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Thessaloniki: The City of Museums - Entertainment




The OTE TV Tower in the centre of the city has a revolving restaurant, which offers panoramic views across the city. The seaside promenade is home to many cafés, restaurants and shops, whilst Aristotelous Square, which runs from the seafront to the Church of Panayia Halkeion is a living architectural museum of some of the city’s old merchant mansions, many of which are now exclusive boutiques and hotels. At the northerly end of the square there is an attractive park and close by lies Thessaloníki's busy central market, a veritable hive of activity as locals go about purchasing their meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. The market also contains hundreds of stalls selling cheap clothing and shoes, flowers, herbs and spices.

Eating, Drinking and Where to Stay

Thessaloníki is a renowned gourmet city amongst Greek nationals. It is filled with lots of small cafes and restaurants selling tasty local specialities and cheap ouzo. If you’re feeling peckish try a savoury or sweet Bougatsa pie or a Soutzoukakia, which consists of grilled balls of minced meat topped with chilli pepper. The city is home to many ouzeris, which are restaurants specializing in the national Greek drink, ouzo. The best of these are Agora, Odos Aristotelous, Vrotos, and Bit-Pazar. The Greeks say you should eat a selection of small dishes with your ouzo. There are some notably good Cretan restaurants in the city; the Myrsini at the back of the State Theatre and Apo Dyo Horia are worth a try. In these restaurants the Turkish spirit Raki is the main tipple.

Thessaloníki is home to some ultra trendy bars particularly on the seafront and in the old town. There are also some great bars and nightclubs at the eastern end of the city in the Krini and Ladadika districts. Students hang out in Kamara round the Arch of Galeriusand this area is home to many cheaper bars and cafes. During the summer the harbor area is filled with “floating bars.” They are a great way to see the Gulf of Thessaloniki whilst enjoying some great ethnic music and a glass of ouzo.

The city has much to offer in the way of accommodation, but it does get crowded during the summer months and it is best to visit out of season or else to book in advance. The El Greco Hotel offers comfortable three star accommodations in the centre of the city close to Aristotelous Square. The Hotel Philippion offers four star accommodation right in the centre of the lush, forested Seich-Sou Park and provides some splendid views over the city and towards the bay. The stunning Hotel Byzantio is located on the West Peripheral and is surrounded by greenery and mountains. It lies close to the water mills and is a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty surrounding this wonderful city.

Photographs courtesy of AJ Alfieri-Crispin and Marietta Sopiadou