Needless to deny it: the Greece always like. And when it comes beautiful season many begin to dream of leaving for land of the gods. Yes, but the problem is the same: which destination to choose? The charming fashionistas like Mykonos or Santorini or the most relaxed e shy islets how Anafi in Cyclades or volcanic Nisyros in the Dodecanese? Here, to look for alternatives let’s try to move: and instead of flying towards Athens we choose to do stopover in Thessaloniki. You fly here with low cost, it’s a city with one very long storythe sea surrounds it and above all, not far away, there are other often unknown destinations. And the Thessaloniki guide it is full of surprises.
To find out, however, let’s dedicate at least a couple of days to the city which, even without the Parthenon it has unique monuments. And in the end you will understand why those who live in these parts do not experience an inferiority complex towards the capital. To begin with take the time to the city do as those who live it: go to the waterfront. People come here to stroll, to enjoy the blue sky and to be watched while sitting in the long line of bars. And at sunset the crowd doubles.
It does here and in Aristotle square which is somewhat the commercial heart of the city and where many are found famous pastry shops. We do not say it by chance: the bougatsa it’s the sweet symbol of the city and its perfume, custard with cinnamon and icing sugar, you will feel it everywhere. The best venue is said to be Or Anoteron but with local gourmets it is an endless discussion.
From here you can then start to see the pearls of the past and the fundamental stages of the Thessaloniki guide: and the first is certainly the Galerius tower. She was supposed to welcome the remains of thehomonymous Roman emperor: the jokes of history decided otherwise. It was in fact another emperor, Theodosius the Great to transform the mausoleum into a christian church and then in Cathedral.
But everyone has passed through these parts: and so, under the Ottoman rulethe building became mosque and only in 1921, after the release of Greece I go back to being a church dedicated to St. George. That would already be a lot: but it is worth remembering that this shrine with 30 meters high closely resembles the Pantheon in Rome and inside it the mosaics I am absolute masterpieces of Byzantine art. Speaking of Byzantine culture and rounded shapes, one cannot forget the other icon of Thessaloniki, namely the white tower, a stone’s throw from the seafront.
Built by Turks it had a destiny of defensive fortress and prison while today it welcomes tourists who enjoy the panorama and the sea wind. Then, after a dutiful stop at the archaeological Museum for a review of what has been going on around here since third millennium BC until after the Roman period, it’s time to get out of the city.
And the choice is wide: if you love history just an hour’s journey are the royal tombs of Virginthe place where they rest Philip IIthe father of Alexander the Great and other dignitaries of the ancient Macedonian dynasty of the 5th-4th century BC. with gold finds of extraordinary value. This is one of those museums that are never forgotten.
If, on the other hand, you want to discover a city of the past, that’s enough 45 minutes of travel to get to Skin. It was a capital, Alexander the Great was born here and even if the centuries have passed it is clear from the ruins that this was one of the most modern of its time. And the mosaics that were once the floor of the palaces are pure wonder.
But you are tired of history and you want to nature? No problem: you can easily visit the gods at their home. To do this, just walk 80 km south e we get to the heart of the myth: the Mount Olympus. And Zeus here he had his throne where he rested before teasing humans. Now, stories aside Olympuswith his 2917 meters, is the mountain more high of the Greece but also the heart of the National Park Biosphere Reserve by Unesco.
Go to top is not easy but there are many paths of all kinds, small villages on its slopes and also several refuges. To try and discover a different aspect of that land which for many is just sea and islands.
But if you can’t give up the pleasure of a bath, again, there Thessaloniki guide will offer you new surprises: just to the south, in fact, here are the three fingers of the Chalkidiki peninsula. If you want transparent water, pine forests, villages, small bays and taverns where you can relax you will find plenty. With one caveat: the first two fingers of the peninsula have developed a quiet tourism, perfect for those who don’t want crowds and love nature.
But the third toehowever, is very different: this is «The Garden of the Virgin Mary», that is, it monastic state of Mount Athos. There are twenty monasteries and only men can enter. And for the Orthodox it is a sacred place. If you believe, ask to enter (it’s not easy though) or go back to the middle finger and stop at Karydi Beach. People come here to swim in the blue. And perhaps so much beauty still has something sacred.