The highlight of the city is the Byzantine churches built between the fifth and fourteenth centuries. Agios Demetrios and Agia Sofia are two of note. Thessaloniki was an important city for the Sephardic Jews and many of them were responsible for the founding of modern day Israel giving the city the soubriquet of ‘the mother of Israel’.
Mount Olympus, the home of the gods is not far from the city and neither are the fingers of the Halkidiki peninsula with their beautiful golden beaches. The beaches extend to nearly 350 miles so are never crowded despite their popularity.
Nearby is Pella, the capital of Alexander the Great’s empire and close to it the tombs of the Macedonian royals at Vergina. There are many signs of the Ottoman and Turkish occupation in and around Thessaloniki with Turkish baths common and in the city, Ataturk House where the founder of modern Turkey lived for a short time.