A visit to Thessaloniki, Greece

Traveling is something that we all dream of, yet most of us see it as something that is unattainable – due to the cost of course. If I recently did it on a college grad budget then I promise that you can too.

This summer was so crazy for me that I never got around to posting the last leg of my Euro Trip which included Greece, Turkey, and a layover in Morocco. I’m kind of glad I saved the best for last because looking at these pictures really makes me appreciate the beautiful memories I created in this gorgeous island. Greece was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. From the food, to the culture, to the gorgeous landscapes – I was head over heels! I traveled to two islands while I was there and Thessaloniki was my favorite out of the two. Specifically the enchanting peninsula of Halkidiki, located in south of Thessaloniki. My friend Ivette actually studied abroad in Thessaloniki for 3 months so she knew the area very well and was a great guide. When we were planning the trip, Ivette suggested that we skip the main islands (Mykonos and Santorini) and checkout the less known ones that were just as nice like Thessaloniki and Corfu. I’m so glad we followed her advice because we spent way less money and had an unforgettable time.

We stayed at the City Hotel Thessaloniki which I highly recommend. The room was great, the staff was super nice, and we had complimentary wifi and breakfast which is a HUGE plus when you travel abroad. Thessaloniki is the largest city in Greece and has soooo much to offer. There’s an abundance of history and art with countless museums to prove it. The city’s central streets definitely have a cosmopolitan flare and reminded me so much of Miami. The nightlife is so alive! With so many elegant cafes and bars to choose from, you are going to have a hard time figuring out what to do.

We were only in Thessaloniki for three days and two nights so we had a lot to do in very little time. On our first full day we woke up super early to hit the beach which was about an hour away. Halkidiki aka Chalkidiki is a peninsula south of Thessaloniki. Within Halkidiki there are three small peninsulas, known as the three legs. Out of all three peninsulas, Kassandra (first leg) has popular tourist resorts with organized beaches and Sithonia, (second leg) has less organized resorts and more secluded coves.

The receptionist at our hotel told us that all of the beaches in Halkidiki were beautiful but that Ouranoupolis (located on the third leg) was the absolute best. It would have taken us 3 hours to get there and we had little time to waste so we decided to go to Kalithea in the Kassandra peninsula which was only an hour away. We took a cab from the hotel to the central bus station and purchased tickets on a charter like bus to Kalithea. It was a Friday and the bus station was packed with young people ready to for a weekend getaway with friends. A lot of them had camping gear and backpacks ready to campout at the beach which is a very popular thing amongst the locals.

The girls and I had the most amazing day at the beach. Kalithea is stunning! Overall, Thessaloniki was a great destination. If you ever plan a trip to Greece I highly recommend visiting this charming city. I felt like I definitely got a taste of the real “Greece” and I was not disappointed, just surprised if anything. It’s so funny all of the amazing things you learn when you travel. Your thoughts on a country will completely change as you experience their culture and begin to analyze how it has been diluted by merging with the American culture through assimilation. It really is an interesting experience.

Besos,

P.S Did you know that Gyros in Greece are typically made of pork or chicken?! I couldn’t find one lamb gyro in all of Greece and I kept asking them why they didn’t make any lamb gyros. LOL I guess it’s not a Greek thing at all.

WRITTEN BY ADA ROJAS. Image by Δαμιανός Κράπης, CC BY 3.0

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