Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece, with a population exceeding one million. The city developed due to its secure harbor and strategic commercial position between the East and the West. It is known as one of the liveliest, most romantic, and popular cities in Greece.
History of Thessaloniki
From its founder, Cassander, in 316 BC, to the Macedonian Wars, Thessaloniki has a rich history. It was named after Cassander's wife and sister of Alexander the Great. King Alexander made Macedonia known worldwide through his campaigns. In 168 BC, the city was subjected to the Romans. In 50 AD, the Apostle Paul brought the work of Christ to Thessaloniki, considering it the "Golden Gate" for Christianity. Although later expelled by the city's Jews, many had already embraced the principles of Christianity and established the first Christian community. After the sacking of Constantinople in 1204 by the Franks, Thessaloniki followed suit. In 1430, Sultan Murad II seized Thessaloniki, and for two nights, the Turkish army pillaged, killed, and captured the inhabitants.
In 1912, Thessaloniki was liberated. In 1941, the Germans invaded Thessaloniki. The people of Thessaloniki, like the rest of the Greeks, resisted the conquerors. After the city's liberation on October 30, 1944, Thessaloniki entered a period of development.
Beaches in Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki offers some beautiful beaches to enjoy your summer time. Here are some of them:
- Perea: Located approximately 17 kilometers from Thessaloniki, it is a popular destination for those seeking an organized beach. Over time, it has become increasingly well-known and attracts more and more people. Besides swimming, one can enjoy excellent tastes with a sea view and explore the streets of this charming town.
- Epanomi: Located a short distance from Perea, about 25 kilometers south of Thessaloniki, it is a destination that gives you the feeling of being in a distant idyllic place. You can admire the famous shipwreck and explore the vineyards of the area, which are two sights worth seeing.
- Potamos Beach: Very close to Epanomi is Potamos Beach, which serves as the gateway to the Thermaic Gulf and the Aegean Sea. The clean and crystalline waters of Potamos will give you the feeling of being on an island. The beauty of the place has ranked Potamos Beach among the top recommendations for relaxation and recreation.
- Leptokarya: A little more remote from the region, about 97 kilometers from Thessaloniki, is Leptokarya, a picturesque village that you shouldn't miss visiting. It is located in the coastal area of Pieria and has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece in recent years. The area retains its traditional character in the northern part, while in the lower part, you will find many hotels and taverns.
- Plaka Beach: Located at the foot of Mount Olympus in Litochoro, it combines the magic of the sea with the wild beauty of the mountain, creating a unique atmosphere. You can relax on the beautiful sandy beaches and enjoy the picturesque character of the area.
These beaches offer a unique experience for relaxation, swimming, and enjoyable culinary delights. Discover their unique landscapes and enjoy an unforgettable excursion in the Thessaloniki region.
Sights in Thessaloniki
The White Tower is one of the most famous landmarks of Thessaloniki. It was built in the 15th century and originally served as a fortress. Later, during the Ottoman Empire, it was used as a prison. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction. You can climb to the top of the tower to enjoy a unique view of the harbor and the city.
Near the university campus, you will also find the Rotunda and the Arch of Galerius. The Rotunda, standing at 30 meters tall, has gone through various stages of history and has been used as a pagan temple, a Christian church, and a mosque. On the other hand, the Arch of Galerius, built in the 3rd century BC, served as a symbol of victory over the Persians.
The Church of Saint Demetrius is located on the street bearing the same name and holds special significance for the city as it houses the place of martyrdom of its patron saint, Saint Demetrius, during the Roman era. The first church was built around 313 AD when the Edict of Milan allowed Christians to freely honor their fellow citizen, Saint Demetrius. Over the centuries, the church suffered many damages until it was completely destroyed by fire in 1917. Beneath the church, there is a crypt and a space that serves as a museum, where early Christian sculptures from the 5th, 6th, and 7th centuries from the temple, Byzantine sculptures from the 11th to the 14th centuries, and other excavation findings are exhibited. The interior features rich paintings and marble decorations, including intricate column capitals and mosaics depicting Saint Demetrius.
The Upper Town is one of the highlights of Thessaloniki worth visiting. During an uphill walk, you will encounter the most enchanting view of the city. The narrow streets, Ottoman buildings, and traditional cafes create a nostalgic scene that captivates every visitor.
Aristotelous Square, designed in 1918 by architect Ernest Hébrard, is the central point of the city. Stretching from the waterfront to the statue of Eleftherios Venizelos, it is an architectural gem and the heart of the city.
Finally, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is a historic gem that impresses visitors with its ancient artifacts. The museum has been renovated and presents exhibits from the Archaic period to the Hellenistic period, showcasing the rich history of the region.
These attractions collectively offer a captivating journey through the history and charm of Thessaloniki.
How to travel to /from Thessaloniki?
The port of Thessaloniki primarily serves routes to the islands of the Northern Aegean, such as Lesvos, Lemnos, Chios, Samos, and others. It also offers connections to the Sporades islands, including Skiathos, Alonissos, and Skopelos. The ships that approach Thessaloniki mainly operate during the summer season. Specifically, there are daily ferry routes from Skiathos to Thessaloniki throughout the summer. The duration of the journey by a hydrofoil from Skiathos to Thessaloniki is approximately 3 hours.
Some popular ferry routes from Thessaloniki include:
- Ferry routes from Thessaloniki to Lemnos
- Ferry routes from Thessaloniki to Skopelos
- Ferry routes from Thessaloniki to Mytilene (Lesvos)
- Ferry routes from Thessaloniki to Chios
Parking spaces in the center of Thessaloniki.
Parking in Thessaloniki OLTH S.A. successfully operates two modern outdoor parking spaces are located near the commercial center.
- Gate 6 Parking (P2): The parking space next to Gate No. 6 offers 350 parking spaces with an entrance from Kountouriotou Street.
- Passenger Station Parking (P1): The parking space opposite the Passenger Station offers 245 spaces and operates on a 24-hour basis. The entrance to the car parking space is located on Axiou Street, 50 meters away from the Central Gate of the Port. The parking stations operate daily from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM.
At booktickets, you can easily find the ferry routes that interest you and book ferry tickets online at the best prices with all available discounts for both passengers and vehicles!