Things to Do in Thessaloniki with Kids
Thessaloniki is different from all other towns in Greece. It is like “another Greece”. There are many things to do in Thessaloniki with kids, but they would be happy only to feed thousands of pigeons at the main square.
Aristotle square in Thessaloniki
As soon as we arrived in Thessaloniki, there was no doubt where we would go first. That was, of course, to meet the great philosopher, Aristotle. He is sitting in the main town square. While people hang around in nearby cafes, Aristotle is in a deep-thinking mood. He is happy not to be a teacher nowadays when teaching is a job not appreciated as it was when he was educating Alexander the Great.
I have to admit that I was expecting a different Aristotle, more serious and tough, but this one has a smiling, child-friendly relaxed face. It was a very hot day when we met him and the children thought it would be generous to offer some water to the old man.
Feeding of pigeons in Aristotelous Square
If you want to have some rest after a long walk through the city, have a seat on the bench at the Aristotelian Square and let the kids feed the pigeons. There are several grain sellers who offer a cup of wheat for 1 euro. Our kids were so generous to the birds that we had to buy almost a bag of grain. It reminded me of a chapter from the Bible: ‘Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value?’ In Thessaloniki, this phrase really works!
Statue of Alexander the Great
Not far from Aristotle is his disciple who won nearly half of the world, unfortunately not with knowledge, but with the sword. He said, “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.” While looking at the monument of the greatest army leader of all time, I was thinking that one day, all people need to lose every material thing they have.
Playgrounds in Thessaloniki
After deep thoughts inspired by Alexander the Great, it was time to play in the park near the monuments. However, there was a surprise waiting for us; the public playground was closed. The children thought, “How can Alexander conquer half of the world, but we cannot cross this fence??”
White Tower of Thessaloniki
One of the sights on the waterfront is the White Tower, which was built by the Turks. Neither Aristotle or myself could answer the question the children had, “Why is this tower called the White Tower when it is actually grey?” When you do not know how to answer a question, it’s best to change the subject.
So.. We turned our attention to the pirate boat. A man dressed as a pirate was standing in front of a stylized boat inviting people to take a trip. Once upon a time pirates were sailing and looking for treasure, and now they are selling boat tickets.
If you don’t like pirates, there are other boats offering the same thing: a 30-minute ride for free, but you have to buy drinks. For the price of a drink (6 or more euros each), you can see the city from the gulf and take some great pictures. The boat also stops in front of the White Tower! It was really nice, but the music was unbearably loud. Techno doesn’t go along well with the cool breeze on the ocean. Why not some Greek traditional music? Silence would be just fine too.
Churches in Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki doesn’t have as many ancient buildings and ruins as Athens but still abounds in the many remains of Roman and Byzantine histories, art and religion. One of the biggest Byzantine church is Hagia Sophia in the heart of the town. Beautiful mosaics, 11th-century wall paintings, and sculptural decorations are the masterpieces of sacral art.
Where to eat traditional food in Thessaloniki?
At each step, the influence of the Orient is felt in Thessaloniki. It is reflected in the architecture and heavily in the local cuisine, which is very close to Turkish. We had a very rich vegetarian dinner in the traditional restaurant ‘Full tou Meze’. It’s located in one of the most well-known areas in Thessaloniki called Ladadika. The restaurant has an open garden and eating area on the main square of Ladadika, next to the old fountain
While it is raining …
As usual, romance comes with rain. After only half an hour of raining, Thessaloniki became the new Venice; all under water and flooded. We were not ready for that! It seems that the second largest city in Greece has problems with water drainage, so don’t be surprised by this romantic moment. You better have rubber boots with you, even in the middle of the summer.
If you travel to Greece, you might find some inspiration in our travel stories, because we aim to look at things from a unique point of view.