The second largest city in all of Greece and the capital of Northern Greece (and Macedonia), Thessaloniki has a history which spans more than 2300 years and it is home to some of Greece’s most notable Byzantine monuments, including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as several Roman, Ottoman and Sephardic Jewish structures. It is a city full of excitement, culture and history and is well worth the visit.
Kavála is the second largest city in Macedonia and lies on the foothills of Mount Sýmvolo. In the 19th Century it was extremely wealthy due to the tobacco crops being shipped from the port here. It was also the first European port of call for merchants and travellers from the Middle East. The city centre of Panayia has been inhabited since the 7th century BC and it is worth visiting the Castle, the Acropolis, the Imaret, Eleftherias Square and Megalou Alexandrou Pedestrian Street.
“The castle town” of Ioannina is the capital of Epirus province and is a bustling city, particularly with its university student lifestyle. The castle itself was built in 528 AD by the Emperor Justinian and is divided into four sections: the outer walls, the northwestern citadel, dominated by Aslan Mosque, the southeastern citadel Itch-Kale and the actual old castle town of Ioannina. The walled-in-town covers an area of 20 acres. The dining and nightlife scenes here are some of the best in Northern Greece and mix that with the stunning Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, you’re definitely in for a treat.
Komotini is one of the main administrative, financial and cultural centres of northern Greece (Thrace) and is home of thousands of Greek and international students. While you’re in Komotini, you should take the time to see Papikion Mountain, a major Byzantine monastic centre where relics of old monasteries have been found; Mischos village; the monastery of Panaghia Faneromeni Vathyriaka or Fatiriaka, the village of Paradimi to see ruins of a settlement dating back to the Neolithic Era, the ruins of the Byzantine fortress "Kales tis Nymphaias", and the Byzantine fortress of Gratianoupolis.
According to legend, Larissa in Thessaly province was the birthplace of Achilles, and the place of death of Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. It is a city where the past meets the present and it is located in an enclave, surrounded by the Kamvoúnia mountains, Títaros, Olympus (the highest peak in Greece at 2,917 metres), Óssa and Mavrovoúni. Notable archaeological sites to visit include the acropolis on the hill of Áyios Ahíllios, Ancient Theatre A', Ancient Theatre B', Hippocrates Monument, Fortress Hill and Ancient Agora.
Kastoriá is built on the shores of lake Orestiáda, and is one of the most beautiful town’s in Macedonia. In the 19th Century, the city flourished due to the fur trade and still today boasts a large number of very profitable fur and textile shops and factories. While in Kastoriá explore the old neighbourhoods of Doltsó and Apozári with their 19th century grand mansions, take a walk around the beautiful lake and visit the only cave in Greece with fresh water lakes – Dragon’s Cave.
GOT TIME TO SPARE
Glimpse at some other inspiring places well worth visiting while in Thessaloniki
Church and Crypt of Ayios Dimitrios
The Archaeological Museum
Museum of Byzantine Culture
Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessalonika