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The top of the top places to visit in Macedonia, Greece

Chalkidiki ● Kavala ● Thasos ● Thessaloniki ● 10 September 2018
 
Macedonia (Greece) is a very interesting area in northern side of Greece. There are several wonderful places to visit. Islands, natural paradises and beautiful cities are only the start of an amazing journey! Read here everything you need to know about this region, which can be easily described as a hidden gem of Greece, an undiscovered heaven, where you can explore the authentic side of a destination and live unforgettable experiences.

Thessaloniki

Relaxing, friendly, multicultural and full of touristic attractions, Greece's second largest city is the queen of Macedonia. The White Tower, which stands near the beach promenade, represents the symbol of Thessaloniki. It is constructed in the 16th century by the Ottomans, who used it as a fortress and a prison, and today, it hosts the Byzantine Museum. The beach promenade, a big part of which is today a pedestrian, is one of the biggest assets of the city, which is built literally by the sea. Another significant museum is the Museum of Photography, the only museum under the supervision of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture in Greece, which is dedicated exclusively to the photography.

In the center of Thessaloniki Town, close to the waterfront, is located the most famous square of the city. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Aristotelous Square (Thessaloniki) is the most wonderful square in Greece. It is a wide, paved square, surrounded by impressive neoclassical buildings. You can find there many cafeterias, restaurants as well as hotels in Thessaloniki and, in a walking distance, the White Tower and the beach promenade.

The Church of Saint Demetrius is part of the Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki, a site which is inscribed since 1988 on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Saint Demetrius is the patron saint of Thessaloniki, and you can see in the church the place where he was martyred.

On the west side of the port, you will find the best night spot in Thessaloniki. Ladadika used to be, due to its close distance to the port, an ill-famous neighbourhood, but now, it is a perfect place to drink ouzo and eat mezedes in the traditional restaurants. Generally, the cuisine of Thessaloniki is famous all over Greece for its creative tastes that come from the Minor Asia and the 19th century. Everywhere in the city but especially in Ladadika, you can eat delicious local dishes on a budget.

In the northern part of the city, is located the Turkish and Jewish Quarter of the city. This picturesque area offers you great opportunities to walk in cobblestone paths and feel that you explore a place untouched by the mass tourism. You will find there many byzantine churches and monasteries as well as the house of Kemal Attaturk. The Castle of Thessaloniki, which is also known as Yedi Kule, is located there, on the top of the hill. It stands just above the Old Town, offering a gorgeous view of the modern city, the port and the surrounding mountains.

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Chalkidiki

The prefecture of Chalkidiki in a close distance to Thessaloniki is a very popular summer destination, and attracts visitors from many countries that are impressed by its impressive landscape. It consists of three peninsulas, Chalkidiki,Sithonia, Kassandra and Mount Athos. Verdant nature, exotic sandy beaches with turquoise waters, beautiful seaside villages and top touristic facilities are to be found in the first two regions of Chalkidiki. Among several things you can do in the peninsula, swimming in its majestic beaches is definitely a top choice. The characteristics of the beaches are that they are organised, with amazingly crystal water, vivid beach bars full of young people, golden sand and lush greenery with pine and tamarisk trees.

Close to Kassandra, is located the Petralona Cave. The Cave of Petralona is located on the western side of the penisnula, and it is rich in stalactites and stalagmites. In 1960, a human skull of 700,000 years old was discovered there. In this cave, excavations have been made that have brought to light many Palaeolithic tools and bones of animals that are exhibited in the Anthropological Museum of Petralona.

Very famous is also the beach of Sani. Sani is the most popular tourist resort in northern Greece. A long sandy beach, a pine forest at the coastline, emerald sea water, top touristic facilities and the best sunset in the whole region make Sani the jewel of the whole peninsula.

Sithonia is also popular for its camping areas. Armenistis is considered to be the most youthful beach in the area thanks to the popular among youngsters camping that is located behind the beach as well as its water sports facilities. Kalamitsi is the counterweight to Armenistis, has a camping too and beach courts to spend your whole day playing tennis, beach volley or beach soccer by the sea. The beach of Kalamitsi is really imposing with its magnitude that reminds of the huge beaches on the ocean and the pine forest that surrounds the landscape.
Close to Sithonia, in the village of Stageira, the birthplace of Aristotle, is located a park, which is dedicated to the great philosopher, his life and his work. This park is an excellent example of a theme park with activities and many interactive games, which help you to learn the culture of the area.

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To learn more about Chalkidiki, check our fully detailed article with everything you need to know about Chalkidiki!

Mt. Athos

If you are a man and you want to spend religious vacation and live true spiritual moments, then Mt. Athos is the place to be, a journey back in time, where women are prohibited. With over a thousand years of history, the autonomous state of Mt. Athos, the third region of Chalkidiki peninsula, is one of the oldest monastic complexes in the world. Wonderful architecture, magnificent natural beauty and an atmosphere of mysticism promise visitors a unique experience in the most significant site of Orthodoxy after Jerusalem.

The Holy Mountain of Athos is home to 20 large communal monasteries and numerous little communities, known as sketes or cells. Most visitors accommodate in the large monasteries, which are architectural masterpieces resembling medieval stone-built towers. Built near the beach or in isolated locations, they have fortified walls, heavy wooden doors, and big courtyards. Within the walls, are situated the churches, chapels, dining places, the rooms of the monks and many other supplementary buildings. The monasteries have also important collections of priceless artefacts, manuscripts, sacred relics, icons and historical documents.

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Thasos

Thasos is the island in a close distance to the city of Kavala. Verdant nature, astonishing beaches, rich history and traditional architecture are the characteristics of the island that charm the visitor. The most worthwhile sightseeing in Thasos is the Ancient Agora, where are located the ruins of ancient Thasos with sanctuaries, temples, an odeum, a theatre and the Acropolis. The construction of the main buildings began in the 4th century B.C., but the earliest constructions date back in the 6th century. The findings of the Ancient Agora, such as pottery, statues and jewellery, are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum in Limenas. If you are fan of the rare natural phenomena, don't miss the Dragon Cave, a cave which is full of stalactites and stalagmites and took its name by a stalactite with the shape of a dragon.

Thasos is also known for its picturesque settlements. Limenas is the capital and main port of the island. It is a touristic town with beautiful nature. Very interesting is also the Old Port, which was used since the antiquity and is a spectacular quartier very close to the Ancient Agora. Theologos is the oldest and most beautiful village of the island with stone-built mansions, elegant shops and traditional taverns with delicious Greek cuisine. Potamia is a mountainous village, which is distinguished by its magnificent sea view as well as the traditional atmosphere that travels you back in time. Panagia was the old capital of the island with well-preserved houses surrounded by lush greenery, while Kastro is not only beautiful with authentic character but also situated in an amazing location near waterfalls.

The beaches of Thasos are exotic and gorgeous. Golden sand, turquoise sea waters and lush greenery down to the beach constitute the perfect romantic and family-friendly setting. The long and sandy Golden Beach is the most famous beach of the island with various touristic facilities and water-sports centres. Makriamos is the closest beach to Limenas and gets very crowded during summer, but don't miss it because it is considered one of the most beautiful beaches of Thasos. Paradise Beach is characterised by wonderful location and white soft sand, while Limenaria is the most touristic beach of the island with hotels, fish taverns and water-sports schools. Alyki combines two small beaches with golden sand and calm waters, and Gkiola is an imposing rocky formation that creates a natural pool!

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Kavala

Kavala is one of the best-preserved old towns of Greece. Built amphitheatrically on a hill by the sea, it impresses the visitors not only with its multicultural aura but also with its beauty and variety of things to do. The emblematic arches that represent a section of the city's aqueduct, which was built in the 16th century, are one of the most recognisable landmarks of Kavala. Imaret in the old town of Kavala is also an exquisite example of Islamic architecture. It was built in 1817 as a theological school by Mehmet Ali. In 2004, it was restored and transformed into a luxury hotel.
 
The old town of Kavala is a charming area built in a horseshoe pattern on a peninsula. There, you will find elegant mansions, paved streets and an impressive castle overlooking the city and the sea. Mehmet Ali's restored home is worth visiting as today it is a museum focusing on this historical figure. Don't miss Halil Bey Mosque in the old town, which until the 1930 housed the local philharmonic orchestra. The town hall of Kavala has a plethora of gothic elements and looks like a replica of a Hungarian palace. It was built in the late 19th century for the Hungarian tobacco merchant Baron Peter Herzog.
 
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Archaeological site of Philippi

The archaeological site of Philippi, which has been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016, has yielded a section of the ancient Egnatia Odos highway and has ruins from the Roman Agora and an ancient theatre built by King Phillip of Macedonia in the 4th century B.C. The finds of the excavation are displayed in the museum there. It is the most important site of eastern Macedonia with characteristic monuments of the Hellenistic, Roman and Early Christian periods. You should certainly visit also the Acropolis, the Palaestra and the prison of Apostle Paul.

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Nestos Delta

The Nestos Delta is located west of Kavala and covers 50,000 hectares. It is considered one of the most important wetlands in Europe and is home to the largest riverside forest in Greece as well as the lagoons of Keramoti, Agiasma, Erateino and Vassova. Worthwhile is a stop at Alatza Giolat, the Lake of the Colours, which impresses the visitor with the variations of the hues on its surface.

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Prespa Lakes

In a close distance to the town of Florina, are located two stunning lakes, Prespa Lakes. Amazing natural beauty, traditional mountainous villages and rare wildlife constitute one of the most important national parks in Greece. At an altitude of 850 meters, the magical landscape is inspiring, with snow-capped mountains reflected on the calm waters of the lakes where fishermen cast their nets and birds fly among the reeds. The area of Prespa Lakes is renowned for its rich biodiversity as it is home to 260 species of birds, 1,500 plants, 23 fish and 60 mammals species- that is more than half of the species to be found in Greece and Europe. Pelicans, ducks, cormorants, herons and geese are only some of the interesting animals you can watch in Prespa Lakes, the natural paradise where man and nature live together in harmony.
 
Among the villages of the area, Agios Germanos is the biggest and prettiest of Prespa's villages. Early 20th century stone houses with red tile roofs, a church that dates back to the 11th century, a traditional fully restored watermill, the springs of Motsara and Potistra and a walking trail with magnificent view create an astonishing scenery. Vrontero is a farming village with grazing horses and shepherds with their flocks, which make you feel like having travelled back in time. On the shore of Big Prespa, from Psarades village, you can take the boat tour at the lake, which is an important bird refuge. In addition to rare birds, you will also see caves and three hermitages with wonderful wall paintings. Guided tours are also offered by the Society for the Protection of Prespa. These tours include bird-watching and walking in the forest of Juniperus foetidissima and Juniperus excelsa. 

The region of Prespa Lakes is renowned for its beans. Plake (=flat) and gigantes (=giant) varieties are certified with Protected Geographical Indication status. In the villages around the lakes, you will find many shops with traditional products, traditional cafés and taverns to eat and drink as well as guesthouses to spend in this heaven some days of total relaxation and contact with nature.

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Where to Stay

Hotel in Thessaloniki, Greece Nouvelle Hotel
Nouvelle Hotel
7km Thessaloniki - Oraiokastro, 57013 Thessaloniki, Greece

Nouvelle Hotel is located in Oraiokastro, just 8 km away from the centre of Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki International Airport is 28.9 km away. The port of Thessaloniki is approximately a 20-minute drive away.

Hotel in Thessaloniki, Greece Hotel Anessis
Hotel Anessis
20, 26th October Str., 54627 Thessaloniki, Greece

Centrally located in Thessaloniki City, Hotel Anessis is within a 10-minute walk from the historic part of the city, Ladadika and from Aristotelous Square. The train station is at 700 m and Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia is 18 km away.

Hotel in Thessaloniki, Greece Perinthos Hotel
Perinthos Hotel
12Km Thessaloniki - Edessa, Anchialos, 57008 Thessaloniki, Greece

Perinthos Hotel is located 12 km from Thessaloniki and near many archaeological sites such as Vergina and Dion. Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia is at 30 km.


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