Thessaloniki is Greece’s second largest city and its cultural capital. The city is built along the sea, at the back of the Thermaikos Gulf. Located in northern Greece, Thessaloniki has beautiful beaches, fine hotels and restaurants, ancient buildings, ruins and museums.
The Upper Town is an enchanting neighborhood with pretty traditional houses set on winding, peaceful alleyways.
This port of call is a bustling modern city with large avenues, parks and squares. Old houses and neoclassical buildings rub shoulders with modern dwellings, and this makes it interesting to walk through the city and enjoy this peculiar mix.
The View of Thessaloniki
A Little Bit of History
Thessaloniki was named in honor of Alexander the Great’s half sister, who got her name in celebration of the military victory of her father, Philip II, over a Thessaly tribe.
The royal daughter was married to the Macedonian general Kassandros and he named the city for her in 316 B.C.
The Romans conquered Macedonia in 168 B.C. and the city was made their capital.
Due to its location, it became a leading commercial center and in the 4th century A.D. it was made the imperial capital of the east.
Rotunda of Galerius (or Agios Georgios) in Thessaloniki
However, it was constantly under attacks by the Goths, Slavs, Saracens and Latin Crusaders. The Ottomans captured it in 1430 and it remained a major city.
The Sephardic Jews who came here as exiles transformed the city into an important Jewish city in Europe.
Even though most of Greece was liberated after the War of Independence in 1821, Thessaloniki and Macedonia remained under the Ottomans. This port city was the base for rebel groups and reform movements.
Mustafa Kemal, a native Thessaloniki, became the founder of modern Turkey and was deemed “Father of the Turks”.
A fire in 1917 burned down most of the city’s buildings, and the population exchanges and the deportation of Jews by the Nazis changed the character of the city completely.
Today, you can see a Greek city designed by a French architect in 1920, but many buildings were damaged in the 1977 earthquake.
Thessaloniki hosts several cultural and commercial festivals like the International Fair, International Film Festival and International Book Fair.
Greece’s most creative musicians like Dionysious Savopoulos, Stellios Kazantzides and Nikos Papazoglou come from this place.
Where is Thessaloniki?
- 95 miles/ 153 km from Kavala, Greece
- 129.2 miles/ 208 km from Volos, Greece
- 118 miles/ 190 km from Kastoria, Greece
- 224.9 miles/ 362 km from Corfu, Greece
- 94.4 miles/ 152 km from Larisa, Greece
- 311.9 miles/ 502 km from Athens, Greece
- 175.2 miles/ 282 km from Ohrid, Macedonia
- 12.1 miles/ 19.6 km from Thessaloniki Airport, Greece
- 134.8 miles/ 217 km from Skopje Airport, Macedonia
- 188.2 miles/ 303 km from Sofia Airport, Bulgaria
Things to See
- Church of Agios Dimitrios
- White Tower
- Museum of Byzantine Culture
- Archeological Museum
- Palace of Galerius
- Arch of Galerius
- Galerius Rotunda
- Church of Agia Sofia
- Ataturks House
- Agia Triada Beach
- Perea Beach
- Epanomi Beach
- Asprovalta Beach
Thessaloniki is dynamic and packed with life, and it bears the marks of its stormy history, which gives it a special beauty and charm.
It’s also a conveniently located hub to explore the surrounding coastal areas famous for their white sandy beaches and spectacular scenery.
We wish you a fantastic Mediterranean cruise!