My Top 5: Insider Tips from Thessaloniki Locals

Six creative Thessaloniki locals share their best secrets and favorite things to do in the city.


CHRISTINA VASILAKI

Journalist Founder mporonafao.gr, @babedaki

Culture Destination

“Etsi Kanoun Oi Balarines” (61 Stergiou Polydorou) is a new café-bookstore whose name in English would be “That’s What Ballerinas Do”; this family-focused shop hosts activities and group play.

Only in Thessaloniki

 

Deka.epta speciality coffee shop (24 Al. Svolou) has quite simply the best coffee in the city, on the coziest street, Svolou Street. It’s reminiscent of old aristocratic Thessaloniki and masterfully combines the classic with the new.

Night Out

Thermaikos Bar (21 Νikis) is probably the oldest bar on the Thessaloniki waterfront, boasting a 30-year history. This is where my best student memories were made. Unchanged and unspoiled, it offers unique time-traveling musical experiences.

Guilty Pleasure

Laikon (24 Politechniou). I challenge you to stop at a single little bread roll with a freshly cooked, homemade beef patty. I, for one, am just kidding myself when I try to eat only one.

Shopping Therapy

Second-hand means second life. Ippodromion Street has become the ultimate second-hand destination, and there are many treasures to discover here.

LYDIA THALASSINOU

Ceramic artist / Founder Serene Home, @serene__home

Culture Destination

The Lola Nikolaou Art Gallery (52 Tsimiski) opened in 1993 and it’s hosted some unique artists representing both classical and modern approaches to art, in one of the city’s most impressive neoclassical buildings.

Only in Thessaloniki

 

A beautiful area with a special historic identity is Kastra. It’s home to Café Aithrio (7 Dim. Tzachila), which began operating in the early 20th century as a coffee shop frequented by prison guards. Today, the café attracts some of the most interesting people in the city.

Night Out

Speakeasy Floor Bar (8 Salaminos) is a secret spot in the Ladadika district that feels like a classic New York bar. Its cocktails are renowned.

Guilty Pleasure

Nea Folia 4 (Aristomenous) is an eatery that opened as a coffee shop in 1966. A friend took me there and I fell in love with the atmosphere, the old jukebox, the marble-topped tables, and the wonderful terrazzo flooring. Here, I discovered a paradise of flavors.

Shopping Therapy

Modiano Market (24 Ermou & 33 Vasileos Irakleiou) is one of the most important landmarks in the city. In its relaunched version, you’ll find gastronomy products from selected Greek companies, in a space of unique architectural value that combines the modern with the traditional.

ASTERIOS PELTEKIS

Artistic Director, National Theater of Northern Greece, @asteriospeltekis

Culture Destination

The Archaeological Museum is a gateway to the history of Thessaloniki. Make sure to seek out the funerary stele of Areskon (“One who is liked, who is popular”), a star performer from antiquity who died before his time.

Only in Thessaloniki

 

Stroll the shore; walk from the piers of the old port to Nikis Avenue and down the Nea Paralia (“New Waterfront”) walkway, a Thessaloniki highlight, from the White Tower past impressive parks to the Concert Hall.

Night Out

The Residents (4 Str. Kallari) is the ultimate hangout, the perfect bar to visit for a drink. You’ll hear good music, make friends, and perhaps even spot well-known actors or musicians. Special places require outstanding people; the soul of this spot is Giorgos Christianakis.

Guilty Pleasure

Karnagio (58 Georgikis Scholis, Pilea, Hortiatis), a small taverna near the shipyard, is a well-kept secret in the eastern part of the city. Enjoy delectable seafood and views of rusting cranes and old ship hulls.

Shopping Therapy

Shakespearikon (8 Patriarchou Ioakim): this small bookstore houses carefully selected books, not just the latest titles. It also operates as a publishing house and its owner, Giorgos Alisanoglou, is a poet.

SOTIRIS SKOUFIS

Fitness Instructor, @skoufisotiris

Culture Destination

MOMus-Thessaloniki Museum of Photography (Warehouse A, Pier A, Thessaloniki Port Area) is the place to explore the city’s culture and history, housing a collection of almost 90,000 images spanning the years 1890-2015.

Only in Thessaloniki

 

Thessaloniki is famous for its bougatsas, a cream-filled filo pastry treat. You’ll find the city’s best at Bougatsa Giannis (106 Mitropoleos) near the White Tower, open 19 hours a day.

Night Out

La Doze Bar (1 Vilara) is one of the best cocktail bars in the vibrant Valaoritou area. It also operates as a creative multispace, hosting interesting art exhibitions.

Guilty Pleasure

I recommend Π.22, on 22 P. Patron Germanou Street, with its open kitchen and its wonderful cooking by Nikoletta Dimou, based on Mediterranean cuisine and with an emphasis on seafood.

Shopping Therapy

Proxenou Koromila Street is one of my favorite shopping destinations, with countless choices for all tastes. I’m particularly fond of Hellofrom Thessaloniki (45 Proxenou Koromila), which sells everything from technology accessories and books to bags and minimalist clothing. The window displays here are always impressive.

ARETI KIRIOTOU

Founder of Wildsouls.gr, @aretikiriotou

Culture Destination

The Thessaloniki Film Festival, which lasts just 10 days, nourishes me with food for thought for the entire year.

Only in Thessaloniki

 

Βeetroot Studio (1 Paikou), the gorgeous building that houses the creative design firm of the same name, operates as a multi-purpose space and is a place where one can be inspired and moved.

Night Out

At Υpsilon (5 Edessis), you’ll meet a cool crowd, enjoy fantastic drinks and listen to good music in a space that carries with it the magical energy of the past and the chill vibes of the present.

Guilty Pleasure

Grab a falafel to go from Falafel Taste Middle East (106 Μitropoleos) and walk along the waterfront. Regardless of the weather, this is a treat that offers inner warmth and great comfort.

Shopping Therapy

Grab your reusable bag and head to Olicatessen (4 Viktoros Ougko) for some deli treats and stunning ceramic items, or to Pantopoleio (12 Komninon) for its wide range of organic products.

MANOLIS PAPOUTSAKIS

Chef at Haroupi – Ten Tables, @papoutsakis_man

Culture Destination

The Museum of Byzantine Culture (2 Stratou) is housed in one of the most impressive works of public architecture in Thessaloniki. This jewel of a museum will take visitors back to the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods with its impressive sculptures, mosaics, frescoes, coins, glassware and other items excavated in Thessaloniki and other parts of Macedonia.

Only in Thessaloniki

 

Take a walk to Eptapirgio for the incredible view and treat yourself to a stop at Tobourlika (5 Lordou Vironos), a wonderful place for those who love authentic rebetiko music, a Greek form of urban folk music.

Night Out

Elefantas, on the corner of Siggrou and Filippou streets, is one of the city’s most atmospheric little bars. A warm place that’s quiet at times and bustling at others, it has a special energy and style of its own.

Guilty Pleasure

You’ll never regret a stop at Iliopetra (5 Eschilou), a small restaurant headed by a talented young chef who gives his all in the kitchen. Indulge yourself with his dishes of the day, made with passion and carefully selected ingredients.

Shopping Therapy

Those who haven’t been shopping at Kapani, a traditional market, have missed a chance to experience one of the liveliest, most authentic landmarks in the city. Here you’ll find select foodstuffs, herbs, household goods, garments, shoes, and a series of welcoming cafés and eateries.



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