City break to Thessaloniki, Greece

Greece is never on the radar when it comes to metropolis breaks. At greatest, Athens is obtainable as a short stopover for agitated cruise shippers to bask in a blink-and-you-miss-it trek up the Acropolis when their liner docks outdoors the Greek capital.

But a three-hour flight from the UK will take you to Thessaloniki, the Cindarella of metropolis breaks, and a spot simply ready for the second British vacationers will uncover its magic.

We arrive on a boiling afternoon – the hovering temperature pleasantly cooled by a salty sea breeze.

Thessaloniki waterfront

Thessaloniki is a metropolis on the water (c) flickr/Ελένη Δελή

For Thessaloniki is a metropolis on the water. Indeed its coronary heart pulses alongside the 5km stretch operating from the port to its spectacular new waterfront part – a collection of themed gardens, statutes and arty sculptures with sufficient area for pram-pushers, joggers and cyclists to share area.

In reality Thessaloniki is a metropolis you possibly can get pleasure from on foot or by bike – we did each. Especially since we booked into The Excelsior a brilliant good five-star boutique lodge only a stone`s throw from the principle Aristotelous Square. As nicely as being tremendous stylish, and superbly positioned, the lodge additionally serves its scrumptious Mediterranean breakfast buffet in an ethereal rooftop breakfast room.

Excelsior Thessaloniki: roof garden breakfast room

Mediterranean breakfast buffet in an ethereal rooftop breakfast room (c) Tor Hotel Group

But what to do first – particularly because the temptation is to go to one of many many cafes lining the waterfront and easily stare out to sea?

It`s additionally a troublesome name since this can be a metropolis full of historical past with 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 29 museums. Little surprise that Thessaloniki, based in 315BC, and the capital of historic Greek Macedonia, has itself been referred to as an open-air museum.


Planning a vacation to Greece this summer time?

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Their Defaqto 5* journey insurance coverage contains Covid-19 and FCDO cowl and is accessible now.


Saunter round the town to see from the Roman Rotunda, and Agora or market place to the town`s iconic Fifteenth-century White Tower.

Thessaloniki White Tower

Thessaloniki’s iconic Fifteenth-century White Tower (c) flickr/Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

If you need to see the entire metropolis within the laziest manner doable, you might have to cease on the skyline café and revolving restaurant positioned on the prime of the OTE Tower which presents spectacular views. Although the very slight sensation of motion as you dawdle over your Ouzo is a little bit unusual (although not disagreeable).

Thessaloniki has a youthful verve and power – in reality, it feels completely indemnified from the deficit-ridden Greek homeland we learn of so ceaselessly. This partially is due to its 170000 college students who attend the town`s Aristotle University.

Thessaloniki graffiti

Thessaloniki has a youthful verve and power (c) pixabay/RzlBrz007700

Just like this cell inhabitants of younger individuals, nonetheless, there`s no getting away from the ebb and circulation of communities who’ve lived right here up to now.

Perhaps that is most poignantly recalled within the metropolis`s Jewish Museum. For as soon as Thessaloniki was residence to an enormous Jewish neighborhood with a presence in so many areas of the town`s industrial pursuits together with textiles, and newspapers.

However the town`s Jewish inhabitants was decimated by the Nazi`s in 1942 – and certainly a Holocaust memorial sits subsequent to Eleftherias Square the place the Jews had been rounded up one boiling July afternoon and subsequently deported to Auschwitz. Standing there as we did – the sq. is now a parking lot – it`s exhausting to think about the horrors of that horrible time.

Thessaloniki Holocaust memorial

Holocaust memorial subsequent to Eleftherias Square (c) Angela Epstein

Of course, all this strolling made us continuously hungry. But Thessaloniki`s delicacies won’t disappoint both in selection or selection. There`s an abundance of fish dishes due to the town`s maritime location. Though our lodge restaurant additionally drew us in with its up to date menu of American, British and Greek meals.

Meanwhile the town`s bakeries tempt with delicacies comparable to trigon panoramas – triangular pastries crammed with cream.

Perhaps most memorable of all had been the individuals. Charming, heat and welcoming, in every single place we went the Thessalonians provided us a beautiful welcome.

Food, historical past, beautiful climate and Hellenic hospitality. Thessaloniki is the town break ready to be found. Who is aware of, you may even need to keep longer. We most definitely did.

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