Relax on long, white sandy beaches in Salonika

Salonika, also known as Thessaloniki, is Greece's second largest city, found in the north east of the country. The city is seen as the cultural centre of Greece for arts and entertainment.

As well as being European Capital of Culture in 1997, the city offers visitors a wide range of museums, historic monuments and Greek traditions.

Salonika flights land at Thessaloniki International Airport 'Macedonia' (SKG), the second busiest airport in Greece and the main aero-hub of Northern Greece. For onward travel into Salonika, the airport is served by Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organisation (OASTH), which provides buses to various stops throughout the city.

With a history that stretches back hundreds of years, Salonika is home to a wide range of ancient monument, attractions and museums.

The main landmark of the city is the White Tower, which for hundreds of years has guarded the city's sea walls and stands on Salonika's waterfront Nikis Boulevard. Today it is a museum dedicated to the history of the city, run by the larger Museum of Byzantine Culture.

Opened in 1994 and one of the city's most popular museums, the Museum of Byzantine Culture has permanent exhibitions dedicated to early Christianity. The Archaeological Museum is equally famous, displaying local artefacts from the prehistoric through to the Roman periods.

As well as historic centres, Salonika also houses several cultural museums. Of these, the Jewish Museum, devoted to presenting the history of Jewish life in Salonika and the Museum for the Macedonian Struggle, commemorating the developments of the Macedonian people, are the most renowned.

Another top attraction is the Church of Agios Demetrios. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, it is the main sanctuary dedicated to Salonika's patron saint Demetrios, containing the crypt, where Saint Demetrios was martyred.

Salonika's oldest church, the Roman Rotunda, also known as the Rotunda of St George and its accompanying Arch of Galerius, are also famous landmarks of the area.

Salonika's most traditional city area is 'Ano Poli', or Upper Town. It is also Salonika's highest point, allowing panoramic views of the entire city and additionally home to the city's acropolis, fort and ancient city walls.

Beyond being a historic centre, the city is a vibrant, modern metropolis. It is a hotspot for cafes, bars and restaurants, with more cafes and bars per capita than anywhere else in Europe. The city is also renowned for its nightlife, exclusive shopping streets and Mediterranean Cosmos, the largest entertainment and retail park in the Balkans.

For those travelling beyond the city limits, Salonika is closely located to the Halkidiki (alternately known as 'Chalkidiki') Peninsula, which is often seen as having some of the best outdoor recreation in Europe. Locals and foreign tourists alike visit each year for its beach resorts and mountains, which offer an array of hiking and walking trails.

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