Best Free Walking Tours Around The World

The Best Free Walking Tours Around the World

Take Advantage of this comprehensive list of Free Tours around the workld and support the free tours community.

Free Walking tours Thessaloniki

By The Honest Explorer

In this post you will find the most updated list of free tours around the world. Before we begin a big thank you to the good people of the Free Tour of Sofia for putting this list together back in 2013. Here, you will find the most updated version with all the backlinks fixed. In the coming weeks, we intend to expand this list to include ALL the Free Tours Around the world and we will even add a comprehensive list to highligh the best among them. To make your lifes easier, you may press ctrl + F on your keyboard to open the search bar. Enter the name of the city you looking for and find the Free Tour of any particular city. Without any further ado, Let’s begin.

List of Free Tours Around the World in 2021

THE BEST 5 Free Walking Tours in Thessaloniki

THE BEST 5 Free Walking Tours in Thessaloniki

Stop wondering around aimlessly. These 5 Free Walking Tours will make you feel like a true local in no time. 

By The Honest Explorer

The Roman and Jewish Quarter -
City Center Walking Tour in Small Groups

Explore the Historical city center of Thessaloniki in 2 hours. Learn about the days of the Roman Glory in the first half. Immerse yourself in a storytelling narrating the Jewish Tragedy and the extermination of the local Jewish community during WWII. Find out all there is to know about the modern life of a local in the co-capital of Greece and take a taste of the city of sweets.

What to Expect to see:

Roman monuments

  • Rotonda
  • Arch of Galerius
  • Hippodrome
  • Palace of Galerius

Street Markets

  • Athonos market
  • Kapani market
  • Modiano market
  • Flower market  

Jewish Monuments

  • Rogos district
  • Aristotle square
  • Yad Lezicaron (synagogue)
  • Holocaust monument

Extras

  • Ladadika (Upper and low)
  • Port of Thessaloniki

Once Upon a Time- The Upper Town Walk
Myths Legend Secrets await to be discovered

Are you the kind of traveller who loves to know the heart and soul of a city you visit but hate boring dates and historical facts? Then this tour is ideal for you! During this walk and listen to funny and entertaining local myths and legends.Furthermore, you will get a fair understanding of Thessaloniki’s long and complicated history. Lastly, you will enjoy astonishing views from the city’s most picturesque part – the upper town.

What to Expect to see:

 

  • Aristotle square
  • Bey Hamam
  • Roman Forum
  • Church of Saint Dimitrios
  • Church of Profitis Ilias
  • Musa Baba teke
  • Osios David Church
  • Vlatadon Monastery
  • Trigonio Tower
  • Pasha Gardens
  • Kemal Ataturk House

Let's Review -
The Most Delicious Food Tour of Thessaloniki

Over the past 5 years we have shown around the city more than 15.000 people and everyday we get the same question: Can you recommend a nice place to eat? This summer we are committed to creating the ultimate food-list for Thessaloniki and you can be part of the process. 

This is the most delicious activity in Thessaloniki and an opportunity to become a professional reviewer for a day. Let’s discover together the Gastronomical Capital of Greece and let’s taste the true local delicacies one place at a time.

Schedule:

  • Monday: Mama’s food  – (Explore the traditional recipes we taste in our houses)
  • Tuesday: To Fish or not to Fish  – (Explore the local seafood delicacies) 
  • Wednesday: Meat Free – (Explore the vegetarian, vegan,       pescatarian options in the city)
  • Thursday :  Meze time – (Explore the local tapas i.e. the local’s favourite way to eat)
  • Friday: Dirty Fridays – (Explore the local street food)
  • Saturday: Highly Rated – (Explore the highest rated pick of the week) 

Walking with the GODS-
The Mythological Walk of Thessaloniki

This walk is an interactive performance for romantics! Once Upon a Time is a narration of myths and legends that reflect the beliefs and culture of a people who gave human-like characteristics to divinity. 

These Gods were not perfect – not by a long shot. They were living actively , singing, dancing, falling in love, hating and cheating one another. In turn, they fall victims of their pride and vices, but they nevertheless inspired the old Greeks to become better both individually and as a whole.

Top Free Things to do in Thessaloniki

Top Free Things to do in Thessaloniki

Free Walks Thessaloniki

The Honest Explorer

1. The House of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

One of the coolest and FREE things to do in Thessaloniki is to visit the birthplace of the founder of modern Turkey – Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Currently serving as the Turkish consulate and a museum, it is open to visitors free of charge. Decorated with (some of) the original furniture, waxed statues of Kemal and of his mother and, if the story is to be believed, the pomegranate his father planted in the yard. 

Top 10 museums to visit in Thessaloniki:

https://goo.gl/maps/4JiYTYMf35rdRHMp8

2. Bey Hamam

Constructed only 14 years after the Conquest of Thessaloniki by the Ottomans in 1430, this iconic Hamam, recently, opened its doors again. Get this great opportunity and visit the oldest Hamam in Thessaloniki while it is still entrance free. In the enterior you will find a very nice exhibition narrating the story of the construction of the central square of Thessaloniki – Aristotle Square.

3. The Crypt in Saint Dimitrios Church

Inside the church of the patron saint of Thessaloniki you will find one of the must-see things in Thessaloniki. Take the steps down by the altar and see the remnants of the former roman bath upon which the church of Dimitrios was built. 

4. The Vision of Ezekiel

Hard to reach but rewarding. This is something that you can’t possibly miss. On the dome of the Church of Osios David in the upper town of Thessaloniki you will find a stunning fresco depicting the end of days – the Apocalypse. This hidden treasure of Thessaloniki awaits to be discovered and adored. 

What is a Free Walking Tour?

What is a Free Walking Tour?

The most common question about the Free Walking Tours: Are they really Free?

By The Honest Explorer

The Original

Let’s start from the beginning. The First Free Walking tour started in Berlin in 2004. Thus,  the aforementioned tour is called “The Original!”.  The basic idea is to offer a service for free and upon completion the participants can choose to tip their guide according to their satisfaction. 

Moreover, due to the nature of these activities, do first – pay later, the quality of the free walking tours tends to be considerably higher in comparison to the traditional “pay first tours”. 

Trip Advisor Review

“We did the Roman and Jewish Quarters – City Centre Walk
Yannis was such an excellent guide that showed us around both, the heritage and modern side of the beautiful city of Thessaloniki. He combined interesting and well-told historical stories about the city from Alexander the Great up until recent history of the city (current architecture) with tips and recommendations about where to eat (he showed us the best spot for the typical sweet dish Trigona) and drink and what to see during our time here – he was very knowledgeable not only concerning history but also modern culture.”

My First Free Walking Experience

My introduction to the Free Tours community was in Barcelona, Spain. There was a board in the hostel I was staying advertising a local Free Walking Tour and to be honest when I first looked at it I was hesitant to believe it. How can a tour be for Free and if it is for free indeed it certainly isn’t good enough, right?

Oh my goodness! Little did I know that I would soon become a free walking tour addict and that from then on I would start every trip with a free tour. The guide was excellent, the stories captivating and the atmosphere friendly and familiar. During said tour I met what turned out to be my co-traveler for the next week and this experience changed my perspective on tours altogether.  

Should you join a Free Tour?

 

YES! Absolutely, unequivalently, YES! There is, in my opinion, no better way to start your trip and no better way to get a fair understanding of the destination’s history, culture, and overall orientation of the city but with a Free Tour. 

Second! A free walking tour is the best way to meet and interact with other travelers especially if you are traveling solo. And Third, a free walking tour is the best way to get a local’s perspective as the guides are independent and do not depend on the opinion given by whatever ministry of tourism in any given country.  

 

Our team

Explore Thessaloniki  (Explore Free Tours on trip advisor) is a non profit org committed to promote the history and culture of Thessaloniki to every traveler and set you up for a truly local experience. Check our free walking activities and drop a text to look for availability. 

Walking Tours in Thessaloniki (Self Guided)

THREE WALKS TO HAVE
IN
THESSALONIKI

You 've just arrived in Thessaloniki and you are completely clueless on what to do
Nothing to worry about
Find bellow three waliking routes that will allow you to explore Thessaloniki in no-time

NOTE: This is a quick outline of the route
Click on the Links to find out more
The honest explorer

– City Center Walk –

Start at the rotonda

Start your walk at the Rotonda. If the White tower is the most recognizable monument in the city, then the Rotonda is, probably, the most important one

– The Upper Town Walk –

Start at aristotle square

Explore The Upper Town in 10 stops. Use our stories to keep you company along the way.

Alternative Seaside Walk

Start at aristotle square

Explore The Upper Town in 10 stops. Use our stories to keep you company along the way.

Aristotle in a Nutshell

Thessaloniki Short Stories

By The Honest Explorer

Aristotle in a Nutshell

Aristotle is last of the “Big Three” of the Greek philosophers of the classical era. Socrates passed the torch to Plato and Plato to Aristotle. The latter is, arguably, the first Homo Universalis (a polymath). He didn’t live, however, in the time of the renaissance but 17 centuries earlier. 

Short Bio

Early Years

Aristotle was born in 384 (B.C.E), in Stagira, in the Greek Kingdom of Makedonia. His father was a doctor working in the court of king Amyntas II and he envisioned a similar career path for his son. However, Aristotle had the misfortune to be left an orphan in a very young age. His uncle, Atarneus raised him in Asia Minor, just toward the island of Lesvos. At the age of 17, Aristotle moved to Athens where he studied under Plato. The latter saw the brilliance of his young pupil and soon became one of his favorite students.

 Aristotle had a curious mind and a tendency to ask questions about EVERYTHING: Biology; zoology; chemistry; math; reasoning; botanology; meteorology; physics; astronomy; ethics; poetry; just name a topic and you will find out that Aristotle had a working theory in progress for everything.

He surprised his teacher when he volunteered to be the reader of the daily texts for study and debate. Usually, that was a job reserved for slaves but Aristotle didn’t like to simply listen to ideas but study them. Progressively, and more often than not, Aristotle took a different approach to thinking than his mentor.

While Plato was an idealist, Aristotle was practical. He didn’t concern himself with imaginary ideals but with concreate ideas that could be supported by empirical evidence. His classification, methodology and investigated approach to learning constitute Aristotle the first true scientists of the classical era and the father of the scientific method. 

Aristotle would stay by his mentor’s side for about 20 years, all the way until Plato’s death. When the later passed away, a process took place to select the successor of Plato as the head of the academy. Although the brightest, Aristotle did not receive this honor and the torch was passed to Plato’s nephew Speusippus. 

Aristotle Tutor of Alexander (The Great)

When Plato died, Aristotle returned to Asia Minor where he spent his time in the court of his friend Hermias, king of Atarneus and Assos. In 338 B.C.E, Aristotle traveled to his birth land under the invitation of King Phillip II. The latter invited Aristotle to become the tutor of his young son and successor to the throne Alexander. Aristotle agreed on the term that Philip would restore Stagira which Philip burnt down to the ground years earlier.   

The philosopher was intrigued with the brilliance of the young prince but often debated. While Aristotle was the personification of balance, Alexander, already from a young age was drawn to extremes. Regardless, the two grew very close together in the three years that Aristotle tutored Alexander. He taught him math, physics, history, ethics, leadership, politics, rhetoric and to think critically.

 

When Alexander defeated Athens and before he set for his campaign in Persia, he allowed Aristotle to return to Athens and he financed his newly set academy called Lyceum. 

 

Back to Athens

Aristotle not being an Athenian citizen was excluded from owning property. Instead he rented a former wrestling ground which is located where nowadays one will find the national garden of Athens (one of my favorite places in Athens).

In the next 13 years, Aristotle went overboard. He wrote 400 papers!!! To put this into perspective, in today’s standards that would be equal to 11.000 pages or 10 MILLION words. Sandy, only 47 remain today.

At Lyceum, he created a new type of student named peripatetic: Word to word translation from Greek to English would mean the walkers. However, a more meaningful translation would be the wonderers. He asked of his students to keep notes and to produce papers. It wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to state that Aristotle created the first proper educational system of human history.  

Well Known Ideas & Contrubutions
Aristotle's Universe

Aristotle’s universe is an enclosed sphere with the Earth at its center. The philosopher gave to his universe three attributes: 

  1. Unified: Everything in the universe is connecting and enclosed withing a sphere

  2. Eternal; The universe will always be

  3. Unborn: The universe pre-existed everything

The essence of the universe, i.e. what the universe is made of, has four interconnected and interchangeable ingredients in a ranking order (bottom-up order):

Aristotle's Biology

Every living thing comes from the same essence but has come to life to fulfill a different purpose:

Aristotle's Ethics

The logical coherence of Aristotle’s ethics is based upon the presumption that humans are social beings.

 

Via interaction (a continuous process), humans observe behaviors and learn to distinguish right from wrong intuitively both internal (esoteric) and external (social). 

From this process some people will stand out as moral exemplars – people to look up to. These people all share a common trait. They have found the golden mean. The balance between excess and deficiency.

 

These exemplary have completed or they are closer to achieving Eudemonia – happiness or a meaningful life. 

According to Aristotle, the fastest track to achieving Eudemonia is through education and friendship. Mutual educated individuals create meaningful relationships and build their character together as they attempt to find self-actualization and fulfill their purpose in life. 

 

A great sub-benefit of this process is moral justice: true friends will do justice to one another. 

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The Patron Saint of Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki Short Stories

The Patron Saint of Thessaloniki

By The Honest Explorers

St. Dimitrios Church

Saint Dimitrios is one of three churches in Thessaloniki you should definitely visit even if you are not interested in religion.

The Story of Dimitrios

In the late 3rd century the persecution of christianity was reaching a climax under the Emperors Galerius and Diocletian. At the same time, in Thessaloniki inhabited a young Roman soldier with a name Dimitrios. Talented, bright and a preacher of christianity. The latter made him very unpopular to the Emperor and Dimitrios found himself prisoner in a Roman bath – it sounds weird, I know. 

In the same bath, Dimitrios received a visitor and follower named Nestoras. Nestoras had the fine idea to fight against the undefeated champion of the emperor Liaios. With the blaising of Dimitrios and the will to revenge the christian persecutors, Nestoras, in a David vs Goliath type of battle, managed to defeat his enemy despite the overwhelming odds. 

When the emperor asked him how he managed to accomplish such a miraculous did, Nestoras got somewhat cocky: It was the love and power of the one God that aided me – the God of Dimitrios.

Galerios, offended, ordered the execution of both him and Dimitrios with the latter finding a bitter end with 33 spears (symbolic) piercing through his ribs.

In the aftermath of the event, the christians hid his buddy in the well, not to be dishonored by the pagans. Soon later, christianity became a legal religion and at the spot raised a small church. The great basilica was built about a century later by the Leondios, the prefix of the region when he, in a desperate attempt to cure his untreatable disease, tasted the miracle water of Dimitrios and became all well. 

Sandly, the church has been entirely destroyed twice with the last one being during the Great Fire of Thessaloniki in 1917.  However, the church has been well remade and currently operates with regular services. 

If you visit, and you should, make sure to check the crypt: the underground space where the original bath used to be.

Fun fact: the city of Thessaloniki was liberated to the Ottomans on the anniversary of its patron Saint – Dimitrios: 26th of October 1912. 

 

Find the Church of St. Dimitrios Here . . .

The Great fire of Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki Short Stories

The Great fire of Thessaloniki (1917)

By The Honest Explorers

The Catastrophe

On the 18th of August 1917 a small fire started in Olimpiados 3 street. In the next 32 hours, 32% of the city would be destroyed. 

The Origin of the Fire

Many theories have been proposed to explain the origin of the fire. Some argue that it was a number of French soldiers who got drunk one day and in their delusion accidently started a small fire which ended up burning Thessaloniki to the ground.

You see, more than 100,000 soldiers – British and French – were camping in Thessaloniki during WWI. Rumor has it that it was due to the water used by the military camps of the Allies that Thessaloniki lucked the water pressure needed to put the fire out.

Note that the city did not have an established fire department at the time and the it was heavily depended on the efforts of the British soldiers and the local volunteers to extinguish the fire.

The French on the other hand got a bad name during this tragedy and according to local witnesses the French soldiers looted the fortunes of the locals in need instead of assisting them.

Another interesting (conspiracy) theory is that a number of Greek Jew-haters started the fire in order to destroy the livelihood of the local Jews – their houses and businesses.

Thessaloniki was liberated from the Greek army in 1912 and the Greek of the city had finally gotten the upper head in the city since the late 15th century. Up until then, the city was predominantly populated by Jews and controlled by the Ottoman. In a time of rising nationalism all around Europe, it’s not a surprise that this theory has many supporters. After all, out of 72,000 people who lost their houses and businesses to the fire, 50,000 were from the Jewish community.  

A third theory, however, became some sort of legend on the city. According to this theory a housewife (let’s call her Maria) was frying aubergine (eggplants) and while at it she got distracted and forgot about her cooking.

Thessaloniki, if you must know, has long had a reputation for gossip. News were travelling around the city with the speed of light. Whenever I speak of this story, I imagine Maria in a balcony chatting with the neighbors, gossiping, eager to share and learn the “news” of the day.

To this end, however, we need to take a moment to clarify the officially accepted version of the story and clear Maria’s name. It turns out that a flame landed on a stack of hay, the local did not respond fast enough and due to a heavy wind the fire was spread widely. Within the first 12 hours the fire was heading to the seaside but the wind changed direction and the fire start spreading North reaching, eventually, all the way up to the Church of St. Dimitrios completely destroying the church. 

 

The story of Maria is represented in one of the nicest murals in Thessaloniki. Here we can see a young woman in the middle, the front views of buildings and an explosion. A brilliant way, in my opinion, to capture one of the most well-known legends in the city.  

The Aftermath

By the order of the prime minister – Eleutherios Venizelos – no actions of re-construction were to take place until a detailed plan for the re-make of the city was approved. This colossal plan to re-design Thessaloniki was given to Ernest Hébrard. The latter was the person the city needed: an archaeologist, architect, and urban planner. A Frenchman who arrived in Thessaloniki as a member of the academic personnel that joined the French campaign.

Ernest Hébrard designed Thessaloniki with large squares and wide streets, a network of monumental axis to unite the places of archaeological and historical interest moving away from the narrow streets paths and path that made no sense during the Ottoman era and gave Thessaloniki a much-needed orientation. Although, the grand plan of Ernest Hébrard was never fully utilized due to high expenses, it is he to who modern day Thessalonikian own the openness of the living space they enjoy with primary example the heart of the city center – Aristotle square.

 

Fun fact: Aristotle square resembles the shape of Absolut vodka bottle. 

 

Absolut-thes

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The Bewitched Gate of Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki Short Stories

‘Las Incantadas’

By The Honest Explorers

The Bewitched Gate of Thessaloniki

Have you ever heard the story of the stolen Elwin marbles – The Caryatids – of the Athenian acropolis? Well, this is the story of the stolen jewel from Thessaloniki. Located right below the ruins of the modern day Roman Agora in Thessaloniki you will find a small playground. However, on the same spot, all the way until 1864, one would be able to admire the charm of the Encantadas.

The Name

As per usual, many historical places in Thessaloniki, including the name of the city itself, are known by many names. That is the case due to the multicultural character of the city: the many traditions followed, the many flavors and aromas, the many religions worshipped and the many languages spoken.

 

Hence, the Sephardic Jews called the gate Las Incantadas in Ladino, the Greek called it Idols, the Turk called it Suret-maleh (angel figures) and the foreign visitors Enchanted. 

The Gate

The gate itself dates back to the 2nd century A.C.E and it was the most recognizable landmark in the city before it was stolen and the White Tower became the new face of Thessaloniki.

 

On the top of the gate, the visitors and locals were able to lay eyes on the 8 Caryatids that decorated the gate:

 

The Gate was originally one of the entrances to the Roman Forum (Agora). However, things got a bit messy during the Ottoman times. In the pictures below you see that the gate became part of the yard of a Jewish merchant, Liatsis Adritis, in Rogos (Jewish) district.

At the balcony we see the wife and children of Liatsis Adritis, by the steps his mother, and in the middle are positioned Liatsis Adritis himself with the ambassador of Britain Petros Paradeisos along with a servant boy. At the corner stand the artist of the painting – James Stuard, an architect named Revett and the translator/diplomatic assistant of the ambassador.

Fun fact: the middle window in the background of the pictures belongs to the house of the family of, the former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy.

The Myth

According to the legend, Alexander the great invited the king of Thrace and his wife to Thessaloniki. The Queen fall in love this Alexander and the two became intimate. When the king of Thrace was informed of this misdoing he got extremely jealous and hatred grew within him. In his anger, the king of Thrace ordered his wizard (Yes, he had a wizard… It is a legend guys…, Okay?) put a spell in the corridor so that whoever walks there at night will be transform into stone. 

Alexander, was informed of the conspiracy and he never left his room that night. The Queen, however, was eager to see Alexander and she sneaked into the corridors at night. Behind her, the king and his guards were spying on her. At the end, it was he, the Queen and the guards who fall victim of the spell. They were transformed into stone and became the famous Incantadas. 

Clearly the legend is a bit off. First of all, Thessaloniki did not exist as a city at the time of Alexander the Great. The city was founded by Cassander in 315 B.C.E. – Alexander died in 323. This is a common mistake shared by many articles I found online. This legend refers to a king named Alexander but not Alexander the Great.

The fate of the Gate

In 1864, so-called archaeologist Emmanuel Miller by the order of Napoleon III, took permission by the Ottoman authorities to dissemble the gate, loaded it in a cargo ship named ‘La Muette’ and transferred it to France. Today the Caryatides of Thessaloniki adorn the Louvre museum in Paris.  

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Time for meze – the Food Markets of Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki Short Stories

Time for Meze . . . 

By The Honest Explorer

The Street Markets
of Thessaloniki

It was about time to speak about FOOOOD! If you, too, are a food lover then I have good news for you. Thessaloniki is the gastronomical capital of Greece and in this post we will find out why, how to enjoy the city’s delicacies to the fullest and where – which parts of the city – you will increase your chances of shopping the real local products.  

There is a famous quote attributed to Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” But what do we mean by saying food exactly? Is it the cereals; the nuts; the vegetables; the legumes? Would you include the herbs; the fruits; the spices? What about the chilled meat products; fish and cold cuts (charcuterie)?

Nature has given us a plethora of goods and we have been anything but sort of imagination in using these gifts to feed; heal and entertain ourselves with all sorts of flavors. To this end, the Greek fauna and flora are truly privileged: Sun, water and a very fertile land. Greece is located in the temperate zone of the planet with four distinct seasons and mild weather conditions that help the local fauna and flora thrive. If we had to summarize it in one sentence, Greece is the country of the onion and garlic, the country of olive oil and wine.

Now, following this long introduction to Greece, let’s shift our attention to Thessaloniki and let’s find out how this city stands on top of the gastronomical tradition of the country.

Thessaloniki has been a cross road of people, cultures, goods and civilization, even, for over two millennia. The second most important city of the Byzantine and Ottoman empire and the co-capital of modern day Greece. From the 15th century onwards, Thessaloniki was the home of the main three monotheistic religions with Muslim, Christian and Jews co-existing harmoniously. All these cultures and people gave to this city an unparalleled multicultural identity with a unique mix of flavor and aromas. With this pre-existing wealthy of flavor plus the addition of modern fusions of flavor and the increasing presence of international cuisines will make probably have you thinking that it is impossible to fully explore the gastronomy of the city within a day or two.

There is a simple one-word answer to your desire to taste all that there is to taste: Meze! The equivalent of Spanish tapas for former Ottoman Empire’s territory (the Balkans, middle east, Greece and North Africa) will allow to you taste lots of food in a single go.

Although, this isn’t an exact rule or something and the truth is that you will find good meze all around the city, for reason of timesaving your best change is to visit the food market of the city and make the most out of your time.

Sooo…? Are you ready to get a first glimpse into the markets of Thessaloniki? 

1. Athonos Market

Thessaloniki has two main street markets – one across the other – by each side of Aristotle square. Athonos is the fancy market. Not so much in terms of construction but mostly regarding the products sell in it: the fancy spices and herbs, the quality fruits and veggies as well as the delicatessens. Thessaloniki is a heaven for the food-lovers and if you spend a little bit more you will taste exquisite products that reflect the long and the multicultural identity of the city. 

2. Kapani Market

The Kapani Market or previously known as Un-Kapan, meaning “flour market”. You will find Kapani being a tiny bit under-cared by the local authorities. It is a little bit smelly, hygiene standards are not exactly sparkling but the Kapani has a character. If you take a few minutes to walk in the small streets, you will find the local shopkeepers shouting out, advertising their goods. A vivid atmosphere and a great spot to get a meze. What is the meze? Well, in short, the meze is something like the Ottoman version of Spanish tapas and, in my opinion, the fastest, cheapest and most inclusive way to discover the flavors of the gastronomical capital of Greece. 

3. The Modiano Market

The Modiano family were Sephardic Jews who migrated to Thessaloniki from Italy. Saul Modiano, was a famous banker and his youngest son Eli a well-known engineer in the early 20th century. Nowadays, the market is closed. Rumor has it that a French investment group will re-build the market and give this jewel back to the city. For the time being, however, the market is closed. An interesting fact about the building is that it used to be a synagogue. During the Great fire of Thessaloniki in 1917, about half of the 35 synagogues of the city were destroyed. Following the destruction of the synagogue, Eli Modiano redesigned the building to become a central food market. Towards the former Modiano market, you will find one of two remaining synagogues in the city – the “memory synagogue”, Yad Lezikaron. 

4. The Flower Market

Although, this isn’t a food market, the flower market is one of the cutest little squares in Thessaloniki to relax after a long walk, grab a drink or a snack. There used to be seven flower shops in close proximity yet to day only five of them remain. In the center of the square you will find Yahudi Hamam, or otherwise known as the Jewish bath or Pazar Hamam due to the fact that it was located near the central market. Today, some of the best delis in the city are around the triangle among Kapani, Modiano and Flower market. 

5. The Ladadika

Again, although the ladadika isn’t really a market, the upper Ladadika is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in the city center with lots and lots of options for food and drinks. 

The word Ladadika, comes from the word Ladi, which means oil in Greek and, of course, when we speak about oil in Greece we refer to the one oil we love – Olive Oil! Olive oil was packages in the neighborhood and it was transferred to the port nearby. Here, you will find a typical 19th century architecture in Thessaloniki. Most of the building were destroyed during WWII but remade in 1990s due to the efforts of Melina Mercury.

Fun fact: During WWI, the Ladadika were the beginning of one of the largest red light districts in Europe! Later on, it housed many restaurants and bars and became more of a family district. 

Today, the Ladadika is, perhaps, the most touristic part of the city. However, you will find out that Thessaloniki, despite attracting an increasing number of visitors over the past few years, it is still a fairly virgin destination in terms of over-tourism. Thus, I encourage you to spend some time in Ladadika and explore its nightlife while you mix with the locals. 

6. Stoa Malakopi & Upper Ladadika

Finally, we need to take a moment to talk about the center of the city’s nightlife. Over the past years, the municipal government has been engaged in a beatification project with environmental considerations. Fans were installed and fountains were created to improve the walker’s experience and provide the square with a vibrant vibe. Here, you will find a number of important historical buildings like the Catholic church, Malakopi gallery, the former Ottoman bank and the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki. By night, the square transforms into the center for the night life of the city with its countless bars and restaurants in close proximity. 

Tip: Make sure to taste cocktails in Thessaloniki. Over the past few year the local bars have risen the quality and variety of cocktails tremendously  making a name for the city all-around Europe. 

 

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