Shopping is one thing that you will definitely enjoy during your stay in Thessaloniki. The city offers plenty of options so that no taste or wallet are left unsatisfied.
Lets start our virtual tour with the famous Tsimiski Avenue. Tsimiski is a 1,2 klms long Avenue in the heart of Thessaloniki. It is named after Ioannis Tsimiskis, a Byzantine Emperor known for his struggles against the Bulgarians, although prior to the Balkan Wars it was known as The Second Parallel, counting from the seafront of the city. Before the 1900s it used to connect the eastern city walls to the west side of the city.
Unfortunately the Great Fire of 1917 destroyed the Avenue. Ernest Hebrard, a French architect, was assigned the redesign of Thessaloniki city centre after the Fire that wrecked approximately 32% of Thessaloniki and more than half of its commercial shops. Part of this design was Tsimiski in its current form.
A shopper’s paradise – Tsimiski and Mitropoleos Avenues
Tsimiski Avenue is extended from Aggelaki Str. by the International Trade Fair area to Ionos Dragoumi Str., right after Venizelou Avenue. Along Tsimiski you will find many boutiques, fashion shops, delicatessens, large bookstores and errant venders. “Plateia” (Plaza) shopping mall, with the famous “Odeon” multiplex cinemas, is also located on Tsimiski Avenue, near Aristotelous Square. Moreover, Tsimiski Av. hosts many large and impressive department stores like “Nottos”. If lucky, you may discover some brand names at real bargain prices there.
Your walk will most likely be accompanied by live music, since many local and some foreign less known bands perform on Tsimiski Avenue especially during the Christmas season but also throughout the year.
Mitropoleos Avenue is almost parallel to Tsimiski Avenue but has lesser extent. This road, along with Ermou Street and Proxenou Koromila Street, are a much more expensive choice as it concerns fashion. On Mitropoleos Street the visitor will discover some of the city’s known patisseries, branches of internationally known fashion brands and smaller boutiques. Most of the haute couture branches of the city centre though (Burberry etc) are located on Proxenou Koromila street, formerly known as The First Parallel.
This street is also very popular with locals for its coffee shops and bars that stay open till late at night even on weekdays, so, if you feel like it, take a break and mingle with them in one of the stylish cafes.
Agias Sofias Street and Egnatia Avenue
Agia Sofia Street should not be missed when it comes to shopping. Some less expensive fashion stores selling stylish clothes and accessories and one or two modern cafes and patisseries lie in this area.
On the crossroad of Agia Sofia Str. and Ermou Str. you will encounter the well known Agia Sofia church which was one of the few buildings left intact by the Great Fire of 1917.
On Agia Sofia square cast a glance at the sculpture named “Citizens” by artist M. Tzobanaki; it pictures residents reading a newspaper and it was placed there on 1987.
Then, let the scent of vanilla lead you to the well known “Cookie Man” shop on Mackenzy King Str. It serves freshly baked cookies and other treats.
Part of Agia Sofia Street (from Tsimiski up to Ermou) has recently been restricted to cars and was made a pedestrian street, something that offers you the chance to take your time and have a look at the shops that mostly sell clothes, fashion accessories and shoes.
On the corner of Ermou and Agias Sofias Streets lies the known to the city’s residents as “The Red House”, a building of remarkable architecture dated back to 1928. This building houses many rumors and myths of being haunted and doomed..
On the neighboring to Agia Sofia streets and alleys, like Agias Theodoras the visitor can discover some more vintage fashion stores and boutiques.
Although on all of the above Streets the customer will find some low cost shops, Egnatia Avenue is the place for those with a stricter budget. The street is home to many small fashion and accesories’ boutiques and shoe shops and a few bookstores and newstands. Egnatia Str. also hosts many low cost ovens and bakeries where you can buy a small snack or pie and coffee.
The street is quite busy during morning hours, by passing drivers and students from the neighboring Aristotle University.
- In addition to Egnatia Street, Dimitriou Gounari Str. (best known as Navarinou area, named after the nearby Navarinou Plaza), is yet another destination for those managing low budgets and alternative styles. In this area, you will encounter tattoo shops, hippie fashion & accessories’ boutiques and some stores that sell second hand music cds, LPs, collectible magazines and books at low prices. The odor of the herb sticks sold by errant venders in the area is heavy but pleasant. Of course once you are there, check out Kamara monument (“Arch of Galerius”), Navarinou Plaza and Rotonda.
- While walking in the centre of the city you will soon discover that pretty much anything you can imagine is for sale; you just have to find the right place and shop to suit you.
Take your time and enjoy your shopping adventure!