Thessaloniki is a pretty little seaside town located far east of Greece along the bay, beside Turkey with a strong. The city transforms from day to night, from a friendly seaside town with bustling markets, to the locals coming out for a drink or two in modern and hip bars.
Make sure you don’t leave Thessaloniki without checking out the spice markets, meat markets and clothing stalls. They are all located in the same place but separated into sections. Get some of the turkish delight – yum!
Gluten free? Turkish delight – yum yum!
The Modiano Markets have been a part of Thessaloniki for over 80 years, so they really know what they’re doing.
Location: Vasileos Irakliou St and Egnatia Avenue.
Walk everywhere! Otherwise there are buses.
Get bus 79 from the Airport to Thessaloniki city centre – it is 90c per person but make sure you have the exact change as it won’t give you any change back. More information here.
Wow. The selection of bars and cafes here are absolutely amazing. There are far too many for me to recommended however here is a guide to the top 22 cocktail bars in Thessaloniki. They have a modern yet chic feel, very cool vibes. I went to a rooftop bar, a music bar, a cocktail bar and more.
In Thessaloniki, you’ll notice all the cafes are grouped together, all the bars/pubs together in Sigrou and Valeria, and food separate again so don’t be disheartened if you can only find one option in an area – it’s just how they do it! Go for a walk in a different area and you’ll find what you’re looking for.
I stayed at Hotel Nea Metropolis (around 45€ per night for twin room with breakfast included). It is clean and basic, enough if you’re looking for a budget room. There are not many facilities included but it is exactly as pictured. Another budget option is Atlantis – 1 star hotel but a great price, clean and close by.
Gluten Free Food
Katsamaka for a €5 meal consisting of souvlaki and potato, yum! However make sure you tell them NOT to put bread on your plate (because they automatically do). There are lots of gluten free options because Greek food is based around meats and vegetables which makes it extremely easy to find gluten free food. Fish dishes are usually whole fish with salad and chips, souvlaki and stuffed tomatoes are also great choices. Greek salads are always good – however SOMETIMES they add croutons to them, so double check. For dessert you can have turkish delight, homemade rice pudding (one I bought from a store had wheat thickener in it so be careful of those), frozen yogurt, greek yogurt with fruits, creme caramel and panna cotta!
Sit down restaurant meals are offered all along the bay and there are endless options. While we were walking through the town we asked a local for recommendations, and while we were in the nail salon the ladies wrote down some of their favourite places to go.
In Thessaloniki there are 3 party boats to choose from, if you go to the White Tower you will see them all there. They are free to enter but generally require you to buy a drink on board – well worth it! It’s a fun experience, don’t miss this.
My favourite was the most colourful of the three, which we got to sit in the captains pit with and chat to him – merely because it was cold outside and he was kind! My least favourite was the pirate ship – because they actually hassled us to buy a drink instead of making it optional like the first did.
Endless jewellery stores for your eyes to feast on! If you manage to resist leaving Thessaloniki without buying a piece of jewellery here, I will be surprised. There are so many beautiful hand-made pieces so bring some extra spending money.
We felt like treating ourselves and checked out a local salon. The owner Marianna from What’s Nailz welcomed us with open arms telling us stories and chatting away all evening whilst giving the perfect manicure. Great value and a fun experience.
This one is first because it is most important. Even though Thessaloniki is by the sea and a town with generally hot weather, this doesn’t mean they dress to the season. We went out wearing singlets and skirts assuming that because it’s a ‘bay town’ everyone would be dress similarly, but how wrong we were! On Sunday until at least around 2pm no one was wearing their shoulders or legs showing, this is because they all go to Church in the morning. After that it was still just the tourists wearing either their shoulders or legs showing – no locals.
Insiders tip: Do not wear what I am wearing in the first photo, I repeat do not! All of the oldies were cussing at us in Greek, scary experience.
Thessaloniki was a wonderful little getaway from Florence (and everything Italian). I recommend you check it out if you have a few days spare in between travel and are already in the area. It is a modern and young feeling city with a wonderful night scene and beautiful weather.
If you’re interested in travelling to Thessaloniki find out more information and a full city guide at InThessaloniki full city guide website here!
Have you been to Thessaloniki before? What did you think of it as a city? Where were your favourite places to go?