Why should I visit Thessaloniki's seafront promenade?
Walking Thessaloniki's waterfront gets you straight into the city's vibe. You see historic monuments, take a load of pictures, and finish your walk in a cafeteria where Thessalonians celebrate their little everyday moments halará – a favorite word in Thessaloniki meaning 'chillaxed'. Thanks to clean air and ample space, people prefer the promenade for sports activities, like running and biking.
History of Thessaloniki's waterfront.
Thanks to its 2008 reconstruction Thessaloniki's seafront promenade recaptured its people's attention. Note that the sea is relatively clean but not suitable for swimming. A few decades ago, the city started discarding sewage into the sea and, although a decade later they stopped and started cleaning up, seawater quality is not entirely regained.
What is the best time to visit Thessaloniki's promenade?
Go for a walk around sunset. If small clouds are in the right place, you are lucky, and the sky bursts with red, orange, and light pink shades. On a clear day, the first thing you notice is Mount Olympus' silhouette on the horizon and cargo tankers waiting to enter the port.
What is the best starting point for my walk? How long does it take?
What will I see?
On your way, you come across historical monuments and urban art, playgrounds and gardens, and cafeterias. The most notable monuments on the Thessaloniki seafront are the White Tower, the Holocaust Memorial, and Alexander the Great's statue. And the most remarkable urban art pieces are Zongolopoulos Umbrellas and the Crescent Moon.
You come across a small skate park, tennis and basketball courts, and numerous gardens – among others, a sound garden, a statues garden, a dog park, and a seasons' garden with a small amphitheater. Children will like the Fokas playground.
Before the White Tower, you find the cruise boat bar, which might be suitable for a break. Past the Tower begins the long strip of bars and cafeterias on busy Nike's (Nikis) Street. The vibe speeds up, and soon you stumble upon the vast open space of Aristotelous' square with people going in all directions, young couples supervising their children, and cafeterias full of people chatting over a cup of coffee.
A bit further is the Holocaust Monument and a car parking built on top of the city's old port rail terminal from where Nazis forced tens of thousands of Jewish Thessalonians into trains to concentration camps in northern Europe.
Opposite the Holocaust monument is the entrance to an interesting complex of old port warehouses turned into artist venues and fancy restaurants with industrial-style architecture and decoration.