Cool, cultured, and only slightly chaotic, you’ll notice Thessaloniki’s vibes are a world away from sleepy Venice as your train pulls into the city. A crawl around its multicultural neighborhoods puts you right in the middle of Greek historic treasures, from the intricate Arch of Galerius to the famous White Tower. Come evening, the modern city buzzes with foodie hotspots, music and nightlife: from traditional Greek bistros to elegant fine dining, the most discerning palates are delighted here. On top of this captivating mix of history, shopping, cuisine and sights, the sprawling sea views truly live up to the city’s nickname, the ‘Bride of the North’.
Where to stay: Expect a longer train journey for the last leg of your country-hopping journey - more than a day. While Greece’s second city is worth the hours spent travelling, you’ll need a luxurious rest when you arrive. 19th-century two-story pad, the Bristol Hotel Thessaloniki, is part of a string of around 250 hotels that carry the Bristol title worldwide. The name originates from legendary 18th-century figure Frederick Augustus Hervey, aka the 4th Earl of Bristol, who became synonymous with fine hospitality thanks to his world-travelling ways. Take the marbled staircase to one of 20 spectacular rooms and suites, stuffed with handmade oriental carpets, Ottoman influence and antiques galore.