Area Guide

Local City Information
Thessaloniki is situated in south-eastern Europe and is the major metropolis in Macedonia.  It is also one of Europe's oldest cities and is the second largest city in Greece.

Set on the northern shores of the Gulf of Thessaloniki in the northern section of the Thermaikos Gulf that opens into the Aegean Sea, Thessaloniki is approximately 550km north of Athens and in close proximity to Chalkidiki's beautiful beaches.

Thessaloniki hosted the European Summit in June 2003.  It was also selected as one of the Olympic cities where the football preliminaries and semi-finals took place during the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.

Founded in 316 BC by Cassander, King of Macedonia, the city was named after his wife, Thessaloniki, sister of Alexander the Great.  It was here that Alexander the Great established the seat of his great Macedonian Empire, imparting a legacy that has left modern Thessaloniki dotted with the treasures, temples and monuments of one of history’s greatest leaders.

A lively modern port city, Thessaloniki also has a fascinating old quarter with relics from Roman and Byzantine times, many of which can be seen at the impressive Archaeological Museum that houses many of the treasures of ancient Macedonia.

Thessaloniki has the largest university in Greece, Aristotelio University, which is one of the most established universities in the academic community of Europe.

A few of the city's many attractions include the 16th century White Tower, which holds a collection of Byzantine art; Thessaloniki's many churches, in particular the 4th century Rotonda dedicated to St George, containing mosaics of the period, and the 8th century Agia Sofia, which was converted into a mosque during Ottoman rule.

Thessaloniki’s geographical location in south-eastern Europe and its infrastructure, with two universities (Aristotle University and University of Macedonia), the International Trade Fair (Helexpo), one of the largest commercial ports, the “Makedonia” international airport, an extensive motorway (Egnatia Odos) and a rail network give the city in an increasingly important role as the crossroads of the Balkans.

For more information on Thessaloniki, view our Offsite Activities section.

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13 kilometres Thessaloniki-Perea, Thessaloniki, Greece, 57001

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