Port city steeped in history

Lydia Vasko takes you on a tour of Greece's melting pot city, Thessaloniki. Home to ancient artefacts of Alexander The Great, it is also where contrasting cultures created some outstanding cuisine.
The 15th-century White Tower is an iconic landmark in the city.
The 15th-century White Tower is an iconic landmark in the city. PHOTOS: LYDIA VASKO
Drive 30 minutes out of Thessaloniki to visit the Ktima Gerovassiliou winery, which produces award-winning wines you can taste at its cafe.
Drive 30 minutes out of Thessaloniki to visit the Ktima Gerovassiliou winery, which produces award-winning wines you can taste at its cafe. PHOTOS: LYDIA VASKO
Thessaloniki’s Aristotelous Square offers an unblocked view of the gulf.
Thessaloniki’s Aristotelous Square offers an unblocked view of the gulf.PHOTOS: LYDIA VASKO
The Kapani Market offers a dazzling array of fresh produce.
The Kapani Market offers a dazzling array of fresh produce.PHOTOS: LYDIA VASKO
Intricately wrought gold wreaths are part of the display at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.
Intricately wrought gold wreaths are part of the display at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.PHOTOS: LYDIA VASKO
Corfu is a popular island destination in Greece and offers clear blue waters, especially at Agni Bay.
Corfu is a popular island destination in Greece and offers clear blue waters, especially at Agni Bay.PHOTOS: LYDIA VASKO
Local delicacies such as kumquat liquor, lemoncello and Corfiat fig pies for sale in Corfu Old Town.
Local delicacies such as kumquat liquor, lemoncello and Corfiat fig pies for sale in Corfu Old Town.PHOTOS: LYDIA VASKO
Once dilapidated, Chania in Crete is now transformed into a chic area with restaurants, boutiques and luxury hotels.
Once dilapidated, Chania in Crete is now transformed into a chic area with restaurants, boutiques and luxury hotels.PHOTOS: LYDIA VASKO

Greece's Thessaloniki may feel like just another laid-back seaside town, but take your time to explore and you will uncover its storied past

From the mediaeval walls, Thessaloniki stretches below me, expanding down and out in blocks and avenues towards the sparkling sea.

It is summer and though it is early morning, a haze of humidity has already settled on the horizon, obscuring my view across the Thermaic Gulf to Mount Olympus, the tallest mountain in Greece and fabled home of the gods.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 23, 2019, with the headline 'Port city steeped in history'. Print Edition | Subscribe