Attractions Nearby Thessaloniki, Day Trips and Excursions
(Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia, Greece)
There are plenty of attractions within Thessaloniki to keep even the most avid and energetic sightseer fully occupied during a holiday. However, Thessaloniki is conveniently close to many other Greek attractions, which lie just a short distance outside of the city itself.
Close by are the sandy beaches around the Halkidiki Peninsula, a large choice of recreational attractions at Mount Olympus, and some ancient remains at Pella. Also close to Thessaloniki and now listed as a World Heritage attraction, the Royal Tombs of Vergina are located alongside the remains of an expansive palatial complex, and not to be missed.
The scenic Halkidiki Peninsula has become a major holiday destination for locals from Northern Greece and Thessaloniki, and is famous for its three finger-like projections, which stretch into the North Aegean Sea. Kassandra is the first of the Halkidiki Peninsula's 'fingers' and is filled with fairly run-of-the-mill holiday villas and attractions, while Sithonia, the second 'finger', is much more appealing and contains some truly exceptional beaches. Between both Kassandra and Sithonia there are actually more than 500 km / 310 miles worth of beaches, so you can expect to easily find a quiet spot to relax on the sands. The third' finger' of the Halkidiki Peninsula is where you will find Mount Athos, where a monastic community dwells and only allows male pilgrims to visit.
Mount Olympus is conveniently close to Thessaloniki and is actually the tallest mountain in the whole of Greece. Many quality attractions are to be found around Mount Olympus, including a very popular coastline towards Platamonas, and a major archeological site at Dion. At the very base of the mountain, Litohoro is a good base for a range of seasonal activities, including climbing, although is also a good spot to simply enjoy some excellent views of Mount Olympus itself.
Best known in Greece for being the actual birthplace of Alexander the Great, the village of Pella is located along the Thessaloniki to Edessa road. The main attractions in Pella and the plentiful ancient mosaics, which were created many centuries ago using naturally coloured stones to create elaborate patterns and pictures. A number of these spectacular mosaics remain in situ and in the open-air, while others have been carefully relocated to Pella's museum. Interestingly, Pella was actually the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia.
With in excess of 70 different churches, Veria has earned itself the nickname of the 'Little Jerusalem' and although the attractions of this town are really quite appealing, it is often overlooked by tourists visiting this region of Greece. Veria is located approximately 75 km / 47 miles to the west of Thessaloniki and boasts a historical Jewish Quarter, innumerable traditional Turkish houses, and many mineral springs. If you visit at the right time of the year, you many be able to take advantage of the bountiful crops of peaches and grapes, or alternatively, sample some of Veria's delicious wines.
Vergina is extremely close to Veroia and lies just 11 km / 7 miles to the south-east, although is around 75 km / 47 miles from the city of Thessaloniki itself. A very notable burial site for the past Macedonian kings, Vergina is home to the truly wonderful Royal Tombs.
Doirani and Prespa Lakes
For something quite different to city life in Thessaloniki, do consider visiting the lakes of Doirani and Prespa, which are close to the Macedonian and Albanian borders respectively. The Balkan scenery here is quite beautiful from every possible angle and there is plenty of scope for a spot of bird watching if you are so inclined.