Thessaloniki, Greece offers the perfect destination within the Hellenic republic to explore for yourself the incredible Mediterranean food markets, fascinating Byzantine culture, abundant art exhibits, and historic ruins at the turn of every corner.
A city located in the northern region of Greece, and with a name that combines the Macedonian princess’s name “Thessaly” with the word for victory, “Nike” – Thessaloniki is a city that truly lives up to its name with a history showcasing continuous triumph throughout the years.
From its stunning natural sights like Lake Kerkini to the buzzing Aristotelous Square, and youthful university scene, let’s take a look at this list of 56 fun and unusual things to do in Thessaloniki, Greece, to get your ideas flowing for your upcoming travels to Greece’s major northern city.
1 – Learn about the history of the city and its people at the White Tower of Thessaloniki
Step inside the 15th-century White Tower of Thessaloniki, built after the Ottoman Empire overtook the city of Thessaloniki.
Situated on the Palia Paralia (the old waterfront), the White Tower served as many things including a prison and place of execution, serving as an air defense against enemies, as well as housing a university’s meteorology center.
Today, visitors can step inside to view the White Tower Museum, holding relics from its past uses, the intricate history of the city, its people, religion, and more within its 6 floors.
Reach the balcony on top for stunning views of the sea and city.
2 – Take a journey through the archaeological past of Thessaloniki at the Archaeological Museum
Visit the fascinating and renowned Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.
Housing various exhibits and collections, spanning the different eras of the city, take your time strolling from the prehistoric era, all the way to the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and the outdoor ruins.
Learn about and see different historical pieces found throughout the city and the neighboring countries, from a collection of golden wreaths from the 6th century to stone monuments, and lastly, go through an interactive exhibit giving you a closer look into specific works of mosaic art and sculptures.
Tickets for the museum start at 8 euros for adults.
3 – Walk around and under the Arch of Galerius
Known as the “Kamara”, the Arch of Galerius is a magnificent historical structure that is situated in the heart of the city, surrounded by shops and people living everyday life.
The Arch is most commonly known to have been built to commemorate the Roman Emperor Galerius’ win over the Persian army in the Battle of Satala in 299 AD.
Though the arch was much more detailed when it was first built, today, only a bit of the arch stands, with a few engravings still noticeable.
Be sure to book a city tour to stop at the Arch of Galerius, and learn more about the details of how it was built.
4 – Take a walk around Aristotelous Square
Donning a typical French and Byzantine architectural style is the Aristotelous Square, also known to locals as the heart of the city of Thessaloniki.
As an effort to add a large, open, gathering space for people to socialize at the beginning of the 1900s, the square, located on Nikis Avenue, is considered to be Greece’s most iconic and well-known square.
Take a stroll through the square, observing the different shops, restaurants, and cafes, while listening to the street performers nearby, and letting your gaze meet with the sea on the horizon.
Nearby are a few excavations like an ancient Roman Agora worth checking out.
5 – Take a day trip to the fascinating monasteries of Meteora
Book a day trip to the magnificent sight of the 6 Eastern Orthodox monasteries perched up on top of round mountains called Meteora, only a 2.5-hour’s journey from Thessaloniki.
Either drive up the mountains or brave the almost 4-hour hike to reach the top of the mountains, where you’ll be able to visit a few of the monasteries like the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, dating back to the 14th century.
At the top, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the villages below.
Make sure to dress conservatively if entering the monasteries, covering the shoulders and legs.
6 – Get to know the dark history of the Heptapyrgion of Thessalonica
Visit what is known as the “Acropolis of Thessaloniki” a fortress built by the Ottoman Empire after taking over the city in the 1400s, and serving as a “stand-in” acropolis that had been destroyed previously.
Overtaken with memories of converting into a prison, tortured inmates, dictatorships, and even involvement with the Nazis, the Heptapyrgion of Thessalonica today doesn’t hold the best of memories for the citizens of Thessaloniki.
Although the prison finally closed in the late 80s, the site today has been restored to welcome visitors to step inside and around its 10 towers, and learn more about its ominous history, for free.
7 – Spend some time exploring the best churches in Thessaloniki
The Church of St. Demetrios is considered one of the most well-known churches in Thessaloniki for being named after the city’s patron saint, Demetrios. Visit inside to see what a traditional orthodox church looks like, as well as the ancient paintings of saints on the walls and pillars.
Step inside the Church of Panagia Chalkeon, translating to The Virgin of Coppersmiths due to its location in the city known to be home of the coppersmiths of the city in 1028. The Latomos Monastery – Holy Church of Hosios David is fascinating due to its majestic frescoes and mosaic interiors, which date back to the 5th century.
Visit the Holy Church of the Virgin Mary Acheiropoietos, situated in the heart of the city, to view centuries-old corinthian style columns, frescoes on the inside of the arches on both sides of the church, and more.
Recognized for its red and white brick exterior, the Church of Prophet Elias dates back to 1360 and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, not to miss in the city. See remnants of Islam and Orthodox religion inside the Church of the Holy Apostles, which was overtaken when the Ottoman Empire took over Thessaloniki in 1430.
Take in the different architectural influences from Byzantine and Neo-Classical inside the Saint Gregory Palamas Holy Metropolitan Church, often hosting social festivities.
8 – Visit the circular Roman monument called Rotonda
Take a walking tour to explore the Rotonda, right beside the Arch of Galerius, known to have been a space of various religious uses from originally being a temple dedicated to an unknown god, to converting into an orthodox church, a mosque, and then an orthodox again.
Today, the Rotonda, which dates to 306 AD, has been transformed after suffering a devastating earthquake in the late 80s into a cultural venue often housing temporary exhibits.
Also inside, you can expect to find a collection of sculptures and pieces that were part of important monuments in Thessaloniki like the intricate engravings of the Arch of Galerius.
9 – Admire the Agia Sofia Square and its recreational activities
Agia Sofia Square is a public square situated in the heart of the city, where people convene and get together to enjoy an ice cream or cool drink on a hot day.
Within Agia Sofia Square sits the emblem of the area, the Cathedral Church of Hagia Sofia, recognized as the most impressive Byzantine cathedral in the city and one of the oldest.
The Agia Sofia in Thessaloniki takes inspiration from the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, which was built in the 7th century in the city.
Make sure to visit to view the magnificent dome adorned with frescoes, mosaics, the Iconostasis, and various icons inside.
10 – Sit back and relax on a hop-on hop-off bus tour
Tired of walking everywhere but you want to keep exploring the city?
Consider booking a relaxing, highly enjoyable, and educative hop-on hop-off bus tour, taking you through the city’s major avenues, streets, and sights, without having to leave your seat.
While on the bus tour, enjoy listening to facts spoken throughout the speakers inside the bus, as you sit back and take in the sights.
Hop-on hop-off bus tours also have stops along the way and allow you to get on/off at any of the stops whenever you want to step out and explore yourself, offering both free time and transport with 1 ticket.
11 – Visit the Museum of Byzantine Culture
Check out the Byzantine treasures inside the Museum of Byzantine Culture, and visit the 11 rooms of the permanent exhibition, shifting through many examples of Byzantine art, based on artifacts excavated throughout Thessaloniki.
From mosaics to tools, religious relics, personal items from people that lived during the era, and more can be found within the museum, and be learned and understood via technology installed in the exhibits.
Take a glimpse into everyday life and the early beginnings of Christianity in the city, and how the city was taken over during the Turkish occupation.
Lastly, don’t forget to check out the private collections of Byzantine art.
12 – Plan an exciting day trip to the home of the Greek gods at Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus is known to be the highest mountain in Greece, and mythologically, the site where the Olympian gods settled after winning a war.
Various day trips are available, including stops in other places like Dion, known for its historical ruins, ancient theater, and walking the same paths that the gods did once.
If you are looking specifically to book a hiking or canyoning tour without other stops, consider booking those separately and dedicating a whole day or two for those activities.
13 – Learn about the legacy of a Turkish hero at the Atatürk Museum
Learn about the life and achievements of the Turkish historical figure, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, leader of the movement to modernize the republic of Turkey between 1923-1938.
Inside the 3-floored building given by the city of Thessaloniki, go through the museum, noticing the furniture fitting in with the times of Atatürk’s lifetime, most imported from Turkey while browsing the interesting exhibits detailing his fascinating life story.
Step outside to enjoy the courtyard to take in the refreshing sight of beautifully manicured gardens and fresh air.
The Atatürk Museum is located beside the Turkish Consulate, a quick 4-minute drive from the Church of St. Demetrios.
14 – Feel like an ancient Roman at the Roman Forum of Thessaloniki
Easily identifiable near the Aristotelous Square is the Roman Forum of Thessaloniki, a place dedicated to social and political life, built by the Romans in the late 1st century AD.
See for yourself the remnants of what used to be an urban, buzzing center where life took place way back when, with the impressive condition of the theaters, and remnants of fountains, arches, and more.
For 2 euros visit the underground museum, viewing from within the forum maps and images of the grandeur of the forum.
Nearby is the statue of Eleftherios Venizelos known as one of the most important historical Greek figures during WWll, helping to modernize Greece.
15 – Spend your day market hopping around the best markets
A visit to Thessaloniki cannot be complete without a trip to the local markets, where the scents of fresh ingredients will tantalize your senses, and make you a bit hungry.
Stop by Kapani Market for a one-stop shop for fresh ingredients, prepared Greek foods, and even clothes and accessories, all under one roof – making it the perfect market to visit on a rainy day.
Check out the 75+ shops inside the Agora Modiano Market, another great, enclosed market, offering visitors a modern take on a classic Greek market. At this market, expect an even wider spectrum of food and ingredients, ranging from Greek, Mediterranean, and foods influenced by different populations in the city like the Sephardic Jewish people, and neighboring countries.
Bezesteni Ottoman Market is a bit of a different yet interesting market to check out. Dating back to the 15th century, this market is a local favorite, and the perfect cultural hub to reach for Ottoman-influenced products like tapestries, jewelry, shoes, and textiles.
16 – Plan a day trip to the sacred Orthodox Christian peninsula, Mount Athos
Consisting of approximately 20 monasteries, and housing around 200 monks is one of the most important religious hubs for the Orthodox Christian world, called Mount Athos. Those who live on Mount Athos dedicate their life to living their religion and separating themselves voluntarily from secular activities.
Due to its religious rules, for thousands of years, women have not been allowed to enter the religious peninsula, and today, the only way to see it whether you’re a woman or non-Orthodox is from a distance on a cruise.
Book a day cruise to this unique site in Greece, which also includes a stop at the quaint beach town of Ouranoupoli.
17 – Find the best contemporary art in the city at the Museums of Visual Arts of Thessaloniki
Bringing together 4 of Thessaloniki’s leading contemporary art museums is the Museums of Visual Arts of Thessaloniki (MOMus) – with the main purpose of promoting visual art, and Greek culture to the country and the world.
The permanent exhibits inside show different areas of art, starting with the Museum of Modern Art, known for housing examples of the modernism art movement in Greece, to Russian avant-garde examples.
The Museum of Contemporary Art shares various examples of Greek visual arts, from private collections showcasing abstract arrangements, to sculptures, and paintings. It’s truly the best collection of contemporary art to see in the city.
The Thessaloniki Museum of Photography is a photographer lover’s dream come true, with various exhibits and collections showcasing not only Greek examples of photographic art but also showcasing some of the most important moments in Greek history via photography.
Lastly, the Experimental Center for the Arts is an art space where artistic expression of all kinds is exposed – new talent is promoted and showcased, and artistic innovation is encouraged.
18 – Get impressive views of Mount Olympus at the Byzantine Vlatadon Monastery
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vlatadon Monastery, known as one of the oldest and longest-surviving Byzantine structures, and for being in constant operation no matter the political and religious disputes and tumultuous times.
Visit the monastery to see the impressive interiors, still preserving their original engravings of Byzantine icons, as well as to get some of the best views of the city, and even a clear view of Mount Olympus in the distance on a sunny day.
The monastery is located near the Walls of Thessaloniki and only takes around 16 minutes to walk from the city center.
19 – Admire the statue of the legendary Alexander the Great and visit the Alexander the Great Garden
Want to get closer to the grandeur of Alexander the Great? Visit his statute, located just a 3-minute walk from The Umbrellas art display at Nea Paralia.
Alexander the Great was known for spreading Greek culture and influence through various countries from Greece to northern India and getting rid of the Persian Empire, making him one of the most impressive military commanders of all time.
The statue itself is impressive, measuring around 20 meters tall. When visiting this famous statue, stick around to enjoy the company of locals as they love to gather here to grab a coffee, spend time outside, and catch the sunset.
20 – Take a day trip to Alexander the Great’s hometown of Vergina
Located a little under 1 hour west of Thessaloniki is the city of Vergina in which Alexander the Great was born, and where he was proclaimed king after his father’s assassination.
Visit the Archaeological Museum of Pella to see the archaeological sites and remnants of mosaics, towering columns, statues, and frescoes, and stop by the tomb of Phillip ll, Alexander the Great’s father.
Book a day trip from Thessaloniki, which will take you to the sites with tremendous history, well-conserved ruins, and restored temples, while also stopping by the area of Pella, named after the ancient city and first capital city of Macedonia.
21 – Learn about the Sephardic Jewish people at the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki
Located in the heart of the city is the fascinating Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki, where you can learn about the history of the Sephardic Jewish people.
After being expelled from Spain, many people of the Jewish faith from Spain (Sephardic Jews) were forced to relocate, and some chose to move to modern-day Thessaloniki.
Currently, the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki serves as a physical home with artifacts and archives of their day-to-day life in Greece.
Situated within one of the last standing Jewish structures in the city, explore the scholar, medicinal, and cultural influence that the Sephardic Jewish people input into Greek culture.
22 – Get a picture of The Umbrellas by Zongolopoulos
Found on the seafront promenade of Thessaloniki is the sight of an outdoor art display known as the Umbrellas, consisting of several umbrellas perched up 13 meters high on metal rods.
Created by Zongolopoulos, a Greek sculptor, The Umbrellas draw the attention of various people to view with their own eyes or take a photo or two. It has unofficially become a landmark in the city, and a site highly recognized on social media.
Make sure to stop by during the sunset or the evening, to see the display illuminated in bright lights, and of course, snap your own photo.
23 – Enjoy a sampling of Greek dishes on a food tour
A food tour is the way to go to be able to get a grasp on what exactly traditional Greek food is, specifically, in northern Greece.
Book a food tour with a local foodie, taking your taste buds on a culinary journey through some of the markets in Thessaloniki, where your senses will awaken with aromas of fragrant ingredients like dill, olives, oregano, and capers.
Enjoy the smell of freshly made Greek dishes like Koulouria (a sesame seed bread), Bougiourdi (baked feta and peppers), and a taste of Sephardic cuisine as well.
Food tours start at around $45 USD.
24 – Experience a truly healing moment at Pozar Thermal Baths for the day
Explore a day trip up north 1.5 hours from Thessaloniki, to relax and enjoy the healing thermal waters at Pozar Thermal Baths.
Pozar, meaning “Beneath the Fire” in Slavic language, has 24-hour private baths available to enjoy the therapeutic and warm waters, or you can also enjoy the massage spas nearby, revitalizing your physical body after exploring the city.
The thermal baths also have various hiking trails that you can do, from easy to moderate in difficulty.
Prepare your body with a therapeutic massage, designed to work in conjunction with the baths, and to absorb the minerals of the water.
25 – Read about the bravery of Greek soldiers inside the War Museum of Thessaloniki
Take a moment to wander through the exhibits inside the War Museum of Thessaloniki, offering collections, archives, and memorabilia from war times in Greece, and more specifically, Thessaloniki.
Learn about the involvement of Greek soldiers in world wars including the Balkan Wars, WWl, and WWll, as well as national wars like the clashes with the Ottoman Empire, the Greco-Italian war and the Battle of Crete, and more.
Also inside are interesting facts regarding the Greek flag, its design, when it was established as the flag representing the country, as well as the Greek army, and what the world Hellenic really means.
26 – Get the best views of the city and sea from the Trigonion (Chain) Tower
Book a walking tour to visit the Anna Palaiologina Gate, and then arrive at the defense fortress connected to the Trigonion Tower, also known as the Chain Tower.
The Trigonion Tower was used previously to store military equipment and dates back to 390 AD, and today, the tower and the fortification can be reached best on foot, only taking around 15 minutes from the Arch of Galerius.
When you make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views of the city, and the sea, as well as be able to enjoy a relaxing ambiance above with locals typically gathering here during sunset.
27 – Have some fun at Magic Park
If you’re traveling with kids, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to spend some family time at Magic Park.
Magic Park is a local favorite theme park, featuring dozens of games and rides designed for children, from mini roller coasters, carousels, bumper cars, slides, and even a big Ferris wheel.
Come hungry to enjoy a variety of food options and fast service inside the theme park, geared towards children’s favorite foods and local classics.
The best way to get to Magic Park is either driving yourself 16 minutes south or taking a few buses from the city center, to the park.
28 – Check out the Gaudi-like Pasha’s Gardens
Take a moment of relaxation and pleasant vibes at Pasha’s Gardens, only a 4-minute drive from the city center.
Directly located beside the Agios Dimitrios hospital, visitors can walk around and explore the ruins inside the park, said by many to remind them of a creation designed by Spain’s Gaudi.
Take in the unique style of the fountain, cisterns, and stonework, not found in any part of the city, as you unpack a picnic and enjoy the green galore in this corner of the city.
If you have children, they will enjoy the playgrounds and running room within the park.
29 – Reconnect with nature at Lake Kerkini
Travel 1.5 hours north to Lake Kerkini for a day at the lake, birdwatching, and soaking up magnificent beauty you cannot get in the city.
Everything from pelicans, to eagles, and much more are present at the lake, and oftentimes, are even seen gathering together to catch fish to eat from the lake.
Aside from the natural beauty of the artificial lake, its creation in 1932 has proved to be beneficial to restoring the local biodiversity, and even extending the benefits to neighboring countries.
Visit the lake, and its charming nearby towns like Vyronia, where they have excellent restaurants, hiking, biking, and even an aquarium.
30 – Challenge your own perceptions at the Museum of Illusions Thessaloniki
Look twice at everything inside the Museum of Illusions in Thessaloniki, where creativity leaps out to you, from kaleidoscope effects, massive holographic images appearing right before you, walking through the mysterious infinity tunnel, and so much more.
A great activity to do when it’s raining, the Museum of Illusions will take you for a loop with all its wacky and whimsical exhibits, forcing you to think outside the box, and triggering your imagination.
From the rotating room to the infinity wall, you won’t come out the same after this experience.
Tickets can be purchased online and start at 10 euros for general admission.
31 – Relax and rejuvenate with Physis Massage Therapy
After so much sightseeing and possible bike riding, treat yourself and your body with Physis Massage Therapy, a massage center well known in Thessaloniki, and famed for its massages and whole body treatments.
Step inside the zen space, and immediately feel the essential oils in the air begin to relax your stresses away, preparing you for your treatments ahead.
Services offered at this massage space range from deep tissue massages, cupping therapies, hot stone therapies, Gua Sha lift massages, and more.
Bookings can be made on their main website, where you can select any services you’d like to get, and when you’d like to pop in.
32 – Walk the same paths that wealthy Romans walked through at Octagon Palace
Visit the Octagon Palace, said to be built to be an audience hall or a church in 311 AD.
Walk through as you read the plaques detailing more of the history, and imagine the almost 29-meter tall ceiling, as well as the remnants of the interior decoration, from the geometric-shaped motifs, and the blue and green colors of the floors.
Situated in the Galerian Complex, the Octagon Palace is surrounded by ruins that made up the rest of this rather luxurious socializing space in the early history of the city.
33 – Absorb abstract art and other forms of art inside the Teloglion Fine Arts Foundation
Search through the Teloglion Fine Arts Foundation, a collection of paintings that shares artistic representations of different events in Greece, as well as examples of abstract art specifically in Northern Greece.
The expansive collection, amounting to approximately 7,000 art pieces, was donated by husband and wife, Nestor and Aliki Telloglou, hence the name of the foundation.
View the different styles of art, from Baroque to Expressionism, to Neoclassicism, Surrealism, and more, while also checking out Roman pottery pieces, wood reliefs from Thailand, and samples of Arabic and Chinese art.
The Teloglion Fine Arts Foundation is located across from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
34 – Catch the sun rays at Chalkidiki Blue Lagoon on a day trip
Frolic through the powder white sands, and splash in the turquoise blue waters of Chalkidiki Blue Lagoon, situated 1 hour south of Thessaloniki.
Take a day tour, and comfortably arrive at the pristine location, where activities like snorkeling and swimming are awaiting you.
Take a cruise, and sail through the virtually uncharted waters and islands on the lagoon, with the sound of light splashes of water and Greek music in the background.
Relax and let your worries wash away on the shores, the only thing you need to remember is to bring your sunblock and beach towel, and you’re set.
35 – Enjoy a cup of traditional Greek coffee
While in Greece, do as the Greeks do, which involves ordering a typical Greek coffee for yourself.
Characterized by its strong and pungent taste, typically prepared without sugar, Greek coffee is composed of roasted beans, blended to a fine powder, and added to some boiling water until it creates a foam on the top.
Order your cup of Greek coffee at one of the many trendy and chill cafes in Thessaloniki, from the waterfront Cafe Nikis 35 serving cool vibes and an iced Greek coffee called Freddos to the vintage and classic Thermaikos also on the waterfront.
36 – Soar through the Greek atmosphere skydiving in Polykastro
Adrenaline junkies cannot miss the incredible opportunity to skydive in Polykastro, located 40 minutes north of Thessaloniki.
Get briefed on safety procedures, and understand the process of skydiving with a professional team, who answers any and all questions you may have to ease any nerves, and then take to the skies.
Drop back to earth some 3,500 meters, attached to a professional skydiver, taking in the incredible sights of the village of Polykastro, as well as the stunning nature surrounding the town of rivers and forests.
Make sure to know that many of the skydiving experiences are only available on the weekends.
37 – Splish splash around Waterland
Refresh and enjoy the fun at Waterland, Thessaloniki’s favorite water park, and Greece’s largest aquatic center, featuring fun for all ages.
Located only 30 minutes away from Thessaloniki, children can enjoy kiddie fun at the Kid’s Pool or the Wave Pool, while adults can also have their adventurous fun on the multi-slides, or balance their trek over a rope trail.
Those parents who are looking for a bit of relaxation can find it in the Zen Pools, featuring multiple hydro massage jets, and gentle, outdoor waterfalls.
Day passes can be reserved online, starting at 18 euros per day for adults and 14 euros for children between 4-12.
38 – Dive into the world of Greek technology at the Noesis Science Center & Technology Museum
Visit the central hub for all things science and technology at the Noesis – Thessaloniki Science Center and Technology Museum.
Go to learn and experience technology at its best, starting with examples of ancient Greek technology like shipbuilding and long-distance communications, view various examples of cars throughout the years, and check out the Technopark, offering various interactive activities inside.
Make sure to check out the temporary exhibits, featuring shadow art exhibits, the influence of the internet and computers, and deep dive into AI technologies.
The technology museum is located south of the city, with tickets starting at 12 euros for individuals.
39 – Enjoy the musical stylings of talented Greek artists at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall
Book concert tickets to attend a show at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, featuring talent both from Greece, as well as internationally.
Aside from live music concerts, plenty of other events take place at the concert hall, from theater and dance performances, live lectures, symphonic concerts, opera, choral music, and more.
For a cultural event, attend a Greek music concert, typically hosted in the concert hall.
Inside, you can enjoy dinner and a show, or even a brunch and midday performance at the restaurant serving high-quality food, with incredible hospitality.
Be sure to get your concert tickets can be directly purchased ahead of time, online.
40 – Enjoy the breeze on a boat tour
Sail the seas on a fantastic boat tour, cruising through crystal blue waters of the Thermaic Gulf, as you take in the spectacular sights and sun rays with a group of 6-7 other people.
Enjoy the light breeze, as you take a private boat tour, arriving at Navagio Beach, and getting the opportunity to snorkel down to the depths of the water where a shipwreck has been discovered, or simply swim, or sunbathe.
Boat tours start at $90 USD, and typically last 6+ hours. Make sure to pack your sunblock, towel, and bathing suit to enjoy the fullest this day in the sun.
41 – Check out the theatrical performances at the Lazaristes Monastery
Visit what used to be a functioning monastery called Lazaristes Monastery, located in the heart of Thessaloniki.
Inside, multiple cultural events take place on the 7 varied indoor and outdoor stages, offering everything from theater and dance performances, film screenings, educational programs, and other different cultural festivals offered mostly in Greek, but some in English.
Though most productions are for adults, children-specific performances are available too.
Tickets to the productions held inside the Lazaristes Monastery can be purchased ahead of time online, so be sure to check out the upcoming calendar of events, always bringing the most up-to-date information.
42 – Have a memorable dining experience at the modern OTE Tower
Built in 1966 the OTE Tower, a 76-meter high building towering over central Thessaloniki was previously used for television and communications in the 60s-70s, until receiving a renovation in 2005.
Today, the OTE Tower now holds various cultural events and is perhaps most widely known for its great Skyline Bar located on the top of the tower.
With its incredible sights of the city and water, and its rotating feature making it stand out from any other modern attraction in the city, make sure to stop by for a memorable dining experience, where you’ll get the best 360-degree views of the city, paired with a 5-star meal.
43 – Stop by one of the most important Ottoman Empire buildings, the Bey Hamam
Also known as Paradise Baths, the Bey Hamam is the oldest Ottoman bath in the city, dating back to 1444.
Other than serving as a space for personal hygiene, it was believed that the Ottoman Empire also placed importance on these spaces for socializing and spiritual rituals.
The Bey Hamam is currently undergoing renovations but has been open to the public to see the spectacular interior frescoes of plants and animals, as well as the mosaic works and marble floors.
Nearby are a few cafes, one of which is two stories, so be sure to climb up and get an even wider view of the baths, from a bird’s eye perspective.
44 – Walk through the Water Garden
Stroll through one of the promenade parks called Water Garden. Take a bike ride, walk, or quick jog, or simply take a seat on one of the benches overlooking the magnificent blue waters and feel the soft breeze.
Nearby there are cafes, beautifully manicured gardens, and newly planted trees, offering a slice of peace and tranquility right in the city.
The city is currently in the works of building more parks on the promenade that go along the water, and currently open is Water Garden. If you want to have a true moment of peace by the water, try going before 9 am.
45 – Take some time at the Folklife & Ethnological Museum of Macedonia & Thrace
Make sure to stop by the Folklife & Ethnological Museum of Macedonia and Thrace, where you can get a close-up view through the archives and materials collected, what life was like in earlier centuries, and the humble beginnings of the towns of the region.
Learn about some of the most common trades, the typical dress of various communities in Northern Greece, specifically Macedonia and Thrace, the agricultural practices, social norms, and organization.
Truly providing a complete snapshot of the past, this museum is considered one of the best ethnographic museums in the country. Stop by the museum’s gardens, flourishing with color, life, and extreme beauty.
46 – Do some off-roading in the wilderness of Halkidiki on a Jeep tour
Take a rugged yet exhilarating Jeep Tour through the breathtaking wilderness of Halkidiki’s Mediterranean forests, its stunning, natural peninsulas, and colors of turquoise blues and white sands.
A sight to take in yourself, you’ll want to add this activity to your list of things to do in Thessaloniki for its fantastic beaches, adrenaline-pumping fun, and fantastic terrain to do some off-roading on a Jeep Tour.
Jeep Tour packages include travel between Thessaloniki and Halkidiki, as well as protective gear, guides, and light snacks.
Make sure to wear clothing that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty, and that is comfortable to perform physical activity.
47 – Learn about the tragic story behind the beautiful Villa Bianca
The Villa Bianca has Sephardi roots, belonging to a wealthy Spanish Jewish man, who after leaving Spain with his family, relocated to Thessaloniki, and built this prestigious mansion in the early 1900s.
Though their story doesn’t end well, the home today is open, allowing visitors to check out the new home of the Municipal Art Gallery, as well as to learn about the history and the first owners of their home.
The over 1,000 art pieces range from Thessalonian art to Byzantine works, and modern and contemporary pieces. Walk through the library, scanning the various publications and pieces of classical Greek literature.
48 – Have a fun time practicing water sports and activities on Greece’s best beaches
Water sports abound in Thessaloniki, with the multiple bodies of water nearby the city center, enjoy anything from stand-up paddleboarding on the Mediterranean waters or go a little more adventurous with windsurfing on Angelochori Beach.
Kitesurfing is another popular water sport to enjoy on Epanomi beach, with a professional sharing the perfect techniques and guidance. Dive deep into the waters of Kalithea, where you’ll enjoy a bit of sailing before arriving at the diving spot, to swim with the wildlife in the crystal blue waters.
Plan a beach day at some of the best beaches near Thessaloniki, from Agia Trinidad Beach located south of the city, to Perea Beach which attracts both locals and visitors alike, and the family-oriented Epanomi Beach.
The best parts? You don’t have to be an expert at these water sports, only have an open mind to learn and the patience to get your balance.
Also, these water sports activities take place on various beaches in Greece known for watersports, so make sure to book your specific water sports experiences for an incredibly refreshing great time.
49 – Plan a cinematic evening at an outdoor cinema
Check out Summer Cinema Ellinis, creating a shady and fresh ambiance tucked into a lush garden away from the traffic of the city, dressed in the true Greek colors of blue and white.
Featuring a great variety of movies is Open Air Cinema Apollo, also situated in the heart of the city, surrounded by lush greenery, apartment buildings, and is known for its remarkably great sound system and movie-watching experience.
Lastly, Open Air Cinema Natalie is a crowd favorite, featuring newly released movies and for its prime location, right beside the well-known Umbrella art display. It’s the perfect plan for a romantic dinner and a movie date with your partner.
50 – Learn about sports history at the Olympic Museum Thessaloniki
Sports lovers must add the Olympic Museum Thessaloniki to their growing list of things to do in Thessaloniki to gain a true and fascinating perspective and cultural viewpoint of sports in Greek society and history.
From learning about the first Olympics in Greece to learning about some of the sports invented in Greece, see for yourself the most incredible sports moments in Greek sports history, and learn about a few contemporary sports played in Greece today.
The museum is open Monday-Friday from 9 am- 7 pm, and on weekends with closing hours between 2 pm – 4 pm.
51 – Plan a delicious dining experience at the best restaurants
Dine at some of the best restaurants in Thessaloniki, ranging from exquisite Greek food to cuisines representing the world in the city.
Seafood lovers plan to stop by Mourga, a specialty seafood restaurant, offering delicious locally prepared seafood dishes, enveloped in quintessential Mediterranean flavors.
To receive a menu topped with the best Mediterranean dishes in the country, you must go to Opsopoion Magganeaia, which literally translates to “the magic of the cooks’ offering the best service, and outstanding ingredient qualities in their foods.
For strictly Greek food dishes, visit Deka Trapezia, brimming with Greek classics, and a few Greek dishes with a modern twist not to miss.
52 – Have a moment to yourself surrounded by natural beauty at the Thermi Dam
Just 30 minutes from Thessaloniki sits the quaint and nature-filled Thermi Dam, a natural reserve that offers a stunning lake, surrounded by a leafy forest, and home to dozens of natural wild species.
A place for reflection, the Thermi Dam is often adored by locals and is often a hidden gem for visitors, as it’s a place that rarely has crowds. Though the Thermi Dam started as an artificial lake, the lake has now become the home of fish and turtles.
Relax as you listen to the sound of rustling leaves in the air, and you breathe in pure air and peacefulness.
53 – Pedal your way through the city on a bike tour
Enjoy the city on two wheels by booking an exhilarating bike tour, with a passionate local guide, ready to take you through various corners of the city not often seen by tourists.
Swerve in and out between local neighborhoods, and the main streets like Egnatia Street, bike your way through markets like the Kapani Market, and ask for recommended restaurants, as you pass fascinating ruins and historical markers.
The bike tours are suitable for anyone who knows how to ride a bike and doesn’t mind peddling for around 3 hours with breaks.
Bike tours begin at $30 USD.
54 – See the impressive half-sunken Shipwreck Epanomi
A sight to see to believe is the Shipwreck Epanomi, situated only 50 minutes away near the coast of Epanomi Beach, and surrounded by a beautiful aquamarine color.
Take a quick half-day trip to relax and unwind at Epanomi beach, while taking a close look at the iconic shipwreck, causing travelers and locals to see it with their own eyes.
The interesting part that the shipwreck is that you don’t have to snorkel to the depths of the water to go see it, as the shipwreck is submerged halfway, making it extremely visible just sitting on the beach.
55 – Try your gambling luck at the Regency Casino Thessaloniki
Looking for some gambling fun? Check out the Regency Casino Thessaloniki, offering more than just slot machines and poker, but also a complete movie theater, a spectacular outdoor garden, and fun entertainment options, aside from the classic casino games.
The casino is a great resort to spend time in from one evening to a whole weekend, offering warm hospitality, great dining options inside, and a few nice bars to complete an evening of casino fun.
Those who want to kill some time before their flight can take advantage of the closeness to the airport, only a 4-minute drive away, and 25 minutes from Thessaloniki.
56 – Have fun visiting the best bars
Finalize your nights at some of the best bars in the city, from modern and chic dance bars to classic and local watering holes.
Drink some of the finest wines in Greece and its neighboring countries at Vin, an upscale wine bar featuring new wine picks every week and located in the city center.
On The Road is a famous bar among locals, offering typical Greek cocktails, as well as other favorite drinks. By day, it is a cafe, offering typical Greek-style coffee and great food options.
If you’re looking for some dinner and dancing, don’t think twice about checking out Shark, located in the main entertainment district of Kalamaria. Order your favorite cocktail, or try a Mediterranean-inspired drink, as the DJ starts to get people on the dance floor.
How to get to Thessaloniki?
There is one main airport in the city called Thessaloniki Airport (SKG), and it is around 20 minutes south of the city center.
To get to the city center from the airport, there are two options, one of which includes taking a public bus that can take anywhere up to over an hour to get to the city center.
There is also a taxi or other pre-booked airport transfers that can take around 20-25 minutes depending on traffic, and drop you off at the front door of your accommodation.
Where to stay in Thessaloniki?
Enjoy the chic and minimalistic accommodations at the Porto Sea View Apartments, known for its central location in the city near sights like the White Tower and Rotonda, and amazing amenities inside each apartment.
Wake up every morning with a cup of coffee on your terrace at the Maroon Bottle Boutique Suites, where continental and buffet-style breakfast is available to guests. You can even rent a bike and car right from the hotel.
Situated in the fashion-forward avenue Egnatia Street, Mandrino Hotel offers clean and spacious lodging options during your stay, as well as a breakfast buffet option. The rooms come with views of either the city or inner courtyard.
Sky Studios is steps away from a few of the city’s open-air cinemas, as well as the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki, proving to have a spectacular location close to many more sights.
Visiting Thessaloniki on a budget?
Don’t hesitate to check out Thessaloniki’s best-hidden city gems, and learn about its most sought out sites with a professional guide on a free walking tour.
Though the tours are free, make sure to book your spot ahead of time to ensure your place on the list.
Where to go next?
If you’re looking for a seamless way to see multiple sites that you read about in this article, make sure to check out the best multi-day tours and trips from Thessaloniki, sure to help you plan your travel plans.
And while planning your visit to the wonderful northern city of Thessaloniki, consider extending your trip and stopping by the country’s capital, Athens, known as the birthplace of democracy, and its best day trips.
Also not to miss are the spectacular islands of Greece, consisting of the Cyclades Islands like Paros, Naxos, Santorini, and Mykonos, known for their beautiful blue and white homes, and unforgettable sunsets; the Dodecanese Islands Kos and Rhodes are not to be forgotten, closer to Turkey; as well as the Ionian Island of Corfu, offering a delicious slice of Greek island life and breathtaking beaches.
Thessaloniki’s location makes it a great starting point for exploring Greece’s neighbors, such as Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria or Turkey.
Bulgaria’s deep history and outstanding landscapes are just some highlights of what makes this country such a great destination, and with so many things to do in Sofia, its lively capital, the opportunity to explore it cannot be missed. A bit further away, standing between Europe and Asia, the incredible city of Istanbul offers a unique mix of ancient architecture and history, with bustling streets and markets full of life.
We hope you enjoyed this complete list of 56 fun and unusual things to do in Thessaloniki, Greece, and that you got more than a few ideas to add to your itinerary.