Thessaloniki (Greek: Θεσσαλονίκη, Turkish: Selanik, Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian: Солун, Solun) is the capital of the region of Central Macedonia, 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.
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, 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 either vertical to the sea. 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.
There 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 8:30AM-2PM, 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.
The Greek Railway Company is called OSE (ΟΣΕ). The trains are operated under the name TrainOSE. There are daily regional trains to Veroia-Edessa and Katerini-Larissa, three trains to Florina, six InterCity (IC) trains and one night-train to Athens via Platy-Katerini-Larissa-Palaiofarsalos-Domokos-Leianokladi-Leivadia-Thiva-Oinoi-SKA-Athens (approx 5h20min), two trains to Kilkis-Serres-Drama-Xanthi-Komotini-Alexandroupoli and one train to Karditsa-Trikala-Kalampaka.
International connections to Thessaloniki were suspended in February 2011 due to the worsening financial situation in Greece. However, in May 2014 train service to/from Belgrade and Sofia resumed, and there is currently one train per day between Thessaloniki and Sofia/Belgrade.
There are normally employees at all major stations to facilitate transportation of disabled persons.
- New Railway Station (Νέος Σιδηροδρομικός Σταθμός), Monastiriou St 28, City Centre, ☎ Infoline telephone number: 1110.
- 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.
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 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.
- Central Intercity KTEL Bus Terminal Makedonia, Giannitson 244 (In the westside of the city), ☎ +30 231 059 5400, fax: +30 231 054 4633, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- OSE Travel Service (Thessaloniki OSE travel service No. 4), 18 Aristotelous Str., ☎ +30 2310 598120. 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
- Buses for Chalkidiii depart from KTEL Chalkidikis Bus Terminal in the east side district of Pylaia, access through Kountourioti St or National Road EO67
Prominent long-distance bus connections
- Athens - 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, 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 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, 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 6AM. 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.
The airport of Thessaloniki is called Macedonia International Airport (IATA: SKG) and lies 15 km south of the city center. The airport sees highly seasonal traffic, obviously 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 and 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 airport in Athens, 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 EU 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 solid shoving and aggravation.
Connection to the city centre
The airport is 15 km south of the city centre. The public transit connection is provided by bus line 78, 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 78N and runs every 30 minutes. A ticket costs €2 for one trip (see Get around: By bus). It's about a 40-min ride from the airport to the city centre. There is ticket machine on every bus (; note though that exact change is needed.
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 center costs about €15-20. It's hard to find one during peak hours (7AM-8AM, 2PM-4PM and 7PM-9PM), so plan early.
- Athens about 5 hr (Highway A1, E75)
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.
The 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 5AM until right 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).
Tickets can be bought at OASTH's ticket outlets and 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 from OASTH's ticket outlets or other selling points, €1.10 on the bus; valid for one journey on all lines except 50, 78 and 78N.
- Two journey ticket: €1.20 from OASTH's ticket outlets or other selling points, €1.30 on the bus; 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.
Bicycle lanes often do not exist, even in main roads. Sometimes, there are bicycle lanes on the sidewalk. 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 northernmost Byzantine walls of the city and parts of the western walls are still standing, as is the city's symbol - the White Tower. The rest of the walls are in the picturesque Upper Town which offers a spectacular view over the bay, especially in the late afternoon.
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 Tower. A 16th-century fortified tower, part of the city's erstwhilse Byzantine walls - the only surviving one on the seafront.
- Aristotelous Square. the biggest of the city-and the promenade with its cafes and restaurants.
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.
Take a walk along the long seafront promenade (about 12 km altogether). See the Roman Forum excavations.
Visit 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 monuments
On no account should you miss the Byzantine churches built between the 5th and 14th century ACE, some of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
- Rotunda, St. George Square. Started 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 24.50m 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 till 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 Demetrios (Agios Demetrios). Constructed 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 Acheiropoietos (Panayia Acheiropoietos), Agias Sofias 56. A 5th-century church included in Thessaloniki’s Unesco World heritage.
- Latomou Monastery.
- Hagia Sophia. 9th Century
- Panagia Chalkeon.
- Saint Catherine.
- Saint Panteleimon.
- Church of the Holy Apostles.
- Saint Nicholas Orphanos. particularly worth a look for its frescoes
- Church of the Saviour.
- Vlatades Monastery.
- Church of Prophet Elijah.
Museums and galleries
Thessaloniki 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.
- Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum. Andronikou st 6. Covers the history of Thessaloniki from prehistory to Roman times. Adults €6, children free.
- Museum of Byzantine Culture. Stratou ave 2. Award-winning museum (2005 - best Museum of Europe).
- Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. Upper side of the Fairground at Egnatia st 154
- Teloglion Foundation of Art. Weekdays 09:00-14:00, Weekends 10:00-18:00. Upperside of the Aristotel University Campus Agiou Dimitriou St. €5.
- Olympic Museum. Tritis Septemvriou & Agiou Dimitriou St. (300 m to the east of Teloglion Foundation of Art). Sports related.
- Museum at Aghios Demetrios, Agiou Dimitriou St.
- State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki. Kolokotroni 25, Stavroupoli district.
- Museum at the White Tower, ☎ +30 2310 267832. Tue-Sun 8:30-15:00. Platia Lefkou Pyrgou €3 , under 18 for free.
- Museum of Ancient Greek, Byzantine, and Post Byzantine Musical Instruments, Katouni 12 (in the Ladadika neighbourhood).
- Thessaloniki Museum of Photography. Harbor, Warehouse A.
- Museum of Cinematography in Thessaloniki. Harbor, Warehouse A.
- Folklore and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia and Thrace, Vassilisis Olgas St 68.
- Jewish Museum, Agiou Mina St 13.
- Museum for the Macedonian Struggle, Proxenou Koromila 23.
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.
- Thessaloniki Concert Hall, "25 Μartiou" Str. (near the Posidonio Athletic Center of Thessaloniki - Kalamaria). The venue includes a main hall of 1.400 seats, designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and inaugurated on 2nd January 2000. The Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra plays Italian Operas and works of Greek composers. Solo artists often perform here. Check current events in their site.
- Waterland. A large Water park near Tagarades Hill. Free bus service starting at the City center
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.
- Discovery Yachting, Thermaikou 21, ☎ +30 231 046 5269, +30 694 838 8098, fax: +30 231 046 5269, e-mail: email@example.com. Bareboat charter or skippered sailing yacht, also night time tours.
- Nautilia Yachting, Leoforos Karamanli Konstantinou 145, ☎ +30 231 055 8192, fax: +30 231 055 8192, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nautilia 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.
Books and maps in various languages can be bought in stores such as:
- Ianos bookshop, Aristotelous Sq (in the city centre). Books & 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 significally lower prices than in nearby countries.
For eating out see the eat section below
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.
Sweets and pastry
If you like sweets, there are 3 typical pastry-shops you should try, typical of this city:
- Chatzis. Is famous for its collection of Greek Asia Minor sweets (politika glyka) originating from Istanbul.
- 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.
- Elenidis. Is considered the expert in "trigona" (triangles made of sfoglia, filled with cream).
Best winter dessert: baked quince.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Splurge||€20-€30 and up|
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 downtown 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, the 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, go ahead and order them- you'll be amazed at how good they taste. Another typical winter salad is politiki, a combination of shredded cabbage and pickles.
- Agora, Kapodistriou 5 (Off Ionos Dragoumi). Ouzo restaurant (ouzeri) in one of the most interesting old downtown areas.
- Ano Poli (Tsinari-(Ano Poli)). Tavern.
- Ellinikon (Ladadika, Morichovou Sq). In the old warehouse area near the port, around Morichovou Sq, chock-full of restaurants, bars and clubs. Offers "appelation d'origine" local delicacies.
- Evi Evan, Olympou 68 (Bit-Bazaar).
- Glykia Symoria, Ioustinianou and Zaliki 1 (Bit-Bazaar).
- Goody's. Is the Greek fast-food chain. You will find classic hamburgers, also souvlaki, pasta, and salads.
- Makedoniko, ) (Kastra (Ano Poli).
- Pyrgos (Kastra (Ano Poli)). A brasserie.
- Selini (Bit-Bazaar), ☎ +30 2310 221778.
- To Floro Ke To Laio, Baltadorou 11 and Benizelou (Bit-Bazaar).
- Apo Dyo Horia (Navarinou Sq). Cretan and Pontian restaurant. Here, order raki rather than ouzo or tsipouro.
- Kamaras (Near Rotonda). Great traditional dishes.
- 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 original gifts.
- Myrsini (Behind the state theatre Etairia Makedonikon Spoudon). Good Cretan restaurant.
- Pire kai vradiazei (Πήρε και βραδιάζει), Omirou 7 (Off Theagenio Hospital). Great taverna, unique style, good food and some days (Th-Su) live music.
- Pizza da Pepe, Stefanou Tatti 10 (Side street off Egnatia, near Aghia Sophia Church), ☎ +30 2310 242407. For the best pizzas in town head here.
- Toicho-Toicho, Polydorou 1 (Ano Poli (Kastra)). An hipster hang-out, nice atmosphere, very expensive for the quality.
- Tombourlika (Τομπουρλίκα), Navmachias Limnou 14 (Off Vardaris Sqare), ☎ +30 2310 548193. Great traditional ouzeri, with fresh fish and meat dishes and live rembetico music.
- Tsarouchas (Τσαρούχας), Olymbou 78 (Off Ancient Forum). 24/7. For those with adventurous tastes, preferably go after a hard night's drinking, for a "patsás" (tripe) soup - a delicious way to prevent a hangover.
- Nea Diagonios, Nik. Plastira 89, Kalamaria (Take the bus 5 from Aristotelous square stop at Akaion Station), ☎ +302310029085, e-mail: email@example.com. 12:30 to 00:00. Here you can eat pork gyros and soutzoukakia 15€.
- Krikelas, Ladadika (Near Morichovou Sq).
- Odos Aristotelous (Lepen), Odos Aristotelous. Most Salonicans know it as the "Lepen"
- Zythos-Dore (White Tower Square). An 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), home to many cheaper cafe's 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
- 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. Although not the favorite by Thessaloniki’s highest class (modern bouzoukia are not considered a classy kind of entertainment) worth a visit. Quite controversial, some delicate restaurants and Greek taverns are located in Morichovou Sq., popular during lunch time
- Aretsou - Aretsou is located in the southeast part of the city, in the Kalamaria District. In the seafront Plastira Av. one can find delicate cafeterias 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 right 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.
- Vilka (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.
- Mylos Club, 56 "Andrea Georgiou" Str., ☎ +30 231 051 0081. Hosting concerts, events, exhibitions, music bands, famous Greek artists etc. Venue can change. Check their page on Facebook.
- Little Big House Hostel, 24 Andakidou St, ☎ +30 231 3014323, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This 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. €17 for bed in 6-person dorm, €19 for bed in 4-person dorm.
- Backpackers refuge, ☎ +30 698 3433591, e-mail: email@example.com. Near 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. 6 bed dorm €15.
- Studios Arabas, Sachtouri 28 (Σαχτούρη 28), ☎ +30 697 381 7188. €11.50 for dorm.
- The Tourist Hotel, 21, Mitropoleos St (Right in the center), ☎ +30 2310 270501, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 2-star hotel, cheap, clean and welcoming. Single/double/triple rooms. Free WiFi. Parking with an extra charge of 15,00 € per day. €75 for a double room incl breakfast.
- Rex Hotel, Monastiriou 39, ☎ +30 231 051 7051, e-mail: email@example.com. Cheap hotel opposite the train station towards the centre. Only a 5 min walk from train station. Not great, but adequate. Two-bedroom in peak season €60.
- Hotel Acropoli. Close to the train station. Clean but shabby rooms, most with a balcony. A triple costs €80 or €60 for a double.
- Alexandria Hotel, 18 Egnatia St (there is a bus stop outside, buses link to train station, bus station and airport), ☎ +30 2310 536185, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 12:00. Bang 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. €33 for twin room.
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.
- Heaven Hotel, Tagarades, Thessaloniki, Macedonia, ☎ +30 239 2072701, e-mail: email@example.com. Between the hills of Tagarades with panoramic views of the city and Thermaico's gulf.
- Zaliki Boutique Hotel (Zaliki hotel in the center of Thessaloniki), 6 Gr. Zaliki St, ☎ +30 2310 226400, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Boutique Hotel in Thessaloniki city center in a neo-classical building offering free wi-fi, free parking and free pick-up from airport.
- El Greco Hotel (Hotel in Thessaloniki city center), 23 Egnatia Street., ☎ +30 231 0520620, e-mail: email@example.com. 3 star hotel in the heart of Thessaloniki. Free Parking lot, VIP taxi service and free WiFi.
- Kinissi Palace, 41 Egnatia and Syngrou St, ☎ +30 2310 508081. 4 star.
- Rotonda (Rotonda Hotel in the entrance of city), 97 Monastiriou St, ☎ +30 2310 517121, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 3 star hotel entering the city of Thessaloniki. Free Parking lot, VIP taxi service and free WiFi.
- 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 incl breakfast if business is slack.
- Hotel Luxembourg, Komninon 6, ☎ +30 2310 252600, e-mail: email@example.com. 3 star hotel in neoclassical building next to the Thessaloniki seaside and Aristotelous square
- Hotel Anessis, 26th October 20, ☎ +30 2310 520200, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 3 star hotel next to Thessaloniki seaside and port with free Wi-Fi
- Tobacco Hotel, Aghiou Dimitriou St. 4 star boutique hotel (formerly a tobacco warehouse).
- Kapsis Hotel, 2, Oplopiou & Katouni Streets, ☎ +30 2310 232221. 5 star.
- Hotel Philippion, Seich Sou Forest, ☎ +30 2310 203320, e-mail: email@example.com. 4 star hotel located in the heart of Seich-Sou Park, overlooking views of Thessaloniki and Thermaikos Golf.
- Park Hotel, 81 Ionos Dragoumi, ☎ +30 2310 524121. Good breakfast buffet and reasonable prices. Located near the old Administration building.
- Hotel Byzantio, West Peripheral of Thessaloniki, ☎ +30 2310 690000, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- Amalia Hotel, 33 Hermou St, ☎ +30 2310 268321, e-mail: email@example.com. 2 star hotel, in the centre of Thessaloniki, close to Aristotelous Square, all rooms with balcony and free WiFi.
- a.d. Imperial Palace Thessaloniki Hotel (a.d. Imperial Palace hotel in the center of Thessaloniki), 13 Andigonidon st, ☎ +30 2310 5083000, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Boutique hotel in city center in a neo-classical building offering free wi-fi, free parking and free pick-up from airport.
- Electra Palace Hotel Thessaloniki, 9, Aristotelous sq., ☎ +30 2310 294000, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 14.00, check-out: 12.00. 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.
- Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki, 13 km Thessaloniki-Perea, ☎ +30 231 040 1234, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 5 star hotel with 2 ballrooms, 5 meeting rooms and 3 boardrooms. 2 km from the largest casino in Europe.
- Porto Palace Hotel, 65, 26th October Ave, ☎ +30 231 0504504, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 14.00, check-out: 12.00. Porto Palace Hotel is located 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.
- Domotel Les Lazaristes Hotel, Kolokotroni 16, 56 430, ☎ +30 2310 647400, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nearby to major cultural centre of the city. The State Museum of Contemporary Art inspired its design philosophy.
- Mediterranean Palace Hotel, 3, Salaminos & Karatassou Streets, 54626 Thessaloniki, Greece, ☎ +30 2310 552554, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. 5 star hotel with views of Thermaikos Bay.
There are many Internet cafes and bars, restaurants or coffee shops that offer free wireless internet (wi-fi).
At Thessaloniki airport, go up to the restaurant on the 2nd floor for free, fast (16 Mbps) wifi (SSID "Goodbye Free Wifi").
Watch your pockets and travel documents as there are pickpockets, especially in buses during rush hour.
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
Tap water is safe and that's what people of the city drink. In some places in the city center you might get a slight "taste" from the water. That means that the tubes in the building are getting old, so you might want to buy bottled water.
Greece is a sunny place, and if your skin is light-colored, intense sunlight can be a serious danger. Use sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.
Emergency phone number: 166
The classic trips out of Thessaloniki are:
- 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
- 500 km of wonderful beaches on the two first fingers of Halkidikí peninsula, where many Salonicans (and tourists) spend their holidays. (The third finger is the monastic community of Mount Athos.) 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!
- 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 Republic of Macedonia, respectively, the Prespas especially offering an austere and evocative Balkan landscape and plenty of birdwatching.