Study Abroad Files: Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki is a mid-sized Greek city with plenty of history and coast to easily explore in a weekend. The city is laid-back, moving at a slower pace of life than in some other European cities, and filled with native Greeks and European students on holiday.
Kitchen Bar has plenty of food choices–from typical brunch staples (pancakes, waffles, eggs) to classic Greek dinner dishes. The restaurant occupies a renovated warehouse, and is situated on the dock overlooking the water for a perfect view of the Meditteranean.
This restaurant had possibly the most delicious meal of the whole trip, and was incredibly fresh and flavorful. Nestled in an cozy alley, the restaurant is authentic and delicious (especially the meatballs–I still think about how good they were!).
Though the name sounds like an utterance of disgust, Blé was a delicious bakery and confectionary that looked almost as good as it tasted. The inside of the store reminded me of a tech shop, all glass, polished metal, and stone displaying the food (and especially the Easter delicacies). I was partial to the eclair–though they had gelato, cakes, and small chocolates available as well.
If you need a quick gyro fix, this inexpensive option is the way to go. Filling portions, unique sauces, and served "Greek style" with fries in the middle, Savvikos turns this classic street food eat into a hearty meal.
Frutti di Mare
For fresh seafood and pasta, along with traditional Greek recipes, look no further. This restaurant takes advantage of Thessaloniki's proximity to the Mediterranean, offering an excellent selection of local fish and shellfish.
Tip: for Frutti di Mare and other restaurants in Thessaloniki, make sure to check on the menu which fish or shellfish are fresh and which are frozen. Most restaurants will note if they use frozen fish–so avoid ordering frozen at restaurants when you can get fresh elsewhere!
Simply walking around Thessaloniki, you'll stumble on historic buildings and old monuments in various states of ruin. Make sure to walk down along the water, from the ferry building past the White Tower and public art, especially as the sun is setting. If the sky is clear, you'll be able to see all the way to Mount Olympus and the peaks of the snow-capped mountains if the season is right. If you fall into one tourist trap in the city, make sure it's the ferry boats in front of the White Tower. These ferries will take you on a 30 minute tour of the Thessaloniki bay, with the purchase of one drink on board (ranging from 4-12€). Completely worth it, especially if you time it just right at sunset!
For a taste of the European club scene, check out any of the clubs and bars along Valaoritou, especially at Siggrou. Fragile Bar, Monkey, and Plan B are fun and all within a block of one another! If you'd rather have a few drinks along the water, stop at any of the waterfront bars for a drink. If it's nice, you'll be able to sit outside and enjoy your drink.
Unfortunately, Thessaloniki won't have a wide selection of stores for shopping if you're looking for anything other than Pull & Bear, Zara, and H&M. For souvenirs, however, make sure to stop by From Thessaloniki. You won't find any generic tourist-y trinkets, but rather cute designs on postcards to send home and local designers and wares to accommodate any budget.
Feature image via; all other images courtesy of the author