Get the lowdown on Greece's Northern Princess, a.k.a. fabulous Thessaloniki, courtesy of EuroCheapo's Greece Correspondent Kaymaria Daskarolis.
Introduction to Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, has little in common with the Greek capital Athens. Although both cities have rich and fascinating histories, Athens is the governmental, organizational, and nightlife hub of the country, while Thessaloniki is known for technological, educational, and creative innovations.
Sequestered between mountains and the sea hundreds of kilometers north of Athens on the Greek mainland, Thessaloniki is famous for its thriving creative scene as well as its stunning physical beauty. For its gorgeous setting and its status as a cultural hub, Thessaloniki reminds many visitors of San Francisco. The city's many creative artisans sell their clothing, house wares, and art work in countless of the city's individually-owned shops. These shops, in turn, buttress the reputation of locals as the country's most chic.
But Thessaloniki's residents aren't just fashion-forward. They're also well-fed. Edible local treasures can be found in the city's numerous bakeries, which sell some of Greece's most exquisite sweet treats, detailed at length below.
Thessaloniki Vital Stats
Location: northern Greece, about 515 kilometers north of Athens by land
Five Reasons to Visit
The people, among the friendliest in a very friendly country.
The seamless blend of bustling, creative city life and relaxing seaside living.
Numerous Roman and Byzantine sites nestled between modern buildings.
The outdoor café and bar scene, which even thrives in winter, when café and bar owners simply set up outdoor heaters near tables.
The uniquely rich and cosmopolitan cultural atmosphere, a result of centuries of varied influences, including, among others, Greek, Turkish, Jewish, and Armenian.
When to Visit
For the lowest hotel rates in Thessaloniki, visit during the summer slump months of June, July, or August. While temperatures do climb in Thessaloniki during the summer, you will not suffer as much here as you might elsewhere in mainland Greece during the summer.
Avoid Festivals! Unless you are specifically going to Thessaloniki to attend one of the city's festivals or fairs, avoid visiting while they're on. Traffic is worse than usual and hotel rates are higher during festivals and conventions.