When we travel on a rather strict budget, there’s always nice to be able to visit some interesting places which don’t cost a thing. Thessaloniki is a very interesting city, with plenty of places to check out. If you are passionate about culture, you can visit museums, art galleries and churches for free. And, of course, walking doesn’t cost anything (except your energy).
1. A walk in the Old Town
A walk in the Old Town of Thessaloni is a history lesson at its best. Formerly surrounded by the Byzantine walls and mainly inhabited by Turks, the Old Town comprised narrow streets, interesting houses, lush gardens and court yards. Although some of the buildings are in ruin now, walking here is an incredible experience.
Walking is, by far, the best way to explore the rest of Thessaloniki as well. Just pack a good pair of walking shoes, make sure to have a map available and have fun!
2. Ataturk Museum
Address: 75, Apostolou Pavlou St.
Opening hours: daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was born in Thessaloniki. The house was given to the Turkish state which decided to turn it into a museum. Most of the furniture found inside is authentic. While the ground floor is not of much interest to the public, the most impressive room is located at the 2nd floor and is the room where Ataturk was born.
3. Church of Agios Dimitrios
Address: 83, Aghiou Dimitriou st.
The Church of Agios Dimitrios is dedicated to Saint Demetrios, the patron of the city. It is the largest church in Greece and a unique experience especially for those not used to the Orthodox Churches.
The first church was build on the very same spot in 313 A.D. but the church we can visit today was completely rebuild in 1948 (true to the original plans).
4. Municipal Art Gallery
Address: 162 Vasilisis Olgas St.
Opening hours: Tue-Fri: 9 a.m.- 1 p.m., 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The gallery comprises more than 1,000 works in its collection, divided into several collections such as the Modern Greek Engraving Collection or the Collection of Byzantine and Postbyzantine Icons. They also organize regular exhibitions of Greek artists.
Guided tours are available but you need to book in advance.
5. Art Gallery of the Society for Macedonian Studies
Address: 1 Nikolaou Germanou St
Opening hours: Sun-Fri 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.
The gallery’s aim is to promote the Modern Greek art and currently comprises more than 400 works, mainly paintings, sculptures and engravings. The gallery mostly features Greek artists but works of foreign artists are also on display (however the artists have some connection to the city).
6. The Modiano Market
While it’s not “free” if you plan to spend some money here, soaking up the colorful and interesting atmosphere is free. The market is very popular both among locals and visitors. You can buy pretty much anything here and you can find some great places to eat as well.