Thessaloniki is the second most important city in Greece. This is an amazing resort and the cradle of national culture at the same time. Thessaloniki is very popular among the travelers, and the Greeks treat it with special reverence. You are welcome to enjoy all of the city beauty with the help of car rental in Thessaloniki Airport.
The name of the city was given by the young beautiful lady Thessaloniki, the half-sister of Alexander the Great and the wife of the Macedonian king Cassander, who founded the city. From 170 BC, Thessaloniki became the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia and an important point on the famous Via Egnatia road that connected Rome with Constantinople. Now, the northern capital of Greece is considered a youthful city- over 70,000 students study in its higher educational institutions. Here is the University of Aristotle, famous for its rich library, the State Theater of Northern Greece with three scenes, the First Greek Conservatory. There are no multistorey buildings and skyscrapers – their construction was suspended because this area is vulnerable to earthquakes.
This means that both locals and visitors of the city can enjoy the beautiful view of the coast directly from the city streets. The main areas – Liberty Square and Aristotle Square, which are located in the coast, where cafes and restaurants are lined, are usually crowded with playing children or just walking passers-by. Colorful landscapes, developed tourist infrastructure, pleasant climate – all that earned the city the reputation as an ideal place for recreation. Follow our useful tips and make your stay in Thessaloniki memorable and maximally comfortable.
- It is most profitable to pay national currency, which could be exchanged in any bank or private exchange office. Banks and other government institutions are working from 8:30 to 14:00, a shorter working day is considered Friday, and the common weekends are Saturday and Sunday.
- Shops are providing services from 9.00 to 21.00, during the daytime a large break is possible. Many private shopping pavilions work on an individual schedule, which varies depending on the season. Managing tourists are advised to go shopping in one of the local markets, where it is surely better to bargain with the sellers.
- One of the main features of national restaurants is a large size of the portions. It is quite appropriate to order two place settings for one dish, as the local waiters have long been accustomed to such requests from the foreign tourists.
- In many local museums and in the territory of cultural areas, the photo and video shooting is allowed only at an additional cost. The current rules need to be clarified in advance and, if necessary, an additional ticket authorizing the shooting should be purchased.
- Reach the monument to Aristotle, which is a little in the depths on the city-square behind the trees, and rub its toe. It is believed that this makes the person smarter.
- In general, Thessaloniki could be called a city of cafes, so after a walk through the square, turning onto the embankment, you will see a lot of small and large cafes with interesting interiors for every taste. Enjoy the view of the sea while having a favorite drink of the Greeks – Frappe.
- When going to Thessaloniki, the shopping amateurs are advised to choose the time for a trip among one of the local sales seasons. The summer season starts on July 15, and the winter season starts on January 15. Both of them last for about two weeks. In addition, there is a possibility of getting into an off-seasonal mini-sale in November. During these sales periods, you may buy new cloths with 60-70 percent discounts. Not surprisingly that during that time, the stores in Thessaloniki are overcrowded: not only the tourists but also the locals are coming here.
- The purchase of furs deserves particular attention. Many tourists return from Thessaloniki with a new fur coat. However, they are bought not in Thessaloniki, but in Kastoria, located 200 km from Thessaloniki. The distance is considerable, but it is worth it: you will hardly find such a wide choice of furs somewhere else. The fur production was born here in the XIV century and it is famous throughout the world until now.
- As keepsakes of the sunny Greece, bring your friends the ‘Fatima’s eye’ and komboloi.
The Greeks are a rather superstitious people, as well as the Slavs. They have an interesting souvenir-talisman, designed to protect from the “evil eye.” The name of the talisman is a matopetra, which literally means “eye-stone.” A smooth flat eye with a dark and white drop in the middle can serve as a decoration for a keyring, bracelet or a ring, such amulets are also hang at the entrance to the house. A legend is associated with the Fatima name. The girl was seeing her sweetheart off. She wished him to return alive and healthy, and gave him such a talisman.
The second popular souvenir is komboloi. These worry beads are common in Greece. They are having about 20 beads, strung on a hard thread. However, komboloi are not used for religious purposes, but simply to burn time and to play. In addition, they are considered a symbol of courage, as these beads are an indispensable attribute of mangas, who are the tough guys in Greece. It is worth noting that there are many kinds of komboloi in Greece, and the range of materials, which they are made of, is very wide. The price of this souvenir varies from a few euros to several thousands, it all depends on the material.
- As in most cities in Greece, the weather in Thessaloniki allows to start the holiday season in April and to keep it until October. The peak of tourism here is in the summer, even despite the boiling sun. In July-August, the temperature in Thessaloniki can reach +35. Spring and autumn are rainy, but this does not spoil the time of festivals. In winter, Thessaloniki could be covered with a light snow cover, although the thermometer shows an average of +6.