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Thessaloniki Tourism And Travel Guide
18° C / 64.5° F
August to October
2 to 3 Days
Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia (15 kms)
Thessaloniki Railway Station (0.5 kms)
The city of Thessaloniki is located in the Northern part of Greece, also called Greek Macedonia. It is the second largest city, first being Athens; and has a population of over 1 million in its metropolitan area. It is also Greece's 2nd major industrial, economic, political and commercial centre. The city is famous for its Byzantine monuments and history and also for its many festivals, events and hence tourism in Thessaloniki is thriving. Read this travel guide to Thessaloniki to know more about Greece's vibrant cultural capital.
How To Reach
Thessaloniki's airport is well-connected to many international destinations as well as within Greece. From India, there are many airlines that travel to Thessaloniki, with a few stopovers, and this makes for the best mode of transport. The airport is around 15 km away from the city centre.
Thessaloniki railway station is not connected internationally. So to make use of this mode of transport, you will first need to fly into Greece (preferably Athens) and then take a train up to Thessaloniki. It takes about 6 hours from Athens to Thessaloniki by train. The railway station is quite centrally located within the city.
Everybody loves a good road trip! The Greek highways are smooth and stress-free. You can enjoy a good road trip from Athens to Thessaloniki which will take you a little over 5 hours. If you prefer not to drive, you can also take a bus from Athens which would take a bit longer. A bus journey is much cheaper than the train or a domestic flight.
Being a busy city, all public transport options are available from taxis to buses and soon even the metro service will be active. Many of the historic monuments can be found within the city centre and a walking tour would be quite appropriate. You can also opt for a Hop on Hop off bus service which is great for tourists. A unique way of seeing the city is on a segway!
Weather & Best Time To Visit
Spring (March to May):
Tourism is slow in the months of Spring but the weather is quite pleasant, averaging a temperature of about 18°C. While there may not be too many cultural activities during this time, all the historic monuments are still open, so one can enjoy most of the sightseeing with lesser crowds. A festival for book lovers is held in May every year.
Summer (June to August):
The weather is quite warm with an average day temperature of 28°C. The city is buzzing with festivities during this time. You can also enjoy many water-based activities as the temperature is just right for swimming. Some of the festivals held during the summer are the Street Mode Festival and the Urban Picnic Festival.
Autumn (September to November):
September also tends to be quite crowded because of the festivities that still take place. But the autumn months are the best time to visit the city. You get to enjoy beautiful sunny weather up to early October, which makes it perfect for waterfront activities like sailing, fishing, swimming and more. Some festivals that take place during this time are the Reworks Music Festival, the Thessaloniki Mystery Festival and more.
Winter (December to February):
Winters can be quite chilly with an average temperature of 6°C and with many rainy days. Haze and Fog are quite frequent too. It is the slowest time for tourists, as many of the street-activities are shut down because of the cold. But you can still enjoy city sightseeing sites and take back with you a lot of fond memories. A contemporary art festival is held during the winter every year.
Things To Do
Greece's cultural capital is rich with historical monuments from its flourishing Byzantine era. From the Arch of Galerius and Rotunda to the Walls & Towers of the city. There are also many churches that were turned into mosques during the Ottoman rule and then back again as Churches - which offer beautiful interior decor and wonderful stories. Take a tour of these Byzantine monuments and be amazed.
The beautiful 5 km stretch is an iconic part of the city. You can sit by the water and relax for a bit, or walk/cycle the stretch to explore the many unique and interesting art installations along the way. The White Tower and the Statue of Alexander The Great are not to be missed. This is also a good spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset in the evenings.
Be a part of this city's exotic nightlife every evening in the area known as Ladadika. The narrow passageways here are lined with bars and taverns with outdoor seating and live music. It is located very close to the port and was once a thriving market place. The quaint buildings are quite charming and the rustic atmosphere will surely put you in a good mood.
Food & Culture Tour:
Greek food and traditions are famous worldwide. So when you are in Greece, it is but a necessity to explore and learn more about their ways. Take a Food & Culture tour where you can taste some of their delicious local foods and explore their markets.
Greek cuisine is one of the most famous in the world, especially for a meat lover. But vegetarians - don’t fret! There are some mouth-watering delicacies for you too! Bougatsa – A famous semolina custard pastry that can be found in most eateries in Thessaloniki. But try it at the Estrella World Street Food and be blown away! Souvlaki is a traditional Greek dish. It is made with different meat. The Pork Souvlaki is one of the best here at the Derlicatessan restaurant. An iconic dessert from the Byzantine ages is Kazan Dibi. It is a burnt milk pudding. Try this at Chatzis to tantalize your taste buds.
Thessaloniki’s most popular Patisserie is Ble. Step in and try their signature Tsoureki dessert. For a scrumptious meal, try these popular Greek Restaurants – Negroponte, Molyvos, Sempriko (also great for vegetarians), Mia Feta, Paparouna and Nea Folia.
For the shopaholic in you, Thessaloniki will certainly fulfil your wishes. From high-end retail outlets to local markets – there is something for everyone! If you are looking for a modern way to shop, stop by the Mediterranean Cosmos Shopping Mall. You will find all the big brands, dozens of retail shops and plenty of food stalls. There is also a movie theatre which you can enjoy as a family activity. Another similar mall is the Plateia Shopping Mall.
Looking to pick up local goods? Check out Olicatessen, located near the port. It is the place to pick up food items such as Greek wines, Cheese, Olive Oil and Olive Oil Products, Spices and more. If you are nice, they also offer an Olive Oil tasting! Near Aristotelous square is Bezesteni Market, which is frequented by the locals. You will find a variety of things here, including meats, clothes & spices. It is a busy, working market and will also give you a glimpse into the Greek culture and the local businesses. Another market that is quite nearby is Modiano Market, offering similar experiences.
If you are looking to pick up unique souvenirs, check out Hellofrom Thessaloniki, which sells products handcrafted by local designers. From Clothes, Artwork, Jewellery, Hats, Bags and more! For window shopping, just walk down these 2 streets that are lined with interesting shops – Tsimiski Avenue and Mitropoleos Avenue.