I spent two days in Thessaloniki and they were enough to fall in love with the city! The eternal rivalry between the Greek capital, Athens, and the co-capital, Thessaloniki, is not a new story. After this short trip maybe the capital has lost one of its supporters.
Our hotel was situated at Ladadika area, the once red light district of Thessaloniki. For a long period, it’ s been the center of Thessaloniki’s underworld. Brothels, drugs, criminals were present at Ladadika a century ago. Now it’ s been transformed into a hip area, as its pedestrian roads and squares are full of nice tavernas, cafes and bars.
A shop that immediately earned our interest is Paraty. It is unlike anything I have visited till now. It has three flours and the decoration is hard to describe. So uniquely beautiful. There is so much variety and genuine ideas, but without a hint of exaggeration. That is attributed to the one of the owners of the place, who is the interior designer of the place. The top flour has just opened and anything displayed there can be purchased.
It was impossible to turn a blind eye to the countless sweet temptations that popped up on our way. Especially to those, who have a sweet tooth, I would not recommend to visit Thessaloniki, if on strict diet. Trigona Panoramatos were the first, but not last, sweets we tried, while strolling at Tsimiski road.
Regardless the sweet sirenas we kept walking to the landmarks of the city. I noticed for the first time how European Aristotelous square looks. It was actually designed by the French architect, Ernest Hebrard after the catastrophic fire of 1917. I loved the twin buildings on the square and could not help but jumping!
Next up was the White Tower, which was visible from any part of the port and is the ultimate symbol of Thessaloniki. The pedestrian road, which leads to the tower, is so popular, that sometimes it is difficult to walk.
I could not put a full stop on this article, without mentioning bougatsa, the traditional food of Thessaloniki. I am ashamed to admit, that this was one of the primary reasons I longed to visit the city. The warm pastry, cut into square pieces and sprinkled by cinnamon and sugar powder can literally drive me kilometres to taste. This time we had a special recommendation from an old student in Thessaloniki: Bougatsa Giannis. It opens at 12.30 after midnight and stays up all night. We tried the sweet bougatsa with nutella on top and it was amazing.
Life in Thessaloniki is definitely more relaxing than Athens and that is what makes it hard to compete.