Thessaloniki (Greek: Θεσσαλονίκη, Turkish: Selanik, Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian: Солун, Solun) is the capital of the region of Central Macedonia, Greece, and is, at about one million inhabitants, the second largest city in the country. More importantly, it is a city with a continuous 3,000-year history, preserving relics of its Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman past and of its formerly dominant Jewish population. Its Byzantine churches, in particular, are included in UNESCO's World Heritage list.
OrientationThessaloniki lies on the northern fringe of the Thermaic Gulf on its eastern coast and is bound by Mount Chortiatis on its southeast. The metropolitan area, with population of about 1 million, can be divided roughly in 3 parts: The northwestern, the central and the southeastern.
The central part, corresponding to the region that used to be inside the Byzantine walls and can in turn be divided in the "Ano Poli" (Upper City) region which lies on the hillside that is actually the southwest end of Chortiatis, and the part of the city located between the Upper City and the sea.
The later is the "center" of Thessaloniki, as most commercial, entertainment and educational facilities can be found here, while this part of the city remains a dense populated residential area. It is the area surrounded by the seafront to the southwest, Olibiados street to the northeast, Dimokratias square to the northwest and the University campus and the facilities of Thessaloniki International Fair to the southeast. Most places with tourist interest are either in the center or very close to it.
Most roads in the center are either parallel or perpendicular to the coastline. A simple rule that helps the visitor is that if the a street goes downhill, then following it will lead you to the sea. The biggest parallel streets to the sea starting from the sea are Leoforos Nikis, Tsimiski Ioanni, Egnatia, Agiou Dimitriou and Kassandrou. The main vertical to the sea streets, starting from northwest, are Dragoumi Ionos, Venizelou Eleftheriou, Aristotelous, Agias Sofias and Ethinikis Aminis.
Tourist InformationThere are tourist info and ticket booths at the central bus stations. You can get a free bus line chart there. The tourist information office is at Tsimiski 136, a few minutes from the White Tower. It is open M-F 8AM-8PM, Sa 09:30-16:00 at winter and 08:00-20:00 at summer, Sun closed. If you find it closed, walk up to Aristotelous and buy a map from Iannos bookshop. You can also visit the OASTH website.
Thessaloniki is an important rail hub within Greece and it i quite easy to travel here by passenger trains. TrainOSE (ΤραινΟΣΕ) operates up to six daily trains from Athens via Larissa, journey time just over five hours for the full trip. Electrification and straightening of the line is under way and a major boost to travel times is expected in 2020, with reduced travel times to around three hours. There is also one night train plying this route. Additionally, there are trains from Alexandroupoli via Komotini, Xanthi and Serres in Western Thrace region. Regional trains connect with Florina, Kilkis, Kalampaka and several other cities in Northern Greece.
For international connections, there are daily services from Belgrade and Sofia.
There are normally employees at all major stations to facilitate transportation of disabled persons.
New Thessaloniki railway stationaddress: Monastiriou St 28
phone: +30 2310 598120address: 18 Aristotelous Str.Recorded information about train departures are provided by Trainose, call 1440 for domestic departures from Thessaloniki.
DiscountsAsk for these discounts even if the TRAINOSE employee does not mention them:
- Children (ages 4-12) get a 50% discount.
- Youth under 26 and elderly over 65 get a 25% discount (not on ICE).
- Disabled people and their escort get a 50% discount.
- Groups get a 30%-50% discount.
- Two-way trips also get a discount.
Thessaloniki is connected via the intercity KTEL bus network with every corner of Greece.
Macedonia Intercity Bus Stationphone: +30 231 059 5400address: Giannitson 244
OSE Travel Servicephone: +30 2310 598120address: 18 Aristotelous Str.Information regarding the time-tables of foreign buses is available from OSE/HTO: +30 210 5298739, 30 210 5298740, +30 210 5135768, +30 210 5135769
Halkidiki Bus StationBuses for Chalkidiki (Halkidiki) depart from here. Located on the east side district of Pylaia, access through Kountourioti St or National Road EO67. You can get there by taking the local bus 45 from the Makedonia Bus Terminal, platform 13.
Prominent long-distance bus connections
- Athens/Volos - KTEL Buses from/to Athens and Volos make the trip from/to Thessaloniki in about 6 hr 30 min and 2 hr 30 min, respectively, the former including a 20 min stop at a roadside restaurant, usually near Lamia, with toilet facilities. Buses are air-conditioned, and some offer WiFi internet access.
- Belgrade - There are a number of weekly departures to Belgrade (Serbia) from Thessaloniki and Athens, in the arrangement of the Greek and Serbian Agency. Ticket price in one direction from Thessaloniki to Belgrade is about €45
- Tirana - There are a number of buses to Thessaloniki and Athens every day, departing from most major Albanian cities. You can catch a bus from Tirana or Shkodra and travel all the way south, making stops in most major Albanian and Greek cities. Since buses stop to pick up and drop passengers in most major cities, you can catch the bus at those cities en route.
- Skopje - A number of local travel agencies in Skopje also arrange transport to Thessaloniki daily by car or minibus. These generally leave around 05:00, and cost around €25 for a day return (returning at 17:00) or a single (i.e. €50 if you want to come back on a different day from when you leave) The travel agent at the back of the shopping mall by the Central Square arranges this departing from beside the Holiday Inn. Others depart from the bus station, or other locations around the city. Simeonidis tours, N⁰ 14, 26th October St. There is one bus daily departing for Thessaloniki from the central bus station in Skopje and it takes about 5 hr to Thessaloniki. It departs at 06:00. Reservations are recommended.
- Sofia - There are at least four daily buses from Sofia, Bulgaria which pass through Thessaloniki, plus several non-daily. Prices are generally around 50BGN (€25). See here for more info.
Thessaloniki International Airport "Macedonia"The airport sees highly seasonal traffic, peaking in the summer months. International destinations particularly well served include the major airports of Germany, as well as former Soviet Union countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan or Latvia.
The domestic flight network is quite extensive, with most flights provided by either Aegean Airlines, its regional subsidiary Olympic Air, or Astra Airlines, an operator of subsidized public-service-obligation flights to less frequently served destinations. Domestic connections are also partially seasonal, and encompass a range of Greek Islands.
Apart from those, the majority of flights are charter and seasonal flights by holiday specialists. There is also substantial low-fare traffic by pretty much all major low-fare carriers in Europe, with Ryanair having a base at the airport and the largest number of connections out of those. When it comes to traditional international airlines, the airport is mainly served by those belonging to the Star Alliance, which also includes Aegean and Olympic, such as Austrian, Turkish and Swiss.
The airport is not as well served as the Athens airport, to which it is connected by multiple daily flights taking around 50 minutes, provided by multiple airlines. Aegean's frequent shuttle flights are of particular interest, as they can be booked on a common ticket with an Aegean or other Star Alliance flight to other destinations in Europe and beyond.
If you are departing from SKG on an international flight taking you out of the Schengen zone, bear in mind that there are only four passport control booths (with one dedicated solely to EU citizens), so the queues to access the extra-Schengen gates (12 through 19) even when they are all operating can exceed 40 minutes at peak times, and it's 40 minutes of shoving and aggravation. once you are through passport control, facilities are limited, so if you plan to eat, fill a drinking water bottle, or use toilets without queuing, do this before passport control.
Connection to the city centreThe airport is 15 km south of the city centre. The public transit connection is provided by bus line X1, a 24x7 service between the airport, the New Railway Station and the Macedonia InterCity Bus Terminal. Frequency is between 15 min and 30 min during the day. At night, the bus number changes to N1 and runs every 30 minutes. A ticket costs €2 for one trip (see Get around: By bus). Tickets can be bought at a vending booth at the airport bus stop or at ticket machines on the buses. However, for these exact change is needed. The ride from the airport to the city centre takes around 40 minutes. Buses can get very packed so do not expect a very comfortable ride.
Attention: Bus number 79 from the airport does not get you to the city centre but to A.S. IKEA bus terminal in the city's east side.
A taxi ride from the city centre costs about €15-20. It's hard to find one during peak hours (07:00-08:00, 14:00-16:00 and 19:00-21:00), so plan early.
Luggage storageA luggage storage room is available on the arrival floor. As of 2016, fees start from €3 (storing a small bag for 6 hours).
A hiking trailIf you'd like some exercise before, after or between your flights, you can spend this time on a fairly pleasant river- and sea-side trail. It starts about 600 m from the terminal, where the airport's main access road crosses a small river (40°31'40.8"N 22°59'04.3"E). From there, a trail follows the river's right (NE) bank toward the north-west for about 1 km, until the river enters the sea; watch for water birds. From the river's mouth, the trail follows the sea coast to the NE and N for about 1 km, until it reaches the mouth of another little river. While not an official beach, swimming in the sea is possible. From that point, one can continue east for about 500 m along a small residential street named Floridas, until reaching the main highway (Leoforos Georgikis Scholis) just south of the Lidl store (40°32'44.6"N 22°59'05.2"E). From there, two shopping centers, Hondos and IKEA (both with air conditioning, soft chairs, food, and free WiFi) are within walking distance. From the IKEA bus terminal (40°32'53.3"N 22°59'02.6"E) you can take one of the bus lines to the city center (e.g. bus number 2) paying the standard one journey ticket price which is cheaper than taking the bus 78/78N directly from the airport (see Get around: By bus). The trail takes about an hour one-way and of course can be done in the other direction if you are arriving from the city center at the IKEA bus terminal and have some time to kill before your flight.
- Athens about 5 hr (Highway A1, E75)
- Belgrade in Serbia about 7 hr (A1, E75)
- Istanbul in Turkey about 8 hr (A2, E90)
- Tirana in Northeastern Albania about 6 hr (Α29 and Α2)
- Sofia in Northwest Bulgaria about 4 hr (Α25, Ε79)
- Constanta in Romania about 8 hr.
One of the burdens for visitors and inhabitants alike is finding parking, so be prepared to either spend a lot of time looking for a place or pay for space in the parking lot (starting from €4 for 3 hr). Don't assume you're safe from paying a fine just because locals flagrantly flout parking laws. Traffic congestion is a problem, largely due to double-parked cars, but generally fellow drivers and passers-by are helpful in showing you the way if you're lost.
By busThe city's bus company is called OASTH and runs a total of 80 different bus lines, which are the only public transportation within the city. Maps of the bus routes are available on OASTH's website . Bus services usually operate from 05:00 until just after midnight.
Bus number 50 ("cultural line") follows a figure-of-8 route past all the major tourist sights. There is an English speaking guide aboard, who provides you with maps and information. The whole route takes 50 min, and it departs every hour on the hour from the White Tower. The connection to the airport is provided by bus 78, which runs as 78N in the night (the only night bus line in the city).
This being Greece, the bus drivers go on strike occasionally (as it happened in August 2016). Notices about strikes may appear (in Greek only, naturally) at the bus stops information panels.
TicketsTickets can be bought at OASTH's ticket outlets and at machines on the buses. Certain types of tickets (see below) are also available at various other sales points. There are five types of tickets available:
- One journey ticket: €1.00; valid for one journey on all lines except 50, 78 and 78N.
- Two journey ticket: €1.20; valid for two journeys on all lines except 50, 78 and 78N, the second journey starting within 70 minutes of the first.
- Three journey ticket: €1.50 from OASTH's ticket outlets or on the bus; valid for three journeys on all lines except 50, 78 and 78N, the third journey starting within 90 minutes of the first.
- Four journey ticket: €2.00 from OASTH's ticket outlets or on the bus; valid for four journeys on all lines except 50, 78 and 78N, the fourth journey starting within 120 minutes of the first.
- Airport line (78/78N) / Cultural line (50) ticket: €2.00 from OASTH's ticket outlets or on the bus; valid only on lines 50, 78 and 78N.
Students, persons aged over 65, and persons with over 67% disability get a 50% discount if they have the documents required by OASTH to prove it. Accompanied children under the age of six ride for free.
1, 3, 6 and 12-month cards for unlimited journeys on all lines (including the Airport line 78/78N and the Cultural line 50) are also available. Note that they are valid from the first day of the month the where issued until the last day of the month / third month / sixth month / year. A photo-ID and a recent photograph are required to issue such cards. An one-month card costs €30.
By bicycleBicycle lanes often do not exist, even on main roads. Sometimes, there are bicycle lanes on the pavement. You should always be very careful.
ThessBike is a bike sharing system with stations mainly near the center of the town. More stations located in other areas are being planned. You can either become a subscriber or pay per hour. In general, expect to pay €1 per hour.
The city is also known as "the mother of Israel", due to the once flourishing Jewish community here, which existed from the Roman period and grew substantially after the Ottoman Empire took in Jewish refugees expelled Spain, Portugal, and Spanish territories in Italy; these Jews are known as "Sephardim". Sephardi Jews formed a significant percentage of the city's population and infrastructure until World War II, when, in spring 1943, almost all were deported by the Nazis to the extermination camp at Auschwitz, never to return. However, there are still two Synagogues, and you can see the Jewish Museum.
Also interesting are the Turkish public baths Bey Hamam, the Bezesteni (Ottoman closed market for jewellery and precious materials) the Alatza Imaret (Ottoman poorhouse) and Hamza Bey Camii (both restored and used for exhibitions).
Seafront and lower town
White TowerA 16th-century fortified tower, part of the city's erstwhilse Byzantine walls - the only surviving one on the seafront.
Aristotelous Squarethe biggest of the city-and the promenade with its cafes and restaurants.
- The bustling Modiano and Kapani markets - see "Buy" below for details.
Roman forumExcavations and a very interesting museum underneath.
Upper townVisit the upper town for its traditional old houses, small cobbled streets, Byzantine citadel, the Eptapyrgion fort. Next to the Rotunda, see the Arch of Triumph of Galerius and the ruins of his palace.
Paleochristian and Byzantine monumentsOn no account should you miss the Byzantine churches built between the 5th and 14th centuries, some of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Rotundaaddress: St. George SquareStarted life as a Roman temple of Zeus, built by Caesar Galerius, and is almost as old as the Pantheon in Rome. The monument has a diameter of 24.5m and its dome reaches a height of 30m. It was converted into a Christian church during the Early Christian era, and its interior was decorated with magnificent mosaics. However some inside frescoes are a work of the British artist Alexander Rossi (1840-1916). In 1591 the Rotunda was converted into a mosque, and a tall minaret still stands beside the monument. Frequent earthquakes from the early 7th century until 1978 caused several damage. The latter caused the destruction of the dome section. After being restored, the monument reopened to the public in 1998.
Saint DemetriosConstructed in the mid-7th century on the ruins of a Roman bath complex, in honor of Demetrius, a Roman officer who was imprisoned and martyred here in 303 AD. An earlier small church, built on the site of martyrdom, burned down during the earthquake of 620 and a new large basilica was erected at expenses of Leontius, the Byzantine prefect of Illyricum and the Bishop of Thessaloniki. The new church of S. Demetrios became one of the most famous centers of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians until its Muslim conversion in 1492. In the Great Fire of Thessaloniki of 1917 the basilica was gutted. The work of restructuring the church lasted fifty years. Most of the ancient mosaics in the western wall and in the inner central aisle survived the heat from the fire.
Church of the Acheiropoietosaddress: Agias Sofias 56A 5th-century church included in Thessaloniki’s UNESCO World heritage.
Hagia Sophia9th Century
Church of the Holy Apostles
Saint Nicholas OrphanosParticularly worth a look for its well-preserved early 14th Century Byzantine frescoes. See if you can spot one of the turtles in the garden.
Church of the Saviour
Church of Prophet Elijah
Museums and galleriesThessaloniki is home to many museums, mostly archaeological and ethnographic. The two big archaeological museums are in the city centre, under the OTE Tower at the CHANTH Square. It is possible to obtain a pass for €15 which allows entry into five museums (valid for three days): Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum, Museum of Byzantine Culture, White Tower, Archaeological Site and Museum of the Roman Agora, and Galerian Complex. Note that Winter opening times are shorter than Summer opening times.
Thessaloniki Archaeological MuseumAndronikou st 6. Covers the history of Thessaloniki from prehistory to Roman times.
phone: +30 2313 306-400address: Leoforos Stratou 2Stratou ave 2. Award-winning museum (2005 - best Museum of Europe).
Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Artaddress: Egnatia St 154
Olympic MuseumSports related.
address: Agiou Dimitriou StThe house where Kemal Atatürk was born.
Museum at Aghios Demetriosaddress: Agiou Dimitriou St
State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessalonikiaddress: Kolokotroni 25, Stavroupoli district
phone: +30 2310 267832Platia Lefkou Pyrgou
Museum of Ancient Greek, Byzantine, and Post Byzantine Musical Instrumentsaddress: Katouni 12
Thessaloniki Museum of Photographyaddress: Harbor, Warehouse A
Museum of Cinematography in Thessalonikiaddress: Harbor, Warehouse A
Folklore and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia and Thraceaddress: Vassilisis Olgas St 68
address: Agiou Mina St 13
Municipal Gallery of Artaddress: Vassilisis Olgas St 162
phone: +30 2310 249803address: Grigoriou Lampraki St 4
Museum for the Macedonian Struggleaddress: Proxenou Koromila 23
- Take a walk along the long seafront promenade (about 12 km altogether).
- Thessaloniki has a very active nightlife, as a 2007 New York Times article called it "Seattle of the Balkans".
- The very lively and youth-oriented international film festival is held in November, the International Trade Fair in September.
address: "25 Μartiou" Str.The venue includes a main hall of 1,400 seats, designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and inaugurated on 2 January 2000. The Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra plays Italian Operas and works of Greek composers. Current events listed on in their website.
WaterlandA large Water park near Tagarades Hill. Free bus service starting at the City center
- Watch football ie soccer. The city has two teams playing in the Super League, the top tier of Greek football. PAOK FC play at Toumba Stadium, capacity 29,000, two km southeast of city centre. Newly promoted Aris Thessaloniki FC play at Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium, capacity 22,800, a further km south.
- Join the amazing World Naked Bike Ride in Thessaloniki every year in June. A celebration of Cycling, Environment, Body Freedom!
Thermaikos Gulf is a challenging place for yachting and sailing. Many days there are strong North winds but with low waves making sailing a fun and joy for all sailors. There are three sailing clubs in Thessaloniki and world championships take place here every year. Thessaloniki has several marinas with a new one containing 182 mooring places under construction in the centre of the city and next to Aistotelous square. There are many yacht charter companies renting sailing yachts.
phone: +30 231 046 5269, +30 694 838 8098address: Thermaikou 21Bareboat charter or skippered sailing yacht, also night time tours.
phone: +30 231 055 8192address: Leoforos Karamanli Konstantinou 145Nautilia Yachting is based in Thessaloniki, Greece, officially licensed by the Greek National Tourism Organization and specialized in organizing yacht charters in Greece.
For fashion, Proxenou Koromila, Mitropoleos and Tsimiski. You won't find many bargains, but the shopping area is conveniently small and full of cafes when you get too tired. For cheaper clothing, check out Egnatia street.
BooksBooks and maps in various languages can be bought in stores such as:
Ianos bookshopaddress: Aristotelous SqBooks & art-objects, cultural events.
- Traveler map store
- Maliaris-Pedia bookstore
Also in the 9th International Book Fair, that is held annually in late spring.
You can buy local food products, such as olive oil, sometimes at significantly lower prices than in nearby countries.
For eating out, see the "Eat" section below
Modiano marketThe traditional central food market, with hundreds of stalls selling meat, fish, fruit, vegetables (sometimes cheek-by-jowl, an unnerving experience for North Americans), cheap clothes and shoes, flowers, herbs and spices, near Aristotele Square.
- For food specialities, go to Modiano market and try the Terpsis and Omega delicatessens (the most famous is Kosmas, but it specialises in Asian food). Any Greek will expect you to bring back sweets from Salonica, so try tsoureki, plaited sweetened breads for which Terkenlis is famous, and desserts (baklava and galaktoboureko) e.g. or Nikiforou on Venizelou street. The most famous of the baklava joints is Hatzis, but fame has not made it any better - it's become overpriced and not as good as in previous years.
- For a morning or late-night snack, try Bougatsa pies: cream (sweet) or cheese (savoury) filling.
Kapani MarketThe city's oldest market, with a wide variety of shops.
Sweets and pastry
If you like sweets, there are 3 typical pastry-shops you should try, typical of this city:
ChatzisIs famous for its collection of Greek Asia Minor sweets (politika glyka) originating from Constantinople.
TerkenlisIs famous for its variety of "tsoureki", a sweet bread much like brioche but containing spices too, covered and filled with several combinations of chocolates/creams/nuts, etc.
ElenidisIs considered the expert in "trigona" (triangles made of sfoglia, filled with cream).
Best winter dessert: baked quince.
Greeks consider Thessaloniki a gourmet city - but bear in mind that this refers to the excellent local specialities and cheap-and-cheerful ouzo taverns rather than to haute cuisine or a range of foreign restaurants. The latter are best avoided in Thessaloniki.
- Try a crepe in one of the numerous crepe shops patronised by the student population at Gounari St, near Navarinou Sq.
- There are plenty of shops selling gyros. Usually there are pork and chicken gyros. This is the best calories per money option, since with less that €3 you get a meal that, although not that healthy, can keep you going for many hours.
- During the winter you can try roasted chestnuts (kastana in Greek) that are sold from carts.
- During the summer one can buy boiled or roasted corn on the cob that is sold from carts. Cost €1-2.
- You can try stafidopsomo, a small bread with raisins, or koulouri a donut-shaped small bread with sesame. You can find them sold in a bakery or on carts. Cost: €0.50.
- For breakfast you can have a bougatsa, a type of cream pie, that Thessaloniki is famous for. You can accompany it with a cacao milk or coffee.
- For a carnivore's treat, try soutzoukakia: minced meat pellets either grilled (at the central market or rotisseries) and topped with chilli pepper flakes, or cooked in tomato and cumin sauce (Smyrna-style).
- For a late night (or early morning) meal try patsas (Tripe soup).
- Seafood: gemista kalamarakia (stuffed squid), mydopilafo (rice with mussels) or mydia saganaki (mussels in tomato sauce).
Go for a meal in one of the many central ouzo restaurants (ouzeri). Accompany your ouzo or tsipouro with a battery of small dishes - by far the best way to eat in Salonica. Particularly good are the fava beans, octopus either grilled or in wine sauce and mussels (fried, or in pilaff, or with a hot cheese sauce, saganaki). If you see "boiled vegetables' on the menu in wintertime, you'll be amazed at how good they taste. Another typical winter salad is politiki, a combination of shredded cabbage and pickles.
Many fast food options are found on the Dimitriou Gounari Street (between Rotonda and the sea).
Agoraaddress: Kapodistriou 5Ouzo restaurant (ouzeri) in one of the most interesting old downtown areas.
EllinikonIn the old warehouse area near the port, around Morichovou Sq, chock-full of restaurants, bars and clubs. Offers "appelation d'origine" local delicacies.
Evi Evanaddress: Olympou 68
Glykia Symoriaaddress: Ioustinianou and Zaliki 1
Goody'sIs the Greek fast-food chain. You will find classic hamburgers, also souvlaki, pasta and salads.
Seliniphone: +30 2310 221778
To Floro Ke To Laioaddress: Baltadorou 11 and Benizelou
Apo Dyo HoriaCretan and Pontian restaurant. Here, order raki rather than ouzo or tsipouro.
KamarasGreat traditional dishes.
Lila Cafe Bistrophone: +30 2310 947377address: Diogenus 23Traditional pies and sweets, croissant and dishes accompany the coffee or your drink. Porcelain miniatures and collective drinks are available for original gifts.
MyrsiniGood Cretan restaurant.
Ouzo Melathronaddress: Karipi 21
Pire kai vradiazeiaddress: Omirou 7Great taverna, unique style, good food and some days (Th-Su) live music.
Pizza da Pepephone: +30 2310 242407address: Stefanou Tatti 10For the best pizzas in town head here.
Toicho-Toichoaddress: Polydorou 1An hipster hang-out, nice atmosphere, very expensive for the quality.
Tombourlikaphone: +30 2310 548193address: Navmachias Limnou 14Great traditional ouzeri, with fresh fish and meat dishes and live rembetico music.
Tsarouchasaddress: Olymbou 78For those with adventurous tastes, preferably go after a hard night's drinking, for a "patsás" (tripe) soup - a delicious way to prevent a hangover.
phone: +302310029085address: Nik. Plastira 89, KalamariaHere you can eat pork gyros and soutzoukakia
Odos Aristotelousaddress: Odos AristotelousMost Salonicans know it as the "Lepen"
Zythos-DoreAn upmarket brasserie with a wide range of specialties and interesting ambiance.
Thessaloniki is by far the liveliest city in Northern Greece- maybe even the whole country. Most of the trendy bars at the old sea-front (Nikis Ave.) and around, many of the tavernas are either downtown or in the old city (Kastra). You can also find numerous bars and tavernas at Krini, an area in eastern Thessaloniki. If you want to check out what the whole bouzoukia scene is all about, try the clubs Pyli Axiou and Mamounia, at Vilka. You will also find a lot of night clubs, bars and restaurants in Ladadika, the neighbourhood with the old warehouses next to the port. The student area is around Kamara (the Arch of Galerius), with many cheaper cafes and bars.
If you will be in town during summer, take a ride on the floating bars plying the harbour. Every 2 hr or so they leave from the White Tower area for a short evening trip (30 min) in the Gulf of Thessaloniki. They play mostly ethnic and alternative foreign music.
A beer would cost you €3-7, an alcohol drink €5-10 and a coffee €2.50-5.
Among the most popular places to drink a coffee or a beer are:
- Aristotle Sq (Aristotelous) - The most popular tourist cafés and bars lie in the central square of the city and the homonymous street. One can find quiet cafes or noisy ones usually preferred by the young. Breakfast is also served, some restaurants are also available.
- Nikis’ Av - The center’s seafront avenue is full of cafeterias usually crowded around the clock, available for coffee in daytime and beer or drink at night.
- Proxenou Kroromila St - Parallel to the seafront Nikis avenue is Pr. Koromila street with some cafés and bars.
- Iktinou pedestrian - Another place in the city with cafes and bars and a couple of restaurants. The last two years a "street beer" culture has been created by both locals and students. People just buy beer from the kiosks and hang out on the surrounding benches. This is probably one of the most economic ways to drink some Retsina and socialize with locals.
- Ladadika district - At the west side of the center lies the picturesque neighbourhood of Ladadika (meaning: oil stores). Named this way by the many stores selling oil arrived from the adjacent harbour. Formerly notorious district, recently renovated with many stone build warehouses now host the most known nightclubs with all sorts of music including traditional Greek bouzoukia.
- Aretsou - Aretsou is located in the southeast part of the city, in the Kalamaria District. In the seafront Plastira Av. are restaurants which change to bars during night featuring loud music and hosting many young.
- Karabournaki - A place in Kalamaria district hosting delicate bars, restaurants and pizzerias. All of them along Sofouli street next to the seashore.
- Boat bars - Quite interesting are the boats near the white tower’s seafront, which make a short trip around Thermaikos gulf where you can enjoy a late night city view. Most of them play ethnic and alternative foreign music.
- (The area around the old trains station) - A set of high-range café, bars, restaurants, disco, ouzeris some with live music at the city’s west.
- Valaoritou and Syggrou - Over the last 2 years a lot of Thessaloniki's nightlife has moved here. The old industrial centre has become a place for entertainment for everybody. Many bars, clubs and cafes may remind you of Berlin, or English pubs.
phone: +30 231 051 0081address: 56 "Andrea Georgiou" Str.Hosting concerts, events, exhibitions, music bands, famous Greek artists etc. Venue can change. Check their page on Facebook.
phone: +30 231 3014323address: 24 Andakidou StThis is a new hostel in Thessaloniki run by a brother and sister who are hosts. They have five rooms in a reconstructed house, each room with private bathroom and kitchenette and big lockers. There is also a common room/kitchen and a nice, cozy garden area with tables and chairs. Welcome drink, maps of the city, wifi and linens, tea and coffee, all free. Laundry and breakfast for €2.
phone: +30 698 3433591Near the city center (5' bus ride) and the water front (7' on foot) is well connected to the train station, bus station and the airport. 24 hr hot water, free linen, washing machine, kitchen, free city map, info available about Thess, and activities in northern Greece. Pick up and other transport options, free internet. Only a small capacity and advanced booking is recommended-staff is not present around the clock.
Studios Arabasphone: +30 697 381 7188address: Sachtouri 28
phone: +30 2310 270501address: 21, Mitropoleos St2-star hotel, cheap, clean and welcoming. Single/double/triple rooms. Free WiFi. Parking with an extra charge of 15,00 € per day.
phone: +30 231 051 7051address: Monastiriou 39Cheap hotel opposite the train station towards the centre. Only a 5 min walk from train station. Not great, but adequate.
Hotel AcropoliClose to the train station. Clean but shabby rooms, most with a balcony.
phone: +30 2310 536185address: 18 Egnatia StBang in the centre of Egnatia Str., with easy bus connections. Friendly staff. Price includes private bathroom, A/C, WiFi, fridge and TV. Snacks and laundry for extra charge.
phone: +30 2310 204080address: Konstantinou Melenikou 9Real travelers and backpackers paradise hostel. Nice & clean rooms and dorms with balconies. Cafeteria garden for drinks and snacks near a green park. Perfect location in city center's university side, overlooking "Rotonda" UNESCO world heritage Roman monument site. Cozy atmosphere and friendly staff really helpful. Available breakfast and bicycles. Free internet stations, WiFi in rooms and common areas.
There are many hotels in the area a few blocks north of Aristotelous. Some of these are a bit upmarket, but if business is slack it is worth shopping around - they might give you a good discount rather than turn you away.
phone: +30 239 2072701address: Tagarades, Thessaloniki, MacedoniaBetween the hills of Tagarades with panoramic views of the city and Thermaico's gulf.
phone: +30 2310 226400address: 6 Gr. Zaliki StBoutique Hotel in Thessaloniki city center in a neo-classical building offering free wi-fi, free parking and free pick-up from airport.
phone: +30 231 0520620address: 23 Egnatia Street.3 star hotel in the heart of Thessaloniki. Free Parking lot, VIP taxi service and free WiFi.
phone: +30 2310 269421address: 11 Komninon St4 star.
Kinissi Palacephone: +30 2310 508081address: 41 Egnatia and Syngrou St4 star.
phone: +30 2310 517121address: 97 Monastiriou St3 star hotel entering the city of Thessaloniki. Free Parking lot, VIP taxi service and free WiFi.
Le Palaceaddress: TsimiskiVery nice double rooms
phone: +30 2310 252600address: Komninon 63 star hotel in neoclassical building next to the Thessaloniki seaside and Aristotelous square
phone: +30 2310 36 466address: Olympou 65Boutique hotel in the centre of Thessaloniki.
phone: +30 2310 520200address: 26th October 203 star hotel next to Thessaloniki seaside and port with free Wi-Fi
address: Aghiou Dimitriou St4 star boutique hotel (formerly a tobacco warehouse).
phone: +30 2310 232221address: Monastiriou 165 star.
phone: +30 2310 203320address: Seich Sou Forest4 star hotel located in the heart of Seich-Sou Park, overlooking views of Thessaloniki and Thermaikos Golf.
phone: +30 2310 524121address: 81 Ionos DragoumiGood breakfast buffet and reasonable prices. Located near the old Administration building.
phone: +30 2310 690000address: West Peripheral of ThessalonikiIn an all green setting with sparkling water from the surrounding mountains, just a few meters from the water mills, on an area of 5.5 acre.
phone: +30 2310 268321address: 33 Hermou St2 star hotel, in the centre of Thessaloniki, close to Aristotelous Square, all rooms with balcony and free WiFi.
a.d. Imperial Palace Thessaloniki Hotelphone: +30 2310 5083000address: 13 Andigonidon stBoutique hotel in the city centre in a neo-classical building offering free wi-fi, free parking and free pick-up from airport.
Electra Palace Hotel Thessalonikiphone: +30 2310 294000address: 9, Aristotelous sq.5 star hotel in the heart of Thessaloniki. 130 rooms and 8 suites, some of then with view to Aristotelous square and the sea. The "Orizontes Pool Bar & Restaurant" provides superb view of Thermaikos gulf.
phone: +30 231 040 1234address: 13 km Thessaloniki-Perea5 star hotel with 2 ballrooms, 5 meeting rooms and 3 boardrooms. 2 km from the largest casino in Europe.
phone: +30 231 0504504address: 65, 26th October AveLocated at the west entrance of the city, near the new harbour/port. It has direct access to the new financial district and it is just 5 min away from the city centre and the shopping area.
phone: +30 2310 647400address: Kolokotroni 16, 56 430Nearby to major cultural centre of the city. The State Museum of Contemporary Art inspired its design philosophy.
phone: +30 2310 552554address: 3, Salaminos & Karatassou Streets, 54626 Thessaloniki, Greece5 star hotel with views of Thermaikos Bay.
There are also free Wi-Fi hotspots in several public places: Thessaloniki International Fair, in the park outside the White Tower, and on Aristotelous Square.
At Thessaloniki airport, go up to the restaurant on the 2nd floor for free, fast (16 Mbps) wifi (SSID "Goodbye Free Wifi"). The IKEA store (4 km north of the airport) has free WiFi as well.
Some people may feel very uncomfortable walking in the areas near the railway station at night, as there are several brothels there.
Police number: 100
Greece is a sunny place, and if your skin is light-coloured, intense sunlight can be a serious danger. Use sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.
Emergency phone number: 112
The suburb of Panorama is well heeled and has good restaurants, and spectacular views over Thessaloniki - especially at sunset.
The classic trips out of Thessaloniki are:
- Serres: The second largest city in Greece's Macedonia region and close to the Bulgarian towns of Melnik and Bansko and Pirin National Park
- Kavala and Philippi: About 160km east of Thessaloniki is Kavala, one of the most beautiful cities of Greece and is especially recommended to visit. The ancient site of Philippi is particularly known by Apostle Paul and the first Christian baptism in Europe
- The Island Thasos is a green island with high mountains and wonderful beaches. You can visit the island on a day trip but its definitively worth to spent more days. There are ferry boats from Kavala harbor and Keramoti.
- There are 500 km of wonderful beaches on the two first fingers of Halkidikí peninsula, one of the main tourist destinations of Greece. The first "finger" from the West is called Kassandra and its the place where many Salonicans (and tourists) spend their holidays. The second "finger" called Sithonia is the most beautiful place of Halkidiki both in landscape and beaches. In the summer, the Armenistis campground (Sithonia peninsula) stages concerts and other events. Also check out the jazz and classical concerts in Sani (Kassandra peninsula). Try to schedule your visit in summer so that you're not driving back to the city on Sunday evening. The third finger is the monastic community of Mount Athos. Mount Athos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This peninsula houses over 1,700 monks in 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries. The visit is strictly controlled and only male visitors are allowed. Tourist require a visa. But there are also sightseeing boats that offer tours around the peninsula (without landing). These do not require permits and are the only option for women who want to see Mount Athos. The boat tours start in Ouranopolis from about 10 o'clock.
- Mount Olympus coast, towards Platamonas, a very scenic region which has fallen out of favour with the trendy set but has lost no business - it is now mainly catering to tourists from Eastern Europe.
- Pella, the Macedonian capital during the time of Alexander the Great.
- Vergina, the spectacular site of the Macedonian royal tombs.
- Dion, a beautiful archeological site near Mount Olympus.
- Prespa and Doirani lakes near the borders with Albania and North Macedonia, respectively, the Prespas especially offering an austere and evocative Balkan landscape and plenty of birdwatching.