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City of Thessaloniki - Part 3 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

Lately, the Thessaloniki Film Festival has been gaining more and more attention and attracting film-makers from all over the world. Thessaloniki has a water park, a zoo and a magic park which you can read about at Thessaloniki Amusements. It is also the home to one of the two major malls in Greece though getting there can be a problem since it is outside of town in the semi-industrial commercial wasteland, the kind of area you find outside of most cities but more chaotic with factories and highways mixed with olive groves and sheep and road signs that give you conflicting information.

If you have a few days to spare and you like cities then come to Thessaloniki. Take a visit to Pella, the birthplace of Alexander the Great. Visit the nearby beaches or wander around the city and see the Archeology museum which is according to many travel guides is one of the best in the world. But be sure to save enough time to the cafes, restaurants, bars and ouzeries of the city where you will really feel the flavour of life in what is surely one of the most interesting and hippest places in Europe. Ouzeries and mezedopoulions like Zythos and my favourite Foul Tou Meze are among the best in Greece. For those who find Greek food bland you will be pleased to find the cuisine of Thessaloniki a bit spicier. Thessaloniki is also a paradise for shoppers blessed with lots of shops, markets, bars and coffee houses to suit all budgets and tastes. Virtually every side street veers off to locate some Greek delicacy from pastries to the artwork. Interesting shops include Micro Extreme, a skateboard and snowboard shop.

Three words to describe Thessaloniki, welcoming, vibrant and Byzantine. I would recommend first-time visitors start with a walk along the coast, from historic White Tower to the harbour, where there are plenty of places to enjoy a coffee or a variety of Mediterranean dishes at one of the new wave restaurants overlooking the sea. It is really a calm place to people watch. For a unique place to stay right at the heart of the city book a night at Passer Domesticus. It’s a beautifully decorated apartment in a refurbished two-storey shop from 1924 with the storefront still intact, near the Bedesten, the 15th-century fabric market, and a six-minute walk from Aristotelous square. For breakfast grab a bougatsa traditional filo pastry filled with custard cream, at Neon close by Frangon Street.

Another place worth visiting is Ergon Agora, inside a former cinema you will discover a bakery, butcher and plus a hip restaurant serving Greek cuisine, a brunch feast on warm breads and Greek fava puree.

The 4km promenade commands fantastic views over the deep blue Aegean and a clear day you can see Mount Olympus. Heading East from Aristotelous square you will pass the 16th century White Tower and a bronze equestrian statue of Alexander the Great. The promenade then veers south passing the Umbrellas installation by a Greek artist to Thessaloniki Concert Hall.

Thessaloniki is also well known for its nightlife, famous Greek singers are hosted in several halls, called Bouzoukia where visitors can enjoy music, food and entertainment till late hours.

Halkidiki is another famous area of Thessaloniki offering an amazing beach for sea lovers, with plenty spa resorts and hotels. One of the 5-star resorts is Pomegranate Wellness Spa. This is regarded as one of the best new hotels all over Greece, opened originally in 2014 it is a 5-star resort with intimate settings for its luxury services and unrivalled amenities.

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