ThessalonikiEarth : Europe : Greece : Central and Northern Greece : Macedonia (Greece) : Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki (Greek: Θεσσαλονίκη, Selanik in Turkish and Солун, Solun (Солун) Macedonian Slavic language) , also known as Thessalonica (pron.: /ˌθɛsəlɵˈnaɪkə/ or pron.: /ˌθɛsəˈlɒnɪkə/) and Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Central Macedonia. If you want to know more about Thessaloniki follow the official website of Visit Thessaloniki at 
At about a million inhabitants, it is considered Greece's cultural capital, renowned for its festivals, events and vibrant cultural life in general and has recently been ranked by Lonely Planet as the world's fifth-best party city worldwide. More importantly, it is also a city with a continuous 3,000 year old history; preserving relics of its Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman past and of its formerly dominant Jewish population. Many of its Byzantine churches, and a whole district of the city in particular, are included in UNESCO's World Heritage list.
Thessaloniki 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 of the city extends around an area of 1,455.62 km² (562.02 sq mi), which includes many beachside and hilly suburbs, while its densest part, which makes up the urban area of the city and what Thessalonians usually refer to as the "City of Thessaloniki", can be divided roughly into 3 parts, the north, the central and south.
The central part, corresponding to the region that is inside the the Byzantine walls, forms the oldest part of the city and is divided in two sections: the city center, where most tourist sites and interests, entertainment and commercial activities happen, along with Ano Poli and Eptapyrgio (meaning the upper town and seven towers respectively), the heritage listed old town of Thessaloniki's city center which was not engulfed by the Great Fire of 1917 and still retains it's byzantine and ottoman influences.
The city center is bounded by the sea in the south, Olympiados street in the northeast (from which then the upper town begins), Bardariou (aka Dimokratias) square in the northwest and in the southeast by the University campus of the Aristotle University and the facilities of Thessaloniki International Exhibition Center.
Most roads in the city center are either parallel or perpendicular to the sea. A simple rule that helps the visitor is that if the a street goes downhill, by following it, it will lead you to the sea. The biggest parallel streets to the sea starting from the sea are Nikis, Tsimiski, Ermou, Egnatia, Agiou Dimitriou and Kassandrou avenues. The important streets leading to the sea, starting from northwest, are Ionos Dragoumi, Venizelou, the pedestrian streets Aristotelous and Hagia Sophia and Ethinikis Amynis avenues.
Thessaloniki is served by Macedonia International Airport (IATA: SKG) for international and domestic flights. The airport is located 15 km southeast of the city and is now undergoing a major expansion that is set to add another terminal by 2021. It is served by many international and regional airlines from Europe and the middle East, with low budget ones like Ryanair making a dynamic appearence in recent years. The list of destinations as of August 2019 is:
- Albania - Tirana
- Armenia -Yerevan
- Austria - Vienna, Salzburg, Linz, Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt
- Belarus - Minsk
- Belgium - Brussels, Brussels-Charleroi
- Bulgaria - Sofia, Burgas, Varna
- Croatia - Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Osijek
- Cyprus - Paphos, Larnaca
- Czech Republic - Prague, Brno
- Denmark - Copenhagen, Billund
- Egypt - Hurghada
- Estonia - Tallin
- Finland - Tampere, Lappeenranta
- France - Paris (Charle de Gaulle, Orly, Beauvais, Le Bourget), Nantes
- Georgia - Tblisi, Kutaisi
- Germany - Berlin-SXF, Hamburg, Bremen, Hannover, Braunschweig, Leipzig, Nurnberg, Munich, Memmingen, Stuttgart, Baden, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Dortmund
- Hungary - Budapest
- Ireland - Dublin
- Israel - Tel Aviv
- Italy - Milan (Malpensa, Linata), Bergamo, Brescia, Verona, Venice, Bologna, Pisa, Rome (Fiumicino, Ciampino), Pescara, Naples, Bari, Catania
- Kosovo - Pristina
- Latvia - Riga
- Luxembourg - Luxembourg
- Malta - Valletta
- Moldova - Chisinau
- Montenegro - Podgorica
- Netherlands - Amsterdam, Eindhoven
- North Macedonia - Skopje
- Norway - Molde
- Poland - Warsaw, Poznan, Krakow, Katowice, Wroclaw
- Portugal - Lisbon
- Romania - Bucharest, Cluj, Iasi, Constanta
- Russia - Moscow (all airports), St Petersburg, Novgorod, Samara, Kazan, Ufa, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Voronezh, Volgograd, Rostov, Krasnodar, Sochi
- Serbia - Belgrade
- Slovakia - Bratislava, Kosice
- Spain - Valladolid, Barcelona, Leon, Ibiza, Girona
- Switzerland - Zurich, Geneva
- Tunisia - Tunis
- Turkey - Istanbul, Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman
- Ukraine - Kiev, Odessa, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv
- United Kingdom - London (Gatwick, Stansted, Luton), Bristol, Birmingham, East Midlands, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle upon Tyne, Edinburgh
Domestic: Athens, Kavala, Kastoria, Corfu, Preveza/Aktio, Zante, Patra, Kalamata, Larissa, Skiathos, Skyros, Syros, Mykonos, Paros, Milos, Santorini, Chania, Heraklion, Lemnos, Lesbos, Chios, Ikaria, Samos, Kos, Rhodes.
Connection to the city centerEdit
The airport is served on a 24-hour basis by OASTH (Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization), with bus numbers 01X/01N providing direct access to the central passenger railway station of Thessaloniki, at Monastiriou st 28, and to the Macedonia InterCity Bus Terminal (KTEL), which lies in the west side of the city, at Giannitson st 194.
Bus number 01X or 02 has a frequency of between 15 min and 30 min during the day. At night, the bus number changes to 01N and runs every 30 min through Thessaloniki, between the airport and Macedonia InterCity Bus Terminal (KTEL).
The ticket costs €2 (see Get around: By bus) and the ride takes about 40 min from the airport to the city center. Concessions are available for students and seniors, were the tickets cost half price. Ticket machines are located on all buses but they do not give out change; while tourist info and ticket booths are located at the the central bus stations. Free Busline charts can also be found there.
Furthermore a tourist information office is located at Tsimiski st 136, a few minutes from the city's main landmark, the White Tower, and is open Monday to Friday between 8am and 8pm and 8:30am to 2pm on saturdays.
Taxi's from the airport to the city center cost about €15-20. Taxis are hard to find during peak hours between 7 to 8am, 2 to 4pm and 7 to 9pm, so plan early.
Regional train services within Greece (operated by TrainOSE, the Hellenic Railways Organization's train operating company), link the city with other parts of the country, from its central railway passenger station, called the "New Railway Station" located at the western end of Thessaloniki's city center.
- New Railway Station (Νέος Σιδηροδρομικός Σταθμός), Monastiriou St 28, City Centre, ☎ Infoline telephone number: 1110, . edit
- TrainOSE travel service (Thessaloniki TrainOSE travel service No. 4), 18 Aristotelous Str., ☎ +30 2310 598120, . Recorded information about train departures are provided by Trainose, call 1440 for domestic departures from Thessaloniki. edit
Thessaloniki is served daily with the commuter rail servises of Proastiakos to Katerini-Larissa and Veroia-Edessa, and many Intercity trains to Athens (viaKaterini-Larissa-Domokos-Lamia-Leivadia-Thiva-SKA-Athens (approx 4h15min)). 2 regional trains provide daily services to Kilkis-Serres-Drama-Xanthi-Komotini-Alexandroupoli and 1 to Karditsa-Trikala-Kalampaka. Service to/from Florina was suspended but since October 2012 trains started again. There are currently three IC trains between Florina and Thessaloniki and vice versa.
There are normally employees at all major stations to facilitate transportation of disabled persons. Smoking is prohibited in all trains.
Be aware of these discounts and insist on them even if the TRAINOSE employee does not mention them at first.
- Children (ages 4-12) get a 50% discount.
- Youth under 26 and elderly over 65 get a 25% discount (not available on InterCity trains to Athens).
- Disabled people and their escort get a 50% discount.
- Groups get a 30%-50% discount.
Thessaloniki is connected via the intercity KTEL bus network of Greece with every corner of country.
- Macedonia InterCity Bus Terminal (KTEL), Giannitson st 244 (In the west side of the city), ☎ +30 2310 595400, . edit
- OSE Travel Service (Thessaloniki OSE travel service No. 4), 18 Aristotelous Str., ☎ +30 2310 598120. Information regarding time-tables of foreign buses is available from OSE/HTO: +30 210 5298739, 30 210 5298740, +30 210 5135768, +30 210 5135769 edit
- Buses for the popular tourist region of Chalkidiki depart from KTEL Chalkidikis Bus Terminal, located in the east side of the city, in the suburb of Pylaia. (Fastest way to get to this terminal from city center by taking bus number 45)
KTEL Buses from/to Athens make the trip from/to Thessaloniki in about 6 hr 30 min, including a 20 min stop at a roadside restaurant with toilet facilities. Buses are air-conditioned.
There are a number of weekly departures to Belgrade (Serbia) in Thessaloniki and Athens, in the arrangement of the Greek and Serbian Agency. Ticket price in one direction from Thessaloniki to Belgrade is about €45. From Belgrade to Thessaloniki and the rest of Europe there are plenty of bus connections from the main bus station in Belgrade (or agencies).
There are several buses leaving from Sofia. One bus leaves at 8PM and arrives at 1:30. You can catch this bus if you continue on an imaginary line at the end of Maria Luisa street. It meets in front of the "cafe" and just a few meters to the left of the entrance to the WC. The price is 40 Bulgarian levs.
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.
A number of local travel agencies in Skopje also arrange transport to Thessaloniki daily by car or minibus. These generally leave around 5AM, and cost around €25 for a day return (returning at 5PM) 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. You can buy bus tickets to Skopje from inside the main train station, once in the train station there is a bus ticket counter at the end on the left, 20eur and bus departs at 830am from just outside where you buy the ticket (March 2018). There is one bus daily departing for Thessaloniki from the central bus station in Skopje. It departs at 6AM. Reservations are recommended.
- Athens about 5 hr (via the A1/E75 motorway)
One of the burdens for visitors and inhabitants alike is finding a parking place in the Tessaloniki Urban Area, so be prepared to either spend a lot of time looking for a space, or pay for space in the parking facilities, with prices 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 get lost.
HOW TO GET A GOOD PARKING SPOT IN THESSALONIKI (as of 2018): Actually one will find quite easy to find a free parking spot in Thessaloniki's hottest central area, the problem is, first, to know if you are allowed to park there, and second, to know how to legally park, which can be a tedious job to find. Here is where and how: - there are different parking spots, signaled and marked different. In residential areas you'll find both parallel to road parking spots, and diagonal ones. Those marked with blue lines, or white with no special sign are usually only for residents which have a special vignette. In central area (zone A, C, E) search for parking areas on large boulevards, they are marked with the usual P sign, but with an additional plate with a 5 digit number. This is the "parking district" number. Park in the area of this sign and note the number. Than note the marking painted on the P sign, it's a logo with or without a text (like "PayPark" or "Thessy"). Find a convenient store or something like this (even kiosks) with this sign and ask for a parking ticket. The clerk will ask you for district number, car number (registration plate) and duration - max is 4 hours (EUR 6,-)> Another way is to install the special app (ParkPal) and use it. Additionally you can pay via SMS (numbers are available on street) but previously you should register to a website, which is less rapid and convenient for a short stay.
Public transport in Thessaloniki is served by buses, operated by the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization (OASTH) which runs a fleet of 604 vehicles on 75 routes throughout the Thessaloniki Metropolitan Area. Tickets for the buses can be bought on the bus, at a Periptero (kiosk), which are located all around the city, and at an OASTH info point. OASTH services operate from 5 a.m. until right after midnight, while some lines have expanded timetables until 1 a.m. Line 78N to the airport, operates 24 hours and passes through Egnatia street. Furthermore, OASTH has recently published an excellent app available for IOS and Android that greatly simplifies the often confusing task of figuring out what's the right bus or combination of buses needed to get to the desired destination.
There are three types of tickets:
- One journey ticket: Costs €1.00. Reduced: 0.50€. Valid for one journey on any busline.
- Two journeys ticket: Costs €1.20. Reduced: 0.60€. Valid for two journeys within 70 min.
- Three journeys ticket: Costs €1.50. Reduced: 0.80€. Valid for three journeys within 90 min.
- Four journeys ticket: Costs €2.00. Reduced: 1.00€. Valid for four journeys within 120 min.
- Cultural and airport line: Costs €2.00. Reduced: 1.00€.
Tickets need to be validated every time you get on a bus.
1, 3, 6 and 12-month cards for unlimited journeys are also available, while maps of the bus routes are available on the OASTH website. 
OASTH also operates a tourist line, (Bus number 50 (Cultural line)) and follows a figure-of-8 route past all the major tourist sights of the city. There is an English speaking guide aboard, who provides maps and information. The whole route takes 50 min, and it departs every hour on the hour from the White Tower. A ticket on this line costs €2. Several private tour buses also depart from the same area and follow a similar route around all major tourist sites.
By rent a carEdit
If you want to travel by car in the city, rental companies can be found at the airport, while throughout the city there are a variety of car rental companies.
- Salonica Car Rental, 
- Ride and Drive, 
- Pop's Car Rental Greece, 
- Thessaloniki Car Rental, 
- Morphis Car Rental, 
- Thessaloniki Airport Car Rentals, 
- HolidaysCAR car rental, 
By private transferEdit
If you don't want to drive or wait for the bus, a private transfer is the way to go. Passenger cars, minivans and minibuses are available.
The northernmost Byzantine walls of the city and parts of the western walls are still standing, as is the city's symbol - the White Tower, one of the 16th Century. AD fortified towers - which is the only surviving tower on the seafront. The rest of the walls are in the picturesque Upper Town which offers a spectacular view over the bay, especially in the late afternoon. Take a walk along the enormous seafront promenade (about 12 km altogether). See the the Roman Forum excavations.
Visit the upper town for its traditional old houses, small cobbled streets, Byzantine citadel, the Eptapyrgion fort.
On no account should you miss the Byzantine churches built between the 5th and 14th century ACE, such as Agios Demetrios, (7th Century. ACE) and Agia Sophia (Holy Wisdome, 9th Century. ACE), and many lovely smaller ones in the upper town (St Nicolaos Orfanos is particularly worth a look for its frescoes (open Tue-Sun 8.30am-3pm)), which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. One of them, the Rotunda, started life as a Roman temple of Zeus, built by ceasar Galerius, and is almost as old as the Pantheon in Rome. Next to the Rotunda, see the Arch of Triumph of Galerius and the ruins of his palace.
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 from Spain, Portugal, and Spanish territories in Italy; these Jews are known as "Sephardim". Sephardic 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).
The 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, between Aristotele Square and Venizelou street.
Aristotelous Square-the biggest of the city-and the promenade with its cafes and restaurants.
Museums and galleriesEdit
Due to the city's rich and diverse history, Thessaloniki houses many museums dealing with many different eras in history. Two of the city center's most famous museums include the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and the Museum of Byzantine Culture, which also the buildings themselves serve as points of architectural interest.
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki was established in 1962 and houses some of the most important ancient Macedonian artifacts, including an extensive collection of golden artwork from the royal palaces of Aigai and Pella. It also houses exhibits from Macedon's prehistoric past, dating from the Neolithic to the Bronze age. Adults €6, children free.
The Museum of Byzantine Culture is one of the city's most famous museums, showcasing the city's glorious Byzantine past. The museum was also awarded Council of Europe's museum prize in 2005. The museum of the White Tower of Thessaloniki houses a series of galleries relating to the city's past, from the creation of the White Tower until recent years.
Other museums of the city include the Thessaloniki Science Center and Technology Museum, in southeast Thessaloniki and is one of the most high-tech museums in Greece and southeastern Europe and the Atatürk Museum the historic house where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern-day Turkey, was born.
- Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum.  Andronikou street 6. Covers the history of Macedon from prehistory to Roman times.
- Museum of Byzantine Culture. Stratou avenue 2.  Award-winning museum (2005 - best Museum of Europe).
- Museum at the White Tower  Located inside the city's most famous landmark on the waterfront.
- Thessaloniki Science Center and Technology Museum.  Located in the city's southeast suburbs, it houses a 150-seat digital planetarium, a 300-seat Cosmotheatre with the largest flat screen in Greece, a 200-seat amphitheater, as well as a motion simulator theater with three platforms, 3-D projection rgearding items exhibited.
- Atatürk House. Agiou Dimitriou avenue. The house were Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern-day Turkey, was born.
- Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. Upper side of the Fairground at Egnatia st 154 
- Teloglion Foundation of Art. Located across the university campus of Aristotle University, on Agiou Dimitriou avenue.
- Olympic Museum.  Tritis Septemvriou & Agiou Dimitriou avenue. (300m to the east of the Teloglion Foundation of Art). Sports related.
- Museum at Aghios Demetrios. Agiou Dimitriou avenue, Telephone: +30 2310 270008. St. Demetrios, a native of Thessalonica whom Galarius put to death, is the city’s patron saint. This basilical church was first built in the 5th century AD dedicated to St. Demetrios.
- State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki.  Kolokotroni 25, Stavroupoli district.
- Museum of Ancient Greek, Byzantine, and Post Byzantine Musical Instruments. At Katouni 12, in Ladadika district.
- Thessaloniki Museum of Photography. http://thmphoto.gr/] Harbor, Warehouse A.
- Museum of Cinematography in Thessaloniki.  Harbor, Warehouse A.
- Folklore and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia and Thrace.  Vassilisis Olgas St 68.
- Municipal Gallery of Art. Vassilisis Olgas St 162.
It is also useful to keep an eye on the website Museums of Macedonia  covering the whole region.
The city has always been known between Greeks for its vibrant city culture, including having the most cafe's and bars per-capita than any other city in Europe (see: Drink); and as having some of the best nightlife and entertainment in the country, thanks to its large young population and multicultural feel. Trendy bars are scattered throughout the city and cater for all tastes, with many located on pedestrianized streets or along the coast, with sea views; while daily happenings and events take place throughout the city everyday.
Thessaloniki is also known for its picturesque uninterrupted promenade/waterfront, spanning for about 4.5 km from the old port to the Thessaloniki Concert Hall. From the White Tower, the waterfront gets considerably bigger (called Nea Paralia) and along with the seaside walk, features 13 thematic gardens. During summer it is full of Thessalonians enjoying their long evening walks (referred to as "the volta" and is embedded into the culture of the city). There you will find people selling all kinds of food, bike riding, skating, fishing and a generally lively atmosphere with font the Thermaic Gulf and the port.
There is a free walking city tour at 18.30 starting in front of the rotunda. You will get detailed yet short explanations about the history, myths, architecture and lifestyle of the city as well as a few recommendations about hidden but noteworthy shops - and maybe a free cookie.
The Thermaic 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 in the city every year. Thessaloniki has several marinas, most notably in Kalamaria, southeast of the city center, while a new one is proposed to be constructed right at the city center that will contain 182 mooring places. There are also many Yacht charter companies renting sailing yachts.
- Discovery Yachting, Thermaikou 21, ☎ +30 2310 343251,+30 6948 388098 ([email protected]), . Bareboat charter or skippered sailing yacht, also night time tours. edit
Thessaloniki is a major center of education for Greece. Two of the country's largest universities are located in central Thessaloniki: Aristotle University and the University of Macedonia. Aristotle University was founded in 1926 and is currently the largest university in Greece by number of students, which number at more than 80,000 in 2010, and is a member of the Utrecht Network.
Numerous public and private vocational institutes (IEK) provide professional training to young students, while a large number of private colleges offer American and UK academic curriculum, via cooperation with foreign universities. In addition to Greek students, the city hence attracts many foreign students either via the Erasmus programme for public universities, or for a complete degree in public universities or in the city's private colleges. As of 2006 the city's total student population was estimated around 200,000. Its young population and atmosphere provides for many learning opportunities, with classes and workshops on all interests being held all over the city.
Thessaloniki is renowned for its major shopping streets and lively laneways. Tsimiski Street and Proxenou Koromila avenue are the city's most famous shopping streets and are among Greece's most expensive and exclusive high streets; there one can find various fashion shops of international brands, boutiques and high end international department stores. For cheaper clothing, check out Egnatia street.
As Thessaloniki is considered the cultural capital of Greece, the city has also become a regular fixture for the book trade and booklovers. An International Book Fair  is held annually in late spring at the waterfront, there people can find books from new authors and on all topics.
Some of the city's best book stores, and places were you can find maps in various languages include:
- Ianos bookshop, Aristotelous Sq, (city centre). Books & art-objects, cultural events.
- Papasotiriou bookstore
- Eleftheroudakis bookstore
- Traveler map store
- Maliaris-Pedia bookstore
Due to the fact that Thessaloniki remained under Ottoman rule for about 100 years more than southern Greece, it has retained a lot of its Eastern character, including its culinary tastes. Spices in particular play an important role in the cuisine of Thessaloniki, something which is not true to the same degree about Greece's southern regions. 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.
Sweets and pastriesEdit
For any traveler to Thessaloniki, a Greek will usually mention how they expect you to bring back sweets from the city, as it is known for having some of the best in the country. Throughout Thessaloniki anyone can find a variety of places that sell: Tsoureki, a plaited sweetened bread, deserts such as Baklava and Galaktoboureko; and Bougatsa, the most famous pastry of Thessaloniki, with cream (sweet) or cheese (savoury) filling, which was invented in the city and has spread around other parts of Greece and the Balkans as well.
Some shops, where you can find the best sweets and pasties the city has to offer, include "Nikiforou" on Venizelou street, "Terkenlis" famous for its Tsoureki and "Chatzis" famous for its Baklava, but fame has not made it any better - it has become overpriced and not as good as in previous years.
- Chatzis.  is famous for its collection of Greek Asia Minor sweets (politika glyka) originating from Istanbul. edit
- Terkenlis.  is 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. edit
- Elenidis.  is considered the expert in "trigona" (triangles made of sfoglia, filled with cream). edit
For a carnivore's treat, places that serve Gyros and Souvlaki with pork and chicken, are scattered all around the city. This is the best calories per money option, since with less that 3 euros you get a meal that, although not that healthy, can keep you going for many hours. Some of the best souvlaki meals at very affordable prices can be found at a place called "Derlicatesen".
Local specialities include Soutzoukakia, minced meat pellets that are either grilled (at the central market or rotisseries) and topped with chilli pepper flakes, or cooked in tomato and cumin sauce (Smyrna-style); and Patsas, a tripe soup, best tried late at night (or early morning). For seafood, in Thessaloniki you can find Gemista kalamarakia (Stuffed squids), Mydopilafo (rice with mussels) or Mydia saganaki (mussels in tomato sauce).
Fast food and snacksEdit
- The traditional fast food of Thessaloniki includes sandwiches with Gyros (pork meat), Souvlaki or Soutzoukaki, offered in many stores for a little over €2.
- Goody's. is the Greek fast-food chain, actually preferred by Greeks over other fast food restaurants such as McDonalds. There you can find classic hamburgers, also Gyros, pasta, and salads. edit
- Crepes can be found in many stores all around the city. The best can be found at Gounari street, near Navarinou square, that is popular with the city's student population.
- 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, which 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 bakeries or on carts, costing around €0.5.
- For breakfast Bougatsa, can be found in nearly every pastry shop around the city and can be accompanied with a cacao milk or coffee. Prices range from €1.8 - €2.3, for a plate of Bougatsa.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Splurge||€20-€30 and upwards|
Most tavernas and restaurants located all around the city of Thessaloniki offer very affordable prices. Most can be found concentrated in areas listed below, that also serve as points of interest for any traveler into the city, where you can experience a lively atmosphere at night with the local population.
- Pentaraki (ΠENTAPAKI), Sintrivianu sq.2 (Near Kamara). Small tavern with raki & meze at local prices. 7-13€. edit
Thessaloniki's Ladadika borough is a particularly busy area in regards to Thessalonian cuisine, with most tavernas serving traditional meze and other such culinary delights. Right next to the port and around Morichovou square, it is full of restaurants, bars and nighclubs.
- Ellinikon, Ladadika (Morichovou Sq.). Offers 'appelation d'origine' local delicacies. edit
The area between Athonos square and Aristotelous street is full of taverns of which many are frequented by mostly young Greeks and tourists. Prices are usually low and the quality can vary greatly from tavern to tavern. Several restaurants have a small band playing local live music. Better to move around before sitting to eat, not only to choose the place, but to take a look at the old shops in the area selling fruit, spices, handmade small furniture etc. Many of the taverns in the area are tourist-traps, so choose a tavern where you see locals and preferably older people.
- Vrotos, (Near Athonos). Ouzo restaurant (ouzeri). 25% more expensive than others in this region, but top quality. edit
Bit-Bazaar and nearby streetsEdit
During the day the area hosts antique shops and cheapjacks selling anything useful or useless one can imagine. In the evening it turns into a lively (and noisy) student hang-out and can get very crowded on warm nights. Most of the shops offer cheap wine, ouzo, beers and Mezedes, appetizers that accompany your Ouzo or Tsipouro with a battery of small dishes - by far the best way to eat in Thessaloniki.
- Evi Evan, Olympou 68-Bit-Bazzar. edit
- Glykia Symoria, Ioustinianou and Zaliki 1. edit
- Selini, Bit-Bazaar, ☎ +30 2310 221778. edit
- To floro ke to laio, Baltadorou 11 and Benizelou. edit
- Agora, (Off Ionos Dragoumi). Ouzo restaurant (ouzeri) in one of the most interesting old downtown areas edit
Kastra (Ano Poli)Edit
At Ano Poli (also called Old Town and literally the Upper Town), the heritage listed district north of Thessaloniki's city center, many quality restaurants can be found next to the Byzantine walls, and some with views overlooking the city.
- Yenti ( the name of the old Byzantine castle)there you can find one of the most popular and traditional small restaurant (koutouki)that servs homemade ouzo and tsipouro, handmade mese (small traditional gourmet dishes for ouzo),fresh seafood and handmade greek food. Τhere usually meet greek musicians of all ages and sing together greek songs.
- Pyrgos, Kastra (Ano Poli). A brasserie. edit
- Makedoniko, Kastra (Ano Poli). edit
Tsinari (Ano Poli)Edit
An old district of Ano Poli hosting the eponymous tavern, along with some others.
- Ano Poli, Tsinari-(Ano Poli). Tavern edit
- be*restaurant, Komninon 10, ☎ 2310 021010, . stylish bar-restaurant in the heart of Thessaloniki,serving American comfort food in a relaxed environment. edit
- Pire kai vradiazei (Πήρε και βραδιάζει), Omirou 7 (Off Theagenio Hospital). Great Taverna, unique style, good food and some days (Thur-Sun) live music edit
- Tombourlika (Τομπουρλίκα), Navmachias Limnou 14 (Off Vardaris Sqare), ☎ +30 2310 548193. Great traditional ouzeri, with fresh fish and meat dishes and live rembetico music edit
- Tsarouchas (Τσαρούχας), Olymbou 78 (Off Ancient Forum). all night and morning open. is for those of you with adventurous tastes, preferably to go after a hard night's drinking, for a "patsás" (tripe) soup - a delicious way to prevent a hangover. edit
- Toicho-Toicho, Polydorou 1 (Ano Poli (Kastra)). A hipster hang-out, nice atmosphere, very expensive for the quality provided edit
- Kamaras, (Near Rotonda). Great traditional dishes. edit
- Lila Cafe Bistro, Diogenus 23 (Ano Toumba district), ☎ 30 2310 947377. Traditional pies and sweets, croissant and dishes accompany the coffee or your drink. Porcelain miniatures and collective drinks are available for originally gifts. edit
- Pizza da Pepe, Stefanou Tatti 10 (side street of Egnatia, near the Aghia Sophia Church), ☎ +30 2310 242407. For the best pizzas in town head here. edit
- Myrsini, (behind the State Theatre Etairia Makedonikon Spoudon). Good Cretan restaurant. edit
- Apo Dyo Horia, (Navarinou Square). Cretan and Pontian restaurant. Here, order raki rather than ouzo or tsipouro. edit
- Odos Aristotelous (Lepen), Odos Aristotelous. Most Salonicans know it as the "Lepen" edit
- Krikelas, Ladadika (near Morichovou Sq.). edit
- Zythos-Dore, (White Tower Square). An upmarket brasserie with a wide range of specialties and interesing ambience. edit
Thessaloniki has a very active nightlife scene and only recently it is starting to become exposed internationally, with Lonely Planet listing Thessaloniki as the world's fifth-best "ultimate party city".
Cafe-bars are scattered throughout the entire city, which create a lively atmosphere everywhere you step and you can have a drink whenever you want, while trendy bars line up along Thessaloniki's entire waterfront from the old port, along Nikis avenue and down to "Krini", a southeast coastal district of the city.
Thessaloniki also offers a wide variety of nightlife, from small to huge nightclubs with dance music, bars dedicated to rock music, jazz clubs and Bouzoukia, where you can experience Greek music and dancing. Large entertainment venues of the city include Pyli Axiou and Mamounia, at Vilka (which are housed in converted old factories). During summer, one can also find beach bars with lively music and serving drinks throughout the whole day and night, located at the city's southeast suburbs. The city's most known nightlife district is "Ladadika", there together with the many tavernas and restaurants, you will find the most known nightclubs and bars housed in old warehouses next to the port, while in the area around the Kamara (the Arch of Galerius) is home to many cheaper cafe's and bars, popular with the city's student population. Areas were most of Thessaloniki's nightlife is located at are listed below.
A beer in Thessaloniki costs €4-6, an alcohol drink €7-10 and a coffee around €2.50-5.
Aristotle Square (Aristotelous)Edit
Being the center of the city, some of the most popular cafes and bars are located there. One can find quiet cafes or noisy ones that usually preferred by younger people. Breakfast is also served, some restaurants are also available.
Thessaloniki's central seafront avenue is full of cafeterias usually crowded around the clock, available for coffee in daytime and beer or drinks at night. Many bars also feature balconies with views towards the sea.
At the west side of the center lies the picturesque district of Ladadika (meaning: oil stores). Named this way by the many stores selling oil arriving from the adjacent port of Thessaloniki. Formerly a notorious district, it is today the city's most lively and vibrant areas, were renovated old stone build warehouses host some of the most known nightclubs with all sorts of music, including traditional Greek bouzoukia. Although not the favorite by Thessaloniki’s highest class (modern bouzoukia are not considered a classy kind of entertainment), they are definitely worth a visit for any traveler. Delicate restaurants and Greek taverns serving drinks are located around Morichovou square, and are also popular during lunch time.
Proxenou Koromila StEdit
Parallel to the seafront Nikis avenue is Proxenou Koromila street and at night many cafes and bars spill out on to the streets. A few trendy jazz clubs can be found here.
Another place in the city with cafes, bars and a couple of restaurants, that spill out onto pedestrianized streets. A popular hangout by many Thessalonians.
Aretsou is located in the southeast part of the city, in the suburb of Kalamaria. Home to high end bars, cafés and entertainment venues, most notably on Plastira street, along the coast; featuring loud music and hosting many young people.
A place in Kalamaria with delicate bars, restaurants and pizzerias. All of them along Sofouli street, right next to the seashore and nearby the Thessaloniki Concert Hall. "Shark", one of the most exclusive nightlife venues of the city is also located in this area with views of the sea and central Thessaloniki.
For a drink on a boat, there are many "floating bars" that depart every 2hrs or so from the White Tower, and make a short trip around Thermaic Gulf, where you can enjoy evening and late night views of the city. Most of them play ethnic and alternative foreign music.
Mylos and VilkaEdit
A set of high-range café, bars, restaurants, ouzeris some with live music located at the city’s west. Also hosting concerts, events, exhibitions, music bands, famous greek artists etc.
Valaoritou and SyggrouEdit
Over the last 2 years a lot of Thessaloniki's nightlife has moved in these areas of the city center. The old industrial center has become a place for entertainment for everybody, with many bars, clubs and cafes that may remind you of Berlin, or London.
- Little Big House Hostel, 24 Andakidou Street, ☎ +30 231 3014323 ([email protected]), . This is a brand new hostel in Thessaloniki run by a brother and sister who are absolutely terrific hosts. Theyous rooms in a reconstructed house, each room with private bathroom, 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 are provided free. Laundry and breakfast for €2. €17 for bed in 6-person dorm, €19 for bed in 4-person dorm. edit
- Studios Arabas, Sachtouri 28 (Σαχτούρη 28), ☎ +30 697 381 7188 ([email protected]), . Youth Hostel "Studios Arabas" is located in the Old City of Thessaloniki, the most beautiful part of the city with great view over the sea and traditional architecture, just 10 minutes from downtown. We offer dorms and private rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms and balconies, with hotel standard mattresses. You can always enjoy clean bed linen and Air-conditioning in all of the rooms and common areas. €11.50 for dorm. (40.644267,22.944088) edit
- Backpackers refuge, ☎ +30 698 3433591 ([email protected]), . Near the city center (5' bus ride), the waterfront (7' on foot) and well connected to the train station, bus station and the airport. 24 hr hot water, free linen, washing machine, kitchen, free city map, info and activities in northern Greece. Pick up and other transport options, free internet. Only a small capacity and advanced booking is recommended as staff are not present around the clock. 6 bed dorm €15. edit
- ''Kripis Studio'' Thessaloniki Ano Poli, Akropoleos 28c-Mousouri 4 (P.C. 54634), ☎ +30 697 227 8068 ([email protected]), . Studio for one ,two,three or four persons in the Ano Poli (Old City) – Upper Town. The studio is furnished (bed, closet, table, kitchen with fridge and oven, washing machine,free Internet wifi,hair drier,Tv). http://www.kripis.gr/ANOPOLI.en.aspx (40.640144,22.956026) edit
- Alexandria Hotel, 18 Egnatia St. (There is a bus stop outside, buses link to train station, bus station and airport), ☎ +30 2310 536185 ([email protected]), . checkout: 12:00. Bang in the centre of Egnatia Str., with easy bus connections. Friendly staff. Price (e.g. €33 for twin room) includes private bathroom, A/C, WiFi, fridge and TV. Snacks and laundry for extra charge. edit
- Rentrooms Thessaloniki, Konstantinou Melenikou 9, ☎ +30 2310 204080 ([email protected]), . Real 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. budget. edit
- The Tourist Hotel, Mitropoleos Street. Right in the center, cheap, clean and welcoming. €75 for a double room incl breakfast. edit
- Rex Hotel. Cheap hotel opposite the train station towards the city center. Only a 5 min walk from train station. Not great, but adequate. Two-bedroom in peak season €60. edit
- Hotel Acropoli. Close to the train station. Clean but shabby rooms, most with a balcony. A triple costs €80 or €60 for a double. edit
There are many hotels in the area a few blocks north of Aristotelous square in the city center. Some of these are a bit upmarket, but if business is down it is worth shopping around - they might give you a good discount, rather than turn you away.
- El Greco Hotel, 23 Egnatia Street. (5 minutes walk from Aristotelous Square on Egnatia Street), ☎ +30 231 0520620 ([email protected]), . 3 star hotel in the heart of Thessaloniki. Free Parking lot, free WiFi and free Airport Pick-Up. (40.63908,22.93806) edit
- Heaven Hotel, Tagarades, Thessaloniki, Macedonia, ☎ +30 239 2072701 ([email protected]), . Between the verdurous hills of Tagarades with panoramic views of the city and Thermaic Gulf. edit
- Zaliki Boutique Hotel, 6 Gr. Zaliki (2 minutes walk from Aristotelous sqaure), ☎ +30 231 0226400 ([email protected]), . Luxurious Boutique Hotel next to Aristotelous with free parking, free airport pickup and free WiFi. (40.63849,22.94253) edit
- Rotonda Hotel, 97 Monastiriou Street, ☎ +30 231 0517121 ([email protected]), . Entering the city of Thessaloniki with free parking, free airport pickup and free WiFi. (40.64563,22.92512) edit
- City Hotel, 11 Komninon St., ☎ +30 2310 269421, . Favored as one of the best design luxury hotels in Thessaloniki center, City Hotel, invites you to discover the energy of down town Thessaloniki as you stroll through the vibrant Tsimiski street and Aristotelous square. edit
- Kinissi Palace, 41 Egnatia and Syngrou St, ☎ +30 2310 508081. 4 star. edit
- Le Palace, Tsimiski (2 blocks N of Aristotelou). Very nice double rooms The price posted in the room is over €180, although it is possible to haggle down to as low as €60 including breakfast if business is down. edit
- Hotel Luxembourg, Komninon 6, ☎ +30 2310 252600 ([email protected]), . Located close to seafront, offering accommodation in a neoclassical building along with free wi-fi and parking. edit
- Hotel Olympia, Olympou 65, ☎ +30 2310 36 466, . Boutique hotel in the center of Thessaloniki. edit
- Hotel Anessis, 26is Octovriou 20, ☎ +30 2310 520200 ([email protected]), . Located close to the port of the city offering low prices, free wi-fi and parking. (40.639745,22.931688) edit
- Tobacco Hotel, Aghiou Dimitriou street, . 4 star boutique hotel (formerly a tobacco warehouse). edit
- Queen Olga Hotel, East Thessaloniki. edit
- Kapsis Hotel, 2, Oplopiou & Katouni Streets, ☎ +30 2310 232221. 5 star. edit
- Hotel Philippion, Seich Sou Forest, ☎ +30 2310 203320 ([email protected]), . 4 star hotel located in the heart of the Seich Sou forest national park, with overlooking views of Thessaloniki and Thermaic Gulf. edit
- Park Hotel, 81 Ionos Dragoumi, ☎ +30 2310 524121, . Good breakfast buffet and reasonable prices. Located near the old Administration building. edit
- Hotel Byzantio, West Peripheral of Thessaloniki, ☎ +30 2310 690000 ([email protected]), . In 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. edit
- Excelsior Hotel, 10 Komninon St. & 23 Mitropoleos Av. 546 24, Thessaloniki-Greece, . The Excelsior Hotel is a luxury 5 Star boutique hotel located in Thessaloniki center, next to Aristotelous square, right in the heart of this vibrant town. edit
- a.d. Imperial Palace Hotel, Andigonidon 13, Thessaloniki, Macedonia, ☎ +30 231 0508300 ([email protected]), . 5 minutes walk from Aristotelous Square and Timiski Street in the down town of Thessaloniki. edit
- Electra Palace Hotel Thessaloniki, 9, Aristotelous sq., ☎ +30 2310 294000 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. 5 star hotel in the heart of Thessaloniki. 130 rooms and 8 suites, some of them with view to Aristotelous square and the sea. The "Orizontes Pool Bar & Restaurant" provides superb view of the Thermaic Gulf. edit
- Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki, 13 km Thessaloniki-Perea, ☎ +30 231 040 1234 ([email protected]), . 5 star hotel with 2 ballrooms, 5 meeting rooms and 3 boardrooms. 3 km from the largest casino in Europe. edit
- Porto Palace Hotel, 65, 26th October Avenue, ☎ +30 231 0504504 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. Porto Palace Hotel is located at the west entrance of the city, near the port of Thessaloniki. It has direct access to the new financial district and it is just 5 min away from the city center and the shopping area. edit
- Domotel Les Lazaristes Hotel, Kolokotroni 16, 56 430, ☎ +30 2310 647400 ([email protected]), . Nearby a major cultural center of the city. The State Museum of Contemporary Art inspired its design philosophy. edit
- Mediterranean Palace Hotel, 3, Salaminos & Karatassou Streets, 54626 Thessaloniki, Greece, ☎ +30 2310 552554 ([email protected]), . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. 5 star hotel with views of Thermaic Gulf. (40.6358571,22.9357630) edit
- Daios Hotel Thessaloniki, 59, Nikis Avenue 54622 Thessaloniki, Greece, ☎ +30 2310 250200 ([email protected]), . Daios Luxury Living in is the absolute 5 star luxury boutique hotel which, situated right on the seaside of Thessaloniki in the city center, restates the notion of fine, luxury accommodation in North Greece. edit
There are many internet-cafes scattered throughout Thessaloniki, while a visit to most restaurants, bars and cafes in the city offer free wireless internet (WiFi).
Thessaloniki is regarded as a very safe city with crime rate much lower than other european tourist hotspots like Paris, London and Brussels and Athens. With some basic precautions a visitor will experience a hustle-free vacation in the city.
The biggest problem that a tourist might face in the city are pickpockets and petty thiefs. Always be careful of your belongings in public areas and especially in the city's buses where most incidents happen. Don't put your wallet, your phone or cash in your back pocket and try to use electronic devices inside the buses as little as you can. Buses are completely safe at night with violent incidents being almost unheard of. While it's very rare taxi frauds may happen so always make sure the meter is on. While staying in the city also keep in mind that it's better not to leave valuables in your car that can be seen from the outside as there is a chance that they might be stolen. Sexual harassment against women is pretty rare in the city and visitors with a different skin colour, ethnic, religion or sexual orientation can feel perfectly safe; Thessaloniki is multi-cultural and tolerant place.
While walking in the city at night is very safe there are some areas that require a little more attention than others:
- Rotunda, Galerius Arch and Navarino Square - These places are located very close to each other and are tourist hotspots all day long. However at night, it's better to exercise a bit more caution here, especially in dimly-lit and deserted areas as there is a problem involving drug trafficking and drug addicts. This issue also, sometimes, extends to include the dark, secluded areas of the University Campus located just east of Rotunda.
- Plateia Dikastirion and the Roman Agora - Dikastirion Square (Plateia) and the archaelogical site of the Roman Agora (Forum) are located at the northern ending of the Aristotelous Avenue. While in the day it's perfectly safe, at night the square is dimly-lit making it a good spot for drug-related or other crimes. Many women have also reported feeling unsafe around the square and the Roman Agora at night.
- Dendropotamos, Sfageia and Giannitson Street - The Sfageia area (which literally means "slaughterhouses") and Dendropotamos are located south of the railway lines, with Giannitson street passing through, and have had a bad reputation for many years. It's better to steer clear of the area at night as it's mostly deserted and dark, with some shady nightclubs and a presence of prostitution. Don't enter abandoned buildings or the old train station.
Tap water is safe and that's what people of the city drink, but in some places in the city center you might get a slight "taste" from the water, due to old pipelines in the buildings. For peace of mind, you might want to buy bottled water. Greece is also a sunny place and if your skin is light-colored, intense sunlight can be a serious danger. Use sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.
Thessaloniki's proximity to places such as the national parks of Pieria and beaches of Chalkidiki often allow its residents and visitors to the city to easily have access to some of the best outdoor recreation in Europe. Some classic trips out of Thessaloniki include:
- Any visit to the 500 km of wonderful beaches, on the two first fingers of Chalkidiki peninsula, where many Thessalonians (and tourists) spend their holidays there (The third finger is the monastic community of Mount Athos). In the summer, the Armenistis campground on the Sithonia peninsula stages concerts and other events. You can also check out the jazz and classical concerts that take place during summer at Sani (Kassandra peninsula). Try to schedule your visit during summer so that you're not driving back to the city on Sunday evening, when you will always find heavy traffic from people returning back into the city.
- 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.
- Olympos National Park includes Mount Olympus with a chain of nice mounts to hike and several valleys. 4 refuges available to sleep, several peaks from 2500 to 3100 meters to climb.
- Pella, birthplace of Alexander the Great and the ancient Macedonian capital, during the time of Alexander the Great.
- Vergina, the spectacular site of the Macedonian royal tombs and first capital of ancient Macedon.
- Dion, a beautiful archaeological site near Mount Olympus.
- Olynthus, an archaeological site in Chalcidice.
- Prespa and Doirani lakes near the borders with Albania and Macedonia. The national parks there offer an austere and evocative Balkan landscape and plenty of bird watching.
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