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Best things to do in Thessaloniki

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Greece  /  Central Macedonia  /  Thessaloniki Region  /  Thessaloniki

Top 15 things to do in Thessaloniki

1. Hagios Demetrios

Dedicated to the patron saint of Thessaloniki, represents one of the city's most recognizable Byzantine structures. Designated as a World Heritage Site, the church was built when Thessaloniki was one of the urban centers in the Byzantine Empire. Admire well-preserved mosaic panels from the 8th century, which depict scenes from Saint Demetrius' life and are rare examples of religious art from the so-called
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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2. Aristotelous Square

The city's main plaza, Aristotelous Square is well known for the important political speeches and rallies that took place on-site over the years. The plaza was constructed in 1918 following the destruction of much of Thessaloniki during the Great Fire of 1917. However, when you visit, many of the buildings you'll see are from the 1950s. Head to the bustling square to get a coffee from one of the many cafes and people-watch, or watch one of the cultural events that take place here often. Check online to see if any special festivals or markets line up with your schedule.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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3. Museum of Byzantine Culture

Preserving the Byzantine heritage of the region, Museum of Byzantine Culture provides insight into the cultural influences on Greece. The galleries are filled with gold-plated religious artifacts representing the Orthodox roots that continue to play an important role in Greek traditions. Almost 3,000 artifacts date from the early Christian period to after the Ottoman Empire. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits in the large galleries, such as the displays showcasing ancient documents or modern photography. Visit the attraction's website for a list of exhibits or to see a schedule of classes available as part of the educational program.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. White Tower of Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki's most recognizable landmark, White Tower of Thessaloniki is as enigmatic as it is photogenic. The precise date of the tower's construction remains disputed, though many historians now believe the Ottomans erected this structure shortly after the army of Sultan Murad II captured the city in 1530. Possibly designed by architect Mimar Sinan (who made his name building similar structures in other Ottoman territories), the tower probably replaced a pre-existing Byzantine building. Photographed from every angle, the image of the cylindrical tower has found its way on every type of souvenir, becoming the quintessential symbol of the city. Learn about the colorful history of this part of Greece by visiting the museum housed inside.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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5. Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki

Deepen your knowledge of Greek history at Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, which houses a vast collection of artifacts unearthed in Macedonia. Visit the ground-floor galleries to see sculptures created between the Archaic and the Roman periods. As you explore this section of the museum, you can also examine ritual objects from ancient cemeteries and reconstructions of facades found on Macedonian tombs. Leave time for the museum's star attraction, a large wing dedicated to the Macedonian use of gold. The permanent exhibit features ancient jewelry, ceremonial vessels, and coins. Check the website for opening hours, tickets, and downloadable booklets.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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6. Spas

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. Church of Agios Nikolaos Orphanos

The Church of Saint Nicholas Orphanos is an early 14th-century Byzantine church in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.LocationThe church is located in the northeastern corner of the old city, just inside the eastern wall, between the Irodotou and Apostolou Pavlou streets.History and descriptionThe church's name, "Saint Nicholas the Orphan", is first attested in the 17th and 18th centuries, and presumably refers to its otherwise unknown ktetor (founder). From its interior decoration, the building is dated to the period 1310–1320. The church originally formed part of a monastery, traces of which (remnants of a gate) survive to the east.The church was originally built as a simple, single-aisled edifice with a wooden gabled roof. Later, aisles were added on three sides. They form an ambulatory, under whose floor several graves have been found. The masonry features irregular layers of brick and stone, with a few ceramics on the eastern side and brick decoration on the eastern and western sides. In the interior, the central aisle is connected to the others with double openings decorated with reused late antique capitals. The church's original marble templon survives.The church is most notable for its frescoes, contemporary with the church's construction, which cover almost the entire interior surface. The frescoes are an example of the Thessalonican school at the height of the "Palaiologan Renaissance", and their creator may be the same who decorated the Hilandar monastery in Mount Athos in 1314. The church has been linked to the Serbian king Stephen Uroš II Milutin (r. 1282–1321), who is known to have sponsored churches in the city, on account of the depiction in the main aisle of St George Gorgos, the Serbian ruler's patron saint, and of St. Clemens of Ohrid, a favourite motif of the Serbian churches.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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10. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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11. Museum of the Royal Tombs of Aigai (Vergina), Vergina

See the tombs of Macedonian kings, including Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, at Museum of the Royal Tombs of Aigai (Vergina), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built around an ancient burial ground inside a large earth mound, the museum is uniquely constructed to protect the tombs while exhibiting artifacts and showing the burial ground as it was before the excavations. Explore the four tombs and artifacts on display, and don't miss the only surviving examples of ancient Greek painting; one depicts the rape of Persephone and the other a hunting scene. The site is accessible via car and bus, but be sure to check bus timetables prior to your departure. Note that photography is not permitted inside the museum.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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13. Church of St.Sophia

Church of St.Sophia represents one of the city's most important ancient religious structures, whose historical and architectural significance has earned it a place on the World Heritage List. Although the current building--based on Istanbul's Ayia Sofia--was erected in the 8th century CE, a church has stood at this location since the 3rd century CE. Its rich and varied history includes a period as the cathedral of Thessaloniki and several centuries where it served as a mosque. Tour the dark interior to discover relics from each iteration, including centuries-old mosaics, icons, and chandeliers. This is an active church, and services are still held here today; check online for details.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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14. Nea Paralia

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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