Northern Greece

The White Tower of Thessaloniki; the city's landmark

Northern Greece is the large, varied upper half of Greece which, apart from a few scattered famous attractions, is still relatively untouristed, though much of this area offers rewarding destinations that deserve to be better known. Distances are long, and though the major cities are easy enough to get to by bus or train, and almost everywhere is served by at least one bus a day, visitors who want to get off the beaten track or cover a lot of ground in a limited time will probably find it most practical to have a car.

Regions

Cities

The main cities in central and northern Greece are:

Other destinations

Get in

By plane

There are a few airports in central and northern Greece. The biggest one is in Thessaloniki.

By train

Thessaloniki is Greece's hub for international rail service. Trains connect Thessaloníki to Sofia (3 daily), Bucharest (1 daily), Istanbul (2 daily) and Belgrade via Skopje (2 daily). There are special fares as Balkan Flexipass and other offers e.g. the City-Star Ticket form Czech Republic to Greece. From Athens the train connects most of the cities in the eastern part of Greece. The state train company is Trainose (Τραινοσέ).

By car

Northern Greece can be entered by car either from any of its land neighbors countries, or from Athens. From western Europe, the most popular route to Greece was through Yugoslavia. Following the troubles in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, most motorists from western Europe came overland by Italy, and then took a trans-Adriatic ferry from there. Although the countries of the former Yugoslavia have since stabilized, and Hungary-Romania-Bulgaria form another, albeit a much longer, alternative, the overland route through Italy now remains the most popular option.

By bus

There is some, albeit limited, international bus service to neighboring Albania, Bulgaria, and Turkey, as well as Georgia. From Athens there are buses to every town in Central and Northern Greece.

By boat

The main port to get to Northern Greece from Italy is Igoumenitsa. Several ferries depart daily from the Italian port cities of Venice, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi.

Get around

By regional coach

Interurban coaches ("KTEL" buses) are by far the most convenient way to travel around Greece, as well as for intra-regional travelling.

By train

Trains (OSE) connects most of the towns on the east part of Greece. The main train line connects Volos, Larissa, Katerini, Thessaloniki, Kilkis, Serres, Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupoli. There is also a train connection between Larissa and Kalampaka (Meteora) and a train line connecting Thessaloniki Veria, Naoussa and Edessa. Travelling with ordinary trains can be cheaper, although a little bit slower, whereas choosing a fancy faster Intercity train will cost the same amount of money, or even more than a KTEL bus.

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