Provocolate https://www.provocolate.com Greek Culture, Travel, and Lifestyle Tue, 10 Dec 2019 16:42:28 +0200 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 https://www.provocolate.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Provocolate-Favicon.png Provocolate https://www.provocolate.com 32 32 Honeymoon in Greece – The Most Romantic Destinations https://www.provocolate.com/honeymoon-in-greece-the-most-romantic-destinations/ https://www.provocolate.com/honeymoon-in-greece-the-most-romantic-destinations/#respond Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:02:04 +0000 https://www.provocolate.com/?p=2201 What makes Greece a honeymoon destination like no other? There are few places on the planet that have the romance of Greece – the waves splashing against the walls in Mykonos’ charming Little Venice, the Parthenon’s golden glow on a balmy Athenian evening, and – perhaps above all – the view of the sunset over […]

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What makes Greece a honeymoon destination like no other? There are few places on the planet that have the romance of Greece – the waves splashing against the walls in Mykonos’ charming Little Venice, the Parthenon’s golden glow on a balmy Athenian evening, and – perhaps above all – the view of the sunset over the caldera of Santorini.

But in Greece – as, ideally, in love – it’s about much more than the beauty. It’s character and soul that make Greece such a compelling honeymoon destination. Greece’s eternal quality gives it a special kind of romance.

Greece is not a one-size-fits-all honeymoon factory – this beautiful country has a culture and history created over millennia. This ensures that your experience will be authentic and unique. It will be your out-of-the-way taverna under the bougainvillea with the grilled fresh-caught fish, your secret beach, your moonlit stroll along the harbor – in short, your memories.

With experienced planning, your honeymoon in Greece can unfold exactly as you wish. You can see all the places you’ve dreamed of, without concerning yourself with any of the (less romantic) details, like airport transfers and ferry tickets. You can spend your days and nights exploring, discovering the country, and doing nothing at all – something else that Greece is ideal for.

Honeymoon in Greece – Athens

Honeymoon in Greece - The Acropolis aglow by nigh - one of the most romantic sites in Europe
The Acropolis aglow by night – one of the most romantic sites in Europe

Athens is a magical place to begin your honeymoon in Greece. It’s not just the practicality. Athens is, by any measure, one of Europe’s most romantic capitals. Your first glimpse of the Parthenon by night is thrilling. Take in the major sites and world-class museums, or just get lost wandering through the charming lanes of Plaka, looking for the perfect candlelit taverna.

Honeymoon in Greece – Exploring Greece’s Natural Beauty

Honeymoon on Crete - Chania - The silvery white sand dunes of Elafonissi
The silvery white sand dunes of Elafonissi

Of course, Greece’s fabled beauty is one of the main draws of the country. There are so many idyllic Greek settings, each with its special character, that they are actually world destinations in themselves, as recognizable and breathtaking as one’s first view of the Eiffel Tower – or, better still – the glorious Parthenon. Of course, Greece is filled with more memorably beautiful sights than you can count. Your Greek honeymoon with definitely have a cinematic backdrop wherever you go. But a few sights really do stand out, like the caldera of Santorni, uniquely lovely in all the world, or pink sandy paradise of a beach and the crystal lagoon of Elafonissi, in Crete.

Honeymoon Destination Islands

Greece has well over 200 inhabited islands. Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong. But it’s very easy to go spectacularly right. A few of the Greek Islands are particularly famous for a reason – they deliver a travel experience so ideal they approach fantasy.

Crete for a Honeymoon in Greece

Honeymoon on Crete, Greece (Antelope Travel)
Chania’s Venetian charm makes for a romantic backdrop for your honeymoon

Of all the Greek Islands, Crete has the most individualistic personality. It has its own fantastic cuisine, a rugged and uncompromising terrain, inhabitants of warmth and courage, and some of Greece’s most stirring and exciting music (no one plays lyre like the Cretans). Moreover, it has a unique and fascinating ancient history.

Historic Crete

Crete was the home of the mysterious and advanced Bronze Age culture, the Minoans, a civilization who was thriving over a thousand years before the Parthenon was built. Knossos, the dramatic red and black palace so spectacularly restored by Sir Arthur Evans, is one the world’s most engaging archaeological sites, full of mystery, secrets, and beauty. A honeymoon on Crete can include as much history and archaeology as you like.

Honeymoon on Crete – Gorgeous Beaches

Honeymoon in Crete, Greeceh Balos by boat, but then you would miss this gorgeous view and hike.
You can reach Balos by boat, but then you would miss this gorgeous view and hike.

Crete also has several of the most famous beaches in all of Greece – and indeed the world. Balos- an island, lagoon, and stunning beach at the very tip of one of the norther peninsulas – was once a secret, known just to local fisherman and herders. You’ll still share the hike down with goats, who love a climb. Or you can reach this hidden marvel by boat. There is also Elafonissi, of pink sands and wildflowers- in fact a protected natural habitat. Or visit the south coast for your choice of pristine beaches on the coast of the Libyan sea. The most famous one is Matala – a free-spirited paradise first popular in the 1960s and 70s (Joni Mitchell even sang about it). There is also Sougia, line with tamarisk trees, and countless hidden covesand beaches to discover. Vai, on the western edge of the island, is the largest natural palm forest in Europe, edging a dreamy, silky white and turquoise beach.

Adventure Honeymoon in Crete

Adeventure can be a wonderful part of a honeymoon in Greece, and Crete provides plenty of opportunity. The Samarian gorge is a famous and unforgettable hike that will take you to the shores of the Libyan sea on Crete’s south coast. It’s all downhill, and suitable for most. But the 17 kilometers of glorious scenery are a challenge. You’ll love your dip in the cool waters of Agia Roumeli before a boat ride back to civilization (no roads reach this rugged corner of heaven), where you’ll stop by dreamy Loutro, also reached only by boat or a hike.

Crete is also a paradise for cavers, with many many caves of both geological and historic fascination. Caving is thrilling, beautiful, and can be an exciting way to cool off.

Honeymoon on Crete – Romantic Cities

A honeymoon on Crete offers a romantic setting. The cities of Crete are full of Venetian beauty. Venice controlled Crete for centuries, resulting in the fairy-tale architecture you can see in Chania, Rethymnon, and Heraklion. Chania is one of Greece’s most romantic cities, with winding narrow alleys lined with pastel traditional homes and sweet boughs of jasmine, seaside tavernas with blue and white checkered tablecloths, a Venetian fortress, and one of Greece’s most idyllic harbors, marked by an Egyptian lighthouse.

Honeymoon in Greece – Mykonos

Honeymoon in Mykonos, Greece
Mykonos Harbor by Evening (Antelope Travel)

There’s a reason Mykonos is so famous. All the hype is true, and in fact it doesn’t even capture the island. A place of contrasts, this is both one of the most glamorous destinations anywhere, and the most authentic. It is teeming with paparazi and free-flowing magnums of Champagne in some corners, and goat herders and fishermen in their beautifully painted boats in others.

That’s the secret to Mykonos’ enduring charm. It’s a place of true beauty that gets discovered over and over again, without ever getting spoiled.

Stroll through the alleys of the Chora, where you can either enjoy some of the world’s most exclusive shopping late into the night, or just get a gelato and watch the crowds go by. This is one of the definitive Cycladic islands, with its pristine architecture of pure white, and bright trim in blues and reds.

By day, enjoy some of the world’s most spectacular beaches in style. Many of the best beaches are fully-serviced. In Mykonos, this does not mean a nylon lounger and an iced coffee. You can have your own soft white bed, shielded from the sun by white curtains, waiter service bringing anything your heart desires. When it’s time for lunch, the most convivial and elegant restaurants on the island have floors of sand and are shaded by reeds. Feast in your bathing suit – everyone else will be, too. You’re also guaranteed the best honeymoon pics ever. It’s just something about the island – the glamour of Mykonos is contagious.

Delos

A short boat ride from Mykonos is the archaeological site of Delos, on its own island. Former sacred site and treasury, this magnificent archaeological site rewards exploration.The island has an almost mystical energy. Enjoy the sense of shared discovery on a morning excursion to this fascinating island, a world-famous destination.

Honeymoon on Paros

Paros is one of the Greek Islands on everyone’s lips these days. Although nothing can replace the allure of Mykonos, Paros is quickly becoming the island of choice for those interesting in a buzzing social scene with a pristine Cycladic backdrop.

Discovering Parikia

The main town of many Greek islands is simply called the “Chora”, or town – like Mykonos Town, for example. Paros is different. Here you have Parikia, one of the loveliest towns of the Cycladic Islands with a busy harbor. Parikia has both the classic whitewashed cycladic architect, plus the elegance of neoclassical mansions. A Venetian fortress – the Kastra – overlooks the town. Here you’ll find the same sort of delightful winding alleys as in Mykonos Town. Even though Paros offers a refreshingly more low-key Cycladic experience, you’ll find plenty of elegant and sophisticated dining options and chic bars for your first festive nights out as a newly-married couple.

An Active Honeymoon on Paros

Although they have the name Kalderimi elsewhere, the paths that connect the towns of Paros are “Strati.” Many date from the Byzantine era, and they’re an ideal way to discover the soul of the island. You can walk from the village of Lefkes to the Village of Prodromos for example, and cross over a Byzantine stone bridge en route. Another path, from Marpissa to the onastery of Agios Antonios, takes you by churches, 17th-century houses, and old windmills, and rewards you with magnificent vistas. The villages of Paros a delight. Discovering them is a great way to have a private and unique honeymoon experience, away from the crowds.

Are you perhaps equestrians? No matter if you are not – even beginners can enjoy exploring Naxos on horseback. There are two riding centers on the island, and trails that run along the beaches or inland.

You can also tour along the coast by kayak or canoe together, discovering your own secret coves along the way.

Honeymoon in Greece – Naxos

Honeymoon in Naxos - a great destiantion for a honeymoon in Greece
A dreamy Naxos beach (photo courtesy Antelope Travel)

A honeymoon in the Cyclades delivers a lot of atmosphere and romance. For a more low-key Cycladic experience, you can combine the energy of the Mykonos honeymoon experience with some time on Naxos. Naxos delivers the same pristine Cycladic beauty as Mykonos, and more of it – Naxos is the largest of the Cycladic islands. There are fabulous beaches, authentic tavernas, and a charming town. Naxos Town is filled with the classic white Buildings of the Cyclades, plus grander Venetian mansions is a delight to explore, with a beautiful Kastro area.

Scuba Diving on Naxos

Honeymoon in Greece - Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving in the gorgeous waters of Greece

These spectacular beaches are a great place to so scuba diving. If you are new to diving, this is also a good opportunity to start your new life together with and exciting new experience.

Hiking Honeymoon on Naxos

Hiking on Naxos is a joy. First of all, this is the greenest of the Cycladic islands. Moreover, it is fun to navigate via a network of old marble paths, called Kalderimi. These are footpaths that connected villages and fields in centuries past. You’ll hike alongside old stone walls, discover tiny villages and churches many centuries old, and perhaps even pass some ancient monuments.

Honeymoon on Santorini

The unforgettable view of the caldera (Antelope Travel)

Santorini may well be one of the most famous honeymoon destinations in the world. There is good reason for that. With a topography unique in all the world, Santorini is unforgettable, a place everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. A honeymoon on Santorini

Honeymoon on Santorini – Greece’s Most Dramatic Island

Santorini is a volcanic island. (In fact, the eruption of the volcano of Thera is what contributed to the decline of the Minoans of Crete.) What once was more or less round, is now a narrow and long island curved around a bay. The bay is the caldera- the crater of the volcano. In the center of the bay are Nea (new) and Palea Kameni, volcanic islands have formed over the last two millennia from repeated eruptions. Theraisa and te smaller Aspronisi are at the edge of the caldera.

Owing to the volcanic explosion, the remaining main island rises sharply from the caldera. It’s a dramatic, even surreal site. Entering the caldera by boat and arriving in the small harbor, a cliff rising sharply in front of you, is unforgettable. The ferry ride to Santorini is inegral to the experience.

Beach Honeymoon on Santorini

Owing to its geologically dramatic past, Santorini has some extraordinary beaches. These include Perissa – famous for its black sand, Red Beach – where the deep terra cotta of the sand meets bold turquoise waters, and White Beach – also called Vlychada beach, famous for its extraordinary rock formations.

The landscape and beaches of Santorini are nearly other-worldly. A honeymoon on Santorini is almost like a honeymoon on another planet.

Honeymoon Accommodations on Santorini

If you are looking for extraordinary accommodations for your honeymoon, Santorini delivers beyond your imagination. There are four towns located directly at the edge of the caldera – Fira (the main town), Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostafani. Many of the finest accommodations are set almost precariously at the edge, for uninterrupted views. Some are even built into caves in the face of the cliff.

A Santorini Honeymoon – Gastronomy and Wine

Besides the drama of the topography, the volcano also gave Santorini unique soil. This means that on your honeymoon in Santorini you can taste extraordinary local foods and wines. The high mineral content of the soil makes for an extraordinary terroir. It’s beautifully expressed in the finest Assyrtiko wines. This indigenous grape thrives in the dry soil, nourished by dew. The flavors are clear and bold. A tour of wineries on Santorini would make a romantic honeymoon activity.

As the Assyrtiko grape thrives in the extreme conditions, so does a special variety of tomato. The small tomatoes of Santorini burst with flavor. One specialty featuring them are zesty tomato croquettes. Other island specialties include stuffed zucchini flowers, fried fish marinated with rosemary, and a seasoned and very flavorful cured pork. The dishes here are resourceful, inventive, and honest. On Santorini, you can enjoy sophisticated meals that have a strong sense of identity.

Honeymoon in Greece – Rhodes

Honeymoon on Rhodes, Greece (Antelope Travel)
A crystal lagoon on Rhodes

This big island was one of the first Greek islands to welcome many visitors from abroad. But Rhodes’early popularity did not spoil it. This is an island that delivers a vast variety of experience, blessed with rare natural beauty.

Rhodes Town

Rhodes Town is not exactly what you think of when you think of Greece, and in a really wonderful way. It has a magnificent Medieval romance. One of the most famous buildings is the Palace of the Grand Master, a 14th-century castle built by the Knights Hospitaller. Along with he Knights Templar, they were one of the most formidable and prestigious military orders of the Holy Land. The walled town is a marvellous medieval labyrinth of charming stone alleys.

History

The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the seven wonder of the ancient world- imagine this mighty statue protecting the harbor as you go on a moonlit stroll. Then drive to Lindos. Along the approach to Lindos is the sometimes affectionately called the “Ooh-Ah Corner”, for its majestic and singular views. Lindos is crowned by an Acropolis with its grand gates at of the 4th century BC, and ruins of the Temple Athena Lindia. This is also one of Rhodes’ loveliest towns, with the famously elegant captains’ houses of the 16th to 18th centuries, and classic sugar-cube houses with intricately pebbled courtyards, elegant details, and bright tangles of bougainvillea.

Beach Honeymoon on Rhodes

Rhodes has many, many spectacular beaches, with the happy result that they are often not very crowded, and sometimes not crowded at all – perfect for a honeymoon.

Right by Lindos are two perfect beaches – St. Paul’s beach with its lovely restaurant, and the Megalos (big) and Mikros (small) Yialos (Beach). More unconventional and exciting beaches can be found on the west end of Rhodes. this edge of the island experiences high winds. This keeps larger crowds away, but makes the beaches like Ialysos and Ixya great for windsurfing and kite surfing. Centers rent equipment and give lessons- learning a new and exciting skill together is a great honeymoon activity. If you are looking for something even more romantic and remote, you can try the southern edge of the west side of the island, where you will find hidden coves where you can swim off the rocks in a sea of almost impossible jewel tones. A honeymoon on Rhodes offers plenty of possibilities to make discoveries together.

Natural Wonders in Rhodes

With so many spectacular beaches, you may not be tempted to explore the interior of the island. But Rhodes is full of wonders and surprises. You can start with the famous Valley of the Butterflies, part of the Natura 200 network and just over 20 km from Rhodes Town. Also close to Rhodes Town is Seven Springs (Epta Piges) – another part of the Natura 2000 network and a rich biotope. Escape to this lush woodland filled with springs and a lake. This is a habitat for tortoises, eels, and crabs, as well as geese, ducks, and peacocks.

Hiking Honeymoon on Rhodes

For an active honeymoon in Greece, consider discovering Rhodes on foot. The varied terrain of Rhodes offers fine hiking route for every level of skill or ambition. Mt. Attavyros, at 1250 meters, is the highest point on Rhodes. The ascent begins at 500m near the village of Embona. The challenging hike (bring water and even a sweatshirt as the atmosphere changes, even in summer) will reward you with splendid views. You can also explore the coastline. An excellent path begins near Rhodes Town and leads to the Bay of Ialysos. There are other routes that explore archaeological sites, and even the old moat of Rhodes Town. You can visit this site for more ideas.

Honeymoon in Greece

True – there are a lot of premium destinations in Greece. But this is a manageable country; you don’t need to limit yourself to just one or two, especially with the help of an experienced travel designer (Antelope Travel, for instance, are expert at arranging an exciting multi-destination honeymoon with zero stress). Especially if it’s your first visit to Greece, it’s tempting to embrace it, and experience as much as possible.

“Kala Stefana”

This is the traditional wish given to brides and grooms to be. It literally means “Happy Wreaths” for the wreaths used in the Orthodox Christian wedding ceremony to unite the couple. Happy wedding, and happy planning!

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Edessa – An Ideal Destination for Nature and Culture https://www.provocolate.com/edessa-an-ideal-destination-for-nature-and-culture/ https://www.provocolate.com/edessa-an-ideal-destination-for-nature-and-culture/#respond Mon, 02 Dec 2019 21:28:14 +0000 https://www.provocolate.com/?p=2123 Edessa, in the glorious Pella region, is famous all over Greece for its waterfall. Spectacular though it is, we found the region offers much more. This is an ideal destination in any season. Edessa was our first stop on a fascinating exploration of the urban centers of Northern Greece with Pass2Greece, an organization that presents […]

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Edessa, in the glorious Pella region, is famous all over Greece for its waterfall. Spectacular though it is, we found the region offers much more. This is an ideal destination in any season.

Edessa was our first stop on a fascinating exploration of the urban centers of Northern Greece with Pass2Greece, an organization that presents fascinating aspects of destinations for the curious and passionate traveler.

Edessa – an Ideal Urban Destination

For dramatic natural settings, it doesn’t get better than Edessa. This charming traditional town is high on a cliff, over a fertile plain that stretches into the far distance. The town, especially the old district of Varotso, has a traditional character – stone houses and cobblestone lanes. The sound of water rushing through the canals of the town gives a sense of tranquility. The abundant water feeds the mighty plane trees throughout Edessa, making for refreshing shade from the summer heat, and beautiful trunks and branches in the light of winter.

The people of Edessa are the true draw though. This is a hospitable and unpretentious town, a town for locals who know how to live well. A convivial atmosphere fills the central square throughout the seasons, and even more so when the “Cantadores” – a group of strolling singers some 40 members strong, accompanied by guitar and accordion – serenade the town on brisk fall evenings.

The more we travel, exploring Greece together, the more we realize that what stays most in our minds is the human connection. No matter how beautiful the scenery, how fascinating the history, or how delicious the food, the people make the destination. By that measure, and many others, Edessa is one of the nicest places I’ve been in Greece.

The Karanos Waterfall and the Mills of Edessa

Pools by the Waterfalls of Edessa
Pools by the Waterfalls of Edessa

Greece’s most glorious waterfall fills the air with energy. It’s not just our imagination – the cubic tons of water falling from a height of 70 meters charge the air with negative ions. The air is so fresh and invigorating it’s almost delicious, to say nothing of the sound of the water crashing into the pools below. Due to mineral deposits, the waterfall cantilevers out from the cliff. You can now walk behind it to sense the drama of the pounding water, and gaze out onto the plain stretching out below as you take the sweet air in great gulps.

The Karanos waterfall is Greece’s largest. It now supplies energy to the national power company. But it once powered mills, including the Hemp Factory, one of Edessa’s chief sights.

The Old Hemp Factory of Edessa

The Old Hemp Rope Factory of Edessa
The Old Hemp Rope Factory of Edessa

This gorgeous early 20th-century industrial ruin was once one of the four largest hemp factories in Greece. Powered by the mighty waterfalls, the factory produced rope from hemp imported from India as well as locally grown hemp from the area near Giannitsa. At the height of its production, from the later 1920s to the 1950s, the factory employed 150 people.

The factory closed in the 1960’s. It was finally was abandoned. Years later, it became a center for culture and entertainment. This is an elegant example of industrial architecture of the Belle Epoque, and the original machinery has a beautiful, sculptural presence.

The Reptile Museum of Edessa

A Lovely Lizard at the Reptile House of Edessa
A Lovely Lizard at the Reptile House of Edessa

The Giannakis Watermill, one of the several watermills in Edessa, is now a Reptile House. This is a fantastic place to visit, whether or not you are visiting with children. But with children it’s a must. Magnificent snakes, lizards, turtles, and more are tended lovingly by the charismatic Dimitris Dourvanis, a passionate volunteer. Snakes are surprisingly silky. And the larger lizards are mesmerizing. This is a great place to have an up-close reptile experience.

Interestingly, none of the species here are local. These are all exotic foreign species. Wildlife preservation laws protect the Greek species. To see them, you will need to go exploring on your own, or visit another reptile center, somewhere else in Europe.

The Sesame Mill

When you think of Greece, you think of olive oil. But Edessa was not olive country. For centuries, the oil of choice was from sesame. In one of the old watermills, there is now a charming museum where you can see how sesame was ground and oil extracted, and watch a short, informative film on the history of sesame.

The Varosi Quarter

This historic quarter of Edessa is in the most dramatic spot of town, right at the cliff’s edge. Charming examples of vernacular architecture line the cobblestone streets. Some of the buildings are now traditional inns, with spectacular views of the plains far below.

The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin

Edessa's Church of the Assumption of Virgin is one of the finest Palailogan Churches of Northern Greece
Edessa’s Church of the Assumption of Virgin is one of the finest Palailogan Churches of Northern Greece

The Church of the Assumption is one of the most beautiful churches to see in Northern Greece. And that is saying a lot. This is a fragile building, open only a couple of times a year for special Masses, and otherwise just for quiet contemplation. There are no chairs, and the church is often empty.

The 14th century church is an excellent example of the Palaiologian Rennaissance. During the Byzantine Dynasty of the Palaiologos family – 1261-1453 – religious art flourished. Palailogian frescoes are famous for their magnificently expressive narrative power. These are fine examples, as moving in our contemporary era as they were centuries ago.

How the Church and the Frescoes of the Assumption of the Virgin Miraculously Survived- Twice

This was not always the church of the Assumption. It was once Agia Sophia. During the Ottoman reign, an order was sent to every province that any church called Agia Sophia was to be razed to the ground. The glorious Agia Sophia of Istanbul was to be the only Agia Sophia throughout the Ottoman Empire.

What the people of Edessa did was to remove a pillar from the front of the church and send it to Istanbul as proof of demotion. Then they renamed the church The Assumption of the Virgin.

The second miracle was a blessing very much in disguise. The magnificent frescoes are now pocked with holes, which actually is their salvation. When the Ottomans covered the Christian images, they made holes to give the plaster something to grab onto. During a restoration, these vivid frescoes were rediscovered, having been protected by the plaster for centuries. Without the holes, the plaster would have likely bonded to the surface of the frescoes, and they would have been irretrievably lost.

Dining (and Wining) in Edessa

Edessa - The Cantadori brighten the evenings of fall.
The Cantadori of Edessa brighten the evenings of fall.

The tavernas and restaurants here are cooking for locals. That means prime local ingredients and regional specialties – food with tradition and deep roots. But the chefs are also young and ambitious and playful, so you get this sense of adventure and experimentation, along with classic princicipals of regional cooking. The results are excellent. We had dinner at the chic Kattaraktes, and had never had such delightfully rustic and authentic fine cuisine in such a modern setting.

You’ll want to make more of the evening, because Edessa is wonderful for a stroll at night. We ended up at charming Timenidon, in the town square amid the mighty plane trees, for some delicious local wine. It was here that we met the Cantadores.

Exploring the Edessa Region

This is some fantastic scenery. The natural setting is diverse, and includes a marvelous lake, a famous ski resort, and a natural hot springs spa. Additionally, it is full of adventure activities.

Adventure Activities Around Edessa

The Edessa Gliding Club offers lessons and accompanied flights. You can arrange to view the landscape on a glider ride with a pilot, on Sundays from April through October. Arrange in advance through the link above.

That sweeping plain and the dramatic cliffs make an ideal setting for Paragliding. We saw paragliders sailing silently above the landscape, enjoy the endless vistas. If you’re not a paraglider, you can take off with an expert- all you need to do is enjoy the ride.

Agios Athanasios

Agios Athanasios is the closest town to the slopes of Mt. Kaimaktsalan. “Kaimaki” means cream in Turkish, an allusion to the snow. The Kaimaktsalan Ski Center is one of the top ski destinations in Greece. Lifts bring you a thrilling 2500 meters above sea level for some great skiing.

But it’s not just the skiing – the town of Agios Athanasios itself is utterly charming. This traditional stone village at an altitude of 1200m is an attraction in itself. There are also accommodations that offer rustic elegance with an authentic sense of place, like the traditional stone guesthouse Rouga.

The dining in Agios Athanasios is also superb. At cozy Kalyva, in front of a roaring fire, we dined like hunters and foragers, on wild boar with red wine, and orzo with wild mushrooms.

Panagitsa

Edessa Region - the view from Panagitsa
The view from Evora, Panagitsa. In the distance, still hidden by a thick layer of early morning mist, is Lake Vritta

At the base of Mt. Kaimaktsalan is a beautiful spot for a hike and then a breakfast of homemade jam and bread and other house specialties at lovely Evora. The view is outstanding. But in winter you may enjoy it through the windows, from a chair beside the fireplace.

A True Art Hotel – Leventis Art Suites in Panagitsa

Edessa Region - Leventis Art Suites
Leventis Art Suites

Lots of places go by the name of “Art Hotel” – a couple of original paintings, some vintage Phillipe Stark furniture, and voila – or so one hopes. These are not really art hotels – they are hotels with a little art in them.

Nothing can quite prepare you for the Leventis Art Suites experience. This truly is a complete work of art, a unique vision many years in the making. The principal areas of the hotel have sculpted walls and frescoes exploring central themes in a contiguous narrative. It is a bold grand-scale artwork, and a joy to inhabit. In the grand yet cozy suites, frescoes, antiques, design pieces, and contemporary fixtures harmoniously create uniquely beautiful environments. It’s almost a waste that this unique hotel experience is located in such a beautiful region – you’d honestly not want to leave. Fortunately, they do have a telescope, so you can stargaze from the comfort of the lounge, listening to their excellent collection of vinyl phonograph records and sipping good scotch.

Lake Vritta – A Protected Wetland and Bird Habitat

Lake Vritta is rich in flora, sustaining magnificent
Lake Vritta is rich in flora, sustaining magnificent biodiversity

Amid all this beauty is a rich and diverse wetland. The glassy, reed-bordered Lake Vritta teems with rare and protected birds. Over 250 species call the lake home at some point during the year, and it is a wintering and breeding site for many birds.

Visiting Edessa - Lake Vritta
Macedonian Warriors from the Balkan Wars silently appeared among the reeds

The day we saw Lake Vritta, it was not the birds we noticed at once. We were met with an astonishing site- men in the traditional costume of the time of the Balkan wars (1912-1913), boating silently among the reeds. In addition to being a nature preserve, this is also an area rich in history and heritage. Our local hosts gave us a rare experience, a living historical snapshot.

The lake is a must for amateur ornithologists, and indeed anyone who enjoys a day in a tranquil and idyllic setting. There is a shack where one can find out about organized rafting and bird-watching excursions, or enjoy a fine meal of fresh trout and local specialties.

Pozar- The Famous Natural Therapeutic Hot Springs of Pella

Pozar Springs near Edessa is even more wonderful by night
Pozar Springs near Edessa is even more wonderful by night. The man climbing over the edge from the river has just doused himself in the cold waterfall. It’s not allowed to climb over the side, but alternating between the cold falls and the hot springs is invigorating.

In a wooded wonderland is a uniquely pleasurable wellness destination, among the very best spa experiences in Northern Greece. The hot springs of Pozar flow at a cozy 37 C (99 F) degrees. The waters are rich in beneficial minerals, effective in targeting all manner of wellness issues. They are also great for relaxing and unwinding with friends. In fact, the baths are open 24 hours a day, so people can come here after a festive night out or a convivial evening with friends.

There are indoor private baths – never closed (book here) – and three outdoor pools. The grand, deep, 25 meter pool closes in the night for draining and refilling, while the wilder outdoor pool – including a hot waterfall – is open until the early hours. The river Thermapotamos flows fresh and cool alongside the wild pools. The river’s floor is white rocks and it cuts a bright and glowing path through the trees – a beautiful sight. Try to go early for a hike long its banks before you bathe. And treat yourself to a massage beforehand, too – there are excellent centers with skilled therapists and masseuses to help you make the most of the wellness experience.

Bring everything you need- towels, bath shoes, a hairdryer. Also – almost unfortunately – a bathing suit (mandatory) – you’ll want as little as possible between yourself and the water. You won’t need any lotion; the water will leave your skin baby-soft.

After a hike and a massage, then bathing in the warm springs, you’ll surely have an appetite. Not 2 minutes’ drive from the spa is Kokkino Piperi (“Red Pepper”). We had excellent local specialties, and platters of delicious fried peppers grown only in the region – some are hot, and some are not. Vegetarians will feast in style here, and the carnivores might join them, even though the meat selections were also excellent.

Staying in Edessa

There are many fine accommodations in town, both rustic inns and comfortable modern family hotels. We were at the Guesthouse Varosi, the Hagiati Guesthouse, and the Alfa Hotel – directly in the town center.

How to Get to Edessa

Edessa is about 100 km west of Thessaloniki – a little under an hour and a half by car, and much of the drive through beautiful and historic lands. It’s also a beautiful train trip through the countryside. The train station of Edessa is particularly charming, housed in its original building dating from the Ottoman era. Trains with direct routes depart from Thessaloniki five times daily, and the journey lasts about an hour and a half. The fare is €7 one-way.

Edessa- An Ideal Destination in Any Season

We discovered Edessa in the fall, with the leaves turning rich gold and rustling in the breezes. Already we’ve planned to come back when the branches are bare and there is the promise snow in the air – imagine soaking in the hot springs of Pozar, steam rising around you, beside the snow-covered banks. Spring around the lake must be beautiful. And under the heat of the strong Macedonian sun, there can be no place more refreshing than beside the Karanos waterfall or under the deep shade of Edessa’s plane trees, on the banks of the rivers running through town.

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First Time in Greece: The Best Places to Visit https://www.provocolate.com/first-time-in-greece-the-best-places-to-visit/ https://www.provocolate.com/first-time-in-greece-the-best-places-to-visit/#respond Tue, 26 Nov 2019 16:59:33 +0000 https://www.provocolate.com/?p=2125 For your first time in Greece, there are some essential destinations you won’t want to miss. Here are the best places to visit. Don’t be deceived by Greece’s relatively small size. Greece has nearly a fourth of Europe’s coastline – 16,000 kilometers. There are over 200 inhabited islands (and many more uninhabited islands), as well […]

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For your first time in Greece, there are some essential destinations you won’t want to miss. Here are the best places to visit.

Don’t be deceived by Greece’s relatively small size. Greece has nearly a fourth of Europe’s coastline – 16,000 kilometers. There are over 200 inhabited islands (and many more uninhabited islands), as well as more than 30 mountains. The urban centers of Athens and Thessaloniki sparkle with ancient sites, but are also famous for contemporary charms – not least gastronomy and nightlife. Above all, Greece is an endless source of culture, mythology, and history, filled with destinations that are truly milestones in any traveler’s life.

For your vacation in Greece, an experienced holiday designer can help you make the very most of your visit. You’ll be able to enjoy these essential highlights while you discover your own perfect Greece.

First Time in Greece: Exploring Athens

Visiting the Parthenon your first time in Greece
Gazing at the sunset in the company of the Karyatids is an essential Athenian experience

Athens is a part of nearly every first time in Greece itinerary. You’ll remember your first visit to the Parthenon for the rest of your life. But the capital offers much, much more – not just major sites and museums, but the unexpected charms of the contemporary urban experience, both refined and primal. Take in an opera at the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus at the base of the Acropolis, savor the chic serenity of Athens’ best summer cafes, or indulge a memorable night of feasting, music, and dancing, Dionysus-style. A good itinerary lets Athens unfold.

Convenient to fly into, Athens is also the gateway to the islands.It’s also an easy distance from some of the essential archaeological pilgrimages such as Delphi and Epidaurus.

First Time in Greece: The Cyclades, an Essential Greek Destination

There are over 200 inhabited islands. And each one of them has its own enchanting mood. So why do we keep hearing about the same few islands, over and over again? Because – even amid such a vast and beautiful selection – the Cyclades are simply amazing.

When people think of a classic Greek Island, they’re probably thinking of one of the Cyclades. Those white sugar-cube houses with their blue shutters and the domes of white churches against the Aegean blue of the sky are like a stage set for an ideal holiday. The rocky, uncompromising landscape, and the dramatic beaches of silky sands and turquoise waters are the landscape we imagine when we imagine our first time in Greece. Dreamy in the imagination, they’re even more fabulous in real life – definitely one of the best places to visit in Greece.

Santorini

Santorini- an essential destination for one's first time in Geece
The Bold and Stark Beauty of Santorini

Santorini is in a category all its own, a true life experience, a vision rising sharply from the sea. The stunningly steep cliffs offer some of the world’s most luxurious and unconventional accommodations. From here, the views of sunset are the stuff of modern travel legend.

This volcanic island is full of natural and geological wonders. It has a black sand beach, a red sand beach, and many other natural treasures. But the Caldera- the bay formed by the volcano that gave Santorini its dramatic shape – is the star.

Santorini is, without exaggeration, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It is unique and unforgettable, an essential Greek destination. It’s top on the list of a first time in Greece itinerary, and a honeymoon destination like no other.

Mykonos

Mykonos- First Time in Greece
The Whimsical Windmills of Mykonos

Eclipsing perhaps even Santorini in fame, Mykonos is actually much more than simply the international party and leisure playground for the rich and famous. True, it is one of the most glamorous and luxurious places you may ever see. But it’s also stunning in its simplicity. The sparkling white-washed homes and brightly-colored shutters, the winding alleys and staircases, those iconic windmills – all will enchant you. The elegant boutiques and world-class restaurants take nothing from the authentic beauty of Mykonos town. Watch the waves splash along the promenade of Little Venice while you sip a bespoke cocktail. Then pick out your own fresh-caught octopus drying on a clothesline for a unforgettable meal in the harbor of the Chora.

The world-famous beaches of Mykonos offer the same combination of glamour and authentic beauty. You’ll enjoy a swim in turquoise waters of the Aegean on pristine beaches surrounded by dramatic cliffs. But you’ll enjoy it in style, relaxing afterwards on lush sunbeds surrounded by billowing white curtains, with full-service pampering. Then a glamorous lunch – to experience Greece at its best, you need to eat a lobster with your toes in the sand, while you wear nothing but a bathing suit and a pareo. Mykonos is the place for this treasured summer ritual.

Mykonos is also a surprising destination for lovers of archaeology. From here, an excursion to the sacred island of Delos, one of Greece’s most vast and significant archaeological sites.

The Saronic Islands

Hydra – Perfect for Your First Time in Greece

Hydra- Essential Greek Destinations perfect for your first time in Greece
The Harbor of Hydra

Hydra is an intriguing choice for an authentic island experience for your first time in Greece. It’s also an easy distance from Athens. All the islands of the Saronic gulf are popular weekend destinations for Athenians, and Hydra is the finest among them.

Hydra- One of the Best Places to Visit in Greece for Culture and Art

Hydra has both an artistic pedigree, and a noble role in the history of modern Greece. A wealthy island, the ship-owning families built in neo-classical mansions elegant good taste. The seafarers of Hydra fought in the Greek war of Independence, while the island’s ships and fortunes supported the war. Hydra was both home and inspiration to one of Greece’s most important 20th century painters -Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas. Painters and poets – like Seferis and Katsimbalis, as well as the war hero and chronicler Patrick Leigh Fermor, visited him here. In fact, Katsimbalis once brought Henry Miller along, who wrote about it in the Colossus of Maroussi.

The island continued to draw artists and lovers of art. This was home to Leonard Cohen after he bought a house here in the 1970s. And now the DESTE foundation has turned the old slaughterhouse into an exciting project space or contemporary art.

A Tranquil Island

But perhaps the first thing you’ll notice about Hydra when you enter the picturesque deep harbor is what is not here. The island has no cars or motorbikes to disturb the tranquility as you stroll through the elegant own and explore the rest of the lush island on foot. The dining is excellent, and there are luxurious accommodations with a true sense of place.

Spetses

Elegant Spetses is one of the most aristocratic of the Greek Islands, with glamorous mansions in the harbor. Like Hydra, the island was crucial to the revolutionary effort. There’s even a grand celebration here each September – the Armata. The highlight is a dramatic reenactment of a major sea battle of 1821.

Like Hydra, you will find no cars here. But, rather than the humble donkeys of Hydra, horse-drawn carriages are the transportation of choice. This sets the tone. Spetses is an island of fine dining and luxury accommodations. This green island is also surrounded by fantastic beaches, some of which are best reached by boat – an exciting excursion.

First Time in Greece – Crete

Balos - A perfect beach for your first time in Greece
The Magnificent Beach and Lagoon of Balos, Crete

This largest of the Greek Islands has such a distinctive identity it’s almost like a nation unto itself. It’s like a concentrated version of everything that is great about Greece. Crete possesses unusually elemental rugged beauty. The villages are charming, the Cretan cuisine and wines delightful. Above all you’ll be struck by the character of the people. The Cretans are proud, hospitable, and as noble and uncompromising as their landscape.

Even their ancient history has a twist. You’ll see the ruins of magnificent palaces of a fascinating culture that preceded the Golden Age of Greece by many centuries. The Minoans were a mysteriously advanced, art-loving, sophisticated Bronze-Age culture, which you can explore at Knossos. Fans of archaeology will love Crete. So will oenophiles- this is excellent wine country. Add to this the world-famous Samarian gorge and the legendary beaches like Elafonissi, Balos, and Matala. Crete also has the white mountains, tiny islands like Chryssi and the storied Spinalonga, plus hundreds of caves. For nature, culture, and pleasure, Crete is an essential Greek destination.

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Best Spas in Thessaloniki – Chic, Historic, Luxurious https://www.provocolate.com/best-spas-in-thessaloniki-chic-historic-luxurious/ https://www.provocolate.com/best-spas-in-thessaloniki-chic-historic-luxurious/#respond Fri, 15 Nov 2019 19:38:42 +0000 https://www.provocolate.com/?p=2070 The best spas in Thessaloniki belong to a tradition with a very long history. Since Roman times, luxurious public baths have been a part of urban life here. The tradition continues today, with a great variety of spas. You can experience a historic Byzantine bath, have an authentic Turkish bath treatment, or explore an array […]

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The best spas in Thessaloniki belong to a tradition with a very long history. Since Roman times, luxurious public baths have been a part of urban life here. The tradition continues today, with a great variety of spas. You can experience a historic Byzantine bath, have an authentic Turkish bath treatment, or explore an array of specialized massages and body treatments at a chic urban spa oasis.

In visiting one of the best spas in Thessaloniki, you share in the city’s centuries-long tradition of indulgence and wellness.

The Historic Spas of Thessaloniki

The Historic Byzantine Baths in Ano Poli - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Byzantine Baths in Ano Poli – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – operated until 1940.

In fact some of the city’s most beautiful monuments are historic spas. There is the UNESCO Word Heritage monument the Byzantine Baths, as well as the Bey Hamam, or ‘Paradise Baths’ of the 15th century. There is also the “Yahudi Hamam” – or ‘Jewish Baths’ right in the city center, and the ‘Geni Hamam’ – or ‘New” baths – both from the 16th century. Dating from even earlier are the ruins of Roman baths – in the crypt of Agios Dimitrios, in the Roman Agora, and in the Galerian complex.

The Best Spas in Thessaloniki in the Ottoman Tradition – Turkish Baths in Thessaloniki

A Turkish Bath – Hamam or Hammam- is a very specific ritual, and a wonderful indulgence that now belongs to Thessaloniki’s cultural heritage. After you relax in the warm steam, a killed attendant will buff you smooth with a Kese – a pleasantly rough Turkish bath mitt. It’s like a gentle massage that leaves your skin glowing. Then, you will be covered in a dense cloud of foam and bubbles of white soap and enjoy a massage of sweeping motions over your buffed and slippery skin. It’s very had not to sigh out loud.

Visit one of these beautifully appointed baths for a historic and luxurious experience.

Polis Hammam – An Authentic Turkish Bath

This gorgeous marble bath of two domed chambers is as exotic as it is beautiful. Wearing an authentic peshtemal – Turkish bath towel – you’ll recline on a heated marble slab to enjoy the warm steam a you wait for an attendant. The sound of water, flowing from ornate taps into beautifully hammered metal bowls, is hypnotic. Afterwards, recline in luxury on silk pillows, as you sip hot tea from a glass and revive yourself with a loukoumi – a sweet and fragrant Turkish delight. You’ll find a full description of the Polis Hammam experience here.

The Polis Hammam, in Kalamaria (not a 10 minute taxi ride from the center), is open every day of the week, 11:00 am – 11:00 pm. +30 2310 488 216

Hammam Baths Thessaloniki, at the Makedonia Palace Hotel: One of the Best Spas in Thessaloniki

The Best Spas in Thessaloniki - The Luxurious Hammam at the Makedonia Palace
Makedonia Palace Hammam – Thessaloniki’s Most Luxurious Spa

The most glamorous of Thessaloniki’s fabulous five-star hotels, the Makedonia Palace recently had a massive renovation. The Hammam Baths are a new addition. The spacious and elegant all marble baths are modern, yet rich in traditional Ottoman details. The atmosphere is wonderful, and you can choose from an impressive list of treatments, classic and deluxe. In addition to the authentic Turkish bath experience, you can also experience a variety of massages, from the Ancient Greek Malachi massage to a Hanakasumi massage from Japan. Relax with a Turkish-style tea afterwards.

Hammam Baths Thessaloniki, Makedonia Palace Hotel, on the seafront east of the White Tower. Open Monday – Friday, 12:30 pm – 10:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am – 10:00 pm. +30 2310 810 081

Best Spas in Thessaloniki: A Historic Byzantine Spa Experience

The Besy Spas in Thessaloniki - The Historic Baths at Lagada
The Baths at Lagada

In the suburb of Lagada is a truly extraordinary spa. Travelers throughout the centuries rave about the properties of the Therapeutic waters. These natural therapeutic springs flow at a cozy 39 degrees Celsius. And the setting is extraordinary; two pools dating from the Byzantine Era. The Mygdonia pool is from 1400 AD, and the Justinian Pool is from 900 AD. For both quality of water and beauty of facilities, this is one of the best spas in Thessaloniki.

Men and women bathe separately, in bathing suits. The use of the pools alternates between men and women day by day. There are also private whirlpool bath facilities, and massages for an additional price.

The clean facilities include changing rooms and showers, but no lockers – you can leave valuables at the desk. Bring your own towels, bath shoes, hair dryer, and anything else you think you might need.

The baths cost just an astonishing 6 euros.

The Lagada baths are open daily, from 8:00 am – 10:00 pm. The pools are open in the evening for private parties by reservation. For more information, see their official site here.

Eastern Spa Experiences: The Lotus Oriental Spa

For an exotic spa experience that draws on Eastern traditions, visit the Lotus Oriental Spa in the heart of downtown Thessaloniki. Here, you can enjoy a complete ritual experience that includes a steam bath, body scrub, and massage. They also offer expert massages, including aromatherapy massage, Balinese massage, Thai massage, and reflexology, as well as facial and body treatments.

The Lotus Oriental Spa is right of off Tsimiski street on Grigoriou Palama. It’s open Monday – Saturday, 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm. +30 2310 225 200

Best Spas in Thessaloniki for All Around Pampering

Thessaloniki has a number of full-service urban spas that are ideal for a relaxing and rejuvenating session. These offer beauty treatments, massages, and facilities for relaxation such as steam baths, saunas, and whirlpools. Here are the best rated among them.

Atmosphere Spa

The Best Spas in Thessaloniki - Atmosphere Spa
Interior view of Atmosphere Spa – Sauna

This chic spa offers a splendid range of full-body treatments, facials, and massages. These can be combined with session in the sauna, hamam, or whirlpool. The spa area with the sauna, hamam, and whirlpool can be booked privately for individuals or couples. A full massage menu offers a variety of specialized massages.

Atmosphere Spa is on Tsimiski Street in downtown Thessaloniki. 2310 283 999. Monday – Saturday, 12:00 – 10:00 pm, Sundays 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Soul Senses

Cupping Therapy
Cupping Therapy

At Soul Senses, you can unwind in the sauna before selecting from a menu of massages. Additionally, here you can experience cupping therapy. This traditional therapy uses suction to encourage blood flow and alleviate pain. It’s not necessarily for everyone – do read up on it befoe booking a session. But some people find it effective and pleasurable.

Soul Senses is on Agias Sophias Street 37, by the church of Agia Sophia. 2314 009 929. Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Best for Excellent and Inexpensive Massages – Le Massage

The Best Spas in Thessaloniki - Le Massagei
Affordable Luxury at Le Massage

If you are just looking for a massage, Le Massage is the perfect spot. This innovative massage care center offers just massages, but amazingly cheap massages – many for just €10. Trained professionals administer a full menu of massages, including head massages, facial massages, foot massages, and reflexology. This is in addition to a host of choices of back, neck, and fuull body massages, including Thai oil massage, and a massage of four hands. The spare and simple setting – located in the heart of downtown on Tsimiski – is clean and cheerful, with private rooms and one room for couple’s massage.

Le Massage, Tsimiski 42, 2310 286 454. Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 9:00 om, Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

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Day Trips From Thessaloniki – Discovering Northern Greece https://www.provocolate.com/day-trips-from-thessaloniki-discovering-northern-greece/ https://www.provocolate.com/day-trips-from-thessaloniki-discovering-northern-greece/#respond Wed, 16 Oct 2019 11:58:32 +0000 https://www.provocolate.com/?p=2071 There are many excellent day trips from Thessaloniki. Greece’s second largest city is at the heart of a region rich in history, culture, and natural wonders. Here are some of the best experiences you can enjoy on a day trip from Thessaloniki, from archaeological explorations to cruises, and from sacred sites to natural spas. All […]

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There are many excellent day trips from Thessaloniki. Greece’s second largest city is at the heart of a region rich in history, culture, and natural wonders. Here are some of the best experiences you can enjoy on a day trip from Thessaloniki, from archaeological explorations to cruises, and from sacred sites to natural spas.

All these make an exciting add-on to a city break in Thessaloniki. For more on planning your trip, here is a selection of charming boutique hotels you might like. If you feel like a splurge, you can also check out these luxury options. And Thessaloniki is a great place to splurge – your money goes far here, so you’ll have some budget left over for exploring the region.

Day Trips From Thessaloniki: Discovering Ancient Macedonia and the World of Alexander the Great at Pella and Vergina

Marking the waterfront of Thessaloniki, there is an enormous equestrian statue of Alexander the Great. Although we associate Thessaloniki with Alexander, he was never here. The city was founded in 315 BC by Cassander – Alexander’s brother in law – and named “Thessaloniki” after Alexander’s sister. By that time, Alexander had long since left for his glorious campaigns in the east. He died in 323 BC.

Two cities of Macedonian splendor are less than an hour from Thessaloniki: The ancient capital of Aigai (Aegae), at present day Vergina, and the newer seat of government at Pella. Aigai was the place of burial of the Macedonian Kings and the spiritual hearth of the Macedonians. Pella was a glamorous, prosperous metropolis. Alexander left for his campaigns from Pella, and it was the model for the cities he founded along the way.

Day Trips to Pella and Vergina from Thessaloniki

Day Trips fromOne of the Treasures of Pella and Vergina that you can see on a day trip from Thessaloniki
An Ancient Macedonian Crown of Delicate Golden Leaves – Pella

This two sites are especially interesting to see together. Visit both in one day on this convenient day tour. In addition to comfortable transportation, you’ll have the services of a guide, and it also has “skip the line” assistance, so you’ll maximize your time at the sites and museums.

Both the Pella museum and the Vergina museum are spectacular. Seeing the tomb of Phillip II in situ is a moving experience, and the surrounding museum is filled with mesmerizing treasures. At the Pella museum, you’ll have a picture of the splendor of life in Ancient Macedonia. The mosaics at the archaeological site are also spectacular.

Experience Great Wines, the Best in Contemporary Greek Art, and the History of Wine: Ktima Gerovasiliou

The tasting room at Ktima Gerovasiliou
The tasting room at Ktima Gerovasiliou

The Gerovasiliou vineyards and winery offer a first-class cultural experience on every level. The award winning winery, which is responsible for reviving an ancient grape variety, is dedicated to cultivating Greek grape varieties alongside international grapes. It’s a fascinating place to come for a tasting and an easy day trip from Thessaloniki. Visit the luscious vineyards, see the winery, and then visit the world-class wine museum, which tells the tale of wine in our lives from ancient times until the present. In addition to ancient artifacts, you’ll see one of the world’s largest collections of corkscrews. After your museum and winery tour, enjoy the works of prominent contemporary sculptors throughout the vineyards, then have a tasting in a gorgeous room that floats over the vines.

Day Trips from Thessaloniki to Halkidiki: Mount Athos, plus Stagira – the Hometown of Aristotle.

The View from the Walls of Ancient Stagira, on a day trip from Thessaloniki
The View from the Walls of Ancient Stagira

Halkidiki is world-famous for its spectacular beaches. But it’s also a prime cultural and historic destination. The hometown of the philosopher Aristotle is at the eastern edge of the peninsula and it’s a fascinating archaeological site. It’s easy to picture Aristotle at the Academy in Athens, but actually, he was from Halkidiki, the beautiful green peninsula east of Thessaloniki.

Halkidiki has three legs – the first two have the famous beaches. The third leg is something else altogether. Mount Athos – also called Agion Oron (“Holy Mountain”) has been home to Eastern Orthodox monasteries since 800 AD. There are now about 20 monasteries, in addition to the mountain itself, over 2000 meters high at the tip of this narrow peninsula.

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Only men can enter the Mount Athos peninsula. But anyone can see it by boat – it’s an astonishing site.

Experience both Ancient Stagira and Mount Athos on this fantastic day trip from Thessaloniki. You’ll enjoy a guided tour of Stagira, then continue to Ouranopolis for a boat trip along this majestic and mysterious peninsula.

Experience Meteora on a Day Trip From Thessaloniki

Grand Meteora and its majestic vistas
Grand Meteora and its majestic vistas

Geological wonder, architectural miracle, and spiritual haven – Meteora is unique in all the world. At this famous site – another of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites you can visit on day trips from Thessaloniki – megaliths rise 300 to 500 meters into the heavens. On top, you’ll discover monasteries built in the 14th through the 16th centuries.

Visit this astonishing site on a convenient day tour to Meteroa from Thessaloniki.

Visiting the Gods: Mt. Olympus and the Sacred Site of Dion

The dreamy landscape of the sacred site of Ancient Dion
The dreamy landscape of the sacred site of Ancient Dion

Thessaloniki has a great view of majestic Mt. Olympus – it’s directly across the bay of Thermaikos. This was the home of the gods of the ancient world. At the foot of Olympus was the most sacred site of Ancient Macedonia. Alexander the Great came to Dion seeking Zeus’ guidance before he set off on his glorious campaigns.

Visit the contemplative archaeological site of Ancient Dion, and hear the muses whisper along the banks of the sacred spring. Then see the magnificent findings – including a water organ (the hydraulis) and glorious statues – in Dion’s museum.

After the museum and site, you can ascend the base of Mt Olympus. On this small group day trip from Thessaloniki, you’ll continue up to Prionia, one of the rustic mountain shelters used by climbers, and take in the unique energy Greece’s highest mountain – a suitable abode for the 12 gods. For individuals and pairs, this large group tour is a more economical option. Rather than ascending to Prionia, you’ll enjoy an easy hike through the Enipeas gorge.

Go Canyoning at Mount Olympus on a Day Tip from Thessaloniki

Mt. Olympus is oe of the great day trips from Thessaloniki
Mt. Olympus has beautiful places for an exciting day of canyoning

If you were looking for a day trip from Thessaloniki that provides an adrenaline boost, try canyoning. Jump, slide, and abseil down waterfalls on this thrilling half-day trip with a certified team of instructors. No experience is required for this fully equipped expedition – a great introduction to canyoning in an unbelievably beautiful setting.

Go Off-Road – Experiencing the Mountains and Beaches on a Jeep Safari

For a rugged experience of the beauties of rural Greece, take a private mountain and beaches SUV safari. You’ll start out in Chortiatis then go off road through the Mount Chortiatis National Park. Get a taste of authentic mountain Greece at the classic village of Peristera, then head on to a gorge with a waterfall. After a traditional lunch in a rustic taverna with amazing views, you’ll continue on to the sand dunes and sparkling waters of a great beach.

Ski – Or Just Enjoy the Most Majestic View in Greece – at 3 – 5 Pigadia

Day Trips from Thessaloniki: 3 - 5 Pigadia
The View from the Top of 3 – 5 Pigadia

The Ski Center of 3 – 5 Pigadia (“3 – 5 Springs”) is less than 2 hours from Thessaloniki, and only 15 minutes outside of the charming town of Naousa. It’s a gorgeous drive, through the plains towards Veroia, then sharply upward along a road ever more densely forested. There are plenty of places for ski rental, and lessons are also available.

But non-skiers can also have a great time here, just by riding the chairlift to the rustic chalet. The lift tickets – which take you from an elevation of 1430 m to a thrilling 2005 m – are just €5. The ride takes about 15 minutes, in a tiny open chair for two, taking you above the tree tops as skiers slalom below you. The view up here above the tree-line is glorious. Mt. Olympus and other great mountains greet you from the distance across the clear atmosphere as you trudge through deep virgin snow to the chalet.

At the chalet, run by one of the Styllas brothers, from a famous mountaineering family that also runs the highest chalet on Olympus, take off your boots, walk across the cozy flokati-covered floor and settle in for a tsicoudia (a spirit of grape marc) and some meze. Take it easy though – alcohol hits you with a little more force up here in the thinner air.

Indulge in a Spa Break: The Beautiful Natural Thermal Pools of Pozar, Plus a Visit to Edessa, One of Greece’s Loveliest Traditional Towns

The warm springs of Pozar make a good day trip from Thessaloniki
Even on a cold winter day, the therapeutic springs of Pozar will keep you warm.

I just returned from a fantastic trip to Edessa. The capital of Pella, this charming town is nonetheless a relatively unknown destination. And that’s so much the better for you – its authentic character and beauty are untouched by mass tourism. This is the place to experience not just the beauty but also the local character of Greece.

This region is filled with water. The sound of water follows you through the streets of Edessa along canals, and the waterfall – gushing over a cliff 70 meters high – is spectacular. A lush plain stretches out below.

Nearby is more water – the famous Thermal Baths of Pozar. Bathe under a canopy of trees, in therapeutic waters that fill natural pools next to a waterfall. Enjoy them summer and winter – the water is a cozy 37 degrees (magical in the snow!). There are also luxurious private rooms for an indoor experience, and a 25 meter swimming pool.

Enjoy both on this convenient day trip to Pozar and Edessa, where you’ll start with the baths, then dine on the truly excellent cuisine of the region. Then you’ll enjoy the charms of Edessa and the spectacular waterfall.

If you are small group, you might prefer this private trip in a luxury minivan.

Enjoy the Historic Byzantine Spa of Lagada

The warm springs of Loutra Lagada
The warm springs of Loutra Lagada

History and health unite at more thermal waters, close to Thessaloniki. In the suburb of Lagada, there are luxurious thermal waters in 2 marble baths that date from 900(!) and 1400 AD. You can get here by bus – there are several routes a day from the public bus system with the 83M- check here for a schedule.

The baths cost just €6, and can be booked for private groups for evening sessions (€20). For hours and details, visit their site. Including the public transportation, this is definitely one of the least expensive day trips from Thessaloniki.

Discover Thessaloniki from the Water

Elegant Aristotle Square as seen from the deck on a sailing cruise
Elegant Aristotle Square as seen from the deck on a sailing cruise

You don’t need to go far to get a completely novel experience of Thessaloniki. Cruise around the gorgeous Bay of Thermaikos on this small group sailing trip. On this top-rated excursion, you’ll enjoy stories and lore, Greek wines and meze, and incredible views. This three-hour experience is one of the best ways to truly connect with Thessaloniki.

Get Close to Wildlife – Buffalos, Flamingos, Majestic Wetlands and Mountains

A bird landing on the glassy surface of Lake Kerkini
One of the beautiful, wild residents of Lake Kerkini

Northern Greece is full of natural wonders. On this fabulous day trip and boat cruise on Lake Kerkini, you’ll experience one of Greece’s most important wetlands up close. Nearly 300 species of birds and rare animals call this exotic wetland habitat home. After bird watching and a cruise across the lake’s glassy surface, you’ll visit a farm for the local buffalos, all with Mt. Beles in view. Then continue to a traditional village to enjoy true local cuisine at a taverna.

Experience Real Greece – Tasting Traditional Life in Beautiful Villages on a Day Trip from Thessaloniki

A stone staircase running through a rustic village in Northern Greece
A stone staircase running through a rustic village in Northern Greece

The region around Thessaloniki is filled with beautiful and historic villages in dramatic natural settings. On this private tour from Thessaloniki, you’ll visit Livadi, Petrokerasa, Agios Promodromos, and Galatista. Each offers a unique experience – chestnut forests, a magnificent 14th century Byzantine tower, historic churches, and endless vistas. This is a great way to encounter the locals – enjoying a thick, strong Greek coffee at a classic “kafeneio” and dining on authentic local cuisine.

Visit Kavala for the Day

Everyone who visits Kavala absolutely loves it. A charming and hilly city with a lovely waterfront, the locals are proud to call it the “Monaco of Greece” and they are not wrong. There is definitely a sense of glamour in the grand mansions that were built by the tobacco merchants, and an air of the exotic in the grand 19th-century Imaret, high on the peninsula.

Kavala is exactly 2 hours from Thessaloniki on the KTEL express bus, with several departures each day (check here). The bus station of Kavala is directly in the center, by the picturesque waterfront. Kavala is a great city for exploring on foot. There is a fine and small archaeological museum in the center, and also a fascinating (and sweetly fragrant) tobacco museum – Kavala was the center of a prosperous tobacco industry for many decades.

Other sites include a huge Ottoman acquaduct in excellent condition, and a church that was once a mosque – the lovely Agios Nikolaos. Kavala is where St. Paul first set foot on European soil – there is a mosaic depicting his arrival outside the church. You can also visit the Imaret for coffee or a meal in historic surroundings with stunning views, and walk around the old town.

The seas here are generous – you can enjoy an excellent meal at a seaside taverna. We adored the casual and elegant Psaraki, right at the water’s edge, with a view of the Imaret across the water.

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The Best Boutique Hotels in Thessaloniki https://www.provocolate.com/the-best-boutique-hotels-in-thessaloniki-top-10/ https://www.provocolate.com/the-best-boutique-hotels-in-thessaloniki-top-10/#respond Sun, 22 Sep 2019 21:19:09 +0000 https://www.provocolate.com/?p=2054 The best boutique hotels in Thessaloniki capture the city’s unique urban character. This is the ideal city for enjoying a boutique hotel experience. Like the best boutique hotels, Thessaloniki is utterly charming, full of character. Also – importantly – Thessaloniki is just the right size. This a personal city, not too large and anonymous. It’s […]

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The best boutique hotels in Thessaloniki capture the city’s unique urban character. This is the ideal city for enjoying a boutique hotel experience. Like the best boutique hotels, Thessaloniki is utterly charming, full of character. Also – importantly – Thessaloniki is just the right size. This a personal city, not too large and anonymous. It’s a city for exploring on foot, through cobblestone alleys and shady streets, discovering ouzeries, antique stores, and pastry shops along the way.

The best boutique hotels understand the city’s character, and put you right in the middle of the action for an intimate urban experience.

Thessaloniki’s Unique History of Hospitality

Unlike Athens, Thessaloniki has been a thriving city throughout every era of its long history. This was an important crossroads a city of trade. There was once a large caravanserai, and many “hans” – inns for travelers and salesmen, with storage for their wares and space for their animals. There were dozes of hans in the old city.

This is still one of the most interesting parts of town, with rich texture and history. It’s also where many of the best boutique hotels in Thessaloniki have opened up. Most are also in buildings of architectural distinction, giving your stay added charm.

The Best Boutique Hotels in Thessaloniki: the Marketplace and the Plateia Emboreiou (Old Commercial Square)

The Old Commercial Square has been a center of activity for centuries. This is the neighborhood of old spice markets and new wine bars, an essential Thessaloniki destination. The Kapani Market has been lively central food market of the city for generations. This is the perfect place to feel the pulse of the city.

1. The Modernist – The Best Boutique Hotel in Thessaloniki for

Best Boutique Hotels in Thessaloniki - The Modernist
The Modernist is just steps from Aristotle Square

Right by the central Kapani maret in te heart of downtown, the Modernit is in a perfect location for exploring the city. It’s just steps from elegant Aristotle square, and close to the best areas for lively restaurants and bars, both around Agia Sophia Church just to the east and in the Ano Ladadika district just to the west. It’s also close to many historic monuments and places of interest.

This is another of the city’s best-rated hotels (9.5 on booking.com). Its chic minimalist design is in perfect harmony with its historic 1920’s building.

The Minimalist collaborates with the most interesting and creative individuals and teams in Thessaloniki for unique design, style, and amenities. For example, the excellent breakfast on the rooftop terrace is sourced from Ergon foods, purveyors of specialty and artisanal Greek products.

For details, prices, and booking, please click here.

2. Bahar Boutique Hotel

Best Boutique Hotels in Thessaloniki
The Bahar Boutique Hotel overlooks the Plateia Emboreiou

This newcomer among the best boutique hotels in Thessaloniki is directly in the heart of one of the most vibrant neighborhoods of the moment. On the Plateia Emboriou – the old commercial square, the Bahar is in the center of the best restaurants, bars, and cafes of the city. This neighborhood has terrific character- with the original spice merchants thriving alongside creative spaces and elegant restaurants. Bahar in fact means “spice” in Turkish.

The Bahar’s rooms have plush, elegant contemporary furnishings. The early 20th century building has its original proportions and architectural details. These add grace and authenticity to the chic spaces. An excellent Greek breakfast is served each morning.

For details, prices, and booking, please click here.

3. The Mood Luxury Rooms

Bet Boutique Hotels in Thessaloniki - The Mood
The Mood Luxury Rooms is upstairs from an elegant wine bar

This beautifully restored building is also right next to the Plateia Emboreiou, the center of activity for the best dining, cafes, and culture. You’ll still enjoy a great sleep though, thanks to excellent mattresses (and soundproofing).

Elegant and spacious rooms channel the building’s early 20th-century elegance, while keeping a spare contemporary elegance.

Downstairs is an excellent wine bar for breakfast, brunch, and fine wines, coffee, and drinks throghout the day.

For details, prices, and booking, please click here.

4. The Capsis Bristol Boutique Hotel

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One of the 5-star boutique hotels in Thessaloniki, the Capsis Bristol is also part of the Historic Hotels of Europe Group. When the hotel was built in 1860, this area near the harbor was filled with fashionable cafes and other grand hotels. Now, the central square of the Ladadika one of the most vibrant areas of the city, full of charming ouzeries and bars.

The rooms in the magnificently restored historic Capsis Bristol are full of authentic character. With parquet floors, Persian carpets, and antique furnishings, the modern rooms are full of warmth and character.

Breakfast is served in the hotel’s lovely atrium.

For details, prices, and booking, please click here.

5. Superior One Boutique Hotel

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The Superior One Boutique Hotel is in a beautiful neoclassical building, on one of downtown’s main streets, close to many sites of interest. It’s just 200 meters from the Jewish Museum, in the historic heart of the city. The city’s liveliest restaurants and bars, as well as the traditional central market, are close by.

Guests love the spacious rooms in addition to the ideal location.

For details, prices, and booking, please click here.

The Best Boutique Hotels in Thessaloniki Above Egnatia Street – the Historic Center

The area above Egnatia and around the Roman Agora is a convenient and exciting place to stay. It’s a perfect neighborhood for taking in the mood of the city.

6. Antigon Urban Chic Hotel – The Best Boutique Hotel in Thessaloniki for History Buffs

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The Antigon Urban Chic Hotel is only 5-star hotel in the historic district above Egnatia street, and is only of the highest-rated hotels in the city according to guests. This luxury boutique hotel in a building from the 1930’s is full of character and attention to detail. The hotel’s elegant bistro has a glass floor, revealing the Roman ruins found during the extensive restoration. There is also a rooftop champagne bar. The hotel serves a lovely buffet breakfast.

If you are looking for other 5-star luxury selections, you might like to see this selection of the Best 5-star Hotels in Thessaloniki

For details, prices, and booking, please click here.

7. Gatto Perso

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Stylish Art Deco and Neoclassical details distinguish this 1926 building just steps from the Roman Agora. The historic building has been carefully restored with all period details intact, and all modern amenities added. The decor combines contemporary elegance – in the marble baths and sleek kitchen facilities, and period charm in the furnishings, wall treatments, and drapes. At Gatto Perso, you’ll find 17 charming studios and apartments.

Gatto Perso is on a quiet street but in the middle of a thriving neighborhood for artgalleries, restaurants, boutiques, and cafes – one of the most intersig historic corners of Thessaloniki. It is within walking distance of many of the city’s most popular monuments and historic sites.

For details, prices, and booking, please click here.

8. The Caravan B & B – The Best Boutique Hotel in Thessaloniki for Hospitality

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Another of the highest-rated hotels in the city (guests give it a 9.7 on booking.com), the Caravan offers a uniquely personal brand of hospitality. Three friends who love travel realized what is most important to them – true hospitality. The staff of the Caravan are ful of enthusiasm for the city, and are glad to help you make the most of your stay.

The Caravan is a unique experience. Modern decor get a burst of warmth and texture from beautifully restored pieces of furniture from the hosts’ own families. At breakfast, you might try a delicious cake made by one of their mothers.

The rooms have true character united with contemporary comfort. Some have balconies with views of the landmark Hamsa Bey mosque (Alakazar). The lobby and excellent coffee bar make a stylish meeting place to relax.

The Caravan is in a 1929 building that was originally an inn, and its name is inspired in part by the original caravanserai of Thessaloniki that was once right next door.

For details, prices, and booking, please click here.

The Best Boutique Hotels in Thessaloniki in the Heart of Downtown

9. Trilogy House – The Best Boutique Hotel in Thessaloniki for Style and Design

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Some of the most stylish rooms in the city, the Trilogy House’s design-forward rooms have beautiful objects from prestigious international designers. A raw design aesthetic of beautifully distressed walls, polished parquet floors, and original architectural details come together to create unique and extremely pleasing spaces.

The Trilogy House’s 10 rooms – some with a sea view, others looking out to an atrium – are on Tsimiski, Thessaloniki’s main boulevard. This is a perfect neighborhood for experiencing the contemporary energy of the city.

For details, prices, and booking, please click here.

10. The Excelsior

The Best Boutique Hotels in Thessaloniki - the stylish Trilogy House
The Excelsior is on one of the most charming intersections in the center

Another 5-star selection, the Excelsior offers luxury with a modern sensibility. The hotel, set in a gorgeous historic building, has a chic contemporary design aesthetic and the premier downtown location. Just steps from elegant Aristotle Square, the Excelsior is in the most elegant part of downtown, on a the intersection of shady, cafe-lined streets. Breakfast is served in the hotel’s Charlie D. Brasserie. This authentic French-style brasserie in the heart of Thessaloniki is a favorite spot with locals.

The Excelsior is in a prime location for boutique shopping, cafe lifestyle, and just taking n the elegant urban ambiance of the loveliest part of downtown.

For details, price, and booking, please click here.

Please note- this post had affiliate links. If you book through them, I’ll receive a small commission directly from Booking.com, which is a great help. There will be no extra charge for you, and the hotel you choose will also receive full payment. Thank you very much for your support.

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Things to Do in the Port of Thessaloniki https://www.provocolate.com/things-to-do-in-the-port-of-thessaloniki/ https://www.provocolate.com/things-to-do-in-the-port-of-thessaloniki/#respond Sat, 21 Sep 2019 23:08:17 +0000 https://www.provocolate.com/?p=2022 There are many things to do in the port of Thessaloniki. The city has a large commercial port just to the west. But in the center of town, the original port has now become a center of contemporary culture. The red brick warehouses of the port of Thessaloniki – elegant examples of early 20th century […]

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There are many things to do in the port of Thessaloniki. The city has a large commercial port just to the west. But in the center of town, the original port has now become a center of contemporary culture. The red brick warehouses of the port of Thessaloniki – elegant examples of early 20th century industrial architecture – are now spaces for culture and recreation. There are three excellent museums here. There are also screening rooms for the International Film Festival of Thessaloniki and the Documentary festival. Films show here throughout the fall and winter season.

There’s also a place to have drinks or a meal, with – of course – an unbelievable view.

The Port of Thessaloniki is also a great place for doing nothing at all. People come here to relax on the wooden loungers with their books, or meet friends for some socializing.

The port of Thessaloniki manages to kept its original identity and authenticity intact while serving as a place for contemporary culture. Even as the port fills with international directors, actors, and producers during the film festival, you’ll still see fisherman angling off of the dock here. In fact, there’s a bait shop directly across the way on the main seafront promenade.

Enjoy the View from the Port of Thessaloniki

The Port of Thessaloniki on a Breezy Afternoon
The Port of Thessaloniki on a Breezy Afternoon

Thessaloniki curves snugly around the bay of Thermaikos. The portion of the seafront starting from the port and the “Plateia Eleftherias” (Freedom square) in the east, to the White Tower in the West is the “Palia Paralia” – the old seafront. The promenade is about a kilometer and a half long. It passes the best of Thessaloniki’s early 20th century Neoclassical grand apartment buildings.

The Palaia Paralia always was – and still is – the favorite place for an evening stroll. The promenade is lined with cafes and bars, just as it has always been.

From the port, you look directly across the water to the promenade. You have a great view of the promenade and the White Tower. Beyond, you’ll see the rest of the seafront stretching all the way to a marina and the former royal palace in the east. On a clear day, the view of Mt. Olympus across the bay is extraordinary.

Things to do in the Port of Thessaloniki – Visit the Museums

Three of the city’s museums – of the many excellent Museums in Thessaloniki – are in the old warehouses of the port. They are all of manageable size and they have very low admission prices. It’s possible to visit all of the museums in one day.

The Thessaloniki Cinema Museum in the Port of Thessaloniki

Things to Do in the Port of Thessaloniki - Cinema Museum
Greek Film Icon Aliki Vougiouklaki explains why English is useful

Thessaloniki is an extremely film-friendly town. There’s an International Film Festival each year, in addition to documentary festivals, and other film festivals throughout the season.

Greece has a long and close relationship with film. It began with the pioneering Manakis Brothers in the early 20th century. The popular films of the 1950’s and 60’s – comedies especially – were popular abroad too. Greece has also been influential in the intrnational world of avant-garde cinema, with directors such as Theo Angelopoulos.

The Thessaloniki Cinema Museum is a permanent museum overseen by the International Film Festival. It offers a delightful and extremely English-friendly experience. Through extensive clips, artifacts, and text, you follow the entire path of the history of Greek cinema.

The MOMus Photography Museum

The Café of the MOMus Photography Musuem
The Café of the MOMus Photography Musuem

This is the only Museum that is dedicated solely to the Art of Photography in the whole of Greece. The MOMus Photography Museum has a great archive of photo documents from 1890 to the present, including the Greek portion of the works of Frederick Boisonnas. The museum regularly stages exhibitions of Greek and International photographers exploring themes of interest, engaging the public in an ongoing dialogue.

The cafe in the museum of photography has an incredible view of part of the commercial port. You can also see an architectural landmark – the early 20th-century customs house, designed by Ely Modiano. The windows extend to the floor and this quiet cafe is a great place to go on a blustery day.

The MOMus Experimental Center for the Arts

Across from the Photography Museum you’ll find the MOMus Experimental Center for the Arts. This exciting and dynamic space shows experimental and innovative approaches to art. They feature performance art, installations, interdisciplinary hybrids, and organize interventions in public spaces. The MOMus Experimental Center for the Arts ensures vitality in Thessaloniki’s cultural landscape, supporting young artists, hosting residencies, and participating in exchange networks.

Things to Do in the Port of Thessaloniki – Go See a Film

Things to Do in the Port of Thesaloniki
Converted Warehouses in the Port of Thessaloniki

Several of the old warehouses are now excellent screening rooms. In addition to showing the films of the festivals, they operate from fall into the spring as cinemas. Both quality new releases and classic art films show here. The excellent sound systems, projection quality, and seating all make for a great viewing experience.

Have a Drink at the Kitchen Bar

Things to Do in the Port of Thessaloniki - a drink with a view
The Port of Thessaloniki is pleasant for a coffee or a glass of wine with a view

Since it opened in 2003, the Kitchen Bar has been a huge favorite. It has a contemporary menu and is open from morning until late for drinks, brunch, or a festive meal. The converted warehouse space is gorgeous, and the view is even better. There’s outdoor seating right at the water’s edge.

Enjoy a Festival or an Exhibition at the Port of Thessaloniki

Some of the warehouses and the vast outdoor space host events throughout the year. There are concerts of popular international performers, as well as art exhibitions, and festivals in the larger warehouses of the port.

Explore the Ladadika – the Neighborhood Around the Port of Thessaloniki

Near the Harbor, the Bakaliarakia serve Greek-style Fish and Chips
Near the Harbor, the Bakaliarakia serve Greek-style Fish and Chips

The narrow cobblestone streets and charming just above the Port of Thessaloniki have been a social center of the city for generations. This was once the main port. The Plateia Eleftherias and the surrounding streets had the most elegant hotels and famous cafes. Now, the neighborhood of pedestrian streets and former warehouses – the “ladadika” – is once again the place to go for drinks and dinner. There is a great selection here. You’ll find casual ouzeries and tavernas, elegant places for a glass of wine, and late night bars with music. During the daytime, try the “bakaliarakia.” Thessaloniki-style fish and chips with garlicy “skordalia” on the side has been a favorite of dock workers and everyone else for decades. The fish and chips comes on a piece of paper – no plates. It’s a classic Thessaloniki dining experience, and authentically delicious.

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The Best 5-Star Hotels in Thessaloniki https://www.provocolate.com/the-best-5-star-hotels-in-thessaloniki/ https://www.provocolate.com/the-best-5-star-hotels-in-thessaloniki/#respond Wed, 18 Sep 2019 15:10:23 +0000 https://www.provocolate.com/?p=2017 The best 5-star hotels in Thessaloniki offer the ideal accommodations for every taste and style. Offering more than mere luxury, they have plenty of individual character. Each of these 5-star hotels captures different aspects of the urban experience, enhancing and defining your stay in the city. Thessaloniki is the Perfect Place to Splurge on a […]

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The best 5-star hotels in Thessaloniki offer the ideal accommodations for every taste and style. Offering more than mere luxury, they have plenty of individual character. Each of these 5-star hotels captures different aspects of the urban experience, enhancing and defining your stay in the city.

Thessaloniki is the Perfect Place to Splurge on a 5-star Hotel

Thessaloniki is ideal for a luxury city-break. Compared with many other elegant European destinations, your hotel budget goes very far in Thessaloniki. For much of the year, you can get a room at one of the best 5-star hotels in Thessaloniki for less than 200, with most rooms around 150 and some much closer to 100.

The same holds true for everything else – fine dining, cocktails, shopping, and just getting around with ease are all surprisingly affordable.

The Best 5-Star Hotels in Thessaloniki for Beautiful Views

The Electra Palace Hotel: for the Classic Thessaloniki Experience

The Best 5-Star Hotels in Thessaloniki - The Gorgeous Facade of the Electra Palace
The gorgeous facade of the Electra Palace Hotel defines Aristotle Square
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Aristotle Square defines the city, and the Electra Palace defines Aristotle Square. This landmark historic building curves around the elegant plaza. The views from the Orizontes rooftop are stellar- the whole of the cosmopolitan square, the bay of Thermaikos, and Mt. Olympus beyond. This is the best place in the city to come for drinks or coffee and a spectacular view, and also where guests enjoy an excellent full Greek breakfast. There is a full service spa and wellness center on site. Rooms are classically elegant, with wooden floors and furnishings, lovely oriental carpets, and plush drapes.

Click here for full details, prices, and availability

The Makedonia Palace Hotel: Best 5-Star Hotel for All-Out Glamour

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The Makedonia Palace is Thessaloniki’s first luxury hotel. Since its opening in 1972, this 8-story hotel has been a city landmark, overlooking the seafront promenade from its prime location. The Palace has just undergone a complete renovation. The contemporary chic decor embraces elements of its historic glamour.

The Makedonia Palace Hotel is within an easy distance from all cultural hot spots, and a particularly fine choice if you are attending an event at the Concert Hall. On the other hand, you may find no reason to leave, as the fine dining here includes brilliant contemporary interpretations of classic Greek tastes, as well as classic Italian tastes, all with majestic views of the Thermaikos, Mt. Olympus, and the shimmering glow of the city. The kitchens offer kosher and vegan meals.

The Makedonia Palace’s new Hammam baths are the latest word in luxury, while reviving the classic bathing culture of the Turkish bath that was so long a part of the life and history of Thessaloniki.

For full details, prices, and availability, please check here

Daios Luxury Living: For the Ultimate Seaside Experience

The Best 5-Star Hotels in Thessaloniki - Daios Luxury Living

This is the closest to the sea you can sleep without being on a boat. Daios Luxury Living has a distinctively shipboard sense of elegance in its streamlined design. In fact, it’s so close to the sea that the reflection of the water makes beautiful patterns on the ceilings of the rooms if the light is just right. It’s like vacationing on a yacht without the rocking motion. Chic minimalist design is warmed up with plush textures and luxury materials.

This is a great location, smack in the middle of everything, between the White Tower and Aristotle Square, each just 5 minutes away on foot. They have an excellent American-style breakfast, room service, fine dining, and parking.

Check here for full details, availability, and prices.

The Best 5-Star Hotels in Thessaloniki for Chic and Historic Urban Experience

The Capsis Bristol Boutique Hotel: A Historic Hotel with Authentic Atmosphere

The Best 5-Star Hotels in Thessaloniki - The Historic Capsis Bristol

The Capsis Bristol is the only historic hotel in Thessaloniki. It was built in 1860, and belongs to the Historic Hotels of the World. During the Belle Epoque, the adjacent square was the site of famous grand hotels and cafes – the vibrant social center of the city. Of these hotels, just the Bristol remains. After a complete restoration of 2000, the Capsis Bristol now carries the elegance of that era into the 21st century, with its generously proportioned and well-appointed guest rooms with high ceilings and grand windows. This hotel overlooks the main square of a historic neighborhood that has undergone a renaissance. The charming pedestrian zone of Ladadika is a favorite destination for Meze, cafes, and contemporary restaurants. It’s also right next to the port of Thessaloniki, a center for culture.

For full details, prices, and availability, please check here.

The Excelsior Hotel: For a Chic Downtown Experience

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Stay right in the center of the buzz of the city. At the corner of two narrow (so no heavy traffic) shady streets lined with cafes and bars, the Excelsior is at the city’s prime social intersection.

The Excelsior has a pedigree. This boutique hotel operates in the historic building of the luxury Hotel Excelsior, opened in 1924. Style and character are preserved in the elegant proportions, while a chic simplicity guides the contemporary aesthetic.

Enjoy breakfast at Charlie D. Brasserie – a popular local favorite.

We love that it’s pet-friendly.

Check here for full details, prices, and availability.

The Antigon Urban Chic Hotel: Contemporary Luxury in the Historic Center

The Best 5-Star Hotels in Thessaloniki - The Antigon Urban Chic Hotel

Perfectly named, the Antigon Urban Chic Hotel really delivers. A member of the Leading Hotels of the World group, this relative newcomer to Thessaloniki’s luxury hotel scene is a strong guest favorite, with the highest reviews on booking.com among the 5-star hotels in Thessaloniki.

This is the only 5-star hotel in Thessaloniki that is above Egnatia Street, in one of the city’s most beautiful historic neighborhoods, with elegant architecture and tree-lined streets. This part of the city is dense with monuments and history. At the Antigon Urban Chic Hotel, you can experience it directly- at A Bistro, you can dine in an atrium with a glass floor over the ruins of Ancient Macedonian and Roman Thessaloniki. There is also a rooftop champagne bar.

This is a perfect location for exploring Thessaloniki’s monuments, history, and excellent nightlife scene. The Roman Agora, the lovely Monastir Synagogue, Agios Dimitrios church, the Bey Hamam, and the Alaja Imaret are just a few of the monuments within a short walk.

Thessaloniki’s contemporary creative and nightlife scene is centered around the Ano Ladadika and the old Plateia Emboriou, just a couple of blocks away.

Elegant contemporary rooms face city views or views of the private garden and ruins.

For full details, prices, and availability, please click here.

The Best 5-Star Hotels in Thessaloniki Near the Port

The Met Hotel: For Devotees of Design

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The high-style Met hotel has sleek modern design and a chic industrial view. Across from the commercial harbor and just minutes from the city center (a free shuttle can take you there), you can enjoy a swim on the rooftop with a view of the cranes. The luxury room have marble baths and wooden floors, and some have a sea view.

This is a great location if you want to enjoy the city’s nightlife. Also, on site, you’ll find the Sky bar with all around views, the Chan bar for late night, and the long bar with a gold-plated wall for extra glamour.

Check here for details, prices, and availability.

The Porto Palace Hotel: For Historic Texture and Contemporary Luxury

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In an elegantly converted industrial building of 1913, the Porto Palace is also next to the port. It’s immediately accessible from the highway and offers easy guest parking – perfect for exploring and for day trips. It’s also just minutes from the city center, via free shuttle.

The elegant rooms have a sleek modern design, and public spaces have character. There’s a gym, and a fabulous roof top pool, as well as great on-site dining.

This is also a great choice for nightlife, or if you are in town for a concert, next to the main concert venues like the Principal.

Check here for details and prices.

Best 5-Star Hotel in Thessaloniki for Lovers of Art and Culture: The Lazart

Gallery image of this property

Away from the fray of downtown, the peaceful and elegant Lazart has some of the most spacious rooms in the city. Directly across the street is the historic Moni Lazariston. This beautiful former monastery now houses spaces for cultural events as well as the MOMus modern – where you will find the George Costakis collection, one of the world’s finest collections of Russian Avant – Garde art.

For more culture, the city center is just 2 kilometers away.

Guests can enjoy the outdoor pool in season, and luxuriate in the hotel’s hamam.

For full details, prices, and availability, please check here.

The Best 5-Star Hotels in Thessaloniki for a Luxury Resort Experience

The Hotel Nikopolis: For Amazing Pool and Spa Facilities

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The elegant and contemporary Hotel Nikopolis just 15 minutes from the center (and just 3 km from the airport) offers plenty of room to spread out. The hotel is set amid beautifully landscaped grounds, with an olympic-sized swimming pool as its focal point. A full gym, indoor pool, sauna, hammam, and hot tub complete the luxurious wellness facilities. There are also two tennis courts.

Fine dining options at the Hotel Nikopolis include the award-winning concept restaurant Dome Real Cuisine, and the Kassei Teppanyaki and Sushi restaurant. There is also the Da Vinci Restaurant, where guests enjoy an American-style buffet breakfast, and a pool bar.

This is a great place to enjoy an indulgent weekend.

For more details, prices, and availability, please check here.

The Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki: For a Luxury Experience

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Also outside of Thessaloniki and near the Airport, the Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki is a large and beautifully developed property, offering everything a guest could wish. The extremely spacious rooms are magnificently appointed.

You can have a refreshing swim, then relax in the beautifully designed serenity of the Asian spa.

Enjoy Greek Cuisine at the Ambrosia restaurant with a soaring 7-meter ceiling, or Greek-style seafood served poolside at Oceana in the warmer months.

For excitement, entertainment, and more elegant dining options, a shuttle can take you to the Hyatt Regency Casino. This elegant casino is the largest in the Balkans, and is open 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

For full details, prices, and availability, please click here.

Please note- this post had affiliate links. If you book through them, I’ll receive a small commission directly from Booking.com, which is a great help. There will be no extra charge for you, and the hotel you choose will also receive full payment. Thank you very much for your support.

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Things to Do in Old Town Thessaloniki – Ano Poli https://www.provocolate.com/things-to-do-in-old-town-thessaloniki-ano-poli/ https://www.provocolate.com/things-to-do-in-old-town-thessaloniki-ano-poli/#respond Tue, 17 Sep 2019 07:34:53 +0000 https://www.provocolate.com/?p=1994 Old Town Thessaloniki is a rambling hillside neighborhood in the embrace of the Byzantine walls. This romantic tangle of cobblestone alleys and traditional houses goes locally by the name “Ano Poli” – the “upper town” of Thessaloniki. This is where the city’s true identity beautifully unfolds. There are many things to do in Old Town […]

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Old Town Thessaloniki is a rambling hillside neighborhood in the embrace of the Byzantine walls. This romantic tangle of cobblestone alleys and traditional houses goes locally by the name “Ano Poli” – the “upper town” of Thessaloniki. This is where the city’s true identity beautifully unfolds.

There are many things to do in Old Town Thessaloniki. Monuments from periods throughout the city’s history mingle in harmony throughout Ano Poli. There are historic and religious sites that stretch back through centuries, even millennia. Five of Thessaloniki’s UNESCO World Heritage monuments are in the Old Town. Some of are famous landmarks, But many more are hidden – Old Town Thessaloniki is a place of secrets and discoveries.

Things to Do in Old Town Thessaloniki – A Beautiful, Historic Walk

There are traces of many of the city’s eras and cultures – from ancient Roman sections in the Byzantine walls, to a Church over 14 centuries old, to the mausoleum of a Sufi holy man (adored by the Christians, too.)

Related Post: Museums in Thessaloniki: Archaeology to Contemporary Art

Of course, even without these charms, you would want to come up here for the view alone, as many locals do. This lush, green neighborhood of traditional houses and overgrown gardens feels like a country village. But when you reach the summit, the whole cosmopolitan city stretches before you around the deep blue bay.

Agios Nikolaos Orfanos – A Church in a Secret Garden

Thinsg to do in Old Town Thessaloniki- visit Agios Nikolaos Orfanos
The early 14th-century Agios Nikolaos Orfanos has a large walled garden

This fairy-tale of a church in its walled garden is in Ano Poli’s lower corner to the east, a perfect place to start your hike amid the cobblestone alleys of the Old Town. A great favorite for Weddings and Baptisms, the 14th century Church of Agios Nikolaos Orfanos is one of the UNESCO World Heritage monuments in Old Town Thessaloniki.

Ano Poli Church of Agios Nikolaos Orfanos
The Palaiologan Renaissance Frescoes of Agios Nikolaos Orfanos have enormous narrative power

Agios Nikolaos Orfanos is particularly famous for its frescoes. They’re examples of the Palaiologan Renaissance – a high point of Byzantine art and culture. The wall paintings illustrate events from the bible with enormous expressive power. In an era when literacy was less universal, paintings like these were essential for conveying a narrative, like a graphic novel of the sacred.

The View from the Old City Walls of Ano Poli

Things to do in Old Town Thessaloniki - The View from the Trigonio Tower
The view of Thessaloniki from the Trigonio Tower

By night, the old city walls crown the city with a golden glow The Byzantine walls of the Old Town Of the 15 UNESCO World Heritage monuments in Thessaloniki are the . These massive walls have a long history. Although most of the construction dates from the Byzantine era, some portions of the walls are Roman. Much of what you see now are additions of the early Christian era – the 4th or 5th century AD. There were more major additions in the Palaiologan era, including additions Empress Anna Palaiogina made in the second half of the 14th century.

The Trigonio Tower – also called the Alysseos Tower – is the premier viewpoint in the city, and not just for tourists. Join the locals there for an unbeatable view. There are several cafes with fabulous views right by the tower.

Things to Do in Old Town Thessaloniki – Visit the Heptapyrgion, or Genti Koule (Yedi Kule)

Ano Poli Genti Koule Eptapyrgio
The walls of the Genti Koule have elements recycled from earlier structures

At the acropolis – or highest point – of Thessaloniki, is a great tower. The Greek name is Heptapyrgion – which means “Fortress of Seven Towers.” It had the same name during the Ottoman era (1430 -1912) – Yedi Kule – which also means “seven towers.” The spelling changed to Genti Koule. The Ottomans left. but Genti Koule is the name that stuck.

The fortress dates from the 14th century, and when the Ottomans conquered the city, they strengthened the fortress further. It was a military fortress until the late 19th century.It then became a prison, of the same name. When Thessaloniki was liberated in 1912, the Genti Koule remained a prison. And it became an infamous one – its name appears in many Rebetiko songs. Rebetiko, a type of urban Greek blues that came over with the Greeks refugees of Asia Minor, is a cultural essential in Thessaloniki.

Things to Do in Old Town Thessaloniki – A Magical Monastery.

Things to Do in Old Town Thessaloniki - Moni Vlatdon
Moni Vlatadon

For different and equally spectacular view of the city than from the Trigonio Tower, visit a 14th century Monastery. The Vlatadon Monastery – Moni Vlatadon – is the only Byzantine Monastery still in operation in Thessaloniki today. During the Ottoman centuries, Moni Vlatadon remained a Christian monastery. The Vlatadon Monastery belongs to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The church is from 1351. The surrounding building, which houses a Patriarchal institute of studies, is a relatively recent addition of 1968.

Moni Vlatadon- The Ambulatiry
Moni Vlatadon- The Ambulatiry

This is a wonderful place to visit, for the view, the magnificent 14th-century frescoes (only revealed in the earthquake of 1978), the bells in the churchyard, and not least, the aviary.

See a Magnificent Mosaic at Osios David (Latomou Monastery)

Things to do in Ano Poli Thessaloniki - see the Vision of Ezekiel
T he Vision of Ezekiel

Unlike the Vlatadon Monastery – an easy-to-reach landmark, the church of Osios David is hard to find. In fact, it’s almost directly below the monastery, but it’s reached through a maze of paths and stairs like a treasure in a treasure hunt. The small church is humble from the outside, and mysterious within. This is one of Thessaloniki’s oldest churches, dating from the late 5th century. Legend has it that Theodora, the secretly Christian daughter of Emperor Maximus, disguised the church as a bathhouse.

This is another of Thessaloniki’s 15 UNESCO World Heritage Monuments. Its mosaic is considered a masterpiece of Early Christian Art. The mosaic is a magical depiction of the vision of Ezekiel, with Christ, in a rare depiction a a beardless adolescent, seated on a rainbow with the river of Jordan at his feet. Surrounding him are the four Evangelists in their classic depictions. This is the most vivid, engaging mosaic in Thessaloniki. The intimate space enhances the experience.

The Street Art of Ano Poli, Thessaloniki

Things to Do in Old Town Thessaloniki - see the street art
Street Art of Ano Poli – Mural in Tsinari

Ano Poli is a mix of tradition and modern creativity. The traditional character of the old houses and the atmospheric, shady paths make this neighborhood as popular with students as it is with the older residents tending their gardens. The picturesque abandoned lots and the sides of old buildings are covered with beautiful street art, a harmonious addition to the neighborhood’s authentic character. The Old Town serves as an outdoor gallery for some of Thessaloniki’s best street art.

Byzantine Baths

Byzantine Baths Ano Poli, Thessaloniki
Ano Poli’s Byzantine Baths, which were open until 1940, are now a UNESCO World Heritage monument.

For over eight centuries, the citizens of the city enjoyed these public baths in Ano Poli. There were many bath houses like this one, referenced in Byzantine texts, but this is the only one still standing. The baths only closed in 1940.

They are open three days a week. Inside you can see how the bathing experience unfolded – a room for undressing, a warm room – tepidarium – to relax and prepare for the bath, and a hot room – calderium.

All over Thessaloniki, also during the Ottoman era, people gathered at the baths for hygiene and relaxation. During the Ottoman era, the baths also served the purpose of preparing the faithful for worship.

The Turbes of Musa Baba

In Ano Poli’s Terpsithea square is a small exotic pavillion. This is the Turbes (masoleum) of the revered Sufi Holy Man Musa Baba. Musa Baba, of the Bektashi Dervish order, lived sometime in the 16th century.

But many accounts relate that he was still wandering the neighborhood centuries later, up through the early 1900’s. Christians revered him; they thought he was the miraculous reincarnation of St. George. They lit candles at the Turbes, and asked his intervention in fighting illnesses. You’ll find more in Mark Mazower’s Salonica: City of Ghosts.

Tsinari – The Village of Ano Poli

Village Cham in Ano Poli, Thessaloniki - Tsinari
Village Charm in Ano Poli – Tsinari

One of the corners of the Old Town of Thessaloniki that locals like best takes its name from the Turkish word for “plane tree” (çınar ağacı). Shady Tsinari – little more than an intersection – has a couple of picturesque tavernas and cafes with places to sit outdoors. There’s an old Turkish fountain, and charming buildings in the surrounding streets. Locals like to come here and let a relaxing afternoon of ouzo, meze and conversation unfold over the space of hours. It’s like taking a day trip that’s actually just a 10 minute walk from the center.

The Alaja Imaret

The Ceiling of the Alaja Imaret
The Ceiling of the Alaja Imaret

At the lower edge of Ano Poli is the perhaps the most exciting landmark of all. Many of the mosques of Thessaloniki were lost in the great fire of 1917. The 15th-century Alaja Imaret is the only intact mosque of that era. It’s plain from the outside, in quiet and shabby courtyard of apartment buildings. That’s part of the charm, because the interior is spectacular. The two high domes are beautifully painted in arabesques and tromp l’oeil draperies, and faux windows opening onto landscapes lost to time.

The Alaja Imaret makes a perfect finale to a ramble in Ano Poli.

You’re now very close to Agios Dimitrios Church. If you’re ready for a sweet, try a sheep’s milk ice cream at Dorkada, the tiny, old-fashioned pastry shop right next door to the Imaret on Kassandrou street.

Tips for Enjoying Old Town Thessaloniki

Wear your most sturdy and comfortable shoes for navigating the sometimes steep and slippery cobblestone alleys, paths, and stairs.

In Monasteries and Churches, both men and women should have covered knees and shoulders.

Although the hike up brings you through a lovely part of Ano Poli, you could skip it and instead take the bus #23 to Eptapirgiou and make your way down from the top. If your time is limited, you can take a more streamlined route, beginning at the Heptpyrio/Genti Koule, continuing to the Trigonio Tower, then the Vlatadon Monastery, to Osios David, the Turbes of Musa Baba, and then ending at the Alaja Imaret.

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Best Beaches in Thessaloniki, by Public Transportation https://www.provocolate.com/best-beaches-in-thessaloniki-by-public-transportation/ https://www.provocolate.com/best-beaches-in-thessaloniki-by-public-transportation/#respond Sat, 14 Sep 2019 21:54:22 +0000 https://www.provocolate.com/?p=1948 For a city with such a fantastic and long waterfront promenade, it’s not surprising that there are some good beaches in Thessaloniki that you can reach easily with the local bus system. Beaches in Thessaloniki There are several beaches in Thessaloniki that you can get to with public transportation. Perea- the Closest of the Beaches […]

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For a city with such a fantastic and long waterfront promenade, it’s not surprising that there are some good beaches in Thessaloniki that you can reach easily with the local bus system.

Beaches in Thessaloniki

There are several beaches in Thessaloniki that you can get to with public transportation.

Perea- the Closest of the Beaches in Thessaloniki

Beaches in Thessaloniki - Perea
Perea Beach at Sunset

This seaside suburb of Thessaloniki is the closest beach to the city center, and one of the nicest for families. The sandy beach is fairly narrow, set beside a quiet pedestrian promenade. Small apartment buildings line the beach front. You can see Thessaloniki across the bay in the distance.

The water is shallow for a long distance out, with a soft sandy floor. It’s usually very calm. There are changing rooms, and in the daytime in the summer there’s a lifeguard.

In the evenings in summer, a few vendors arrive, selling grilled corn, fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, and other items. It makes a festive mood.

Because it’s so close to the city, Perea Beach can be very crowded on weekends. The evenings are spectacular. Many people swim well into October.

Most of the people who swim here are locals. This is a good family beach. on the parallel streets nearby you’ll find convenience stores and places for a coffee or a bougatsa.

How to Get to Perea Beach by Bus

Buses for all of the beaches leave at IKEA, east of the center. You can reach IKEA on the buses 2 and 3K, which leave regularly from the center.

At Ikea, you take the bus 72, which says A.S. IKEA – N. MHXANIONA. The total trip is a little over 20 stops. It goes for some time through open countryside, then through a suburban area on the same straight road. When the bus turns comes to an area shaded with pines and turns to the right into a town, start paying closer attention. There will be three stops along this street. Then the bus will turn left and stop immediately after the turn in front of a small church at a stop called “Paralia Perea” (Perea beach). You can get off here- it’s the commercial center for the beach (make sure to press the button for the bus to stop here as the bus turns).

But better still, you can go one more short stop to “Erythros Stavros.” Walk one block to the beach and you’ll find the section with the changing rooms and the lifeguard (in summer), and a quieter stretch of beach.

This is the quickest of the beaches in Thessaloniki to reach from downtown. If you are lucky with the waiting times, you can be at Perea beach in less than an hour. the 72 runs 3 to five times per hour throughout most of the day (with less frequent departures after 9 pm).

For compete bus schedules, please consult the OASTH website.

Nea Epivates Beach

Beaches in Thessaloniki - Fishing Boat, Neas Epivates
A Fishing Boat Leaving the Dock at Neas Epivates

Just 4 stops from Erythros Stavros is Neas Epivates beach. The beach and the water are the same, but there’s a little more activity here in case you would like to follow up your swim with a snack at an ouzerie. Get off at the stop Neon Epivaton.

Agia Triada Beach

Beaches in Thessaloniki - Agia Triada
There are many Ouzeries on the Beach in Agia Triada and Neas Epivates

Even farther on the same bus line is the beach of Agia Triada. Here you’ll find more ouzeries and tavernas, and a wider beach. Agia Triada Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Thessaloniki as a day trip from the city. Also, Agia Triada is an inexpensive vacation destination, with hotels and rooms for tourists in addition to ouzeries, cafes, and beach bars.

How to Get to Agia Triada Beach

Take the same bus from IKEA as for Perea beach and Neas Epivates – the 72. You get off at Agia Triada – 8 stops after Neon Epivaton. From here, you turn right and walk down just a couple of short blocks to the shore, then go left and walk with the sea on your right until you find the section of beach that suits you best.

Epanomi – Further Beaches in Thessaloniki to Explore

Beach Bar

Many people consider the beaches on the other side of the cape to be better swimming, because it faces away from the bay of Thessaloniki. It takes slightly longer to get there, and the waters are often more rough.

Golden Beach

This is the closest of the Epanomi beaches. Set in a wooded area, there is a pleasant and very casual beach restaurant and cantina in the shade, with sun loungers and umbrellas for customers. There are changing rooms and a shower, but only a portable toilet.

The beach is narrow, and the waters are quite shallow, with some seaweed towards the shore. It’s generally gentle, family-friendly swimming.

How to Get to Golden Beach

At IKEA, switch to the 69A IKEA -EPANOMI – PARALIA EPANOMI. Take the bus to the second to last stop – Agia Marina. There are a one or two buses every hour – check here for current schedule information.

Epanomi Beach

Taverna by the Sea

If you take the bus to the last stop, or just walk from Golden Beach, you will come to a small seaside village with more charming tavernas for a classic seaside meal experience.

Nea Iraklia Beach

This is the furthest beach that you can get to with Thessaloniki public transportation. It’s close to Chalkidki. And, far from the city, the waters are like better, if sometimes more wavy. The beach is wider than the beaches on the bay of Thessaloniki.

As you walk, you’ll come to beach bars – Sunshine, then Sayonara, then Yolo. They have umbrellas, sunbeds, drinks, snacks, and music. This is more like being on vacation than having a suburban beach experience.

How to Get to Nea Iraklia Beach

Only two lines go out this far from IKEA, and there are only three routes a day, so it’s a little bit of a commitment to come out here. On the other hand, consider how close you are to Halkidiki for the price of a local bus ticket.

Check here on the OASTH site for current scedule information. Lines 69N IKEA – EPANOMI NTOURAKI, and 69P/69R IKEA – EPANOMI – IEK – NTOURAKI both take you there.

Go to the last stop – over 50 stops from IKEA, so bring a beach book. This brings you to the edge of the tiny beach-side village of Nea Iraklia. The wider sandy beaches are just on the other side of the village – about a kilometer on foot from the bus stop.

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