This town is all about having fun and if you handpick your girlfriends (which I am sure you do) you are bound to have an unforgettable experience.
Here are some ideas. Pick the ones you like most and create your own, personalized itinerary.
Sugar Angel: a girly oasis for great coffee and sweets. Head inside to feel as if you are at a Parisian café, glimpsing at the open workshop where all the sweet yumminess is created and talking about your dreams. If the weather is nice, then outside is equally pleasant.
It’s as if this place was created specifically for you to come with your girlfriends. Downtown, tucked away on the pedestrian street of Lassani, you can spot it immediately from its fabulous, thematic window displays and from its white, romantic tables and chairs outside.
The coffee is spot on and the sweets…oh their sweets. Sugar Angel is known for its buttery cookies and velvet cake but my personal favorite is their raspberry cheesecake. Before leaving, grab a packet of cookies or a jar of marmalade for home.
Piece of Cake: this tiny place on Crhisostomou Smurnis street, right off the busy Tsimiski street (the city’s main shopping street) is a favorite spot for many locals. Owned by two sisters, here you will be served coffee, cocktails and homemade sweets. Check out the intriguing bar made out of books and the blackboard above, displaying witty quotes.
Blé: Agia Sofia Street is possibly the queen of the city’s pedestrian streets. That’s where you can find this “temple of bread” which is so much more than a simple bakery: patisserie, restaurant, coffee and juice bar and a meeting point in-between shopping time. I love its long, communal table and the open-space setting. What’s great about Blé is that there is something for everyone: salty, sweet, coffee, juice and alcohol. It’s one of my top places for ice cream as well.
One Sweet Day: that’s where you will find the most delicious hot or cold chocolate to drink. The owner, Giorgos Zarzonis, is a professional photographer who fell in love with the black goddess and decided to create his version of the perfect chocolate bar in Thessaloniki.
His friends weren’t supportive of his idea when he started out, but he chose to listen to his guts, and I am so happy he did.
At Olympou street, he created a theatrical setting where the intoxicating aroma of pure chocolate blends with spices, vintage furniture and impressive photographs on the walls.
The chocolate bites in very innovative combinations and the cocktails or coffee made with chocolate are also worth checking out.
A great place to try something new, enjoy quality chocolate and coffee and spend a pleasant hour or two with your girlfriends.
Toms flagship store & Café: this wonderful concept store is set in a historical building at the city center. First, you can shop or just browse the brand’s shoes, bags and sunglasses. Then, move to the food and coffee counter, grab your coffee or healthy juice and sit on the impressive patio to chat and snap some gorgeous photos. Even better, head to the extension of the café on the basement and have a cocktail and something to eat in a setting where you wish you could stay forever.
Tabya: one of my new favorite places in the city. And not just because of its colour – it’s pink! The building has been renovated and actually forms part of the city’s Byzantine walls. The café is great but you could also come here for wine and mezze platters, later in the evening. Inside the various rooms are cosy and remind me a bit of Scandinavian design. On the top floor, there are various events and exhibitions taking place so definitely check it out. And if the weather is nice, you want to be sitting outside in its lovely yard.
Domatio me Thea, Olumpion: this literally means “Room with a View”. At Aristotelous Square, the city’s finest square, at the historical building where the cinema Olumpion is, this is a perfect spot to gaze at Thermaikos gulf and its magnificent sunset while sipping on your coffee or drink. Go straight up to the 5th floor and if you are lucky, sit by the large, arched windows. There is also another floor downstairs.
The women in Thessaloniki are known to be extra stylish and often, while walking downtown, you think that everyone is dressed up to go on a very special occasion. You might feel tempted to pamper yourself and your friends while there. And why not?
Apivita & Korres: these two Greek natural cosmetics brands are very popular and offer a great variety of products. Their face masks come in mini packaging as well and it’s a great option if you want to organize an impromptu pampering evening back at the hotel or the apartment you are staying at. Don’t forget to grab a bubbly wine and some fruits as well!
Yoga: if you want to keep on practising and maybe meet some of the city’s yoginis, there are many yoga centres around the city offering drop-in classes so you can just check their programme, pick your preferred practice session and book your place. The language might be a concern but if you know the basics of yoga, you can just follow your instructor’s or other participants’ moves.
Where to look: Zen in the City by Loukia in the city centre | Eu Zein offers yoga with great views over the Thermaikos Gulf in both of their yoga studios (Aristotelous square & Kalamaria).
Reflexology: in a nutshell, this is foot massage and if you find the right person it feels so good that makes you wanna sing! Honestly. My personal favorite reflexology therapist in Thessaloniki is Spiros from Kinetiks Therapy and I am currently introducing all my loved ones to his magic hands.
Alternative Tours & Experiences
It’s so much fun to cook and experiment with new recipes and Marmita Cooking Lab is a great place to do so in the city’s center. Smaragda, the founder, will organise a fun evening for you, teaching you all you need to know for the Greek cuisine and inviting you to taste everything you prepared while sipping wine or beer. If you want to take it one step further, you could also organise to follow Marmita’s gastronomy walking tour which will take you to the city’s divine food markets and deli shops.
www.marmita.gr & http://www.eatandwalk.gr
For culture και mystery lovers
Dot2dot is a team of young and energetic women who have a mission to guide you around their city in the most engaging and interactive way. They offer many routes like the “Mystery Walk”, the “Industrial Walk” or “A Walk along the Waterfront” and some of them can be also combined by hands-on workshops where you can create your own, personalized souvenir to take with you back home. Their creative and positive energy is a winner.
For history buffs
Evi Karkiti and her dream team at Thessaloniki Walking Tours constantly innovate and offer great tours around and beyond the city. Their tour about rebetiko music is one of a kind and Tasos Papadopoulos who leads this one is a charismatic guide. Kostis Zafirakis and the food tours he runs is another reason to click on their website.
For creativity lovers
Handpeak Tours will take you on an intimate tour around a neighborhood to meet creators, artists and all those people that make a difference with their work. On my personal “Thessaloniki travel list” is to follow their “Paper stories” tour which is all about books and paper and their “Fashion tour” which introduces participants to creators of handmade clothes, shoes, jewels and accessories.
Brunch, Lunch or Dinner
It’s hard to be disappointed when it comes to food in Thessaloniki. The dining experience here can be casual, elegant, downtown or hidden in the most unexpected areas of the city. Here are a few of my favorite places:
Estrella: for Sunday or any day brunch, this is one of my top choices. Bougatsan is the queen here but my personal favorite so far is #prettyeclair, a éclair made of brioche and various fillings depending on the season. Website: http://estrella.gr/en/
Be* restaurant: at the classy Excelsior hotel, this modern hotspot for foodies serves burgers, alcohol-free cocktails and pancakes with red berries and a profiterole sauce!
Agioli restaurant: its location is a killer, right on Nikis Avenue the stunning promenade of the city. Aim to sit on the top floor outside, preferably while the sunset show is on. Magic. The food is also good and the menus they offer great value for money. Website: http://agioli.gr
Akadimia restaurant: if it were a person, I would like it to be my friend. A feel-good place in a feel-good neighborhood serving some of the tastiest dishes I have ever tried. Website: www.akadimiarestaurant.gr
Ouzeri Aristotelous restaurant: hidden within a historic building at Aristotelous square, this is a great place to drink ouzo and share some appetizers while chit chatting over the marble tables on its delightful courtyard.
Mia Feta Bar: a unique concept of a dairy bar where you can also taste refined flavors, based on their dairy products in a modern environment. I love sitting on the large, communal table and enjoying a glass of wine while waiting for our tasty bites which are prepared on the top floor.
Ergon Deli & Restaurant: the perfect combination of a food market and a restaurant in an industrial yet very warm setting, this is one of the places I take my friends when visiting the city for the first time. The buzz, the open space, the quality Greek ingredients and the tasty, innovative menu are perfect for an entertaining lunch or dinner.
Zithos: a classic favorite of the locals, Zithos has one of the loveliest terraces where you can taste an extensive list of beers from local microbreweries along with tasty menu based on Greek cuisine. It is based in Ladadika, one of the most historic and photogenic neighborhoods of the city.
I would also consider Molyvos restaurant for the warm decoration, the Mediterranean-inspired dishes and the dessert they offer in the end (yum!) (Facebook ), Magires for a quick lunch which tastes like home (Facebook) Diagonios for soutzoukakia or giros (Website: http://diagonios.weebly.com ), Roots for their vegetarian menu (Facebook), Xalaro for exquisite food and great service (Website: www.xalaro.gr), Duck Private Cheffing for a special dinner at a very special, almost hidden, place (Facebook), Habanera for the lively atmosphere, ethnic menu and tempting cocktails (Website: www.habanera.gr ) and Kitchen Bar for its unparalleled views of the city (Facebook).
Ah, there are so much more. Part B of this itinerary is coming soon my lovely girls!
Have you been to Thessaloniki lately? What else would you do with your girlfriends in the city?