Your Complete Travel Guide For Thessaloniki Greece

The Hidden Gem Of Greece

Thessaloniki is the HIDDEN GEM of Greece. It’s the second largest city and the most important center of the northern area of Greece. We’ve compiled “Your Complete Travel Guide For Thessaloniki Greece – The Hidden Gem” because we think this town is unduly overlooked as a prime travel destination when vacationing in Greece and we consider it MUST SEE city when vacationing in Greece. 

Built near the sea; it’s a modern metropolis bearing the marks of a turbulent history in its cosmopolitan character, which gives it an exceptional beauty and charm.

We loved our time in Thessaloniki and would not hesitate to return. The beauty of Greece is awe-inspiring, with its landscapes and sceneries you can’t help but be awestruck by its rich history and Thessaloniki has it all.

Table of Contents

  • Things You Must Try In Thessaloniki
  • Things To See In Thessaloniki
  • Beaches In Thessaloniki
  • Where To Stay In Thessaloniki
  • Shopping in Thessaloniki
  • Transportation

Things You Must Try In Thessaloniki

Things You Must Try In Thessaloniki

  • Try a Bougasta  delicious breakfast pastry
  • Drink a Frappe Espresso or Cappuccino (see description below)
  • Climb to the top of the White Tower
  • Light a candle in the Church of St. Dimitrios
  • Go for a boat ride while drinking a cocktail on a pirate ship while watching the sunset
  • Try a Greek Gyro & a Souvlaki
  • Visit the Farmers Market
  • Visit the Fish Market
  • Walk around the Roman Agora and the Bit Bizarre
  • Relax in the yard of the Rotunda
  • Make sure you know how to say Good Morning and Thank You in Greek. Good Morning is Kalimera. Thank you is Efharisto
  • For fun, and nightlife head to the neighborhood of Ladadika and be ready to get started late and stay up late. They start around 11 p.m. and end around 4 a.m.  Dinner is usually around 9 pm.
  • Walk along the ocean and stop for dinner or a drink to watch the sunset from one of the restaurants along the ocean
  • For the best pizza in town go to Pizza Poselli
  • Don’t be afraid to walk around the city, it seemed very safe, and we’ve found people from Thessaloniki to be friendly and helpful
  • Go on the Urban Adventures Bites, Spirits and Romance nightlife and history tour. We had a great time on this tour, and we learned a lot. For more information and to watch the video of our nightlife tour click here.

Cafes & Museums

Try a Freddo Cappuccino or Freddo Espresso. It’s the Greek version of iced coffee.

Freddo Cappuccino is the iced version of the regular cappuccino coffee, made from instant coffee, water, ice cubes, sugar (optional), and a small amount of cold frothed milk on top. The Freddo Espresso is the cold version of espresso coffee, made with a double shot of espresso coffee mixed with ice cubes. If you love strong coffee, you will love this.

I typically ordered the Freddo Espresso with some water added. The Freddo Cappuccino has become the most widely consumed coffee in Greece over the past 10 years. By the way, you can add a liqueur to any of these and have a lovely evening drink. Considering the Greeks drink coffee well into the evening along with their wine, you will fit right in.

Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
The Archaeological Museum established in 1912 has exhibits and artifacts from the Prehistoric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods, most relics are from Thessaloniki although some items are from the region of Macedonia. Visiting the Archaeological Museum was one of the highlights of our stay in Thessaloniki.

One of the most amazing and memorable relics was the skull or cranium of a human who lived 200,000 years ago. It belongs to a transitional form between homo erectus and homo sapien. It was found in 1960 in the cave of Petralina (Chalkidiki), and it’s the oldest reliable testimony of the presence of humans in Greece.

“It is men’s destiny to have no way to escape death, even if their ancestors were immortal.” – Collinos of Ephesos 7th century BC

Museum of Byzantine Culture
The Museum of Byzantine Culture is one of the most modern museums in Greece, the focus is on the art and culture of Byzantium. You will see frescos, mosaics, icons, marble architectural members, complete Christian tombs with wall paintings, utensils, jewelry, and common tools used in the life Byzantium.

It was at the Museum of Byzantine, is where I learned how an Archaeologist determines the age of an artifact. They use radiocarbon dating to determine the age of decaying organic material by measuring the proportion of radioactive carbon.  This is able to be determined because it declines at a steady rate over time.

Beaches Around Thessaloniki
If you are looking for beaches while staying in Thessaloniki, you only have to travel a short distance from the city center; it takes 20 to 40 minutes by car or bus to arrive at swimmable beautiful beaches with fun beach bars. These beaches are in the suburban areas of the city, where you will find excellent restaurants and cafes close to the water.

Nei Epivates Beach
Nei Epivates beach is a beautiful beach with bars, taverns, and cafes located approximately 20 km from the city center. There is a small boat leaving the port of Thessaloniki near the White Tower from June to October, which will take you to the beach. The cost is approximately $3.50 (3 euros), and it takes about an hour to get there. By boat is the recommended way to travel during the summer because you don’t have to deal with parking. You can also take the local bus, which takes approximately 20 minutes from the city center.

Epanomi Beach
Epanomi Beach is approximately 25 km from the city center. It’s a beautiful beach with a few taverns and cafes. Many city buses go to this beach year around.

Accommodations
We recommend staying in the area of the Agora or along the shoreline when staying in Thessaloniki. Here is a list of 4 top rated properties in Thessaloniki which are in the heart of the city. All are within walking distance of the main areas of town, museums, restaurants, cafes, and nightlife. It’s very reasonable to stay in Thessaloniki even with a view by the water.

Central Studio Flat has a prior guest rating of 9.7. Rates start at $45 per night. Click here to see the latest price on Booking.com.

Markos City Center has a prior guest rating of 9.5. Rates start at $60 per night. Click here to see the latest price on Booking.com.

Jolene has a prior guest rating of 9.5. Rates start at $60 per night. Click here to see the latest price on Booking.com.

Electra Palace Hotel has a prior guest rating of 9.7. Rates start at $150 per night. Click here to see the latest price on Booking.com. 

Complete Travel Guide For Thessaloniki Greece

If you are thinking of visiting one of Greece’s Hidden Gems here is a video and Travel Guide for Thessaloniki

Shopping & Transportation

Shopping
I was surprised at the number of stores and the great prices we found in Thessaloniki. There are many stores with clothing, shoes, brand names, local designers, jewelry, and many of the stores had excellent prices compared to back home in California. I was kicking myself for packing so much stuff. Next time we visit Thessaloniki, I’m only packing my suitcase half full so that I can do some shopping!!

The city center has hundreds of shops, boutiques, department stores, and malls. There are many stores right in one area, so you can walk around and have fun even if you’re browsing. The biggest shops are on Tsimski Street, so my advice would be to start there, then Mitropoleos Street, and Proxenou Koromilas Street. In between the stores are many cafes, restaurants, bars, and even electronic stores to keep your husband busy if he’s with you. It’s a beautiful area to walk around and enjoy the day.

For higher-end shopping head to Pavou Mela Street and Leoforos Nikis Avenue. For more reasonable prices, head to Ermou and Egnatia Street (parallel to Tsimski Street).  All of these areas have many cafes, bars, bakeries, dessert shops, and restaurants in case you want to take a break in between shopping.

Transportation
The international airport serving Thessaloniki is Makedonia (SKG), which is a little over 9 miles from the city center. The best way to get around the city is by walking, taking the city bus or by cab. If you fly into Makedonia, the city bus #78 runs to and from the airport all day. If you decide to take a taxi, it will cost approximately $9 to the city center. You can also reach Thessaloniki by railway or by the sea, as the port is one of Greece’s largest ports. Most bus fares for getting around the city will run 60 cents per person or a daily ticket for $2.25 per person. We took a cab from the city center to the north end, and it cost us $3.50. We decided not to rent a car in Thessaloniki because the roads are quite busy and Greek drivers are Ummm …. well let’s just leave it at that. So you can see transportation is relatively inexpensive in Thessaloniki. 

TIP:  Keep in mind I converted the currency to USD for this post; you will need Euros during your stay in Greece.  We suggest converted your currency at home rather than waiting until you get to Greece.  

Closing Words

I hope you found “Your Complete Travel Guide For Thessaloniki Greece – The Hidden Gem”  to be useful and you are excited to visit Greece.   If you are interested in our videos and posts from our stay in Greece, click on any of the titles below.

Your Complete Travel Guide For Naxos Greece

Greece Tours We Recommend

Best Nightlife Tour In Thessaloniki

Best Happy Hour Nightlife Tour In Athens

Best Athens Acropolis Walking Tour

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