Ferries serve Chios three times weekly via Limnos and Lesvos five times weekly. One boat weekly continues to Samos. The Dodecanese are also served once weekly, to Kalymnos, then Kos and Rhodes). In summer, two boats weekly serve Iraklio, Crete.
What really enhances Thessaloniki’s hip atmosphere, however, are the enduring symbols of its glorious history, from the White Tower on its café-lined waterfront all the way up to the Byzantine walls, just above the Upper Town (Ano Poli), an enchanting neighbourhood of pretty traditional houses set on winding, peaceful alleyways. Down from them are impressive constructions like the 4th-century Church of Agios Dimitrios (said to be the largest in Greece), the enormous Roman Rotunda, and the sculpted Arch of Galerius in Kamara, thronged with students from Thessaloniki’s universities.
Indeed, Thessaloniki’s multitude of young people gives it a vivacious, stylish mood, which can be felt in its cafés, restaurants and bars, even in its shops and designer hair salons. Still livable and relatively small, Thessaloniki has none of Athens’ opprobrious traffic or smog. True, it’s no budget destination, but Thessaloniki is packed with life and should be on every traveller’s itinerary.
If you’re going to splurge anywhere in Northern Greece, Thessaloniki (thess-ah-lo-nee-kih) is the place to do it. Greece’s second city, and its cultural capital, Thessaloniki lets you indulge in fine food, sinful sweets, ultra-chic shopping, an energetic nightlife and more concerts, parties, art shows and events than you can keep track of.
Thessaloniki is home to many museums, mostly archaeological and ethnographic. The two big archaeological museums are in the city centre, under the OTE Tower at the CHANTH Square.
- Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum. Andronikou st 6.
- Museum of Byzantine Culture. Stratou ave 2. Award-winning museum (2005 - best Museum of Europe).
- Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. Upper side of the Fairground at Egnatia st 154
- Teloglion Foundation of Art . Upperside of the Aristotel University Campus Agiou Dimitriou St.
- Olympic Museum. Tritis Septemvriou & Agiou Dimitriou St. (300 m to the east of Teloglion Foundation of Art).
- Atatürk House. Agiou Dimitriou St.
- Museum at Aghios Demetrios. Agiou Dimitriou St.
- State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki. Kolokotroni 25, Stavroupoli district.
- Museum at the White Tower Platia Lefkou Pyrgou
- Museum of Ancient Greek, Byzantine, and Post Byzantine Musical Instruments. At Katouni 12, in the Ladadika neighbourhood.
- Thessaloniki Museum of Photography. Harbor, Warehouse A.
- Museum of Cinematography in Thessaloniki. Harbor, Warehouse A.
- Museum of Science.
- Folklore and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia and Thrace. Vassilisis Olgas St 68.
- Jewish Museum. Agiou Mina St 13.
- Municipal Gallery of Art. Vassilisis Olgas St 162.
It is also useful to keep an eye on the website Museums of Macedonia that covers the whole region.
The northernmost Byzantine walls of the city and parts of the western walls are still standing, as is the city's symbol - the White Tower, one of the 16th Century. AD fortified towers - which is the only surviving tower on the seafront. The rest of the walls are in the picturesque Upper Town which offers a spectacular view over the bay, especially in the late afternoon. Take a walk along the enormous seafront promenade (about 12 km altogether). See the the Roman Forum excavations.
Visit the upper town for its traditional old houses, small cobbled streets, Byzantine citadel, the Eptapyrgion fort.
The very lively and youth-oriented international film festival is held in November, the International Trade Fair in September.
On no account should you miss the Byzantine churches built between the 5th and 14th century ACE, such as Agios Demetrios, (7th Century. ACE) and Agia Sophia (Holy Wisdome, 9th Century. ACE), and many lovely smaller ones in the upper town (St Nicolaos Orfanos is particularly worth a look for its frescoes), which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. One of them, the Rotunda, started life as a Roman temple of Zeus, built by ceasar Galerius, and is almost as old as the Pantheon in Rome. Next to the Rotunda, see the Arch of Triumph of Galerius and the ruins of his palace.
The Agia Sofia churchThe city is also known as "the mother of Israel", due to the once flourishing Jewish community here, which existed from the Roman period and grew substantially after the Ottoman Empire took in Jewish refugees expelled Spain, Portugal, and Spanish territories in Italy; these Jews are known as "Sephardim". Sephardi Jews formed a significant percentage of the city's population and infrastructure until World War II, when, in spring 1943, almost all were deported by the Nazis to the extermination camp at Auschwitz, never to return. However, there are still two Synagogues, and you can see the Jewish Museum.
Also interesting are the Turkish public baths Bey Hamam, the Bezesteni (Ottoman closed market for jewellery and precious materials) the Alatza Imaret (Ottoman poorhouse) and Hamza Bey Camii (both restored and used for exhibitions).
The traditional central food market, with hundreds of stalls selling meat, fish, fruit, vegetables (sometimes cheek-by-jowl, an unnerving experience for North Americans), cheap clothes and shoes, flowers, herbs and spices, between Aristotele Square and Venizelou street.
Aristotelous Square-the biggest of the city-and the promenade with its cafes and restaurants.