Americans may not think of Greece as a luxurious getaway the same way they do The Bahamas or Hawaii, but it truly is a beautiful country with a unique, friendly, and addictive culture. It’s scattered with quaint towns and villages, some near the beach and some overlooking cliffs. Thessaloniki is not one of those places.
Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and is located about as far north as Athens is south. It has a fairly large airport for Greece and so it serves as an entry point for many travelers coming from the north. Upon arrival one can take the bus to the edge of the city and observe that there isn’t much going on here. Most of the businesses are closed due to the economy and many of the buildings remain unfinished because as soon as they are, property taxes increase. When walking from the bus station to downtown, long stretches of it make the place seem like a ghost town. So a weary traveler may grab the cheapest hotel room he can find, take a nap, and pray he can find an open place to drink later that night.
As soon as it begins getting dark things start to stir in old Thessaloniki, however. Cafes hidden down tiny streets and alleyways put out chairs, turn on their festive lights, and begin to play music. The young folk are coming out. With an unemployment rate of over 50% for young Greeks, what else is there to do but party? While all the other businesses are withering away Thessaloniki’s bar scene is hopping, and not just on the weekend. Pick any random weekday and young folks will come out in droves to party like their country isn’t on the brink of bankruptcy. So, a weary traveler who once believed there was no life in this town, is now having a hell of a time. He sees trendy clubs located three stories up on top of unfinished buildings playing fantastic music while a projector displays the shining on the building across the street. Where during the day there was a parked car or a stray cat, there are now people literally dancing in the streets. Thessaloniki is a town of night owls. It’s a town of young people doing what young people do best, party.