By Vicky Litska
Thessaloniki’s stunning seaside promenade is one of the city’s most famous and popular spots, which lies in the shore of the Thermaic Gulf and covers a distance of about 5 kilometres from the port to the Music Hall.
Separated from west to east by the Old Promenade (Palia Paralia) and the New Promenade (Nea Paralia), it is surrounded by three of the most important local attractions; the emblematic White Tower which has a spectacular overall view of the city from up top, the Music Hall in the eastern part and the harbor in the west, privileged by its amazing position in the Balkan Peninsula.
The city’s promenade is easily accessible both by bus or on foot from the city’s center.
Strolling by the sea in Nea Paralia can be a refreshing experience whether you are alone or accompanied by friends and family. All day, large numbers of locals and tourists head from one side of the waterfront to the other, never allowing you to feel alone at this beautiful urban spot.
At midday, the wonderful shade of pine trees lined along the coastal front serve as umbrellas and if you feel a little low on energy don’t hesitate to treat yourself to some delicious candy floss, fresh nuts or even better some traditional loukoumades (honey and cinnamon puffs-yummy!) at the street seller’s stalls.
You can also enjoy some cycling in the designated bike lanes or have a break at one of the 13 green rooms in the inner part of the newly renovated space in the eastern part of the beachfront where you can enjoy reading your book, or why not join one of the yoga classes that are for free. And for those who want to have a drink or a snack at a floating bar why not take one of the karavakia (boats) opposite the White Tower for a ride along the Thermaic Gulf.
The statue of Alexander The Great, the legendary king of Macedonia, is a much-photographed statue full of historical significance that is definitely worth a look at. Another must-see installation is The Umbrellas, a 20-year-old spectacular work of art of Zongolopoulos, which is a highly visited attraction for locals and tourists who enjoy taking pics in front of it.
However, the best natural photos are by the seaside, as the sun goes down and on clear days, Mount Olympus, the mount of the Gods, is visible in the background.
This charming mid-sized European city offers moments of peace and tranquility and is a place filled with cosmopolitan influences of the various civilizations that sealed its character; the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and Jewish, which give a splash of multiculturalism to its Hellenic identity and a sense of evolutionary creativity still floating in the air.
The sea waves along the shore of the Thermaic Gulf may astonish you as they become rougher during the day, always adjusting to the weather changes and the general mood of the city. The same with the locals, who are accustomed to dealing with the so-called relaxed pace of life in a place which actually gives off vibes of never-ending innovative ideas, internationalism, and a big promise to always embrace its people and visitors, giving them the sense of security and kindness that will always coexist with the romantic aspect for which Thessaloniki is famous for.