Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece. With over 300,000 inhabitants, it was a big change from Samothrace. We stayed in a cute studio near Aristotelous Square, very close to the seafront. The location couldn’t have been better – it was the perfect base for wandering around the city centre.
The Archaeological Museum in Thessaloniki was one of the best museums we saw in Greece, with exhibitions on Greece’s relationship with the rest of Europe from ancient times to the present and the development of Thessaloniki over the centuries. Although not as interesting, the nearby Byzantine Museum is also worth a look. We saw a few of the city’s churches (including Agia Sofia, Agios Demetrios, Panagia Deksia and the Rotunda, near the Kamara) and then went to the museum for a bit more context.
Thessaloniki may not be one of the most beautiful cities ever at first glance, but it has an extremely appealing café and bar culture. (It also has several good bakeries, such as Bougatsa Bantis, Nikiforou, and Terkenlis, must-visits for anyone with a sweet tooth.) It was our first time seeing so many bars and coffee shops in one place with such an interesting variety of decorations and themes. After seeing the Roman Forum, we went to Modigliani Café, a small place tucked away in a corner of the Kapani market where we had wine and a small selection of mezedhes. Tabya was a café-bar record store set up in a renovated house, with books for browsing and artwork on display. We also had post-lunch beers at Akadimia (the food also looked great) and headed to Poco Loco for cocktails and meze. And we were only in Thessaloniki for two and a half days, so this list doesn’t ev en begin to cover it!
We tried also two restaurants while in town. The first was Vasilikos, in the Ladadika area, which ended up being one of our favourite restaurants of the trip. We had Greek hamburgers, chicken in mustard sauce, fava, wine, and ice cream with pastry and cherry topping for dessert. Despite the fact that the meal began with a free shot of our least favourite drink ever (raki), we hope we’ll have a chance to go back someday!
Finally, after eating Greek food every day for over two months, we decided to switch things up a bit our last afternoon and try Nargis, an Indian restaurant with very good reviews. It is tucked away in a side street and is easy to miss, but it’s well worth the search. We ate delicious samosas, chicken curry, rice, and garlic naan, as what seemed like most of the cats in the neighbourhood stopped by to say hello and beg.
On our way to the airport, we stopped by the White Tower, a symbol of the city of Thessaloniki, as well as the New Waterfront area. Then it was time to head back to Barcelona for a day, before our flight to Chicago. A good way to avoid post-travel depression is to just keep moving. 😉