Thessaloniki: Less Famous than Athens and a Whole Lot More Fun
While Athens is famous among foreigners, Thessaloniki seemed to be famous among Greeks. We heard about Thessaloniki from random store owners, waiters, and random Greeks who all said it is a better city than Athens. The random people agreed that Thessaloniki is Greece’s cultural city. How had we not heard of it before? Lonely planet rated it one of the world’s ultimate party cities. Not to mention, it is a bus ride away from Macedonia, Romania, Turkey, and Bulgaria.
20 Euros per person by bus. 3–4 hours from Meteora. The bus left from Kalambaka, switched at a bus terminal just outside of town. Getting from the Bus Terminal to the city center is easy because the city bus terminal is connected to the station. It was straightforward to buy a bus ticket and find out which bus to take on the spot.
34 euros per night at the Nea Metropolis. We basically booked the cheapest place available on booking.com and I’d say we got more than our money’s worth, if for nothing else than from the all you can eat breakfast buffet.
I’d love to say we made the most of our time in Thessaloniki, but I was avoiding all contact with the heat. I only left the hotel at sunset, and barely walked more than a kilometer at a time.
Apparently “cultural” translates to lots of restaurants and bars. A city with a large student population is what creates the buzz in the city, but we were there in July so I believe it was quieter than during the fall and spring.
Have a beer at the port. The city’s youth all seemed to gather by the water to drink corner store bought beer and listen to music. There are some nice waterfront restaurants to have a more upscale drink. It was a nice place to enjoy the sunset.
Get away from Gyros and eat some awesome food in Ladadika. Apparently they say this neighborhood was, historically, a famous olive oil trading district. Today, the area includes new and old architecture, tons of bars, and the best Greek restaurant Greek food I’ve eaten.
Jump on the city bus and watch the sunset in the old town, where a wall built around the city still remains. This is where I took my favourite photo of the trip…the lightning shot!
As you can see, we are not huge fans of extreme heat. So, in one of our heat induced fits of rage, and after of a few days of sobering air conditioning, we reasoned that Bulgaria, which had weather some 5 degrees cooler than Greece, would be idea for our next stop. That is where our next chapter will pick up.