Have you ever been to Greece? I hadn’t ever visited Greece until this year and it was a wonderful experience of people, food, culture, and night life. This was a long weekend road trip through the Balkans starting via taxi from Kosovo into Macedonia; rental car through Macedonia; crossing the border into Macedonia, Greece from the country of Macedonia and on to Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki was rated the “5th best world-wide party city” by Lonely Planet in 2010 and I know why now.
Travel to The White Tower in Thessaloniki, Greece. Yes you! Go! Thessaloniki is a beautiful, lively city on edge the Thermaic Gulf of the Aegean Sea and has a very historical past having been founded in 315 B.C. ‘Foot prints’ of its past still exist for the ‘wanderer’ to visit and right on the waterfront boulevard you will find Thessaloniki’s inspiring city symbol, The White Tower. The White Tower is both a monument and a museum showcasing an exhibit inside the tower with displays of Thessaloniki’s ancient past.
If you decide to visit The White Tower, please note there is no air conditioning, no handicapped access to the upper floors, no bathrooms, and no restaurant inside (although this would make a cool restaurant if not for its historical value). For those with walking disabilities there is an exhibit designed specially for you on the bottom floor. From what I have read they are trying to preserve the structure of the tower and installing an elevator was not possible.
The winding stairway is made up of wide, smooth stone steps that angle back as you ascend them. As you make your way up the stairs there are grated windows you can peek out of and capture some unique photos of the water below and parts of the city.
The ceiling of the stairway is also kind of low, so you tall people may have to watch your head. Going back down the stairway feels kind of awkward because these smooth stone steps now slope downward, so watch your step!
When you first enter the tower you will find the ticket counter for admission and they also offer a headset translator which is used at each exhibition point. The use of the translator is free, but you have to leave a deposit for the equipment which you get back when you turn your gear in. According to Thessaloniki Byzantine Museum who is the curator of The White Tower exhibit and the tower as well, admission is set to 70 people at a time inside the structure to keep the interior ambient temperature regulated help preserve the exhibits and the structure itself. Any large groups wishing to visit the tower have to make pre-arrangements with the museum staff. The White Tower is open Tuesday to Sunday from 08:30 until 3:00 P.M. ; closed on Mondays.
There are four floors in the tower that provide historical information and house displays of old pottery, gold coins, drawings, and other items of interest. The portable translator is a big help as it gives you a narrative in your native language of what you are looking at. The exhibit signs are in Greek just in case you were wondering ;). On the fourth floor there is a gift shop, surprise surprise , and a door where you can go out on a walkway surrounded by a low parapet and enjoy a panoramic view of the city’s water front as well as the city itself. This is an awesome place to capture some photographs. I just wish it was open at night.
When I was there on my long weekend, Saturday evening near the tower is a fun place to go and becomes alive with the locals and travelers alike. Here you will find an assortment of street entertainers and this is where there are three floating bars docked nearby that will take you out on a short tour of the harbor while you enjoy a beer or mixed drink and take in the beautiful night lights of the Thessalonkiki waterfront.
So, I urge you to add to your travel “bucket list” a trip to Thessaloniki, Greece and visit The White Tower while you are there. Thessaloniki has a lot to offer and the people, sights, and food are incredible. You shouldn’t be disappointed.
Have you ever been to Thessaloniki and The White Tower? What was your experience like?
Feel free to leave a comment! I would love to hear what you think.
Happy and safe ‘wanderings’ and thanks so much for visiting! I really appreciate it!