This package offers the best of the city’s culture and culinary tradition.
From the city’s most famous landmark the White Tower to a wealth of Byzantine churches, a Turkish hammam and crumbling Jewish synagogue, Thessaloniki offers layers upon layers of history and culture. With its cosmopolitan past and foodie flair Thessaloniki rightfully claims to be the gourmet capital of Greece. Its food tradition derived from a patchwork of influences, Greek, Turkish and Jewish, to name but a few, blends successfully to climax of palate pleasure.
Just a leisurely stroll around town, will uncover colourful markets selling everything from food and spices to flowers and bric-a-brac
Your three and a half hour culinary tour starts with a tasting of a Greek breakfast and an introduction to the culinary history of the area and then a walk to the historical center of the city with 6 tasting stops.
Savour the mouthwatering pastries at traditional patisseries or join the locals in the evening at a café while they mull over philosophy and politics and football with glasses of ouzo and accompanying meze dishes. Listen to live traditional Greek music or relax at a waterfront or the Electra Palace rooftop bar gazing at the sea.
Stay at the 5 star Electra Palace hotel in the heart of the city and pamper yourself in luxury
Transfer to Electra Palace hotel
Free to explore this vibrant city
10.00 Walking culinary tour of Thessaloniki’s food scene (lunch optional)
Return to hotel and maybe explore the nearby markets Explore the night scene.
Private car transfer to the airport for your return flight
Price from £419.00 per person
Extend your stay at £85 per person per night
Hotel is subject to availability at the time of booking
Formerly the co-capital of the Byzantine Empire, Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece. Located in Northern Greece it’s surrounded by low hills facing the Thermaikos Gulf with a busy port complimented by a beautiful waterfront promenade.
As you’d expect of a city that has maintained a continuous history of 3,000 years Thessaloniki is a city of great culture and many museums. Today it’s also a very modern place to visit and known as much for its nightlife, its shopping and its food as its ancient monuments. It is home to many a Greek poet, writer, musician and philosopher as well as being the birthplace of Alexander the Great.
With its combination of ancient ruins and the modern buildings locals claim cosmopolitan Thessaloniki is more attractive than the actual capital of Greece – we’ll let you visit both and decide for yourself! Sometimes referred to as the Jewel of the North the city doesn't have many high rise buildings which is great for visitors and residents alike as there are sea views all around. You’ll find a lively café culture with many of the tavernas, bars and restaurants around the two main squares that sit on the waterfront.
All in all it’s a great place to come and visit with a great choice of accommodation options, sea views, beautiful old buildings, landmarks, Byzantine churches and so much more – a different place to explore, discover and enjoy.
If you’ve seen photographs of Thessaloniki you’ll have noticed the famous White Tower. Built as a replacement for an older Byzantine tower as part of the walls, it now stands alone on the waterfront as the city's most famous landmark
In fact the city dates back much further into time and was founded in the area where ancient Therme stood by King Kassandros in 315 BC. He named the city after his wife, who was a relation of Alexander the Great. By the 2nd century BC the city had become a protected city with walls around it. Like most of Greece, Thessaloniki has been home to many different civilisations due to its strategic position and a port that provides access to the Aegean and Eastern trade. Its cultural influences encompass Turkish, Jewish, Serbian, Ottoman, Byzantine and Roman as well as classical Greek.
The Romans took over in 168 BC when the Kingdom of Macedon fell, taking advantage of the position of the city to connect trading routes between Turkey and Albania as well as facilitating trade with Asia. They built the famous 'Burrowed Harbour' that accommodated all trade up until the 18th century.
In 379, during the Byzantine Era, Thessaloniki became second only to Constantinople in importance in this part of the world. However it was also subjected to a lot of violence including invasion by the Slavs and other invaders which led to the slaughter of its inhabitants. The city was only restored during the gradual recovery of Byzantine power during the 10th, 11th and 12th Century, when a strong Jewish community re-established itself.
After flourishing financially as well as culturally under Byzantine rule Thessaloniki moved into the hands of the Latin Empire in 1204 then changed hands between the Latin Empire, the Greeks, the Bulgarians and then back to the Byzantine Empire all between 1204 and 1246. The upheaval did not affect the growth of the city which instead obtained a great intellectual and artistic reputation.
Thessaloniki was not left alone for long and was ruled by the Zealot Social Movement who introduced progressive social ideas. The Byzantine Empire finally let go of the city in 1423 when they sold it to the Venetians who lost it again after 7 years to the Ottoman Empire after a siege of 3 days. During the Ottoman rule the Muslims in the City eventually outnumbered the Greeks and the Jewish community grew significantly.
Thessaloniki again became one of the most important cities in the area.
During the early 1900s a lot of Bulgarians moved into Thessaloniki and it became a hub for their political and cultural activity. The Ottoman Empire eventually gave in to the Greek army in 1912 during the first Balkan War. In 1913 after the second Balkan War Thessaloniki was named an integral city of Greece following the signing of the Treaty of Bucharest.
In 1917 Thessaloniki was badly burned in what is now known as the 'Great Thessaloniki Fire' which set alight thousands of homes, leaving 72,000 people homeless. Many Greeks then returned to the city for refuge from Asia Minor. Thessaloniki suffered hugely from bombings during the Second World War although the city recovered and was rebuilt quickly, leading it to eventually become the wonderful city where evidence of all the people that came through this area still survives today.
You can see the White Tower by walking along the waterfront but we suggest that you go up to its rooftop cafe for a coffee or cocktail whilst enjoying a panoramic view of the city. You can also wander into the Museum within the Tower that houses artefacts from 300 AD to 1500 AB.
The Arch, located in the Historical part of Thessaloniki, was built in 305 AD to celebrate the defeat of the Persians. Originally an eight pillared gateway sadly only two archways now remain. The Rotanda, just 100 metres or so from The Arch, is a circular Church originally built in 306 AD as a mausoleum for the Emperor Galerius but then used as a Church embellished with lovely mosaics. The original Greek Marketplace (Agora) became a Roman Forum and is located close to the Dikasterion Square. It has an incredibly well preserved theatre still used for the occasional summer production.
Take the time to go up and visit the 'Ano Poli' (upper town) or Old Town. It is a vantage point for magnificent views and, as it was not destroyed by the famous fire in 1917, is the Heritage listed area of Thessaloniki. It has cobblestone streets, old squares, lovely little tavernas, old Greek and Ottoman Houses and is surrounded by the city's remaining walls. You can also access the Seich Sou Forest National Park from there. Wander up to the top of this city's Acropolis and enjoy some time in Old Thessaloniki with endless views of the Gulf and, if you are lucky, views of Mount Olympus 77kms away and rising to almost 3,000 metres.
Thessaloniki has numerous wonderful churches, both big and small, that were constructed during various different Eras. Many of the Churches are found in the 'Ano Poli' and the most important include:
The Archaeological Museum is considered among the best in Europe and houses a huge collection of artefacts and incredible treasures. You can see the Tomb of Alexander the Great's father, exquisite mosaics, the only fully intact papyrus in Greece from the 3rd Century and various other great items.
The Museum of Byzantine Culture has a permanent collection of items that show what the culture and art was like during the Byzantine Era. It also holds temporary exhibitions.
The Museum of Contemporary Art was established Museum in 1997 to house a permanent exhibition of the George Costakis collection which consists mainly of Russian Avant-Grade works. The Museum also houses Temporary exhibitions and provides educational programs.
The Municipal Art Gallery of Thessaloniki exhibition is housed in a beautiful Edectic Style House and includes 1,000 or so works and they regularly have other exhibitions. It is located in a wonderful part of Thessaloniki with old buildings which are well worth walking around.
130 kms from Thessaloniki the Holy Sanctuary of Mount Athos is only open to male visitors. However if you would like to take a step back in time and stay in one of the most scenic places in Europe this is the place to visit. The Monastaries resemble castles in their enormity and structure. They have libraries, gorgeous frescoes and mosaics, amazing seashore and incredible gardens. Best of Greece can arrange for a visit to the Mount monasteries, given six months’ notice in order to pre-arrange the issue of visas and make travelling arrangements.
At Vergina you’ll find a small cluster of archaeological sites including a palace, a theatre and hundreds of burial mounds. The area in which they lie connects to the life of Phillip (Alexander the Great's father) who built the palace and the theatre and was assassinated there.
There are no beaches in walking distance from Thessaloniki's city centre so to swim you will need to hire a car or jump on bus. The coastline that runs around Thessaloniki and neighbouring areas is stunning and provides a number of options for a day out.
There are numerous other beaches you can visit but most are a bit further out from the city's centre.
Thessaloniki is a big cosmopolitan city with big cosmopolitan shopping with a choice of Malls, boutiques, and souvenir shops – you can find pretty much anything. The city isn't very large but there are great markets. The local food market is a good starting point then head for Agia Sophia Street, Mitropoleos Street or Aristotelous Square. You should also check out Tsimiski Street and the Proxenou and Koromilia Shopping Areas.
Thessaloniki is a great place for food with good eating to be found down by the waterfront, in town or up by the castle walls in "Ano Poli". Aristotelous Square has more for the younger crowd with a variety of cafes and restaurants. For ouzeris and meze you should wander down to Ionos Dragoumi.
Nights out here are unforgettable. The options of where to go, what to listen to and what type of bar/club are incredible. The party starts around 11 and the venues stay open until the early hours of the morning. You can find traditional Greek music in the Bouzoukia, you can find house, rock, soul, jazz, and pretty much any other type of music. The liveliest areas for going out are Ladadika, Mylos, Nea Krini and Aretsou, with everything from clubs and bars to ouzeris and restaurants. If you are in the mood for a flutter there is a casino about an hour's drive from the centre out toward the airport.
ELECTRA PALACE HOTEL in Thessaloniki is a five star hotel, a unique combination of classic and modern, offering an ideal and unparalleled stay to all of our guests. Its location is in the heart of Thessaloniki
2 Nights from £419 per person incl flights
Comfort, professionalism and superb level of services represent the core qualities offered in Capsis Hotel Thessaloniki.
3 days, 2 nights from £ 399 Per Person
A five star luxury boutique hotel, perfectly located in the centre of this buzzing city. The Excelsior , a neo-classical historic building offers elegant accommodation and spa with many extras, while its location at the main square makes ideal for either business or pleasure trips.
2 Nights from 409 per person incl flights