Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in Greece, is a popular tourist destination for those looking to explore northern Greece. The city has a rich history that is on display in its many museums and historical sites. However, Thessaloniki is also a city that is alive and vibrant, with lively nightlife and plenty of restaurants and bars. In this post, I will share a list of the 15 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Thessaloniki. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Thessaloniki getaway today.
Things to Do in Thessaloniki
1. Byzantine Walls
The Byzantine Walls are a major landmark and one of the top tourist attractions in Thessaloniki. The fortification system was erected soon after Thessaloniki was founded and was later expanded by the Ottoman Turks. The fortifications were mainly built to protect the city from potential invasions but also served as a means of restricting movement within the city.
The walls are quite impressive, stretching for over 8 kilometers. They’re made up of a series of towers, bastions, and gates. Although the ottoman government pulled down the greater part of the walls in the 19th century, a few sections have been rebuilt and are now open to the public.
A visit to the Byzantine Walls is a must for anyone interested in the city’s history and architecture. The fortifications are an impressive sight and provide great views of the cityscape and the surrounding countryside. This is also a great place for a leisurely stroll or a bike ride.
So if you’re interested in history and architecture, then be sure to visit the Byzantine Walls during your stay in Thessaloniki. They are definitely one of the top attractions in the city.
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2. Church of Agios Dimitrios
Taking a tour inside the Church of Agios Dimitrios is one of the best things to do in Thessaloniki, as it is the largest and most important church in the city. The impressive structure dates back to the 4th century AD and is dedicated to Saint Demetrius, who was a martyr and patron saint of Thessaloniki. According to legend, he was beheaded by Emperor Galerius for his Christian faith.
Inside the church, you will find beautiful Byzantine art and architecture. The walls and ceilings are adorned with intricate mosaics, and the dome is painted with a stunning fresco. The church is also home to several relics, including the martyr’s head and a fragment of the True Cross.
Agios Dimitrios is without a doubt one of the top tourist attractions in Thessaloniki. It’s an important religious site, as well as a beautiful piece of history. I highly recommend a visit for anyone interested in history or religious architecture. It played a significant role in the history of Thessaloniki and is now considered a symbol of the city.
3. Rotunda of Galerius
The Rotunda of Galerius is a beautiful and imposing monument located in Thessaloniki. This circular structure was originally built in the 4th century AD as a mausoleum for Galerius, one of the Roman emperors.
The Rotunda is an impressive sight, standing at over 30 meters high and with a diameter of over 24 meters. The dome is also quite stunning and is decorated with a rich mosaic that features geometric and floral designs. Inside the Rotunda is a spacious hall with a barrel-vaulted ceiling. This hall is decorated with beautiful mosaic and marble walls. The mosaics depict scenes from the Bible and the life of Galerius. There are also several tombs of the imperial family located within the Rotunda.
Visitors can admire its intricate brickwork and well-preserved plasterwork, as well as the stunning mosaics that adorn the interior. There are tour guides available who can give you more information about the monument and its history.
In general, the Rotunda of Galerius is one of the top tourist attractions in Thessaloniki and a must-see for visitors to the city. It is an architectural marvel that has stood the test of time. I highly recommend a visit to this stunning historical site.
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4. Archaeology Museum of Thessaloniki
If you’re interested in archaeology and ancient history, then the Archaeology Museum of Thessaloniki is a must-see attraction. This museum is one of the largest in Greece, and it houses a wealth of fascinating artifacts from all over the country.
The museum is housed in a neoclassical building that was constructed in 1844. The facade is decorated with Ionic columns, and the interior features marble floors and walls. The museum’s collection ranges from the Neolithic Age to items from the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods. There are also exhibits from the Modern period, including items from the Greek War of Independence. Some of the highlights include displays on ancient pottery, jewelry, coins, and sculpture. There are also exhibits on the city’s Byzantine and Ottoman past.
One of the highlights of a visit to the archaeology museum is the section of Gallery of Mosaics, which features beautiful floor mosaics from various ancient sites. The museum also has a gift shop to buy souvenirs, books, postcards, and more.
So if you’re interested in both ancient cultures and beautiful buildings, then visiting this museum should definitely be at the top of your list of things to do in Thessaloniki.
5. The White Tower
The White Tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Thessaloniki and Greece. It’s an impressive fortress built by the Ottoman Turks in the 14th century. The structure got its name from the white limestone used in its construction.
The fortress has withstood numerous sieges and occupations over the years, and it is now one of the most iconic attractions in Thessaloniki. It has been used as a prison, a gunpowder store, and a museum over the years. Today, it’s a popular tourist attraction and one of the most iconic buildings in the city. Visitors can explore the tower’s exhibits and learn about its history. There is also a nice view of the city from the top.
If you’re looking for an interesting and historical landmark to visit in Thessaloniki, the White Tower is a great choice. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, so you won’t have trouble finding it. And it’s definitely worth a visit if you want to learn more about Byzantine history. I recommend spending at least an hour exploring this fascinating landmark.
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6. Church of Panagia Halkeon
The Church of Panagia Halkeon is one of the top attractions in Thessaloniki, thanks to its imposing and beautiful architecture. This beautiful Byzantine-style church was constructed in the 11th century and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
This church is renowned for its exquisite interior, decorated with stunning frescoes from the 11th century and 14th century. The church is also home to a number of valuable religious relics. The exterior of the church is equally impressive and features ornate marble carvings, beautiful domes, and intricate arches.
What’s more, the church is located on a charming square surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and shops. So, you can enjoy a meal or a drink in the open air while admiring the lovely church facade.
All in all, visiting the Church of Panagia Halkeon is one of the best things to do in Thessaloniki. It’s well-known for its beautiful architecture and stunning interior. I suggest visiting it if you’re interested in religious art or history. Additionally, the square it’s located on is a great place to relax and take in the sights and sounds of Thessaloniki.
7. Thessaloniki Science Centre Technology Museum
If you’re looking for an interesting attraction that combines education with entertainment, the Thessaloniki Science Centre Technology Museum is a great option. This museum is one of the largest in Greece and offers a variety of exhibits on science, technology, and the natural world.
The ground floor is the main exhibition hall with 40 interactive stations on a range of topics. The museum is also home to a planetarium, which offers amazing shows that explore the depths of outer space. There’s also a large aquarium with a wide variety of fish and other marine creatures. And for kids (and adults), there’s a large play area with games and activities that teach about science and technology.
However, the main highlight in this museum is the Cosmotheatre. This is a large multimedia theatre that uses cutting-edge technology to recreate the universe in all its splendor. The theatre has a dome-shaped screen that covers the entire ceiling, and it offers an immersive experience that’s sure to amaze visitors.
Overall, this is an excellent place for people of all ages who want to learn about science and technology. It’s a great attraction for families, students, and anyone who’s interested in the world around them.
8. Museum of the Macedonian Struggle
The Museum of the Macedonian Struggle is one of the top attractions in Thessaloniki for history buffs. The museum is dedicated to the history of the Macedonian struggle for independence and covers everything from the early days of the movement to the present.
The museum is housed in a neoclassical building that was originally constructed in the 19th century. It features exhibits on the history of the Macedonian people, including their culture, artifacts, photos, documents, architecture, and more. There is also a section on the armed struggle for independence, as well as displays on the martyrs who lost their lives in the fight for freedom. There is also a library on-site where you can do further research on the topic.
Overall, the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle provides an in-depth look at one of the most important periods in Thessaloniki’s and Macedonia’s history. It’s a fascinating museum that is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in learning more about this aspect of Greece’s past. I recommend it to anyone interested in the history of this region.
9. Aristotelous Square
Aristotelous Square is another of the top attractions in Thessaloniki. It’s a large open plaza located in the heart of the city, and it’s always busy with people coming and going. The square is named after the famous philosopher Aristotle, who was born in the city.
The square is a great place to people watch, as there are always lots of interesting characters walking around. You can find locals and tourists alike, as well as street performers and musicians. There are also a few restaurants and cafes if you want to grab a bite or take a break from the hustle and bustle.
In addition to its bustling atmosphere, Aristotelous Square is also great for sightseeing. The neoclassical buildings that surround it are quite impressive, and the square is a great place to take photos. The square is also close to some of the city’s main attractions, such as the White Tower and the Rotunda.
Visiting Aristotelous Square is definitely one of the best things to do in Thessaloniki. It’s a great place to watch people, take photos, and get a feel for the city’s culture and atmosphere. It’s always packed with people and has something for everyone.
10. Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a popular attraction for those who want to explore the city’s ancient past. The ruins of the forum date back to the 2nd century AD, and they offer a fascinating glimpse into Roman life and architecture.
The Forum was once the center of Thessaloniki life, and it’s now a great place to explore the city’s history. It’s fascinating to explore the well-preserved ruins and get a glimpse into how ancient Romans lived and worked. The ruins are spread out over a large area, so it’s best to allow plenty of time for exploration. You can explore the grounds on your own or take a guided tour. There are also audio guides available in a variety of languages.
The Roman Forum is a must-see for anyone interested in Thessaloniki’s history and architecture. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, and it’s easy to see why. The ruins offer a fascinating glimpse into how the Romans lived and worked. I highly recommend a visit for anyone interested in ancient history.
11. Nea Paralia Waterfront
Nea Paralia is a beautiful waterfront district located in the eastern part of Thessaloniki. It is known for its wide promenade, lovely yachts, and stunning views of the cityscape and Mount Olympus.
This impressive waterfront stretches for over 3.5 kilometers and is home to a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs. This has made the area a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, who come to take a stroll, admire the scenery, or enjoy a meal or drink in one of the many restaurants and cafes lining the promenade. This is also a great spot for sightseeing. You can admire the lovely view of the sea or take a stroll along the promenade.
And if you’re looking for some shopping, Nea Paralia is definitely the place to go. There are countless shops lining the streets, selling everything from clothes and jewelry to souvenirs and cosmetics. You can also find some great deals on locally made handicrafts.
Overall, Nea Paralia is a lively district perfect for an evening out. You can find something to please everyone here, from restaurants and bars to shops and monuments. It’s definitely one of the top attractions in Thessaloniki that you don’t want to miss.
12. Ano Poli
Ano Poli is a scenic district located in the uppermost part of Thessaloniki. It is one of the most picturesque areas in the city and a great place to explore the history and culture of Thessaloniki. The views from here are simply stunning, as you can see the whole of Thessaloniki spread out before you.
The winding streets and alleyways of Ano Poli are a labyrinth to get lost in, and that’s part of the fun. You’ll come across Byzantine churches, traditional houses, and historical landmarks as you wander around. There’s also a lively market here that sells all sorts of local goods, so be sure to stop by for some souvenir shopping. You’ll find many small cafes and restaurants in the area too, so you can easily spend a whole day here.
One of the main attractions in Ano Poli is its lively atmosphere. It’s a great place to people watch and take in the local culture. It’s the perfect place to wander around aimlessly and take in the sights and sounds of the city.
Visiting Ano Poli is definitely one of the best things to do in Thessaloniki. It’s one of the most beautiful areas in the city, popular with tourists who want to see the city from a different perspective. I highly recommend taking a stroll through its narrow streets and admiring the wonderful views from the top. You won’t be disappointed.
13. Ataturk Museum
The Ataturk Museum is one of the most renowned museums in Thessaloniki and Greece as a whole. It is dedicated to the life and work of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey.
The museum is housed in a three-storey neoclassical building that was constructed in the early 1870s. It has a wide range of exhibits that tell the story of Ataturk’s life and his significant role in Turkish history. It also provides an overview of the development of the Turkish Republic from its foundation to the present day.
Inside, you can find a wide range of exhibits that showcase Ataturk’s life and work. There are paintings, sculptures, photographs, manuscripts, and other artifacts on display. You can also watch a short film about the president’s life.
Overall, the Ataturk Museum is an excellent place to learn about Turkish history and the life of its most influential figure. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Thessaloniki for any history buff or fan of Ataturk.
14. Day Trip to Mount Olympus
If you’re looking for an unforgettable day trip from Thessaloniki, I highly recommend a visit to Mount Olympus. This is the tallest mountain in Greece, reaching its highest point at 2,917 meters. The hike to the summit is long but definitely worth it.
The mountain is believed to be the home of the gods in Greek mythology and is a popular tourist destination for hikers and nature lovers. There are several trails of varying difficulty that lead to the summit, so hikers of all levels can enjoy the experience. The panoramic views from the top are absolutely stunning, and you can even see as far as Thessaloniki on a clear day.
If you’re not feeling up for a strenuous hike, there are also plenty of other things to do in the area. You can go for a walk in the lush forest, take a picnic lunch at one of the scenic viewpoints, or visit one of the many ancient monasteries located in the area.
So, no matter what you choose to do, a day trip to Mount Olympus is sure to be an unforgettable experience. So if you’re looking for exciting things to do in Thessaloniki, be sure to add this to your list!
15. Arch of Galerius
The Arch of Galerius is a grandiose and imposing structure worth visiting when in Thessaloniki. It’s a large, ornate triumphal arch built in AD 297 to commemorate Emperor Galerius’ victory over the Persians.
The arch is a beautiful example of late Roman architecture constructed from white marble. It features ornate carvings on all sides. The structure is quite large, measuring over 12.5 meters high and 10 meters wide. Today, the arch is a popular tourist attraction and a great place to take photographs. It’s located in the center of Thessaloniki and can easily be reached on foot.
The arch was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, along with several other sites in Thessaloniki. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and a must-see for anyone visiting Thessaloniki. I advise spending some time admiring its intricate design and appreciating its role in Roman history. It’s definitely an impressive monument.
These are some of the top tourist attractions in Thessaloniki worth visiting. They offer a fascinating glimpse into the city’s history and culture. So whether you’re interested in history, art, or architecture, you’ll find something to interest you in this city. I highly recommend taking the time to visit these amazing landmarks during your stay in the city.