Geographically, where is the area of Thessaloniki located?

Thessaloniki is a vibrant, full of surprises destination. Located in the heart of Macedonia it is the second largest city in Greece. 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 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 northwestern, the central and the southeastern.

How do I get to Thessaloniki by plane?

Thessaloniki is served by Macedonia International Airport (SKG) for international and domestic flights. By Air Thessaloniki is linked to Athens, Ioannina, Hania, Heraklion, Lemnos, Lesvos, Rhodes and Skiathos (in Summer). The city`s airport (10 miles outside Thessaloniki) is served by many of the major airlines.

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

The airport is served on a 24-hour basis by OASTH (Organization of Urban Transportation of Thessaloniki) the city`s bus company, with bus numbers 78/78A/78N 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. Journey time is 30-40 minutes; one-way fares cost about €2 (you need change to buy a ticket from the machine on board).

Bus number 78 has a frequency of between 15 min and 30 min during the day, while number 78A runs once per day at 5 am from KTEL Bus Terminal to the airport. At night, the bus number changes to 78N and runs every 30 min through Thessaloniki, between the airport and Macedonia InterCity Bus Terminal (KTEL). (00 and 30 minutes past the hour from KTEL Bus Terminal, 20 and 50 min past the hour from the Airport).

Alternatively, a taxi will cost about €20-30. Taxis are hard to find during peak hours between 7 to 8 am, 2 to 4 pm and 7 to 9 pm, so plan early.

How do I get to Thessaloniki by train?

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, Monastiriou St 28, City Center.

- TrainOSE travel service (Thessaloniki TrainOSE travel service No. 4), 18 Aristotelous Str.

There are normally employees at all major stations to facilitate transportation of disabled persons.

Train Discounts:
-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.

If I have a car in Thessaloniki, where can I park?

There is little reason to have a car in Thessaloniki. Traffic is terrible and legal parking spots are hard to come by. One of the burdens about having a car 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 about €4 for 3 hr. Traffic congestion is a problem, largely due to double-parked cars. Although having a car is convenient if you decide to go on excursions into northern Greece. Keep in mind that if you take a day trip, you`ll spend at least an hour getting out of the city.

You`ll find there are a number of outdoor municipal parking areas (free of charge) where you can park your vehicle and then use means of public transport or walk to the city center. In addition, you can park in the designated street parking areas in the city center and use the street parking meters which charge by the hour in order to obtain a parking ticket where required. Another, more expensive solution, is the private garages that you can find around Thessaloniki`s center.

Is Thessaloniki a walking city?

In the city center, a 20 to 30 minute walk will take you to most attractions, restaurants, and shops. The city offers a beautiful waterfront promenade leading to the iconic White Tower. If you walk a bit further, you`ll be at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. Hilly streets can make walking a challenge, but it is possible to explore the old city. Thessaloniki is much more compact than Athens and follows a more regular plan of streets. The slightly slower pace and less congested streets combine to make this a good destination for pedestrians.

If you want a guided experience on foot, there are many to choose from.

How do I get around by Bus?

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 5:00 am until just after midnight.

Bus number 50 (`cultural line`) follows a figure-of-8 route past all the major tourist sites. 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 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 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.

Note: prices and information above was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

How do I get around by taxi?

The taxis in Thessaloniki have a dark-blue and white color and are easily found on every corner of the city. They are reliable and run all day and night, but they are more expensive than urban buses.

It is worth noting that many taxis are reluctant to make the trip to the Upper city. Reason being, there is little guarantee of a return fare down, and they may (unlawfully) refuse. But if you`re in the cab before you state your destination, there`s little the driver can do but take you there. Otherwise, if you don`t want to walk up, you can hop on bus no. 23, which leaves from Eleftherias Square.

Is Thessalonikia dangerous city?

Thessaloniki is a safe place to visit. Nevertheless, you should always take precautions when traveling, ie., keep your passport in your hotel safe if you can, don`t carry a great deal of cash, be vigilant about your own safety and beware of pickpockets. It is always recommended to avoid walking along at night and in remote areas.

Some people may feel very uncomfortable walking in the areas near the railway station at night, as there are several brothels there. The only area absolutely to avoid is around Vardaris (Dimokratias) Square, which attracts some undesirable characters.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency in Greece is the euro (€). Once you`re in Greece you`ll have to use the euro in most places. It is recommended to exchange at least some money before you leave home so that you can avoid lines at airport ATMs.

I don`t speak Greek. Will many people speak English?

Greek is the official language spoken in Thessaloniki. Hotels, tourist attractions and restaurants in popular areas generally have staff that speaks some English. The Greeks will be more friendly and eager to help if you try to speak some Greek. Just a couple of words are fine, they love it when they hear a stranger speaking their language. On the street, many people (especially young people) speak at least basic English. If you head off the beaten track then it`s a good idea to brush up on your Greek! We suggest you get a good English-Greek guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What are the best areas for shopping?

Shopping is one thing that you will definitely enjoy during your stay in Thessaloniki. The city has a compact center which makes it easy to explore the major shopping districts. Also, because Thessaloniki is relatively tourist-free, you won`t be overwhelmed here by streets lined with garish souvenir and T-shirt shops.

Tsimiski Avenue: Tsimiski is a 0.7 miles long Avenue in the heart of Thessaloniki. The avenue is extended from Aggelaki Str. by the International Trade Fair area to Ionos Dragoumi Str., right after Venizelou Avenue. Along Tsimiski you will find many boutiques, fashion shops, delicatessens and large bookstores. `Plateia` (Plaza) shopping mall, with the famous `Odeon` multiplex cinemas, is also located on Tsimiski Avenue, near Aristotelous Square. Moreover, Tsimiski Av. hosts many large and impressive department stores like `Nottos Galleries`. If lucky, you may discover some brand names at real bargain prices there.

Mitropoleos Avenue: Parallel to Tsimiski Avenue, this road, along with Ermou Street and Proxenou Koromila Street, are a much more expensive choice. On Mitropoleos Street you`ll discover some of the city`s well-known patisseries, branches of internationally known fashion brands and smaller boutiques. Most of the haute couture branches of the city center though (Burberry etc) are located on Proxenou Koromila street, formerly known as The First Parallel. This street is also very popular with locals for its coffee shops and bars that stay open till late at night even on weekdays.

Agia Sofia Street: Offers some less expensive fashion stores selling stylish clothes and accessories and one or two modern cafes and patisseries as well. Part of Agia Sofia Street (from Tsimiski up to Ermou) has recently been restricted to cars and was made a pedestrian street, something that offers you the chance to take your time and have a look at the shops that mostly sell clothes, fashion accessories and shoes.

On the neighboring streets and alleys of Agia Sofia streets, visitor can discover some creative vintage fashion stores and boutiques.

Egnatia Avenue: This is a great street to shop if you are on a stricter budget. The street is home to many small fashion and accessories` boutiques and shoe shops and a few bookstores and newstands. Egnatia Str. also hosts many low cost ovens and bakeries where you can buy a small snack or pie and coffee. The street is quite busy during morning hours, by passing drivers and students from the neighboring Aristotle University.

In addition to Egnatia Street, Dimitriou Gounari Str. (best known as Navarinou area, named after the nearby Navarinou Plaza), is yet another destination for some more inexpensive stores and alternative styles. In this area, you will encounter tattoo shops, hippie fashion & accessories` boutiques and some stores that sell second hand music cds, collectible magazines and books at low prices.

While walking in the center of the city you will soon discover that pretty much anything you can imagine is for sale; you just have to find the right place and shop to suit you.

What is the weather like? When is the best time to visit?

Thessaloniki can be visited year-round. Summers are hot and humid. Winters can be cold, chilled by the northerly Vardaris wind; however, this clears the skies for good views of Mount Olympus. Generally speaking spring and autumn are the best times because it is not excessively hot and if you visit Thessaloniki during either of these seasons, you`ll avoid the bulk of the European vacationers in the summer high season. November through March is when Greece receives most of its rain, so it is best to skip these months if you can.

However, even in winter it is rarely very cold. Sea winds moderate Thessaloniki`s weather, ensuring that seasonal fluctuations in temperature are moderate. Winter temperatures in Thessaloniki average between 41 and 47 degrees Fahrenheit, and in summer this rises to 77 degrees. So if you end up visiting during winter, simply bring along some lightweight rain clothes, waterproof shoes and an umbrella and you should be fine. If you wind up in Thessaloniki during the summer, a good way to escape the heat is to head up to the mountains for a day or two. Higher elevations have much more bearable temperatures during the hottest months.

High Season in Thessaloniki: The busiest time of the year in Thessaloniki is not summer but fall, when the International Trade Fair and Festival of Greek Songs takes place in September, followed by the Demitria celebrations of the city`s patron saint continuing into October and November. There is also a film festival in November. If you come between September and November, be sure to book a hotel in advance and be prepared to pay high prices: Price hikes of more than 50% are usual during convention and festival season.

What is the food and dining like?

It doesn`t really matter if you are a street food lover, if you prefer a traditional tavern or a luxurious restaurant. Thessaloniki is the place for every taste and style and known as the culinary capital due primarily to both Western and Eastern influences from the various cultures of people that have made this cosmopolitan city a food forward city! The food culture here showcases the best of local cuisine and agricultural products in the county.

Gyros, mpougatsa, souvlaki, patsas and of course, tsoureki are some of the delicious popular options the locals love. You`ll find them in every corner of the city. Mezedes, or casual eateries, are located all around the city. Most feature different takes on local specialties of savory pies, kabobs or souvlaki, grilled fish like sardines, kalmaria gemista (squid stuffed with feta), melitzanosalata (smoked eggplant and walnut tapenade) and bougatsa, a rich phyllo pastry filled with cheese, meat, or sweet custard and all the sweet pastry shops offering honey dripped goodness of baklava in so many varieties like this display below.

The market area is expansive with many areas designated for fish, meats and specialty purveyors. This is a great place to sample the many varieties of delicious local foods.

Modiano Market hall is also a popular shopping market located in an ornate but run down building bounded by Aristotelous, Ermou, Vasileos Irakleiou, and Komninon Streets. Filled with authentic seafood and meat stalls, the market smells of fresh caught Aegean delicacies and fish, local meat and finished products, fresh produce and delicious pastry shops that are frequented for their famous Spanikopita and feta cheese pies.

Thessaloniki Kapani Market has The carpenter and herb areas around Central market which are very colorful and filled with specialty shops and local craftsmen making a variety of basketry and furniture from the region.

Greeks are cheese lovers and you can see it in many of the mezedes (Greek appetizers) and entrees in the local dishes served throughout the cafes and bars in Thessaloniki. There are many varieties of local Greek cheese to choose from especially the most well-known, feta. This salty cheese made from goat`s milk is aged and stored in barrels that are filled with brine for a few months or so. Feta is celebrated in the many casseroles, fried pastries and of course Greek Salads that are a classic dish served as an appetizer dish. Other popular local cheese made and sold in the various cheese and deli shops include Manouri which is a cream cheese typically used for pastries like spanakopita and Kasseri cheese which is a medium yellow cheese aged for about four months before storing.

Souvlaki galore: A must do sandwich to try in the city, Thessaloniki boasts a plethora of Greek food specialties like souvlaki (a traditional pork or lamb sandwich) take out or fast food style eateries all over the city with inexpensive food. There are too many to choose from in the city, but if you want to look for the best souvlaki stands in the city you might want to ask a local since everyone has their own favorites. Typically served with large fries, an order also comes with lettuce, tomato and onions and usually with some tzatziki (a greek yogurt sauce)

Sweet Thessaloniki pastries: Greek pastries are a favorite pastime for Thessaloniki locals with a perpetual sweet tooth. You can easily get into the act by visiting any of the popular pastry shops that feature yummy and super sweet specialties like trigona which is a syrup-soaked baklava stuffed with cream - oh so good.

Specialty foods you must try in Thessaloniki:
1) Try the street food and enjoy a nice Gyro or Souvlaki from the many take out places around the city.

2) The coffee culture is very popular in Thessaloniki so enjoy the morning with a nice strong Greek coffee and a plate of bougatsa – the traditional Greek pie filled with cheese, custard, minced meat or spinach.
3) You must visit some of the café bars for mezedes and try the local ouzo or tsipouro at a the local ouzeris around the city, preferably along the waterfront area of the city.
4) Need to run and pick up something to go, do as the locals and grab the popular ring bread, Koulouris with a yogurt-like drink called Ayran.
5) In the mood for a sweet pastry, drop into any of the sweet dessert shops and order a trigona which is a syrup-soaked baklava stuffed with cream.
6) Enjoy a late evening in a Greek Bouzoukia or local club which is a very popular place for nightlife and to see the locals enjoy an evening out.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

Emergencies: call tel. 112.

-100 - Police

-Tourist Police (+30) 2310554874

-166 - Ambulance

Emergencies - The police hot line is tel. 100; for non-urgent help, call tel. 2310/863-393. For first aid, call tel. 166. Also try the tourist police, 4 Dodekanisou, near the eastern end of Tsimiski (tel. 2310/554-870 or 2310/554-871).

Hospitals - The main hospital is the Ippokration (tel. 2310/892-2000 or 2310/837-921) at 50 Papanastasiou; doctors who speak some English are usually available.