Also sometimes known as Thessalonica, the beautiful Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece. Although it is only surpassed in size by Athens, Thessaloniki is pleasingly compact, making it easy to get around on foot. The capital of the Macedonia region, the city is arguably the cultural center of Greece, having given the country some of its finest poets, artists and musicians.
The cultural aspect of Thessaloniki is still very much in evidence today, with a host of museums telling the story of the area's rich history, from the Museum of Byzantine Culture to the Folk and Ethnographic Museum. Modern culture is represented by attractions such as the State Museum of Contemporary Art and the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum. It is this seamless blend of ancient history and cosmopolitan modernity which makes Greece's second city such a fascinating place to visit.
As with many Greek destinations, Thessaloniki is resplendent with ancient monuments which stand as testament to the country's enduring history. Sitting on the picturesque waterfront, the White Tower is the most famous symbol of the city's rich past, its story one of turbulence, bloodshed and endless fascination. Although it remains proud of its past, the city has not been afraid to move forward and is today renowned as much for its vibrant and hip nightlife scene as it is for its historic legacy.
Best Time to Fly to Thessaloniki
Temperatures in June, July and August can become excessively hot, so it is best to avoid these months. The ideal times to visit are the periods of April to May and September to October, thereby avoiding both the hottest and coolest times of the year. Both downtown and the beaches also tend to be a little less crowded during these months.
The low-season months of January, February and November tend to be the cheapest times to visit. The Mediterranean climate ensures that, even though much cooler than the rest of the year, temperatures during these months are still very pleasant.
Getting around Thessaloniki
The main form of public transport in the city itself is buses. Operated by the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization (OASTH), services operate from early in the morning up until after midnight. OASTH also operate a tourist bus service which includes an English-speaking guide on board and takes visitors past all of the major historic attractions in the city. Taxis will often pick up multiple passengers from different groups but only if everyone is traveling in the same direction.