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Thessaloniki

Lying peacefully in the heart of the Thermaikos Gulf is a cosmopolitan metropolis, the co-capital of Greece, Thessaloniki. Named after Alexander the Great’s sister, Thessaloniki or Salonika, it is the second biggest city in Greece and a major historical and cultural center.

In Thessaloniki, the past is seeping through the cracks of a vibrant present. Taste exquisite street food next to the ancient Roman Market; imitate the locals and combine a day of shopping on Tsimiski street with a visit to early Byzantine churches; taste traditional Greek food while enjoying the view of the sea.
For the lovers of art and culture, Thessaloniki has much to offer. There are more than twenty museums, the most famous being the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Byzantine Culture.  There are also many theaters, countless art galleries and antique shops, cultural festivals and an International Fair.

The city is famous for its slower pace of life. At a time when financial constraints are changing the face of Greek life, the people of Thessaloniki adhere to their age-old ways, as they have done for centuries. Coffee is more than just a drink here.  It has acquired a ritualistic quality, a means of uniting people. Don’t rush; sip your coffee and find the time to appreciate your surroundings and your company. The food here is delicious; a cosmopolitan culinary tradition that reflects the great variety of peoples who once called Thessaloniki their home.  The arrival of displaced Greek refugees in the early 1920s introduced spices and flavours from the East and the result was extraordinary. Like many other places, the people here love dining out and Thessaloniki restaurants accommodate even the most demanding connoisseurs, from traditional tavernas to boutique wine and cheese bars, from eclectic restaurants to street vendors serving delicious gyros and souvlaki.

The main meeting point Thessaloniki is Lefkos Pyrgos (the White Tower), the symbol of the city, on its waterfront. From there, one can walk to the Nea Paralia parks, that span the Thessaloniki waterfront.  Lining the waterfront are a string of cafés and bars which, during summer are full of Thessalonians enjoying their long evening walks. This is what locals call the ‘volta’, and is an integral part of the city’s culture. Take your ice-cream and walk, cycle or simply sit down and relax while watching the colourful sunset and listening to the sound of the waves as they describe the ebb and flow of history.