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Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, named after Alexander the Great’s sister and one of Europe’s most lovely cities! If you are searching for cheap air tickets to Thessaloniki, you already know you’re going to have an unforgettable trip. Whether you travel for work or holidays, to relax or to have fun, Thessaloniki is ready to welcome you and show you the way around a historic port, beautiful castles, byzantine churches and ancient treasures. A top travel destination for both Greeks and international travellers, Thessaloniki is a popular student town and famous for its relaxed energy, its arts and culture, music and quality of life. Ask any Greek and they will admit it; Thessaloniki is Greece’s most treasured city! Cheap hotels in Thessaloniki are easy to find and organising your accommodation will be quite easy and affordable. So why not plan this journey now?
Thessaloniki, holding a strategic location on the European route to Asia, has always been an important city, even from Roman times, while during the Byzantine Empire it could only be compared to Constantinople itself! The Ottomans came and Thessaloniki continued to flourish, until the city’s independence, in 1912.
In 1917 a terrible fire destroyed almost 80% of the city; the historical, religious and architectural damage was tremendous, but extensive restoration projects brought the city back to its initial state.
Named European Culture Capital and European Youth Capital, no wonder Thessaloniki is often called the “co-capital” of Greece!
Up until now, Thessaloniki’s skyline has nothing to do with the sometimes ugly congestion of Athens. The city centre is well laid out, while the Ano Poli (Upper Town) preserves much of Thessaloniki’s byzantine charm.
Visit Thessaloniki and enjoy one of the most beautiful destinations of the Balkans!
Thessaloniki’s international airport (Διεθνής Κρατικός Αερολιμένας Θεσσαλονίκης «Μακεδονία») is located 15 kilometres southeast of the city centre. The airport can be reached by Bus Line 78 which, in turn, connects the airport to the Central Railway Station and long distance bus station.
Getting around Thessaloniki
You can get around Thessaloniki by the city’s extensive bus network. Fares start at 0.80€ and minimum taxi fare costs around 2.80€.
Thessaloniki’s city centre is the area surrounded by the port in the south and Ano Poli in the north. Your day in Thessaloniki starts of course at the White Tower, the undisputable symbol of the city; the history of which is nothing but white.
The tower was built in the 15th century and during the ottoman era, it served as a fortress and was later converted into a prison and a place of executions, hence the name “Bloody Tower” by which the tower was known. Today it houses a museum with cutting-edge interactive digital exhibitions, presenting the history of the city.
As you keep walking across the harbour, you’ll pass Aristotelous Square and reach Eleutherias Square (Freedom Square), opposite Pier 1, a multi-purpose place with restored warehouses that now house the Photography, Cinema and Contemporary Art Museums.
There are many points of interest around Aristotelous square, some of which are:
- The Roman Agora, where Macedonia’s main commercial hub was situated during the 3rd century B.C., reaching its top during Roman times.
- The Church of St. Dimitrios is Greece’s largest church and most significant byzantine monument. The church was built in the 5th century, is dedicated to the city’s patron saint and is famous for its elegant 8th-century murals; unfortunately only five of them survived the fire of 1917.
- The Church of Aghia Sofia is an exact replica of Istanbul’s Aghia Sofia and a popular tourist attraction
- Thessaloniki’s Archaeological Museum follows the history of the city and the continuous lifestyles of Macedonians since 350,000 B. C.!
Thessaloniki’s second main square is Navarinou Square, a popular meeting place for students, artists and those who seek to entertain themselves.
Three important ancient sites are to be found in Navarinou Sq.:
- The Palace of Galerius or, to be more precise, what’s left of it, includes mosaics, columns and walls
- The Arch of Galerius or Kamara, built in the 4th century to celebrate Galerius’s victory over the Persians
- The Rotunda of Galerius, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built as Galerius’s Mausoleum, converted into a mosque and finally an Orthodox Church honouring St. George
From Navarinou Square, it’s easy to reach Ladadika, Thessaloniki’s entertainment district, full of restaurants, traditional tavernas and bars.
Don’t leave Thessaloniki without visiting Ano Poli, the area also called Kastra or Eptapyrgio. This is Thessaloniki’s oldest district, a picturesque neighbourhood dating back to the ottoman era, protected behind byzantine walls and blessed with byzantine churches and beautiful, historic houses and mansions.
Extra tip: From the top of Kastra, you’ll enjoy one of the city’s most amazing views!
Thessaloniki’s official language is Greek; most of the locals can communicate in English perfectly well.