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How to Spend 3 Days in Thessaloniki

How to Spend 3 Days in Thessaloniki

While most visitors make a beeline for Athens, Thessaloniki, the country's second-largest city, offers plenty for visitors interested in ancient history. Three days in the city let you cover all the highlights, visit the Monasteries of Meteora, and try out local cuisine. Here's how to maximize your time.

Day 1: Ancient Attractions

Spend your first day in Thessaloniki exploring ancient archaeological attractions. Sightseeing tours typically take visitors to Vergina, the ancient Macedonian capital of Aigai. This area is best known for its burial mounds, some of which date back to 11th century BC; Alexander the Great's father, Philip II, is interred here. 

After your tour, return to Thessaloniki to visit some of the city's most important historic attractions; these include the two-terraced Roman Forum; the Church and Crypt of Agios Dimitrios, which was used as a mosque under Ottoman rule; and the White Tower, a fortification that now houses a museum of city history. Finish your day at the stately Aristotelous Square, or stick around the Ladadika area for dinner and drinks.

Day 2: Culinary Culture

Thessaloniki has a ton of great restaurants, bars, and markets, so spend your second day experiencing some of its finest culinary offerings. A good way to get your bearings is on a food tour; doing so introduces you to local shops and restaurants that aren't generally on the radar, and also gives you the chance to try out different Greek dishes, pastries, and coffees. 

If you discover a passion for Greek food and want to learn how to make it at home, take a cooking class. Alternatively, if food isn’t your thing, consider spending the day at Kerkini Lake, an artificial lake near the Bulgarian border that boasts diverse species of bird. 

Day 3: The Monasteries of Meteora

On your last day, head out to Meteora, a dramatic rock formation about three hours from Thessaloniki. The region's scenery is reason enough to visit, but it's best known for its Eastern Orthodox monasteries, which have earned the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many of the caves here were inhabited for thousands of years, and the oldest such structure—the Theopetra Cave—is believed to date back to Paleolithic times. 

Popular monasteries include the medieval Holy Trinity Monastery, the Monastery of Great Meteoron (the largest monastery in town), and the Roussanou Monastery, which is a fabulous place to watch the sunset. While travelers can visit independently, day trips let you skip the hassle of care hire and come with a guide who provides information that’s crucial to understanding the history of the area. 

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8 Tours and Activities

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Thessaloniki Walking Tour
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Thessaloniki Walking Tour

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Discover the best that the coastal Greek city of Thessaloniki has to offer as you embark on a citywide walking tour. Join a small group and visit several points of interest including the White Tower, known as the symbol of the city, the Alexander the Great statue in Nea Paralia, and the OTE Tower. While you explore, your guide sheds light on the rich history and culture of the city.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$60.10
From
$60.10

Thessaloniki: Open Markets Food Tasting Tour

Thessaloniki: Open Markets Food Tasting Tour

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Get way off the tourist track on this insider’s food crawl through Thessaloniki. Discover where locals shop as you sample a selection of traditional Greek delicacies in Kapani and Modiano markets, packed with fresh cheese, organic produce, and tasty pastry stalls. Tours also include stops in Louloudadika and lively Athonos Square, plus a complimentary coffee to get you started.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$48.30
From
$48.30

Thessaloniki Classic City Private Tour
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Thessaloniki Classic City Private Tour

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Get to know Greece’s second-largest city on this private tour of Thessaloniki. Admire landmarks such as the White Tower, the Arch of Galerius, and Agios Demetrius church; gaze out over the city from atop the medieval city walls; and visit the Archaeological Museum (optional; entrance fees not included). Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$111.62
From
$111.62

Thessaloniki Private Historic Walking Tour

Thessaloniki Private Historic Walking Tour

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Experience the rich historical legacy of Thessaloniki during this private walking tour led by a local archaeologist. Discover a variety of UNESCO World Heritage monuments from the Byzantine and Roman eras, visit the famous White Tower, and step back in time at the Greek Agora and Roman Forum. A private guide and a snack are included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$214.65
Price varies by group size
From
$214.65
Price varies by group size

Meteora Monasteries Day Trip from Thessaloniki

Meteora Monasteries Day Trip from Thessaloniki

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See Meteora’s rocktop monasteries on a day trip from Thessaloniki. Travel to Kalambaka to visit two of these six UNESCO-listed sanctuaries, each built on a giant rock pillar between the 14th and 16th centuries. Absorb their interiors and views, and learn how and why they were constructed. Before returning to Thessaloniki, stop to see the Valley of Tempi gorge. Includes coach transport, guide, and selected hotel pickup and drop-off, with entrance fees at own expense.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$69.76
From
$69.76

Vergina Half Day Private Tour from Thessaloniki

Vergina Half Day Private Tour from Thessaloniki

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The ancient ruins of Vergina are a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Greece’s most important archaeological finds. Take in the highlights on this private half-day tour from Thessaloniki and explore the ruins of the first Kingdom of Macedonia, dating back to the 11th century B.C. Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$279.04
per group
From
$279.04
per group

Lake Kerkini Wildlife Day Trip from Thessaloniki

Lake Kerkini Wildlife Day Trip from Thessaloniki

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Swap Thessaloniki for a peaceful adventure in the great outdoors. Enjoy the ultimate hassle-free tour with a hotel pickup and transfer to Lake Kerikini. The tour will help you discover amazing scenery, see migratory birds, buffalo, and other local wildlife. You can choose additional activities near the lake such as a boat tour, bike rental, or horse riding.
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$112.69
From
$112.69

Thessaloniki Half-Day Tour and Archaeological Museum Visit

Thessaloniki Half-Day Tour and Archaeological Museum Visit

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Explore Thessaloniki on a half-day tour, and discover the history of monuments such as the White Tower and Agios Demetrius Byzantine church. Learn about the city’s historical importance and sights from your guide, and pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki to see artifacts from a range of eras including the Classical and Hellenistic periods. The entrance fee is at your own expense.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$41.86
From
$41.86