Thessaloniki 101: explore 10 interesting things to do

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Explore and experience Thessaloniki as a local by trying some of the following activities.

Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece and a really historical one, too, has always been attracting young people either for studies or vacation. Undoubtedly, the beauty, the life-style and the numerous appealing activities and places to visit have been making Thessaloniki irresistibly interesting for young people. That said, let’s see some of the best and coolest things to do in the city if you’re coming as a visitor or a potential new resident.

  1. Try an open-air cinema!

What could possibly be a better idea for a date or a chill night out, especially during the summer period, rather than going to an open-air cinema for a movie? In Thessaloniki there are many gardens or terraces that are used as open-air cinemas, where you can watch a variety of classic, adventurous and cultural movies. Some of the most popular ones are Apollon, Ellinis and Natalie where you can also feel the summer breeze because of its position right next to the beach of the city. 

Natalie open-air cinema.

2. Go for a picnic at Pasha’s Gardens!

As many of us can see, especially after the Covid-19 quarantine, picnics are starting to be the new trend, because they combine both having fun with your friend group and being outdoors, in touch with the nature! One of the greatest places to have a picnic in Thessaloniki is Passa’s Garden, which is a huge area filled with grass, trees and little alleys right next to the Old Town(or else Ano Poli which is traslated as Upper Town) and the Castle of Thessaloniki, also known as Heptapyrgion or Yedi Kule. There you have an amazing view of almost the whole city and you can also watch one of the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises! It’s also an amazing place for pet-owners or even pet-lovers as there is plenty of space for your pet to run, play and meet new friends.

3. Have lunch at a taverna or a tsipouradiko!

Greece in general is well known for its tavernas and tsipouradika, as the local ones call them. Especially during spring and summer time the Greek families and friend groups go out, mostly early in the afternoon, to drink traditional ouzo and tsipouro and taste the well-known mezedes! Thessaloniki has a great variety of these traditional and atmospheric places that reflect the Greek lifestyle and culture. More specifically, in the Upper Town and Castra of Thessaloniki you can find numerous little, cheap and beautiful places to enjoy traditional food and drinks with your company on a sunny Sunday. Just a few suggestions are Pasha’s House, Tsinari and Prytanio where you can have a taste of the Greek culture.

4. Enjoy a drink at the local bars or clubs!

It is common knowledge that Greek people, among other Europeans, know how to have fun and party all night! Thessaloniki, as the “co-capital” of Greece (as it is also called among Greeks), for sure has a lot of interesting and special bars where you can enjoy signature and classic beers or drinks. Some of them are Crocodilos, where you can find one of the biggest beer varieties in the city, Fiera, The Pulp Bar and Elephantas– each one of them is in a different area of the city! On the other hand, if you want to party and experience the Greek nightlife, you should visit Ladadika and the around area where you can find different clubs or outdoors street parties during the spring and summer time. Some of the best signature street outdoors parties of the city are happening at Potokafeneio Niki, Romantzo and La Doze

5. Have fun at a local bowling/ping-pong/snooker place!

If you want to try something different but fun for a night-out with friends, you should definitely try one of the bowling places in Thessaloniki, where you can also find ping-pong and snooker tables to extend the fun! These games are common for big friend groups in Greece, because they give each one of them the chance to have fun at the same time. You can also combine your game with a beer or a drink and snacks! Some of the best places to visit are Login, right in the city center, Café Juris and Ten Pin bowling.

6. Enjoy a romantic sunset or sunrise with a view!

Now let’s continue with something more romantic and intimate. In Thessaloniki, a city having different levels and being located right next to the sea, you can find a variety of view spots to enjoy the sunset or the sunrise. The photos you could take there are beautiful and could make an amazing postcard or wallpaper. Some of the nicest spots to visit are: the harbor of the city, where you have a beautiful sea view, Castra or the castle of Thessaloniki, which is one of the highest places of the city and you can see almost every edge of it and the hill of Toumpa, where you can enjoy an amazing view of the city, too. Finally, you could also buy a ticket to go up at the White Tower and enjoy the view of both the sea and the city! Keep in mind that at some national celebrations and on the 1st  Sunday of every month (during the winter time) you can visit the White Tower and all of the museums for free.

7. Pay a visit at the Dali Cybernetics-Immersive Experience!

This amazing exhibition, after already taking place in London, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Berlin and other cities, has finally come to Thessaloniki since the end of March 2024. The exhibition is happening in the Warehouse C of the port of Thessaloniki and you can book your tickets here . Spoiler alert: among the things that you will witness are immersive experience, virtual reality, interactive games and a documentary projection about the life of Salvador Dali. Having said all these, there’s a really strong recommendation to pay a visit to the exhibition which will be taking place until the middle of July!

8. Explore the MOMus!

If you are a fan of the arts, then MOMus would be a great experience during your visit in Thessaloniki. MOMus- The Metropolitan Organization of fine arts Museum of Thessaloniki- is the result of a merger among four museums/art spaces in Thessaloniki, as well as one in Athens. In Thessaloniki you could find the Modern Art museum, the Contemporary Art museum, the museum of Photography and the Experimental arts center. The common and long-term goal of all these departments has always been the management of modern art in the city of Thessaloniki and the country in general. As one could easily find in their website, you can enjoy a great variety of different selections, exhibitions and events during whichever period of the year. Their cheap tickets and everyday access have been an irresistible attraction for young people and art lovers over the last few years! 

9. Discover the special thrift stores of the city!

The increasing and consistent opposition to fast fashion and the capitalistic society on behalf of young people, has led to thrift stores and thrift fashion in general becoming the new trend! In Thessaloniki you can find a great amount of thrift and vintage stores, where there are special pieces of clothes, shoes and accessories. Each one of these places are unique and have their special identity which makes them must-visit places in the city. Some of the most interesting ones are: 90’s closet, which also organizes bazaar days every month, Elephant Gang, where you can thrift different branded pieces and V for Vintage, where there are cheap clothes and accessories from the ‘60s till the ‘90s. You can find a more detailed and specific description of 90’s closet in this article of our blog!

10. Attempt a 60 minutes getaway from Thessaloniki!

Although Thessaloniki is beautiful and full of interesting activities to try, it still remains a big urban center that sometimes makes you have the need of a getaway. On the other hand, if you are visiting the city for a short period of time you may want to explore some nearby areas. In just a 60 minutes car ride from Thessaloniki you can find a great variety of magical, natural and historical places. Some of the must-visit places are:

Mount Olympus: No recommendations are needed for the legendary residence of the 12 Gods and the highest mountain top of the country. The small town of Litochoro, which is located at the foot of the mountain, is at a distance of only one and half hour from Thessaloniki. There you can hike and enjoy the beautiful landscape and if you are interested in an one-night stay, you can visit the shelter at the mountaintop and try different activities like mountain biking.

Halkidiki’s beaches: Halkidiki is the most common and popular getaway destination for the local ones, because there you can find amazing beaches with green-blue water. In the first two “legs” of Halkidiki, as the locals call them, you can visit the traditional villages and the magical beaches that are suitable for both families with young children and groups of young people. Halkidiki is also known for its numerous restaurants, cafeterias and clubs, as the nightlife of the area is a great attraction for young people.

The lake Kerkini: Being located a little further than the previous destinations, lake Kerkini is an amazing choice of destination for adventurous travelers. It is considered to be a protected wetland and one of the most important European ecosystems. You will be surprised by the flora and the fauna of the area, as well as from the great variety of outdoor activities you can experience like hiking, horse riding, canoeing and biking.

Well, now you have every tip you need to feel like a local in Thessaloniki. Explore every different and exciting option that the city is providing you and hopefully you will have an amazing time!

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