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Thessaloniki Among Best World Destinations to Visit in 2023

Thessaloniki White Tower
The emblematic White Tower in Thessaloniki. Credit: Greek Reporter

Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, is among the best destinations to visit in 2023, CNN travel experts recently said.

There’s been no shortage of reasons to visit Greece’s second city in recent times, with a UNESCO-endorsed local food scene that recently celebrated the refurb and reopening of its century-old Modiano food market.

Thessaloniki has for centuries been a crossroads of flavors and cultures and has always been referred to as the country’s gastronomic capital. It recently became the first Greek city to join UNESCO’s Network of Gastronomy, and is recognized for its rich culinary traditions, vibrant gastronomic community, and delightful local delicacies.

Thessaloniki is also indisputably number one when it comes to Greek sweets. Tsoureki, Bougatsa, Trigona Panoramatos, and Syropiasta are the most famous of the northern city’s delectable sweet treats.

Thessaloniki: The Undisputed Capital of Greek Sweets. Image: Trigona Panoramatos—crisp phyllo filled with cream is a specialty of Thessaloniki. Credit: Greek Reporter

Throw in a popular waterfront and proximity to beautiful beaches and inland mountains, and Thessaloniki is surely a contender for one of Europe’s best city-break destinations, CNN says.

The city’s stunning historic waterfront is perfect for evening strolls and daytime exploration.

Don’t forget to stop and admire Thessaloniki’s famous White Tower and grab some snacks from street vendors.

Currently, the monument is home to a museum that lays out the history of Thessaloniki. Visitors can climb up the Tower’s winding stairs until they reach its fascinating exhibition space.

You can also climb aboard one of Thessaloniki’s floating bars and cruise the Gulf of Thermaikos while enjoying the company of your friends and loved ones.

Near Thessaloniki are some of the best beaches in Greece located in Halkidiki. Made up of three peninsulas, Halkidiki is the perfect place to relax in the summertime, offering many opportunities for those who prefer to vacation in quieter, more natural surroundings.

Lagomandra Beach in Halkidiki
Halkidiki has long been famed for its beautiful natural landscapes, outstanding seaside resorts, and exotic beaches. Credit: vujas, CC BY-SA 3.0

Thessaloniki Metro and ancient discoveries

Long defined by the number “2,” Thessaloniki, which was the second largest city in the Byzantine Empire and the second busiest port in the Ottoman Empire, is currently the second largest city in Greece.

For centuries, its importance and wealth have derived from its location in the far northeastern corner of the Thermaic Gulf of the Aegean Sea.

All being well, November 2023 should see the opening of the main metro line of an infrastructure megaproject that will eventually connect the city’s downtown to its international airport.

antiquities Thessaloniki
Antiquities discovered around the construction site of the new Thessaloniki Metro will be displayed at the station. Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

Driverless trains will whisk passengers through tunnels whose excavation has added to Thessaloniki’s already rich catalog of archeological discoveries, many of which will be on display in specially created museum stations.

The first such museum station will be at the Venizelos Station, where ancient objects dating back to the Roman and Byzantine periods from between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD will be displayed.

A large number of coins were discovered, together with many items of pottery, as well as glass, iron, bronze, marble, and bone finds.

“Thessaloniki, at the end of 2023, will have an extensive archaeological site integrated into the metro station system,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni recently said. “What we are doing shows our respect for the past, present and future of the city and its citizens.”

Experience Thessaloniki’s incredible nightlife

Thessaloniki has some of the most prestigious and largest universities in the country. Thanks in part to its huge student population, the city has some of the greatest nightlife in the Balkans as well.

Whether you want a cozy night out at a small bar along Nikis Boulevard, prefer barhopping on Valaoritou and Syngrou, or want to go dancing all night at Mylos Warehouse, Thessaloniki has something for everyone.

The neighborhood of Ladadika has become very popular in recent years as a local hangout spot, though the area was originally home to commercial facilities.

The old spaces have been turned into trendy bars and restaurants where the city’s young people often hang out.

For another great hangout spot for the young, check out the area around Rotunda and Aristotelous Square.

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