Cheap flights to Thessaloniki
We all know about Athens, but if you are looking for a real flavour of Greece you should head to the country’s second city Thessaloniki. Well, it was named after the sister of Alexander the Great and you can’t get much more Greek than that. As all proud inhabitants will happily inform you,
Thessaloniki differs from busy and bustling Athens with its elegance and style – let’s just say designer clothes and beautiful people rule in this town. Yet despite its age – Thessaloniki is an old city having been founded way back in 315 BC – the city scrubs up very well and is today a modern one of large avenues, parks and squares, tree-lined streets, and Neoclassical and contemporary buildings.
History buffs will love this place: there aren’t many cities that can boast to having lived through the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, so there is lots to see. If you like your old Byzantine churches with beautiful frescoes, or ancient Roman ruins, you’ll love it here.
The 19th Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival (http://tdf.filmfestival.gr/) takes place at various venues around the city from 3 to 12 March, showcasing cutting edge documentary features from around the world.
The 57th Thessaloniki Film Festival, the most respected in Greece, will take place between 4 and 13 November. Cutting edge films by Greek and international directors are shown at various locations throughout the city, accompanied by other cultural events.
The very well established and popular Thessaloniki International Book Fair takes place in the exhibition grounds from 12 - 15 May, with a dazzling array of titles from all over the world. For information visit thessalonikibookfair.gr.
The seafront Leoforos Nikis that runs from the trendy Ladadika port area to the famous White Tower is the best place to catch a cool breeze on a hot summer night.
The steep walk up from the centre of town through the old castle walls to Ano Poli is well worth it for great views across town to the sea and a good range of bars and restaurants to reward you for your efforts.
If you are male, you can get a permit from the Pilgrims' Bureau (tel 2310 252 578; apply well in advance) to visit and be hosted at the beautiful monasteries of tranquil Mount Athos. Ladies and casual visitors can get a close look by boat tour from Ouranoupoli.
Only an hour or so away from Thessaloniki, the royal tombs of the ancient Macedonian capital of Vergina are one of the unmissable classical sites in Greece, teeming with gold and steeped in history.
It is well worth heading out 100km along the road to Kavala to see how the stunning archaeological excavations at Amphiboles are progressing and visit the site's fascinating museum.