Anthony Horowitz, the author of a recent travel article in the Telegraph about Thessaloniki admits that on first arrival he did not expect to like the city. Hot, bothered and carrying a heavy bag around the crowded streets his first instinct is that his trip has been a mistake. Then, he discovers the seafront. He writes:
“The city is perfectly poised on the water’s edge. The Thermaic Gulf is vast and exhilarating, with gorgeous sunsets, an oversized moon and a sense of calm and emptiness, all of which provides an extraordinary contrast with the clutter you’ve left behind.”
Horowitz visited the city inspired by The Thread, a novel by Victoria Hislop set in the city in the early 20th century, when Thessaloniki was richly cosmopolitan with Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities. The great fire of 1917, the Italian bombing and Nazi occupation subsequently all left their deep scars on the city – the most profound of which being the almost complete annihilation of the Jewish population during the holocaust.
However as Horowitz discovered, Thessaloniki’s rich legacy and inspired architecture is still very much alive and can be explored in numerous museums and landmarks. And then there is all the charm of districts like the Ladadika with its bustling nightlife.
“I can’t think of any city in the world, really, that has left me with such a sense of well-being.”
“[The Ladadika] are like a secret village, again quite Parisian, with a warren of narrow streets leading to charming squares packed with good restaurants and bars. I loved dinner at Zythos with its excellent food, huge choice of beers and its strange resemblance to the bar in that old television series, ’Allo ’Allo. I can’t think of any city in the world, really, that has left me with such a sense of well-being.”
The full article is worth a read and is available here. And if you’re thinking of a quick city-break to this northern jewel, check out our definitive guide for how to get the most out of three days in Thessaloniki.