November 8, 1912.
|Alexander's Garden Monument; Vassiliko National Theatre|
of Northern Greece in background - Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki is a popular tourist destination in Greece. For 2013, National Geographic Magazine included Thessaloniki in its top tourist destinations worldwide, while in 2014 Financial Times FDI magazine (Foreign Direct Investments) declared Thessaloniki as the best mid-sized European city of the future for human capital and lifestyle. Among street photographers, the center of Thessaloniki is also considered the most popular destination for street photography in Greece.
|White Tower of Thessaloniki|
|View from local cafe - Thessaloniki|
We have arrived late afternoon by car, found our hotel pretty easy, parking was little more difficult. Hotel was in central part, near Central Train Station, about 12 minutes of walking from both Thessaloniki Train Station and the Central Aristotelous Square, and 1 km from the Hagios Demetrios church. It's an area with a lot of traffic, so you should ask where you can park before you come here. There are a few private parking areas that charge from 10 up to 20 euros per day, and are safe to park without need to worry.
When you plan to visit Thessaloniki for two or three days this area is perfect to stay in. You can chose form one to five star hotels. Markets and local shops are near, but the most important, you are in a walking distance to clubs, bars, walking paths, and many historical monuments.
As I already said, we have arrived late so right after lunch we went to walk. Beautiful view greeted us on the coast, which stretches for kilometers as long as the eye can see. Along the coast are many cafe shops, full with tourists all year long.
|Nuts factory (local shop) - Thessaloniki|
Next to the cafe shops we came across a multitude of fascinating shop windows that steal your attention. Most of the time on our walk we were so excited, like: "Look at this, look at that"... So let me just show you few more photos...
|New Year decorations on the trees - Thessaloniki|
|Street decorations - Thessaloniki|
|Cafe in New Year lights - Thessaloniki|
|Aristotelous Square - Thessaloniki|
The next day, right after breakfast we continued our tour of the city. Weather was great, warm with almost no clouds in the sky even in january. Breakfast and morning coffee done, a little stroll down the docks, we went to see Hagia Sophia Square and the Cathedral along few other old historic monuments, that Thessaloniki is full of.
An inevitable part of a visit to Thessaloniki is shopping. Around lunch time we went to "Mediterranean Cosmos" shopping center, which is one of the biggest of it's kind in this part of the country. A large selection and good prices offer you plenty of distractions. Later we visited few other outlets like "Mega Outlet Store" and "JUMBO". All in all a great day, and also long one. From early morning until late night we were walking, shopping and doing many other interesting things, but it was time for trip home.
|The Umbrellas of Zongolopoulos - Thessaloniki|
Definitely fantastic city. Worth seeing! Lots of fun thing to do and occupy yourself with. From long coast, docks where you can take a walk and enjoy the sunshine, with parks and interesting buildings that surrounds them, to the many historic buildings, monuments and churches.
Thessaloniki is the city that can be visited any time of year and you wont be disappointed!
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