Thessaloniki, commonly known as Thessalonica or Salonika, is the second-largest city in Greece. Much of the city center was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1917, and the rebuilt 20th-century city has a modern European layout. When you’re there, you should definitely see the White Tower, the Arch of Galerius, Artistotelous Square, the Hagia Sophia and the Roman Forum. The Louloudadika area, with its flower shops, is beautiful, as is the coast, with the statue of Alexander the Great. The port of Thessaloniki and the Ladadika area are ideal for exploring on weekends, as is Koromila Street, which has numerous restaurants and cafes. Don’t miss sunset at the Electra Palace Roof Garden—it’s absolutely stunning.
My trip to Sri Lanka was short, so I had to limit my choices. I decided to see something different from the usual places I hear about. On my tour guide’s suggestion, I visited the Southern and coastal areas, including Galle, which I loved, and explored the Yala National Park. Among the must-see places in the country are the capital, Colombo, Bentota and Galle, which are renowned for their beaches, and Nuwara Eliya and Kandy, which are both ideal if you wish to experience a mountainous location with cooler, more hill-station-like weather—and, of course, lots of nature to take in.
Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, draws more tourists than the capital, Oslo, because of its spectacular location. I spent two nights in Bergen—unfortunately too few to explore everything the city has to offer. Although I’d been advised otherwise, the weather, to my luck, was just perfect. Three reasons to visit Bergen? One, it’s surreal, flecked with hidden gems and great restaurants and cafes. If you’re a shutterbug like me, Bergen and its surrounding towns are truly picturesque. Two, it’s easy to reach. There are a few direct flights and some non-stop ones from Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Stockholm. From within Europe, you can even drive or take the light rail. And three, it’s a safe, secure destination with a low crime rate.
When in the African country, you’ll either be going on a safari to Ngorongoro or Serengeti Park, to the beach in Zanzibar, or hiking in Kilimanjaro. Locals speak Swahili but English is widely spoken as well. Zanzibar uses the Tanzanian Shilling, but you can pay in American dollars in many places. Beef, chicken, and fish paired with rice and vegetables are among the food staples. You’ll also notice Indian and British influences, with everything from spicy curries to fish and chips available widely.
Follow Fatima AlMattar and her travels on @hello965.