Top Things To Do In Thessaloniki
Hello dear friend of Jiutopia,
I hope you are feeling good, my friend.
In the days during the camp, you will experience everything that you came for: world-class trainings, incredible beaches, picturesque and lively Greek towns, amazing food and all the other joys that come with spending a week in nature.
In this e-mail, I would like to tell you about the possible second part of your experience. I am of course talking about the jewel that is located an hour north of our camp. The famous, the charming, the electrifying, the one and only… Thessaloniki.
First off, I would like to start by saying, that this city has made a tremendous impression on me. I visited Thessaloniki for the first time after last year’s camp and I honestly can’t wait to go back.
The city, as I experienced it, is an interesting mix of rich history, big city hustle and a lively energy that seamlessly combines the two. You will come upon Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman ruins and 1000-year-old churches, as you explore the neighborhoods of Thessaloniki. There are restaurants and bars on every corner, each enticing you with their own unique story. The city feels young and vibrant, full of potential and you can especially feel it in the evening, when people fill the streets to celebrate life with drinks, food and music.
I could keep writing about Thessaloniki but that would go beyond the scope of this e-mail. Instead, I will try to make your research easier and give you some must-sees, must-dos and must-eats.
Top Sights in Thessaloniki
The White Tower, the symbol of Thessaloniki, is a six-story (34m) monument located on the waterfront of the city. The present tower replaced an old Byzantine fortification around the 12th century. Later it was reconstructed by the Ottomans to fortify the city’s harbor. The tower became a notorious prison and scene for mass executions during the period of Ottoman rule. Today it is a museum dedicated to the city of Thessaloniki.
Arch of Galerius and Rotunda
In the 4th century AD Roman emperor Galerius commissioned the construction of these two structures. The arch was erected to celebrate a victory over the Persian army. The Rotunda, which can be compared to the Pantheon in Rome, was meant to serve as a mausoleum for Galerius. It is one of the most important Roman monuments in Thessaloniki.
This is one of the oldest churches in Thessaloniki and definitely worth a visit. The walls are lined with gold mosaics and the dome impressively depicts the ascension of Christ.
Top Hangout Spots in Thessaloniki
Pull up a chair at a taverna, go for a walk or find a bench in the shade and take in the atmosphere of these popular hangout spots.
Nea Paralia is the city’s 3km long seaside promenade. This is the perfect place to take in the vibrant atmosphere of Thessaloniki and explore the impressive coastline by foot. Along the promenade you will find many bars and restaurants, which provide refuge from the summer heat and offer you amazing traditional Greek and international cuisine. Nea Paralia is considered one of the most beautiful urban public spaces in Greece and received many architectural awards since its inception in 2009.
Aristotelous Square, which is located on the waterfront by Nikis Avenue, is a great starting point for a walking tour of the city. This square is the heart of the city and is regarded as the center of Thessaloniki. Here you will find hotels and restaurants overlooking the waterfront and of course a statue of the philosopher Aristotelous.
Ladadika is a popular neighborhood for tourists and locals alike. As with any district located close to a city’s port, it used to be a red-light district, before it was remade into the culinary and nightlife hotspot it is today. You want to listen to good music, eat and dance? Go to Ladadika.
Food & Dining
Thessaloniki has the reputation of having the best food in Greece. As I said before, there are incredible restaurants on every corner and for every budget. Whether you want to experience fine dining in incredible restaurants or you’re looking for the best street food spots, you will definitely find both.
Typical foods you should try include:
– Bougatsa – This is a typical Greek breakfast pastry and can be enjoyed sweet or savoury with your morning coffee.
– Freddo Espresso – Speaking of coffee. Freddo Espresso will become your best friend at Jiutopia. 2 shots of espresso over ice. Nothing better to start your morning on a beautiful Greek summer day.
– Soutzoukakia – This is a traditional Greek/Turkish dish of spicy meatballs with cumin and garlic in tomato sauce.
– Bougiourdi – Wanna go classic but meatless? No problem. Bougiourdi is spicy baked feta cheese with tomato and peppers. Simple, easy and delicious.
– Meze – Meze can be most easily understood as Greek tapas, small dishes served as appetizers. Meze is perfect for sharing with your friends and tasting a wider selection of foods.
As you can see, there are many things to experience in Thessaloniki. If you can manage to plan in the weekend after the camp for a trip to the city, I believe you will not regret it.
That’s it from me today. This one was longer than usual but I hope it gave you new ideas about what you can experience during your stay in Greece.
See you very soon, my friend!