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Thessaloniki: Awesome Reasons You Should Read Before You Go Greece


Thessaloniki is the second biggest city in Greece, after Athens! On this post, we will introduce where is Thessaloniki, how to get there, what to do, best things to do in city, eat & drink, restaurants, tavernas, bars, cafes, shopping areas, beaches around Thessaloniki, accommodation options and best hotels which we advise you.

Nestled in the heart of the Thermaic Gulf, Thessaloniki Greece serves as a commercial, business, and transportation hub for the northern side of Greece. A city with a long history and rich culture, Thessaloniki is a very interesting place to visit. Either as a holiday destination or as a part of a road trip between the nearby Kavala, Halkidiki, and Pieria, Thessaloniki should be in your bucket list!

The most popular spot in the city is Thessaloniki Beach Promenade. There, both visitors and locals enjoy long walks, marvel at the sea view, and watch the sunset. Apart from the beach promenade, Aristotle Square, which is located right in the city center, is another famous spot. Around this square is the commercial center of Thessaloniki, where you’ll find all kinds of shops, restaurants, coffee places and, of course, the renowned pastry shops of Thessaloniki. What’s more, in the city center, you’ll find a great selection of hotels.

More Information about Thessaloniki

Located in Macedonia, in Northern Greece, there is a city unlike anywhere else in Greece. Thessaloniki is a sprawling urban centre, a cultural melting pot, where dreams, ideas, visions and trends percolate in an alternative, avant garde scene. Its history is written upon everything you see: Galerius Arch, Rotonda – Roman Temple, Roman Forum – Ancient Agora, Ataturk Museum, Monastery of Vlatades (Vlatadon), Magic Park, the Thermaic Gulf, the White Tower, Nikis Avenue, Aristotelous Square, Mitropoleos Avenue, Tsimiski Avenue, Ladadika, Modiano Market, Bit Bazaar and the Old City.

For thousands of years, this northern port-town has been a meeting point for people of different cultures. Impressive attractions, cafes, bars, traditional tavernas, gourmet restaurants, a lively nightlife – you’ll find everything here in Thessaloniki, the beautiful ‘bride of the Thermaic Gulf’.

Where is Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is a city found in Central Macedonia, Greece. It is located 40.64 latitude and 22.93 longitude and it is situated at elevation 8 meters above sea level. Thessaloniki has a population of 354,290 making it the biggest city in Central Macedonia.

How to get to Thessaloniki

Travel to Thessaloniki, Greece: Thessaloniki is one of the most enchanting cities in Greece and the second biggest city center of the country, with the first one being Athens! On this page, you will find out in which ways you can reach and explore this unique destination!

Travel to Thessaloniki by car

The recently constructed National Road Athens-Thessaloniki and Egnatia Motorway make the trip to Thessaloniki easy and fast from any place on the Greek mainland. The distance between Athens and Thessaloniki is about 500 km. In case you don’t have your own vehicle, it is an excellent idea to rent a car for your sightseeing trips!

How to get to Thessaloniki by train

You can easily reach Thessaloniki by train from many places on the Greek mainland and from Athens, too. Trains from Athens depart from Larissa station. You can get further information about routes, timetables and ticket prices on www.trainose.gr

Travel to Thessaloniki by bus

You can travel by KTEL buses to Thessaloniki from various locations around Macedonia and from Athens, too. KTEL buses from Athens depart from Kifissos bus station. You can get further information about routes and timetables on www.ktelthes.gr

Flights to Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki Airport “Makedonia” is located about 20 km away from the city center of Thessaloniki. The airport operates both domestic and international flights all year round. At the entrance of the airport, you will find taxis that can transfer you anywhere you wish. Book online your transfer from Thessaloniki airport to your hotel.

Ferries to Thessaloniki

The port of Thessaloniki is the largest port in Macedonia and one of the largest ports all over Greece. There is a ferry connection between this port and the island complexes of Cyclades and Sporades. Book your ferry tickets online!

Things to do in Thessaloniki

Activities in Thessaloniki are limited. There are almost no chances for active holidays in the city center. The most popular activities in Thessaloniki are sightseeing and shopping. Sightseeing in Thessaloniki is easily done on foot, as most sights are located in a walking distance from each other, usually around Aristotle Square that is considered the most central spot of the city.

Visit Ataturk Museum

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the founder and leader of the modern secular Turkish State. He is considered one of the most important and historic personalities of Turkey. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was born in this house in Apostolou Pavlou St in 1881. In 1935 the Thessaloniki city council decided to give the building to the Turkish State which afterwards converted it into a museum dedicated to the life and achievements of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The house was built in 1870. It has three floors and a courtyard.

Shopping in Thessaloniki

Shopping is also a popular activity in Thessaloniki. The shopping triangle in the city center is Egnatia str, Nikis str, and Venizelou str, where there are large shopping outlets next to family shops. There are also large malls and shopping centers in Thessaloniki, such as Mediterranean Cosmos and Shopping Centre Makedonia, both in the region of the airport. Very interesting are also the traditional close markets of Thessaloniki, such as the famous Bezesteni Market.

Thessaloniki: a multicultural centre

Trace the civilisations and peoples that have left their mark on this great city of Thessaloniki. The Palace, the Triumphal Arch and the impressive Rotunda offer an insight into to the reign of emperor Galerius Maximilianos (early 4th century) and formed the city’s administrative and religious centre in Roman times. Or the Jewish Museum, in an elegant listed building of 1904 on Agiou Mina Street, recreating the life of the Jewish community in pre-War Salonica and its subsequent extermination by the Nazis.

Finally, don’t forget to visit the former home of Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey. Or wander the narrow lanes of Ano Poli, one of the oldest districts of Thessaloniki, above the modern town. There you’ll admire the numerous attractions, most of which are castles and religious monuments: the Trigoniou Tower, with its amazing view and the Eptapyrgio fortifications, Ottoman monuments, the Vlatades monastery and the Byzantine churches of Osios David and Agios Nikolaos Orfanos. This is the most unspoilt district of the old city. And let’s not forget, of course, the iconic 16th century White Tower, by Aristotelous Square in the city centre.

Travel to a fun and vibrant city

The White Tower, Ano Poli, Aristotelous Avenue, shopping on Tsimiski Street, bar hopping on Valaoritou Avenue, the International Film Festival held in the warehouses of the port, live music at Ladadika’s eateries, walks through the vaulted arches and the open air markets, visits to museums and Byzantine monuments… the ideal city-break destination.

Visit LightHouse in Megalo Emvolo

Join the Celebration of the World Day of Lighthouses in Megalo Embolo of Aggelochori in Thessaloniki.

What to do in Thessaloniki

In the city centre, the atmosphere is filled with a youthful energy, all day and all night. With every step you’ll discover hidden treasures: historic cafes, cosy bars, as well as, clubs with impressive designs in renovated industrial spaces and music venues in old warehouses, hosting live rock concerts. Nightlife is one of the city’s strengths. Follow the locals to their favourite haunts, and let them guide you through Thessaloniki’s secrets, sure to satisfy all styles and tastes. In this city in Northern Greece, fun is a local tradition, just like the warm soup you’ll be served when the sun comes up.

Eat & Drink in Thessaloniki

This city in northern Greece has a large variety of restaurants, bars, and clubs. Places to eat and drink in Thessaloniki are spread in all neighborhoods, although the most famous venues are found in a walking distance from Aristotle Square, the most central spot of the city. Due to the large student community of Thessaloniki, restaurants, and bars are open all year round. The most famous bars are found in Aristotle Square and along the Beach Promenade, staying open until late and playing loud music.

The most famous quarter with places to eat in Thessaloniki is Ladadika, an old ill-reputed neighborhood that has now turned into a nightlife spot. Taverns in Ladadika have a traditional style and many live music nights with rebetiko or bouzoukia musicians. Such traditional taverns are also found in the quarter of Ano Poli (Old Town).

Are you looking for places to eat and drink in Thessaloniki? Here are some interesting suggestions to have a meal or dinner, enjoy a relaxing coffee and spend the night out in Thessaloniki.

Restaurants in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki offers an abundance of dining experiences, resembling a paradise of Greek foods. Any kind of restaurant can be found in this city, from traditional taverns and snack bars to places with international cuisine. Most Thessaloniki restaurants are found in the quarters of Ladadika and Old Town (Ano Poli). Nice venues are also found at Aristotle Square, along the beach promenade and all over the city. Thessaloniki restaurants are open from early in the evening until after midnight.

Sempriko: Near the western Byzantine Walls, Sempriko has become a classic thanks to its consistent quality. Steaks immersed in truffle oil are enormous and absolutely divine, salads are imaginative, shrimp is sizzled in butter, and there are excellent risottos with seasonal mushrooms or seafood. An excellent variety of cheese completes the experience, as does the fantastic selection of Greek wine.

Palati: Palati music restaurant is well-known for its top quality food and live performances of Greek music. It is spotted in Ladadika, a popular region which is also referred as the old Egyptian market of Thessaloniki. Palati is housed in an old, two-story building that is fully restored. Its elegant decoration with details of stone and wood create a more traditional, relaxing atmosphere, making Palati a unique place.

Agioli: If you wish to enjoy a scrumptious meal with Mediterranean flavors, then Agioli is the right place. This restaurant is situated in the heart of Thessaloniki close to the White Tower, at an exquisite spot with amazing sea view. As in its spacious interior Agioli can host approximately 150 people, it is worth mentioning that this restaurant provides an organization service for business meals.

Athivoli: Since 2008 Athivoli is an ideal destination for the lovers of Cretan Cuisine. This traditional corner offers delicious dishes that are based on the Cretan culinary tradition and philosophy. Each and every portion is cooked with olive oil, meze dishes are served with raki or wine and all ingredients are carefully chosen and collected straight from Cretan fields.

Full tou Meze: The main goal of Full of Meze team is to satisfy every customer with their supreme, handmade delights. The philosophy of the cooking method is based exclusively on the high quality of the raw materials, the conservation of their original taste and the thorough execution of the traditional recipes.

Best Bars in Thessaloniki

The second largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki is also a lively entertainment and nightlife center. There is a variety of options for evening or night entertainment, including many lounge bars, live music bars, discos, clubs, and bouzoukia. From trendy cocktail bars to nightclub piano bars or even Thessaloniki bars with live music, you can definitely find a place to enjoy your drink with the background of your favorite music, from traditional Greek to modern international, from jazz to rock, and Latin to Soul.

Apallou: Started in 2005 when Karolou Diehl street was just another central street of Thessaloniki.

Boheme: Spotted on a supreme location, this bar-restaurant boasts a scenic view of the entire Saronic Gulf.

Butler: Exceptional blends of coffee, amazing breakfast and lunch choices such as delicious pancakes, croissants, omelets, pretzels and other creative dishes to start the day.

Gorilas: Based in one of the oldest and beautiful areas of the city, the Ano Ladadika, established by the creators of The Bar Testament and Pig Nose.

La Doze: Bar is a multi-space, in the Valaoritou area, which can evolve and turn into whatever necessary for the city’s creative, musical or virtual art needs. It possesses a rare collection of fine spirits, classic and homemade cocktails made with alchemical precision.

On The Road: Since 1995 On the Road bar is one of the most famous meeting points of the city. At the most idyllic spot of Thessaloniki, the beach, with the marvelous view of Thermaikos bay, the bar offers all day long coffee, beer, wine, cocktails and many other choices to pick according to your taste.

Top bars in Thessaloniki are concentrated in the city center, as well as at the Beach Promenade. Many have an entrance fee, which includes the first drink, but there are some choices that are free to enter. Many nice Thessaloniki bars can also be found in the areas of Ladadika and at the multicultural space of Mylos.

An experienced business tourism destination

Thessaloniki, the business hub of the Balkans, also offers excellent infrastructure. The city hosts several major exhibitions and conferences every year, including the International Film Festival and the Thessaloniki International Exhibition.

Your off-duty needs will also be well-covered with good food and entertainment options, rich history and culture, excellent museums, popular pedestrian ways and brand-name shopping. Spectacular, internationally-renowned archaeological sites of Greece are easily accessible from Thessaloniki, at Philippi, Pella, Ancient Dion and Vergina.

Thessaloniki Food Festival

Thessaloniki Food Festival aims in promoting and upgrading local gastronomy while establishing the city as a target for culinary tourism. It was organised for the first time in 2011, and since then has been attracting more and more tourists who like to experience local tastes. Read more about Thessaloniki Food Festival.

The restaurants of the city suggest tasteful menus with only 10 euro every Tuesday night. The list is constantly updated.

Thessaloniki Beaches

Although Thessaloniki is mostly famous for its nightlife and sightseeing, there are few nice beach places around the town. All beaches in Thessaloniki are easy to access from the city center and most are organized with tourist facilities. Many locals though go swimming to Halkidiki, as most beach resorts are about an hour drive away from Thessaloniki. You will find below a list with the best beaches in Thessaloniki Greece.

Discover our guide to 5 beautiful Thessaloniki beaches. They are all presented with a detailed description, photos and their location on a map of Thessaloniki. For the most popular spots, we also provide information about sightseeing in the area, a selection of hotels and reviews.

  • Agia Triada beach, map
  • Riviera Virgin Beach, map
  • Asprovalta beach, map
  • Perea beach, map
  • Epanomi beach, map

Where to Stay in Thessaloniki

You will find below our selection with the best hotels in Thessaloniki! The most convenient hotels in Thessaloniki are located in the city center, in a walking distance from Aristotle Square. Almost all activity in Thessaloniki is concentrated in Aristotle Square and at the Beach Promenade, therefore a central accommodation gives easy access to facilities and to public transportation. Thessaloniki hotels range from low scale places to luxurious hotels. Want to booking? View all hotels in Thessaloniki.


The 10 best budget hotels in Thessaloniki

  1. Orestias Kastorias | booking.com |
  2. Hotel Ilisia | booking.com |
  3. Pella | booking.com |
  4. Amalia | booking.com |
  5. Tourist Hotel | booking.com |
  6. Emporikon | booking.com |
  7. Esperia | booking.com |
  8. Petite Palace 7 | booking.com |
  9. Argo | booking.com |
  10. Hotel Kastoria | booking.com |

The 21 best luxuryt hotels in Thessaloniki

  1. Antigon Urban Chic | booking.com |
  2. Superior One | booking.com |
  3. The Caravan | booking.com |
  4. Colors Urban Hotel | booking.com |
  5. Makedonia Palace | booking.com |
  6. Daios Luxury Living | booking.com |
  7. Capsis Bristol | booking.com |
  8. The Excelsior | booking.com |
  9. Egnatia Palace | booking.com |
  10. White Bottle | booking.com |
  11. The Modernist | booking.com |
  12. The Mood | booking.com |
  13. Jolene | booking.com |
  14. Bahar Boutique Hotel | booking.com |
  15. Evel’s Home Suites | booking.com |
  16. Magnifique Suites | booking.com |
  17. Thessaloniki Center | booking.com |
  18. Roomore Apartments | booking.com |
  19. Laura Lifestyle | booking.com |
  20. Central Downtown | booking.com |
  21. Elegant Supercentral | booking.com |

The date of this article on our blog may seem new due to some updates. The content of the article reflects the author's own opinion and it is possible that some information in the article, such as price and transportation, may have changed. We kindly ask you to take it into consideration.

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