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10 Great Things to Do in Thessaloniki Greece

  • Post last modified:May 9, 2024
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Did you know that Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece? While many people flock to the Greek islands, the mainland has some pretty great places to offer. And while there may not be a ton of things to do in Thessaloniki, Greece, it is a great place to spend a day before or after visiting Athens or one of the islands.

Flights to Thessaloniki, Greece are extremely cheap, as it is one of the main hubs in the country. We flew here from Crete for just 25 euros, and to Georgia from there for just another 25. Deciding to spend 24 hours there, we found that it was the perfect place to break up our trip.

We think that Thessaloniki is great for a day or two, and has some pretty cool spots worth checking out. The city is cheap, and is the perfect combination of modern and ancient. So without further ado, here are 10 great things to do in Thessaloniki, Greece, and everything else you need to know about visiting.

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Where is Thessaloniki, Greece?

Thessaloniki is located on the mainland of Greece in the north of the country. It is central part of the Macedonian region, and is on the Thermaic Gulf, which is the northeastern part of the Aegean Sea. Greece is situated in the south east of Europe, bordering Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to its north, and Turkey to its East.

Where is Thessaloniki Greece

Thessaloniki is on the mainland of Greece.

How Do You Get to Thessaloniki, Greece?

Thessaloniki can be reached in a number of ways, by air, land , and sea. Here are all of the different options for visiting, so you can choose what is the best way to get to Thessaloniki for you.

Where Do You Fly into for Thessaloniki?

Thessaloniki has its own international airport, making it fairly easy to get to via air. 

Domestic cities that fly to Thessaloniki include Athens, Chania, Chios, Corfu, Heraklion, Ikaria, Kalamata, Kos, Mytilini-Odysseas, Rhodes, Samos, and Skyros.

International cities that fly to Thessaloniki include Amsterdam, Belgrade, Berlin, Bologna, Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Cologne, Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Krakow, Kutaisi, Larnaca, London, Malta, Memmingen, Milan,  Munich, Nuremburg, Paphos, Rome, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Tel-Aviv, Venice,  Vienna, and Zurich.

Flight Trick: Thessaloniki has plenty of budget flights! We used Skyscanner to check the cheapest day to fly each month, getting our ticket to Thessaloniki for just 15 euros.

How to Get to Thessaloniki from the Airport

The Thessaloniki airport has a shuttle bus that goes directly to the center in about 40 minutes. Line 01X runs every 20-25 minutes, and then has a night version which is called the 01N. This bus takes about 50 minutes, and the price fo the ticket for both are 1.80.

Cruising to Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki is a popular cruise port, and the first time I visited Thessaloniki was when I was working on a cruise ship.

The cruise ship port is located right in the city center, making it super easy to explore Thessaloniki on a day trip. There are several companies that stop in Thessaloniki, and they go usually from as early as April to as late as October.

Other Ways to Visit Thessaloniki, Greece

Another popular way to visit Thessaloniki is by taking a bus or train from Athens. If you are coming from other neighboring countries you can check international buses, or see if there are any trips published on Bla Bla Car, which is a popular carpooling app used in Europe.

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Entry Requirements for Greece

Now that you know how to get to Thessaloniki, it's important to know the different requirements for entering the country, Here's all you need to know:

Visa Entry Requirements for Greece

Greece is a part of the European Union, which means that it applies to the same rules as other places in the EU. US citizens can enter visa free to any of the countries in the EU for up to 90 days within a 180 day period. For example, if you have spent 1 month in Cyprus (which is part of the EU), you could then spend up to 60 days more in Greece without needing to apply for a visa.

Many countries fall into the same category as the US for entering Greece and the European Union, The countries that do not fall into this category, will need a Schengen Visa. This applies to numerous countries from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. We've gone ahead and found the list of countries that need a Schengen Visa for you.

Covid Entry Requirements for Greece

Greece has dropped all extra requirements for entering our to Covid.

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Local Adjustments for Visiting Thessaloniki, Greece

Traveling to a new country or island means making certain adjustments. Here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling to Thessaloniki, Greece.

What Language Do They Speak in Thessaloniki?

The language in Thessaloniki is Greek. It helps to learn a little bit of the language. But truthfully, it's very common that people speak English in the city as well..

Currency in Greece

The official currency of Thessaloniki, Greece is the Euro. As of now (April 2024) the euro is pretty much equivalent to the USD and one Euro is equal to 86 British pence.

Do You Need Cash in Thessaloniki?

Most things can be paid for with a credit card in Thessaloniki. However, we do suggest having some cash on you for street vendors.

Outlets in Thessaloniki

The outlets in Thessaloniki and all of Greece are the same as the other European countries.

Greece uses both plug types C & F. Plug type C has two round pins, and plug type F has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Thessaloniki, Greece operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

Can You Drink Thessaloniki Tap Water?

Yes, the water in Thessaloniki is totally safe to drink, and it is the second largest water network in the country.

Tipping Culture in Greece

Most locals will not tip in Greece, as it is not very custom. If the service is very good, you can round up to the nearest euro or two. If you are feeling particularly generous you can always leave up to 10%, which is known to be above and beyond in this country. 

Pink Dot Thessaloniki Greece

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Is Thessaloniki Worth Visiting? 10 Things to Do in Thessaloniki, Greece

Now that you know almost everything you need to know, here are the best things to do in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

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Thessaloniki Greece Pin
Thessaloniki Greece Pin

Things to Do in Thessaloniki, Greece #1: Climb the White Tower

When you imagine Thessaloniki the first thing that comes to mind is the White Tower. The most iconic building is a symbol of the city, and can be enjoyed from inside and out. Check out the multi-level museum on the inside, and finish with a visit to the top at the end of the twirling stairs around the tower.

The White tower is 76 meters tall and has great views of the city and sea around it. Entrance is 8 euros for adults, and free for children and students. In the summer the tower is open from 8 am to 8 pm, and in the winter it is open from 9 am to 4 pm.

The White Tower in Thessaloniki Greece

The White Tower is the symbol of the city of Thessaloniki.

Things to Do in Thessaloniki, Greece #2: Take in the Views from the Heptapyrgion Fortress

While the White Tower has some pretty great views, the best views of the entire city are from the fortress. Climb up to the North of the city and you will be greeted by a fortress that is over 1,000 years old. Roam around enjoying the history of the area, while taking in some great views of the city down below.

Note: The fortress is open from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm daily, with the exception of Tuesdays.

Things to Do in Thessaloniki, Greece #3: Sail Around the City

Skip that big red tour bus and explore Thessaloniki Greece by sea! There are a couple of different vibrantly decorated boats that dock right near the White Tower. They go out every hour more or less for half hour sailings along the coast.

Tiki Bar boat in Thessaloniki Greece

One of the best ways to enjoy the views of Thesssaloniki, Greece is by boat.

Boat rides themselves are completely free of charge. You just need to buy something on board. One boat is pirate themed, and there is one that is tiki-bar themed. They both have a bar, seating, and snacks served. Tours are a half hour, and are a great way to enjoy a different way of seeing the city.

Down below you can see the timetables, as well as the menu offered for the two different boats.

Tik Barf boat in Thessaloniki price
Timetable tiki bar boat in Thessaloniki

Things to Do in Thessaloniki, Greece #4: Have Coffee and Cake at The Pink Dot

Want to see the cutest café in Greece? The Pink Dot is a large café covered from head to toe in pink. Giant teddy bears, neon signs, and a telephone booth surrounded by flowers are just a few of the Instagrammable things that you will find at this adorable spot.

Pink Dot Thessaloniki Greece

The Pink Dot is the cutest coffee shop in Thessaloniki.

The Pink Dot has decorative coffee concoctions, sandwiches, pastries, and an array of cakes. There is outdoor and indoor seating, and even a large pink heart floral arrangement in the parking lot, conveniently located right on the water.

Have a short layover in Thessaloniki, Greece? Well then head to the Pink Dot instead of wasting hours at the airport. It is just 2 minutes down the road, making it that much easier to visit!

The Pink Dot, Thessaloniki, Greece
The Pink Dot in Thessaloniki Greece
pink cafe in Thessaloniki Greece

The Pink Dot Is covered in flowers and pink accents.

Things to Do in Thessaloniki, Greece #5: Check Out Aristotelous Square

This is the main square in Thessaloniki. The wide open space of Aristotelous Square is a great area to walk around and just get a feel of the city. 

Aristotelous Square in Thessaloniki

Aristotelous square is the center of action in Thessaloniki.

It is located right next to the water, and has plenty of shops, restaurants, and hotels. Another perk? there is a pretty nice backdrop of the fortress and other buildings in the hill as a backdrop.

Things to Do in Thessaloniki, Greece #6: Take Photos at the Umbrella Installation

One of my favorite parts of the city of Thessaloniki is this art installation. Located right along the water, there are a bunch of metal umbrellas that appear to be floating. This is a great spot for that Instagram-worthy photo, and also a relaxing area to hang out and enjoy the views of the blue waters contrasting the sleek design of this piece of art.

Umbrella Installation Thessaloniki

The umbrella installation is one of the most instagrammable spots in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Things to Do in Thessaloniki, Greece #7: Have a Bite at One of the Trendy Cafes

One of the things we loved most about Thessaloniki, Greece were the trendy cafes that we found everywhere. Most were particularly in the center along Egnatia Street. The restaurants, cafes, and shops are all clean and modern. With beautiful designs and both indoor and outdoor seating, this is the perfect atmosphere to grab a snack or a cup of coffee throughout the day.

Cafe in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is full of cute and trendy cafes.

Things to Do in Thessaloniki, Greece #8: Stop at the Arch of Galerius and Rotunda

The city of Thessaloniki doesn't have an immense amount of tourist attractions, but there are a few spots here and there that will make you feel like you stepped back in time. Head to the this area and you will find two neighboring monuments dating back to the 4th century.

The arch is the most distinctive looking Roman architectural piece in the city, making it a great thing to check out in Thessaloniki.

Arch of Galreius in Thessaloniki Greece

Thessaloniki has a few great archaeological spots that remain.

Things to Do in Thessaloniki, Greece #9: Visit the Roman Forum

If you like Roman architecture, than the Roman Forum is definitely another spot in Thessaloniki, Greece that you will want to check out. Here you will find ruins dating back to the first century! This area is located right in front of Aristotelous Square, and was the center of political and social life in the ancient city.

Things to Do in Thessaloniki, Greece #10: Take a Trip to Meteora

Want to see one of the most impressive spots in mainland Greece? Meteora is a great day trip from Thessaloniki. The iconic monastery perched on a mountain can be visited by tour or on your own. We suggest renting a car to do so, but you can also hop on a train or a bus to get there for an unforgettable experience.

There are 1, 2, and 3 day trips to Meteora if you'd like to do a group tour.

Here are a few that we've found that you can choose from:

Food & Drink in Thessaloniki

As we mentioned, Thessaloniki is full of cute cafes, and trendy restaurants to eat at. The cuisine of Greece is light and fresh, similar to other Mediterranean cuisines. You'll find that dishes are made of fresh vegetables, local seafood, and quality olive oil. Here are a few things that you should try while in Thessaloniki, Greece:

  • Spanakopita: spinach and feta pastry inside flaky phyllo dough
  • Bougatsa: a top choice for breakfast which is a sweet cheese pie
  • Koulouri: a large bagel topped with sesame seeds which you can find in bakeries and sold on the streets
  • Gyro: shaved meat on pita bread with Tzatziki sauce and topped with lettuce, tomato, and sometimes French fries. This is the perfect filling meal for on the go.
  • Soutzoukakia: rectangular shaped meatballs normally cooked in a tomato sauce
  • Seafood: being on the water, it's no wonder they have some amazing fish on their menus

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Getting Around: Is Thessaloniki a Walkable City?

Most of the best things to do in Thessaloniki are all located within walking distance of each other, so we definitely suggest getting your steps in while exploring this beautiful city.


Is There Public Transportation in Thessaloniki, Greece?

If you don't want to walk a ton, need to get from one side of the city to the other, or to get to the airport for example, there are plenty of public buses that you can take at very affordable rates. In addition there are taxis that you can take that charge you with a taxi meter.

Renting a Car in Thessaloniki

While you don't need a car inside the city of Thessaloniki, it is definitely great to have if you want to do one of the day trips. Car rentals are relatively cheap in Thessaloniki, and can easily be done from the airport.

Rent a car in Thessaloniki: 

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The Best Area to Stay in Thessaloniki, Greece

Being that the majority of things to do in Thessaloniki are located along right in the city center along the water, we suggest staying in this area. There are plenty of hotels, as well as Airbnbs to choose from, for very affordable rates.

Check here for the different accommodation options in Thessaloniki:
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Is it Safe to Travel Alone in Thessaloniki, Greece?

Overall, Thessaloniki is a pretty safe city, and we never had issue walking around solo or at night. You won't have to worry about anything in regards to safety in the city center, as it is very tourist friendly, and full of police.

Like most big cities though, there are neighborhoods to be more cautious in or to avoid.  The neighborhoods that you should avoid are in the west of the city, and south of the railroad station.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting Thessaloniki, Greece

Now that you know the best things to do in Thessaloniki, the best area to stay, and the different food & drink options, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

Weather in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki has four seasons and has hot and dry summers, and cold & snowy winters. 

When Should I Go to Thessaloniki?

We personally think the best time to visiting Thessaloniki is in the spring or fall, when temperatures are mild, and there are less cruise ships visiting. We visiting in October, and found that the weather was much warmer than other places in Europe, making it an ideal month to visit.

Packing For a Trip to Thessaloniki, Greece

Here are a few things that we suggest bringing on a trip to Thessaloniki:

  • Comfortable shoes (for walking around the city)
  • Evening Attire (for going out to dinner or night life)
  • Sunscreen 
  • Reusable Water Bottle (we use Cafago Water Bottles as they hold the temperature)
  • Bathing Suit
  • Power Bank (for the long excursions, beach days, and hikes- we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)
  • Travel Adapter (we use Insignia travel adapters as they are affordable and reliable)

Is Thessaloniki Worth Visiting?

We definitely think Thessaloniki is worth visiting for a day or two. We went for 24 hours, and were able to fit in all of the the top things to do in Thessaloniki while we were there. The next time we would definitely like to stay another day or two so that we could experience more of the restaurant scene, as well as take a day trip to Meteora.

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While the city of Thessaloniki, Greece may not have nearly as many historical landmarks as Athens, we believe Thessaloniki is worth visiting, and it is definitely a great place to stop and check out for a short period. We know you'll love the trendy vibes of this Greek city, as well as the cheap prices and delicious food.

Planning on visiting other parts of Greece? Well, we have some other articles about the Greek islands to check out!

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