(average charge – all included by a Private Transfer) From Naxos Airport.

Destination PRICE
Parikia Town (Capital) 48€
Naousa 57€
Paros Port 48€
Punta 44€

Your Complete Guide to Visiting Thessaloniki Travel

You have just landed in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious food, you’ll quickly understand why this coastal metropolis is a favorite destination. Over the next 100 words, this article will provide your complete guide to getting the most out of your upcoming visit to Thessaloniki. You’ll discover the top sites, best restaurants, where to stay, and hidden gems to experience. From strolling the cobblestone streets of Ladadika to gazing at Byzantine-era mosaics, you’ll be armed with insider tips to craft your own unforgettable itinerary. Let’s dive in and get you ready for an amazing trip to this historic port city.

Overview of Thessaloniki, Greece’s Cultural Hub

Thessaloniki is a historic port city located in northern Greece that serves as a cultural and economic hub. Originally founded in 315 BCE, Thessaloniki has a long and storied history as an important center of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Today, the city is renowned for its vibrant food scene, stunning Byzantine architecture, important museums, and lively nightlife.

Some must-see attractions in Thessaloniki include:

  1. The White Tower, the city’s most iconic landmark. This historic fortification now houses a museum detailing the city’s history.
  2. Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki, which contains artifacts from Macedonian tombs and the site of ancient Therma.
  3. Church of Agios Dimitrios, a beautiful 5th-century basilica dedicated to the city’s patron saint.
  4. Rotunda, a Roman monument that was later used as a Christian church.
  5. Aristotelous Square, the central town square lined with cafes, restaurants and shops.

Food-wise, visitors should try some of the following local specialties:

  • Bougatsa, a sweet or savory pastry typically filled with cheese or custard
  • Gyros, meat roasted on a vertical spit and wrapped in pita bread
  • Souvlaki, grilled meat skewers served with salad and tzatziki
  • Loukaniko, cured pork sausage flavored with orange zest and fennel seeds
  • Halva, a semolina-based dessert often flavored with nuts or cocoa

With stunning historical sights, a flourishing arts scene, picturesque beaches nearby and delicious Mediterranean cuisine, Thessaloniki has something for everyone. No trip to northern Greece is complete without visiting this culturally-rich city.

Best Time to Visit Thessaloniki for Great Weather

Thessaloniki has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and short, mild winters. As such, the best times to visit are late spring (April to May) and early fall (September to October) when the temperatures are pleasant and the chance of rain is low.

Late Spring (April to May)

During late spring, the average high is around 66°F (19°C) and the low is 52°F (11°C). You’ll miss the biggest crowds of summer, hotel rates are more reasonable, and the sea is warm enough for swimming. The shoulder months of April and May also see colorful wildflowers in bloom and fewer chances of rain.

Early Fall (September to October)

Early fall is also an ideal time with the summer heat dissipating, average highs of 64°F (18°C) and lows of 54°F (12°C), thinner crowds, lower prices, and the sea is still swimmable. September has little chance of rain, though October sees a slight increase. The autumn foliage starts turning vibrant orange and red hues, creating a picturesque setting.

While summer from June to August is very hot, it is also the most popular time, with big crowds and the highest hotel rates. Winter from December to February is cold, with average highs of only 50°F (10°C), lows of 39°F (4°C), and the highest chance of rain.

To experience Thessaloniki at its best with smaller crowds and pleasant weather, aim for a visit in April, May, September or October. You’ll be able to enjoy all the city offers without battling intense heat or downpours.

Top Things to See and Do in Thessaloniki

When visiting Thessaloniki, there are several must-see attractions and activities to experience.

Visit the White Tower

No trip to Thessaloniki is complete without seeing its historic White Tower. This iconic tower has stood guard over the city’s harbor for centuries and now houses a museum dedicated to the city’s history. Climb to the top of the tower to get panoramic views of the city skyline and sea.

Explore the Archeological Museum

Discover Thessaloniki’s ancient history at the Archeological Museum. This museum houses artifacts from Macedonian tombs, including gold jewelry, pottery, coins, and the Derveni Krater, an enormous bronze vessel. The museum’s collection provides insight into the lives of ancient Macedonians.

Stroll Along the Waterfront Promenade

Thessaloniki’s waterfront promenade, called the Nea Paralia, is a popular spot for walking, dining, and people watching. Lined with palm trees, the promenade extends for over 4 miles along the Thermaic Gulf and offers views of Mount Olympus across the bay. Stop for a coffee at one of the many cafes or grab a bite of traditional Greek street food like koulouri bread rings.

Visit Byzantine Churches

With its long history as a center of the Byzantine Empire, Thessaloniki is filled with beautiful Byzantine churches. Some of the most impressive include the Church of Agios Dimitrios, the Church of Agia Sofia, and the Monastery of Vlatadon. These architectural and religious landmarks feature stunning mosaics, frescoes, and other Byzantine artwork.

Shop and Dine at Ladadika

The Ladadika district is a historic area filled with restaurants, bars, clubs and shops. This neighborhood was once home to olive oil warehouses and now bustles with nightlife. Wander the cobblestone streets, dine on traditional Greek cuisine at an outdoor taverna, grab drinks at a stylish bar, or shop for local goods. Ladadika captures the vibrant culture and social scene of Thessaloniki.

Must-Visit Museums and Galleries

Thessaloniki is home to many world-class museums and art galleries, showcasing the region’s rich history and culture. No trip to Thessaloniki is complete without visiting at least a few of these institutions.

Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki

This museum houses artifacts from Macedonia, spanning from prehistoric times to late antiquity. It contains an array of mosaics, sculptures, jewelry, weapons, and other artifacts recovered from archeological sites around the city. Some highlights include gold wreaths and grave goods from ancient cemeteries, exquisite Roman mosaics, and marble sculptures.

Museum of Byzantine Culture

Dedicated to the Byzantine period of Thessaloniki, this modern museum contains many artifacts, artworks, coins, and other relics from the Byzantine Empire. It provides insight into the rise of Christianity and its spread throughout the region. Some of the impressive exhibits include mosaic floors, frescoes, sculptures, manuscripts, and liturgical objects.

State Museum of Contemporary Art

For art enthusiasts, this contemporary art museum should not be missed. It houses a collection of paintings, photographs, videos, and installations from Greek artists, as well as many international artists. The museum aims to promote contemporary art and culture. Temporary exhibitions, events, educational programs, and other activities are frequently organized here.

Teloglion Foundation of Art

This art foundation contains a collection of European art from the 14th century to today, including paintings from renowned artists such as El Greco, Rubens, Goya, Renoir, and others. While smaller than the other museums, its collection is impressive. The foundation also hosts temporary art exhibitions, lectures, and other cultural events.

Thessaloniki’s museums and galleries offer a glimpse into the region’s multifaceted history, culture, and artistic heritage. Whether you have a particular interest in archeology, Byzantine art, or modern art, Thessaloniki’s museums have something for everyone. A visit to at least one or two of these institutions should be on every traveler’s list.

Thessaloniki’s Vibrant Food Scene

Thessaloniki is known for its diverse and delectable cuisine. You’ll find a vibrant array of gastronomic delights that reflect the city’s unique history and culture.

Traditional Greek Fare

Traditional Greek dishes abound in Thessaloniki. Meze, or small plates meant for sharing, are popular and allow you to sample many different foods. Some must-try meze include tzatziki (garlic yogurt dip), melitzanosalata (roasted eggplant dip), dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and keftedes (meatballs). Other classic dishes include moussaka (eggplant and ground meat casserole), souvlaki (grilled meat skewers), gyros (meat wrapped in pita bread), and Greek salad with feta cheese, olives, cucumbers and a vinegar and herb dressing.

Ottoman and Balkan Influences

Thessaloniki was ruled by the Ottomans for centuries, and this influence is evident in its cuisine. Bougatsa, a pastry filled with semolina custard, cheese, or meat, is a popular breakfast treat. Lahmacun are meat-topped flatbreads, while pide are boat-shaped flatbreads usually topped with cheese or spinach. Moussaka, though considered a traditional Greek dish, also has Ottoman origins.

The city’s location in the Balkans also brings culinary influences from neighboring areas like Serbia, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. Cevapi, grilled minced meat sausages, and kaymak, a thick spread made from milk fat, are borrowed from Serbian cuisine. Banitsa is a buttery filo pastry brought from Bulgaria that’s usually filled with cheese. And shopska salata, a tomato and cucumber salad, comes from Macedonia.

No trip to Thessaloniki is complete without sampling its delectable food. Whether you prefer small plates, comfort food, or pastries, the city’s cuisine has something to satisfy every taste. Take time to slowly savor each dish and you’ll gain insight into Thessaloniki’s diverse cultural heritage.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels and Neighborhoods

When visiting Thessaloniki, you’ll want to choose accommodations in a neighborhood that suits your needs and budget. The city offers a variety of lodging options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly apartments. Consider the following areas and recommendations:

City Center

The historic city center, located within the old city walls, is a convenient base for exploring major attractions like the White Tower, Roman Agora, and Archeological Museum. Upscale hotels here include the Electra Palace Thessaloniki and Daios Luxury Living. For budget stays, check out Little Big House City Center or RentRooms Thessaloniki.


Once the city’s historical port district, Ladadika is now a trendy area filled with restaurants, bars, and nightlife. It is a 5- to 10-minute walk from the city center. The stylish Egnatia Hotel is located here, as are more affordable options like Thess Hostel and Hello Thessaloniki.


An upscale coastal suburb about 2 miles southeast of the city center. Kalamaria is home to luxury beachfront resorts like The Met Hotel and Les Lazaristes. For budget-friendly stays near the sea, consider the Kalamaria Apartments or Hotel Olympia.

University Campus

Conveniently located near Aristotelous Square, this area offers basic but inexpensive lodging primarily intended for students and backpackers, such as University Studio and Sweet Home Aparthotel.

With so many options across a range of styles and price points, you’ll be sure to find suitable accommodations to make the most of your Thessaloniki getaway. Do some research on locations and amenities to determine what best fits your needs, then book in advance, especially if traveling during the busy summer season.

Getting Around Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki has an efficient public transit system that makes exploring the city easy without a vehicle.


Thessaloniki’s bus system offers extensive coverage of the city. Single-ride tickets can be purchased on board for €1.20 or you can buy a reloadable bus card for €3 that offers discounted fares. Major bus stops have schedules posted, or you can find route maps and timetables on [OASTH’s website.] (


Thessaloniki’s metro system consists of 2 lines that provide quick transit across the city center and suburbs. Trains run from approximately 5:30 am until midnight daily. Single tickets cost €1.20 or you can use the same bus cards. The metro is clean, efficient and the easiest way to travel longer distances within the city without traffic.

  • Line 1: Connects the east and west ends of the city, passing landmarks like Aristotelous Square, Arch of Galerius and the Archeological Museum.
  • Line 2: Runs from the airport to several western suburbs. Transfer to Line 1 in the city center.


Taxis are available for hire throughout Thessaloniki and offer a convenient means of transportation if busses and metro are not options. Rates are regulated and fares start around €3 plus €0.68 per kilometer. Extra charges apply for rides starting from the airport, train station or bus station. Taxis can be hailed on the street when the white or green light on top is lit or booked by calling a taxi company directly.

Bike Sharing

Thessbike is Thessaloniki’s public bike sharing system with over 50 stations across the city center. Rides under 30 minutes are free with a subscription. It’s an eco-friendly way to explore the city at your own pace.

Thessaloniki’s efficient and affordable transit options make it easy to get around the city without the need to rent a vehicle. Between the bus, metro, taxis and bike sharing, you’ll have no trouble exploring all Thessaloniki has to offer.

Day Trips and Excursions From Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki serves as an excellent base to explore the surrounding region. Several fascinating day trips and excursions await you within an hour or two of the city.


The ancient capital of Macedon is only 45 minutes west of Thessaloniki. This UNESCO World Heritage site was once home to Alexander the Great. You can see remnants of palaces, villas, and temples, as well as beautiful mosaics like the Abduction of Helen.


Another 45 minutes west of Thessaloniki lies Aigai, the first capital of Macedon. Now called Vergina, this archeological site contains royal tombs, including that of Philip II, Alexander’s father. The museum displays artifacts like gold crowns, armor, and wall paintings. Vergina provides insight into the rise of the Macedonian kingdom.

Chalkidiki Peninsula

The Chalkidiki Peninsula offers stunning beaches and natural scenery just 30 minutes from Thessaloniki. You can go beach hopping along the coast, visit the petrified forest of Pefkochori, see historic monasteries at Mount Athos, or take a boat tour to scenic Diaporos Island. The peninsula’s lush greenery and turquoise waters provide a perfect escape from the city.

Edessa and Pozar

About 90 minutes west of Thessaloniki, Edessa and Pozar highlight the region’s natural beauty. Edessa is home to Greece’s tallest waterfall, a cascading 132-foot drop. Nearby Pozar has thermal baths where you can soak in mineral-rich waters. The wooded trails, waterfalls, and baths make this a rejuvenating day trip.

Thessaloniki’s location provides easy access to history, culture, nature, and relaxation. With so many options within a few hours of the city, you can experience the diversity of northern Greece through inspiring day trips and excursions. By venturing out of Thessaloniki, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Macedonia’s layered past and stunning landscapes.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Thessaloniki Travel

When planning your trip to Thessaloniki, you likely have some questions about what to expect. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from visitors.

How do I get around Thessaloniki?

Thessaloniki has an efficient public transit system, including busses and a metro, that can take you most places in the city. Buy a transit pass to ride the busses and metro. Taxis and rideshares are also available if needed. Traffic and parking can be challenging, so public transit is recommended.

What is the weather like?

Thessaloniki has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and short, mild winters. Summers are typically very warm, ranging from 77 to 86 F, with little chance of rain. Winters are cool, ranging from 43 to 54 F, with occasional rain. The shoulder months of April-May and September-October can also be pleasant times to visit, with temperatures in the mid to upper 60s F and smaller crowds.

What currency is used in Thessaloniki?

Thessaloniki, like all of Greece, uses the euro (€) as its official currency. ATMs are common and many places accept major credit cards, but smaller shops and restaurants may be cash only. It is a good idea to notify your bank before traveling to Greece to avoid any fraud alerts when using your cards.

What are some must-see attractions?

Some of the top places to visit in Thessaloniki include:

  • The White Tower, the city’s most iconic landmark. Climb to the top for panoramic views.
  • Aristotle Square, a popular meeting place surrounded by cafes, restaurants and shops.
  • Archeological Museum, housing artifacts from Macedonian history.
  • Church of Agios Dimitrios, dedicated to the city’s patron saint.
  • Ataturk’s House, where the founder of modern Turkey was born.
  • Ladadika, a historic district filled with dining, nightlife, art and culture.

What kind of cuisine can I expect?

Thessaloniki cuisine is influenced by Mediterranean, Balkan and Middle Eastern flavors. Some local specialties to try include:

  • Souvlaki, grilled meat on skewers, often served in pita bread.
  • Moussaka, layers of eggplant, ground meat and béchamel sauce.
  • Feta cheese, made from sheep’s milk.
  • Gyros, meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, usually pork, chicken, or beef.
  • Loukoumades, fried dough balls drizzled with honey and cinnamon.
  • Ouzo, an anise-flavored aperitif.

With stunning history, culture, food and natural beauty, Thessaloniki has so


As you conclude your trip exploring the rich history, culture, and natural beauty of Thessaloniki, take a moment to reflect on your experiences. From wandering the winding streets of the old town to relaxing on the sandy beaches along the Thermaic Gulf, you’ve discovered the many sides of this vibrant port city. With new perspectives gained, and wonderful memories made, you can return home knowing you’ve only just scratched the surface of all there is to see and do in Thessaloniki. Though your trip may be ending, the journey continues as these experiences stay with you, inspiring your next great adventure.