What To Do In Thessaloniki For 2 Days: An Itinerary By A Local
You only have 2 days to spend in beautiful Thessaloniki and you feel that it is not enough?
Well, let’s be honest the more time you can spend here, the better! But we have for you a full itinerary for 2 days, with all the absolutely must-see and must-do during your stay in the city.
How to get to Thessaloniki:
Thessaloniki is easily accessible by all means of transport.
- The most convenient way is by airplane through Macedonia International Airport, which is located 16 km from the city center.
- By train – which connects Thessaloniki with the whole of mainland Greece. The Railway Station is located on Monastiriou street in the city center.
- By bus, through the Intercity Bus Station KTEL “Macedonia”
- By car
- By ship, through the port of Thessaloniki, which is one of the most important ports of southeastern Europe.
Where to stay in Thessaloniki:
The most convenient place for you to stay is definitely the city center. Thessaloniki is a really easy city to walk in, so by staying downtown, you will have the chance to discover the city on foot and admire the beautiful narrow streets and picturesque parks. Here are some suggestions of hotels in Thessaloniki:
- Electra Palace Hotel, located in the heart of the city center in Aristotelous square. The building is one of the city’s architectural gems because of the emblematic Byzantine inspired facade and its view of the Thermaic Gulf.
- The Excelsior Hotel. This is a 5 stars boutique hotel, located in a recently renovated building from 1924 at 11 Komninon street.
- The Met Hotel, is located next to the new harbor area at 48, 26th Oktovriou street. This is a luxurious hotel that can cover all your needs that also serves as an art gallery as sculptures and art paintings decorate the place.
- Nikopolis Hotel. If you want to avoid the city center, this is your choice. Nikopolis hotel is a 5 star Boutique City Resort just 8 km away from the city center and 3 km from the airport “Macedonia”.
Day 1 – Historical Center of Thessaloniki
Dedicate your first day here to the history-rich sights and attractions of the city. Beginning the day with a nice breakfast or brunch at Spoon, grab a take away coffee and go towards the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki at 6 Manoli Andronikou Street.
The museum is the central museum of northern Greece and is open everyday from 8.00 till 20.00 o’clock. The exhibits of the museum come from excavations conducted throughout Macedonia since 1912, along with handed-in antiquites. The collections of the museum cover the entire history of ancient Macedonia from prehistoric times to late antiquity. Besides the permanent collections, there are various temporary exhibitions.
Once you are done with the Archeological Museum, walk towards Stratou Avenue to find the Museum of Byzantine Culture. Get to know the glory of the Byzantine Empire through the more than 46,000 ancient monuments and pieces of contemporary and modern art. The collections of the museum focus on the early Christian, Byzantine, medieval and post-Byzantine periods in northern Greece and on the modern era with subjects related to the Byzantine and Christian art.
After that, walk towards the sea and you will find yourself in front of the famous White Tower of Thessaloniki. Climbing up the six floors, the history of the city is slowly revealed in front of your eyes through the exhibitions on each floor. The exhibitions cover the history and monuments of the city, as well as the way the city has been transformed through the years, the cultural elements that are unique to Thessaloniki and how commerce through the port brought with it different flavours. Reach the top of the tower or the balcony, as it is called, and admire the breathtaking city view from up there.
With your head full of historical facts and new knowledge, you must feel hungry. In Ladadika district there are many restaurants to satisfy your cravings for a delicious Greek meal. Choose from the many options and enjoy the Greek hospitality while relaxing with a nice glass of wine. At 3 Katouni street you will find Foul tou Meze Restaurant. Here you can try both meat and fish dishes, as well as a great variety of Greek cheeses from the whole coutry.
In the afternoon, go for a walk at the beautiful port of Thessaloniki, where young and old relax by the sea. Inside the warehouse, industrial-looking area of the port, you will come across Kitchen Bar. A coffee spot that aims to provide visitors with aromatic coffee, hearty brunch and quality meal options for your dinner. Give it a try!
In the evening, visit Valaoritou street, where there are plenty of bars, bistros and clubs for your entertainment. One of the many things that Thessaloniki is famous for is its nightlife. During the summer season, the perfect way to end your day is by enjoying a refreshing cocktail at one of the many rooftop bars of the city. Vanilla World Sky Bar is the ideal place for that. It’s perfect, minimal, decorations are based on white colors and sea views and make you feel like you are in a Cycladic island smelling the sea breeze.
Day 2 – Upper Town
On your second day to the city you can discover the most colorful neighborhood of Thessaloniki, Ano Poli or Upper Town as is the english translation. This is also one of the oldest parts of the city; with many stories to tell from the Byzantine years, to the Ottoman occupation until today.
First stop will be at the Little Big House, for the much-needed dose of breakfast and caffeine. This place is actually a hostel, but in the terrace of the building a sweet little cafe operates, with a variety of Greek delicacies and comfort food.
After you have fueled body and mind with the appropriate amount of energy, you are ready to take a walk through the Byzantine Walls of the city and get to know its history. The walls were originally constructed after the foundation of the city in the late 4th century BC, but the remaining part of the walls date back to the early Byzantine years. They were 7 kilometers long, at some points up to 10 meters high, and almost 5 meters thick. The walls of Thessaloniki are listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The fortification of the city also includes the Seven Towers Fortress (Heptapirgion) and the Tower of Trigonion, which served as a prison during the Ottoman occupation.
Going down to Agiou Dimitriou street, you will find in front of you the emblematic church of Saint Demetrius, protector of the city. Visit the church and the catacombs beneath the temple so you can admire the byzantine-style architecture of the church and learn about the impact that religion has in everyday life.
Crossing Agiou Dimitriou street, you will find the house where Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern-day Turkey, was born. Today, the building serves as the Turkish Consulate and as a museum dedicated to Ataturk.
Afterwards, give yourself some time to stroll around the beautiful narrow streets with the colorful little houses side by side and find the perfect spot to take some photos. The place is full of lovely cafes and taverns, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or refreshment and take in the view of the city and maybe even Mount Olympus, if the weather is clear. Wait till the afternoon so that you can see the sun dive in the sea right in front of you.
In the evening, head down to number 3 Agiou Nikolaou street, to find the Aigli Geni Hamam bar-restaurant. This building is another Ottoman landmark that dates back to the late 16th century. Until 1912, it operated as a classic Ottoman Hamam. Nowadays, you can enjoy your coffee, meal and cocktails in the same building. Its interior design retains the oriental feel of the previous era, making it an ideal location for a night out. The best part of this bar-restaurant is the colourful backyard surrounded by trees and flowers. Its is the perfect way to end your 2-days trip in Thessaloniki.
Certainly two days are not enough for you to see and experience all the aspects of a city. The more time you have here, the more you can discover the treasures of the lovely Thessaloniki. The great advantage is that the city center is easily walkable. That means that the distance from one place to another is short, making it easy to visit more places on foot.
- We hope this 2 day itinerary in Thessaloniki has given you an idea of the things you can see and discover in the second largest city of Greece. Do you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in the blog? Let us know in the comments below!
Hello! My name is Erilda Goga, but they all call me Eri and I am living in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. Although not my actual hometown, Greece has stolen my heart and made me feel like home for the past 20 years. I am a recent graduate of International and European Studies Department with interests in politics, human rights, books, and travelling. Travelling through Europe made me want to learn more about other cultures and more important made me appreciate even more the beauties of Greece.