The Umbrellas is a popular public art installation in the heart of Thessaloniki, Greece. Created by the Greek artist George Zongolopoulos, this captivating masterpiece was introduced to the public in 1997, becoming an integral part of the city’s artistic and cultural fabric. Positioned along the city’s waterfront promenade at the Nea Paralia area, The Umbrellas stands out as a symbol of Thessaloniki’s embrace of modern art and its deep-rooted appreciation for culture.
Known for its distinctive design, The Umbrellas features 21 vibrant, umbrella-like structures made of stainless steel. While primarily serving as a visual treat, these sculptures offer shade and shelter to visitors, making the site a favourite spot for locals and tourists. The installation’s captivating aesthetics, combined with its seaside location, offer an ideal backdrop for photography, leisurely strolls, and relaxation.
To reach The Umbrellas from Thessaloniki’s Macedonia International Airport, visitors can take a taxi or a shuttle bus, which brings them straight to the city centre, near Aristotelous Square. From there, The Umbrellas is just a short walk along Nikis Avenue, the main road along the waterfront. Additionally, for those in other parts of the city or arriving via the railway or bus stations, a short taxi ride or a brisk walk from Aristotelous Square will lead directly to this iconic landmark.
What is The Umbrellas?
The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki is a public art installation created by Greek artist George Zongolopoulos. It was established in 1997 as part of the city’s “Thessaloniki – Cultural Capital of Europe” initiative. The Umbrellas consists of 21 large umbrellas made of stainless steel and painted in vibrant colours, which are mounted on slender pillars along the city’s waterfront promenade. What makes the Umbrellas special in Thessaloniki is their striking and whimsical appearance, adding a playful and artistic touch to the urban landscape. They have become an iconic symbol of the city and a popular tourist attraction, attracting locals and visitors who admire their artistic and aesthetic significance while providing shade and shelter along the waterfront.
How did The Umbrellas get its name?
The Umbrellas got its name from the artwork’s design, which features large umbrella-like structures. These structures, made of stainless steel and painted in vibrant colours, resemble open umbrellas, giving the art installation its straightforward and descriptive name. The title captures the piece’s essence, instantly conveying its visual form to anyone hearing the word.
Where is The Umbrellas Located in Thessaloniki?
The Umbrellas is located along the waterfront of Thessaloniki’s Landmarks, specifically in the Nea Paralia area.
Who is the creator of The Umbrellas?
The creator of The Umbrellas is Giorgios Zongolopoulos, a Greek artist born on April 29, 1903, in Athens, Greece. Zongolopoulos was a prominent sculptor known for his contributions to modern Greek art. He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts and later in Paris. His work often combined abstract and figurative elements, and he was recognised for his innovative approach to sculpture. Zongolopoulos had a long and prolific career, producing numerous sculptures and public artworks, including The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki, which has become an iconic city symbol. He passed away on March 11, 2004, leaving a significant legacy in Greek art.
How to Get to The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki?
Listed below are different ways to get to The Umbrella in Thessaloniki:
- From Thessaloniki Airport (Macedonia International Airport): Visitors can locate taxi stands or shuttle bus services after exiting the airport terminal. Taxis are readily available for hire just outside the terminal. Travellers can request a taxi and instruct the driver to proceed to the city centre. Alternatively, shuttle bus services are available, and passengers can acquire tickets at the airport. Upon reaching the city centre, they will find themselves near Aristotelous Square. The route to The Umbrellas involves proceeding towards the waterfront along Nikis Avenue..
- From Thessaloniki Railway Station (Train Station): Departing from the train station, individuals can identify nearby taxi stands where taxis are readily available. They can signal a taxi and direct the driver to transport them to Aristotelous Square. If travellers prefer public transportation, seek out the closest bus stop, usually situated in close proximity to the train station. Visitors should consult the bus schedules and board a bus destined for Aristotelous Square. Once they arrive at Aristotelous Square, they can commence their journey towards The Umbrellas by proceeding along Nikis Avenue.
- From Thessaloniki Bus Station (KTEL Macedonia): Visitors will encounter taxi stands after exiting the bus station, providing easy access to available taxis. Hailing a taxi and communicating the desire to be taken to Aristotelous Square in the city centre. Alternatively, if travellers prefer public transit, the nearest bus stop is near the bus station. They should identify a bus route bound for Aristotelous Square. Upon arriving at Aristotelous Square, they can initiate their walk along Nikis Avenue, the main road along the waterfront promenade, ultimately leading them to The Umbrellas.
- From the City Center (Aristotelous Square): From Aristotelous Square, which is centrally positioned within Thessaloniki, visitors should stroll towards the waterfront. They should follow Nikis Avenue, the primary thoroughfare along the waterfront promenade. Continuing along Nikis Avenue, they will eventually encounter The Umbrellas, a distinctive art installation on the left.
- By Taxi: To secure a taxi, visitors can either signal one on the street or employ a taxi application, if available in Thessaloniki. While inside the taxi, passengers should instruct the driver to transport them to The Umbrellas, located on the waterfront promenade near Aristotelous Square. It is recommended to retain the address, Nikis Avenue, Thessaloniki, for reference in case specific directions are required.
- By Car Rental: Renting a car from a Thessaloniki car rental agency is the initial step when driving in Thessaloniki. Travellers should ensure they possess a map or GPS for navigation purposes. They should program their navigation system or utilise a map to reach the city centre of Thessaloniki. The ultimate destination to aim for is Aristotelous Square, a landmark within the city. Parking facilities are available in proximity, although they may necessitate payment; therefore, visitors should have local currency on hand for potential parking fees. Subsequently, visitors can proceed on foot towards the waterfront promenade along Nikis Avenue to access The Umbrellas.
What to See in The Umbrellas Thessaloniki?
Listed below are the best things to see in The Umbrella in Thessaloniki:
- The Umbrella Art Installation: The primary attraction is the art installation, featuring 21 large umbrella-like structures made of stainless steel and painted in vibrant colours. These eye-catching sculptures are a significant artistic and cultural landmark in Thessaloniki, drawing visitors with their striking design and playfulness.
- Scenic Waterfront Location: The Umbrellas are strategically placed along the city’s waterfront, offering visitors views of the Thermaic Gulf. The combination of art and scenic beauty makes it a captivating destination for locals and tourists alike.
- Photography Opportunities: The unique and colourful design of The Umbrellas provides an ideal background for photography. Visitors often capture memorable moments in this artistic installation, making it a popular spot for photos and social media sharing.
- Relaxation and Leisure: Besides their aesthetic appeal, The Umbrellas provide shade and shelter along the waterfront. Visitors can relax, picnic, or enjoy a stroll in the pleasant Mediterranean climate, making it a versatile destination for various activities.
How Far is The Umbrellas from the Airport?
The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki is 16 kilometres (about 10 miles) from Macedonia International Airport. Travellers can reach The Umbrellas from the airport through different transportation to Aristotelous Square. From Aristotelous Square, it’s a short walk along Nikis Avenue to reach The Umbrellas.
How Much is the entry cost for The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki?
There is no entry cost for visiting The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki. This public art installation is freely accessible to the public, allowing visitors to enjoy its vibrant and artistic presence along the city’s waterfront without any admission fee.
What are the Nearest Hotels in The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki?
Listed below are the nearest hotels in The Umbrealls in Thessaloniki:
- MonAsty, Thessaloniki, Autograph Collection: MonAsty is a luxurious Thessaloniki hotel offering amenities such as a restaurant, bar, fitness centre, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Several rooms also provide balconies that showcase stunning city views. It is 1.5 kilometres from The Umbrellas, and guests typically find their stay priced between €85 and €125.
- ON Residence: ON Residence features modern apartments equipped with a full kitchen complemented by a rooftop terrace and on-site laundry facilities. This accommodation is about 1.2 kilometres away from The Umbrellas. A night at ON Residence generally costs between €70 to €100.
- Colors Urban Hotel: Colors Urban Hotel distinguishes itself with a contemporary design, an in-house restaurant, a bar, and a breakfast offering. The establishment is 1.7 kilometres from The Umbrellas. Room rates at Colors Urban Hotel usually range from €60 to €85.
- Hotel Orestias Kastorias: Offering basic comforts, Hotel Orestias Kastorias includes amenities such as free Wi-Fi and a restaurant specialising in Greek dishes. Its location is 1.8 kilometres from The Umbrellas, where guests can expect prices to hover between €45 to €70 for a night’s stay.
- Egnatia Palace Hotel & Spa: Egnatia Palace features a spa, fitness centre, restaurant, and modernly decorated rooms. The establishment is around 1.3 kilometres from The Umbrellas, with room bookings typically costing between €70 to €100.
- NOA Hotel: The NOA Hotel is known for its rooftop bar, in-house restaurant, and contemporary rooms that offer sea views. Positioned about 2.3 kilometres from The Umbrellas, the hotel’s room rates range from €85 to €125.
What are the Nearest Restaurants in The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki?
Listed below are the nearest restaurants in The Umbrella in Thessaloniki:
- To Spiti Tis Giagias: To Spiti Tis Giagias is known for serving traditional Greek cuisine. Some of its notable dishes include moussaka, souvlaki, and baklava. This restaurant is conveniently located just 300 meters (about 0.18 miles) from The Umbrellas, making it easily accessible for visitors. Prices for a meal in this Thessaloniki restaurant typically range from €10 to €20 per person.
- Theatro Cafe: Theatro Cafe offers a range of coffee and dessert options, including Greek coffee and loukoumades (Greek doughnuts). Its prime location right next to The Umbrellas sets it apart, providing a perfect spot for a quick coffee break or dessert stop. Prices for coffee and desserts at Theatro Cafe generally range from €3 to €8.
- Milonga Meze Club: Milonga Meze Club specialises in meze, offering a variety of Greek appetisers like tzatziki, saganaki, and grilled octopus. It’s approximately 600 meters (about 0.37 miles) from The Umbrellas, making it a convenient choice for those looking to savour Greek meze. Prices for meze dishes at Milonga Meze Club typically range from €5 to €15 per dish.
- Raki mezedopoleion: Raki mezedopoleion is known for its meze dishes and, of course, raki. Popular meze items include grilled vegetables, fried cheese, and seafood. It is around 1 kilometre (about 0.62 miles) from The Umbrellas, offering a diverse culinary experience. This establishment’s prices for meze and drinks generally range from €10 to €30 per person.
- Kati Apo Ola: Kati Apo Ola offers a diverse menu featuring burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Signature dishes include gourmet burgers and club sandwiches. It is conveniently situated approximately 350 meters (about 0.21 miles) from The Umbrellas, providing a casual dining option. Prices for a meal at Kati Apo Ola typically range from €8 to €15 per person.
What are the Rules in The Umbrellas?
Listed below are the rules in The Umbrellas:
- No Climbing or Touching: Visitors are not allowed to climb on or touch the art installation. This rule is in place to protect the integrity of the sculptures and ensure their longevity.
- No Vandalism or Graffiti: Vandalism or graffiti on The Umbrellas is strictly prohibited. Such actions would deface the artwork and diminish its aesthetic appeal.
- No Littering: Visitors must dispose of their trash in designated bins. Littering is prohibited to maintain the cleanliness and beauty of the area.
- No Unauthorized Commercial Activity: Unauthorized commercial activities, such as selling merchandise, are prohibited near The Umbrellas. This rule aims to preserve the site’s artistic and cultural significance.
- Respect Quiet Hours: There may be designated quiet hours near The Umbrellas, and visitors are expected to respect these periods to create a peaceful environment for all. These rules are in place to ensure that The Umbrellas remains a visually pleasing and peaceful space for all visitors to enjoy. Violations can result in fines or penalties and potential damage to the artwork and its surroundings.
When is the Best Time to Visit The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki?
The best time to visit The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki is during the spring and early autumn, typically from April to June and September to October. During these periods, the weather in Thessaloniki is pleasantly mild, with comfortable temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). The skies are often clear, providing excellent lighting conditions for appreciating the vibrant colours of the art installation and taking photographs. Moreover, the city is less crowded than in the peak summer months, allowing visitors to enjoy The Umbrellas and the waterfront promenade more leisurely. The moderate climate and reduced tourist traffic make these times ideal for a more enjoyable and relaxed experience at this iconic site.
Visiting during the summer months, from July to August, is also an option, but it can be less favourable due to Thessaloniki’s hot and humid weather, with temperatures often exceeding 30°C (86°F). The increased tourist influx during this period may lead to crowded conditions around The Umbrellas. Conversely, the winter months from November to February may not be the best time to visit Thessaloniki as it experiences cooler temperatures and increased rainfall, which could affect the overall enjoyment of the outdoor art installation.
Are there Parking Spots at The Umbrellas?
Yes, there are parking spots available near The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki. Visitors can find street parking and dedicated parking lots near the art installation. However, parking availability may vary depending on the time of day and the season, with peak tourist periods potentially leading to higher demand for parking spaces. Visitors should be prepared to pay parking fees in certain areas, especially in designated parking lots. Additionally, it’s advisable to arrive early or consider alternative transportation options during busy times to ensure convenient access to parking near The Umbrellas in Thessaloniki.