“Thessaloniki the pretty one” is the way my city is described in songs! And they are not wrong! Thessaloniki, with the second largest population, is the second largest city of Greece and one of the most beautiful! It is a city with a long history and you will love it too when you’ll visit it. It is a city that will cast a spell on you, it will make you want to learn more about it, to experience its daily life, to get to know its history and feel like you are time traveling through the centuries of its existence.
You have a lot to see and there are many place where you can hangout with your children in Thessaloniki! Among the dense and even graceless apartment buildings of the modern city you will find hidden treasures, like Byzantine temples, fortress walls, arches and roman buildings from past eras.
I tried to select from four different historic periods the most important places that characterize my city, the Roman, the Byzantine, the Ottoman but also the modern days. But you can choose to visit only some or one of them.
Suitable for ages:
Aristotle Square – Thessaloníki’s old beach
I suggest you begin your walk from the jetty of the city’s port and through Niki’s Avenue, also called Old Beach, and reach the White Tower. The view of the Thermaic Gulf will amaze you! Throughout Niki’s Avenue you will find many cafeterias, bars and hangouts, because it’s actually a meeting place for both locals and visitors.
While walking, you will pass Aristotle’s Square with its graphic arches and its highly uniform two-sided architecture. The square is a famous meeting place, a space for cultural events, it’s a square ideal for children and adults. It was built in 1917, after a large fire that destroyed the largest part of Thessaloniki, based on the designing plans of the French architect Ernest Hébrard.
Leave the children play freely and have fun by feeding the pigeons. There you will see the street vendors that offer Thessaloniki’s tasty sesame buns and if you are a winter visitor, traditional hot beverage “salepi” and baked chestnuts.
Thessaloniki’s New Beach
From the White Tower, till Thessaloniki’s Concert Hall, is where the renewed and reconstructed New Beach of Thessaloniki begins, of a 3,5km length, it will give you an alternative for a walk with your children. Along the beach, on your left hand, you’ll meet theme parks for all different tastes.
The first theme park, is the Garden of Alexander. The statue of the great commander and the king of the Macedonians, Alexander the Great is found here, presented while riding his favorite horse, Bucephalus.
Next, just before the Macedonia Pallas Hotel and in front of the Garden of the Afternoon Sun you will face the unique art work, “Umbrellas”, of the sculptor George Zogkolopoulos. Don’t forget to take a picture there, especially during the sunset, capturing this moment as a reminder of your journey.
The thematic spaces sorted throughout the length of the New Beach, the so-called Gardens, will give children the opportunity to play in many playgrounds and grownups will have the chance to relax, in garden benches and under the shadow of pergolas with roses and ponds with goldfishes.
But let us not forget your faithful dog, if you have it with you! There are specific spaces suitable for pets at the Mediterranean garden and the Memory garden.
If you are into sports, I’m sure you’ll want to repeat many more times the walk on the New Beach of Thessaloniki, because in the theme parks you will find skating and skateboarding tracks, but also tennis and basketball courts.
Tip 1: Throughout the length of the Old and New Beach there is a bike path. You can rent a personal or a family bike from the companies that are located at the beginning and at the end of the beach. There are four-wheel bikes, with baby seats that do not participate in the pedal, horse-drawn carriages, and even a train for unforgettable relaxed rides.
Tip 2: What about a trip in the Thermaic Gulf with one of the boats, that operate also as floating cafeterias and that depart from the White Tower? I bet that all of you will love it! The photos that you will take with your camera in Thessaloniki are going to be unique.