Thessaloniki, the second largest city after Greece’s Athena, is the city where Ataturk was born and where hundreds of thousands of Turks’ ancestors lived. Along the Aegean coast, it is possible to see that the city has both Greek and Turkish influence. According to many travelers, Thessaloniki is similar to Izmir. The house where Ataturk was born can be visited as a museum today and right next to it is Turkey’s Thessaloniki Consulate Building.
Thessaloniki is a harbor city with a colorful entertainment life. This city was an important intersecting city during the Roman and Ottoman Empire era. It became a part of Greece during the Balkan Wars. A great fire erupted in 1917 and burned many Ottoman artifacts. In 1924, with the exchange, Thessaloniki’s and surrounding cities’ Turkish population were sent to Anatolia and the Greek population in Anatolia were sent to Thessaloniki. Even though many historic artifacts were burned in the great fire, Thessaloniki was declared the European Capital of Culture in 1997.
Thessaloniki has a Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and arid on the other hand, winters are warm and rainy. However, in the northern part of the city, or the higher points, winter may be a bit colder. With this, choosing to travel here during spring and summer months may be better. During important dates like October 29th, April 23rd, and May 19th, many Turks go to visit Ataturk’s home.
You can get to Thessaloniki by air, land or railroads. There are direct flights from Istanbul to Thessaloniki. The trip lasts about 1 hour and 15 minutes. By car, however, getting from Istanbul-Thessaloniki lasts about 6-7 hours. You can get to Thessaloniki from Istanbul by bus, of which are going to Thessaloniki directly, or ones that go to Skopje and Monastery passing through Thessaloniki.
Thessaloniki cuisine is very similar to Turkish Cuisine, with it being under Ottoman ruling for many years. Foods like Tzatziki, Baklava, Imam Bayildi, Dolma, coffee and many more are the same. Because it is a seaside city, fish is an important food type. There are diners where you can have a nice and tasty fish meal. You can also taste famous Aegean appetizers. You should also taste almond cookies, coconut chestnut dessert and Barbuska special to this region.
Ataturk’s House: The 2-floor wooden Ottoman Kiosk that Ataturk was born in can be visited today as a museum. In the garden of the kiosk is the Turkish Thessaloniki Consulate.
Eptapirgio: After Ataturk’s house, when you go uphill you reach one of Byzantine’s important castles. The city view from here is beautiful.
Moni Vlatadon: The Byzantine monastery located on a very nice hilltop also has a very beautiful view. Busses leave for many cities from here and many young adults meet around here.
Rotunda Square: Another important square in the city is Rotunda. Taverns and bars are usually located here.
Harbor: You can’t go to Thessaloniki and not visit the harbor. You can go along the coast with a rental bike if you wish.
White Castle: Now a symbol of the city, the white castle used to be a dungeon during the Ottoman times.
Hagia Sophia: Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sited list, this is one of the cities important old churches.
Zefksidos Street: In addition to the old Greek houses located on this street, this small and cute street is now the entertainment center. You can eat good Greek appetizers on the tables outside little eateries on the street.
Ladadika: If you want to get Ouzo, eat fish or have fun at a Greek tavern you must go to Ladadika.
Arch of Galerius: It is one of the city’s symbols. The Roman Emperor Galerius had it made.
It is a must for a Turk visiting Thessaloniki to visit Ataturk’s house. The house is located in the Aya Dimitria neighborhood. You can instantly recognize it from its pink color. Thessaloniki has a colorful and fun nightlife. You can go for a stroll on the boardwalk in the Paralia region. You can eat or have fun at the taverns here. The White Castle, one of the city’s symbols is also an important point. This is an old Ottoman Dungeon. The Arch of Galerius is also one of the city’s historical symbols, built by the Roman emperor Galerius.
Thessaloniki is a city where nightlife and entertainment is experienced to the fullest. There are both cheap places where youngsters can hang out and nice Greek taverns. Many cafes and bars can be found on Valaritou Street. Some places even have live music. You can go to the taverns on Ladadika. You can find places to go for all budgets and types of entertainment here. Famous places here are Art house, Evlis, Taratsa and Partizan.
For shopping, you can prefer Timski Street or Egnatis Street. On these streets are usually expensive brands and exclusive boutiques. You can also find souvenir shops on these streets. In addition to this, you can discover souvenir shops around the castle and along the boardwalk. You can get handmade ornaments, or you can prefer edibles like Ouzo or Greek coffee.
Thessaloniki International Film Festival
Thessaloniki Game Festival
Thessaloniki International Folk Dance Festival
New Year’s (January 1st)
Epiphany (January 6th)
National Holiday (March 25th)
Labor Day (May 1st)
White Monday (May 8th)
Assumption (August 15th)
Christmas (December 25th)
Thessaloniki is one of Greece’s most active cities. The people are warm-blooded. It is the scene to a colorful nightlife. Thessaloniki, a city you can easily get to from Turkey by air, road and rail, is usually a safe city. The only thing that may be difficult for you in this city is the Greek alphabet. The alphabet is complex and difficult for us to understand.
Thessaloniki Airport is 15 km from the city center. You can get there by coach or taxi. The trip by coach lasts about 45 minutes and 25 minutes by taxi to get to the city center. You can travel many places in the city by walking. You can also use busses and taxis in the city. Because it is hard reading the Greek alphabet, you may get lost if you rent a car because you won’t be able to read the signs.
Thessaloniki, which has the most crowded population after the capital Athens in Greece, bears the traces of hosting three great civilizations throughout the history. It is possible to come across the traces the Roman Era on a street and see the magnificent Byzantine churches on another street as well as you can come across the historical artifacts of the Ottoman period in the city.
The city, which has become one of the most important attraction centers of the world today with the historical heritage, attracts people with its nightlife as well. The airport of the city was named as Macedonia Airport since the city is known as "Macedonia of Greece". Located in the southern part of the city, this international airport is only 14 kilometers away from the city center. In addition, compared to other airports, Thessaloniki Airport is preferred by many passengers since affordable flight tickets are available for transportation to Europe from the airport. Thessaloniki offers very limited alternatives in terms of public transportation options. You can reach nearly 80 points in the city only by bus.
In addition to the regular bus services, a bus allocated to tourists offers one-hour free sightseeing. Apart from the bus option, another transportation option in the city is to take a taxi. Other than the buses that depart in front of the terminal buildings of the airport, you can go on your journey by taking a taxi or renting a car from the offices in the terminal building.
You can prefer to take a taxi if you don’t want to lose time and enjoy a comfortable journey in Thessaloniki that has limited transportation options. You can reach the city center after a taxi journey that takes about half an hour. It is also possible to book a taxi in advance through the website of Yattaxi, which is the contracted taxi company that provides taxi services at the airport.
Macedonia (Thessaloniki) Airport provides 24-hour uninterrupted bus services every day for the passengers it hosts at the airport. The buses 78, 78A and 78N, which you can take to reach the city center, run at different departure times. The bus number 78A departs once a day at 5 a.m.
The bus number 78 departs every 45 minutes between 5 am and 10 pm. The bus number 78N provides transportation to the city center between 22:30 and 04:30 from the night until the morning. Your journey by these bus lines that allow you to get to the city center and the railway station directly takes about 45 minutes.
The car rental option, which is not preferred so frequently compared to other options for transportation from Macedonia (Thessaloniki) Airport to the city center, is provided inside the terminal buildings. The car rental companies providing this service are Sixt, Europcar, Hertz, Cardelmar and Figame.Last Updated: 14 Mar 2017
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Thessaloniki flights are organized to Thessaloniki - Makedonia Airport.
London-Thessaloniki 2 hour 40 minutes, Manchester-Thessaloniki 2 hour 50 minutes, Edinburgh-Thessaloniki 3 hour 10 minutes, Birmingham-Thessaloniki 2 hour 50 minutes, Glasgow-Thessaloniki 3 hour 10 minutes, Bristol-Thessaloniki 2 hour 50 minutes, Liverpool-Thessaloniki 3 hour, Newcastle-Thessaloniki 3 hour.
Sky Express organizes direct flights to Thessaloniki from Larnaca. Arkia organizes direct flights to Thessaloniki from Tel Aviv. Wizz Air organizes direct flights to Thessaloniki from Kutaisi.