It's Greece's second city, but while Athens and the islands get most of the attention and tourists, Thessaloniki is firmly off the radar for most visitors. But without the high-profile strikes and riots which have affected the capital, and with a fantastic nightlife and shopping scene, plus a large helping of history, it's the perfect place for a city break.
Book your flights to coincide with the annual International Film Festival, starting on December 3, and you could get to do some celeb spotting at the same time - the Greek version of Tribeca or Sundance has seen visits from Oscar-winner Oliver Stone and John Malkovitch in previous years.
Starter for 10: Thessaloniki
Part of the Historic Hotels of Europe group, it's based in Ladadika, the city's buzzing former Jewish quarter, so you're only a few minutes walk from the centre. Prices start from around £200 per night, book at www.yadeshotels.gr.
If you prefer your chic to be minimalist, the Excelsior is right in the heart of the city, plus you get free use of the hammam at the Elemis Spa next door. Rooms start from around £130.
There's frescoes, mosaics and icons, including some from the earliest Christian churches, along with gold enameled jewellery dating back to the 9th century. Entry costs around £3.50.
The house where Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk was born is now part of the Turkish Consulate grounds but don't miss the cathedral of Aghios Dimitrios, the patron saint of the city, built on the site where he was imprisoned and martyred – it's twice burned down but has been rebuilt according to the original plans. You can still go into the crypt where he was tortured and buried, once the Roman baths, as well as marvelling at the 8th century mosaics which survived the fire.
As well as having a tour of the production area and cellars and tasting, the vineyard has one of the world's most offbeat museums, a collection of 1,300 corkscrews from around the world – including a handy walking stick version, 18th century designs and even one with a pair of legs that opens slowly as you pull the cork out! Entry costs around £2.50, including a visit to the winery. Tasting costs extra, depending which wines you try.
Then do a quick recce for the evening as you wander along the bar-filled waterfront street of Nikis Avenue, which looks out across the bay to Mount Olympus.
Or if you want something sweet, chocolate-covered brioche cake tsureki, will satisfy all your cravings – be warned, there's no way to finish it without being covered in sauce though. Terkenlis pastry shop on Aristotelous Square is one of the best.
Ladadika has some of the city's best taverna-style stops, including Zythos, on Katouni, where you can try lamb in lemon sauce and the oddly moreish masticha ice cream, made from tree gum, under a sculpture of a man on a bike hanging from the wall. But for quirky chic, Times Bar and restaurant, on Tsimiski, gets the prize. There's Burberry wallpaper in the toilets, Warhol-style cushions and gold bling walls, as well as a Gothic bar.
Coralaki does a mean mojito with a backing track of Greek pop, while on Nikis Avenue, Elvis has its own DJ. Over towards the Port of Thessaloniki, looking across the water to the town, Kitchen Bar with its leather booths is chilled out for coffee during the day, but gets lively at night.
And even if you're more budget than Bond St, spare some time to go window shopping on parallel street Mitropoleos, which is wall-to-wall designer.
Both kings' golden ceremonial and battle armour is on display – the shields are so large, it's hard to believe anyone could lift them, although the most jaw-dropping find is the three golden crowns. Shaped like wreaths, they're so detailed that one even has miniature gold insects crawling over the flowers, while another seems so delicate that the leaves practically flutter in the breeze.