Thessaloniliki voted top holiday city.
The Greek city gateway to the Halkidiki holiday region of mainland Greece has been voted a top international city break destination. The National Geographic magazine has put the Greek city of Thessaloniki among the top international destinations that holiday travellers should visit in 2013.
The travel magazine, which boasts more than eight million readers worldwide, is to include Thessaloniki in its annual travel guide for 2013 as a 'Do Not Miss' destination.
The annual travel guide will be published in the magazine's October edition but Thessaloniki city council has been told in advance about the city's inclusion.
The National Geographic vote is very welcome as Thessaloniki tourism groups have been working hard over the past months to promote Thessaloniki abroad.
As well as beautiful city in its own right Thessaloniki, with its international airport and ferry terminal, is the holiday gateway to the Halkidiki region and to north Aegean Greek Islands.
Thessaloniki is the capital of the Central Macedonia region and is the second largest city in Greece and has a 3,000 year history that includes many examples of its Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman past.
The Byzantine churches of Thessaloniki, in particular, are included in UNESCO's World Heritage list. Churches such as Agios Demetrios and Agia Sophia are splendid while many smaller churches grace the Upper Town which offers a spectacular view over the bay, .
Byzantine city walls still stand to the north and west with the city's symbol – the 16th century fortified White Tower on the seafront.
As well as a popular European city break destination, many fly into Thessaloniki en route to holidays in Halkidiki – famous for its natural beauty and the fabled hospitality of the locals.
Holidaymakers find a trident of forest-covered peninsulas – Kassandra, Sithonia and Athos – and more than 300 miles of white-sand beaches.
Relatively restrained development has left much of Halkidiki largely unspoilt and each peninsula has its own particular character.