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
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
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
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
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
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
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.