Flight and hotel Thessaloniki
Overview of Thessaloniki
Often referred to as Greece's second city, Thessaloniki is the capital of Central Macedonia, home to endless UNESCO World Heritage sites dating to Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman times. Set at the base of the Thermaikos Gulf, the multi-ethnic student city beguiles with its architectural legacies, festivals and pulsating nightlife. A flight to and hotel in Thessaloniki let you experience this firsthand.
What to know before visiting Thessaloniki
The city is served by Macedonia International Airport (SKG), which is 15 minutes from the city centre. Flights from London or Manchester to Thessaloniki are within easy reach. British nationals won't need a visa to enter Greece. The official currency is the euro.
Thessaloniki is two hours ahead of the United Kingdom. Whereas Greek is the official language, German, English, French and Italian are spoken at most local attractions. Your flight to Thessaloniki awaits!
When is the best time to visit Thessaloniki?
Barring a few chilly months in winter, the city boasts year-round weather, making city breaks in Thessaloniki a splendid idea. Good times to visit are from April to June and from September to November. While the shoulder seasons earn you sizeable discounts on Thessaloniki package holidays, March, July and November are busy – during these months, you should probably book your Thessaloniki flight and hotel in advance.
Each November, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival attracts over 70,000 cinephiles. The three-month long Dimitria Festival (September–December) is an extravaganza of music, dance, visual arts and literature. December features Thessaloniki Hip Hop Festival, which includes art shows and photographic exhibits as well as concerts. Planning a weekend in Thessaloniki during a festival lets you experience the area's energy at its highest.
What to do in Thessaloniki
The city pleases everyone, from culture travellers to history buffs to party animals. Beaches, bars and world-famous mountains await on Thessaloniki weekends.
- Southwest of Thessaloniki is the region of Pieria, known for its ancient archaeological sites and rustic villages. Pieria's 70km coastline is peppered with sandy beaches, including Plaka Litochoro, Platamonas and Olympian Bay.
- Package holidays to Thessaloniki often include a trek up to Mount Olympus, 'home of the Olympian Gods'. Declared a National Park owing to its rich animal and plant life, the area boasts charming villages such as Skoteina, Milies and Ritini.
- Choose from waterfront bars, jazz clubs or bouzoukia nightclubs to experience Greek music and dance. The port-side Ladadika quarter is filled with tavernas, while Kamara houses cheaper bars catering to the student population.
- With its northern winds and low waves, the Thermaic Gulf is a wonderful spot for sailing and yachting. The Kalamaria marina is one of the most popular ones to moor at. Go on a night cruise on the floating boat bars that sail around the gulf, and enjoy drinks and eclectic music on your city breaks in Thessaloniki.
Places to visit in Thessaloniki
The Archaeological Museum houses intriguing prehistoric Macedonian and Hellenistic finds. Look out for the Hellenistic bronze-and-tin vase, the Derveni Crater (330–320 BC). Meanwhile, the Museum of Byzantine Culture houses more than 7,000 items, including mosaics, glassware, tomb paintings and jewellery.
Unmissable is the 5th-century Church of Hagios Demetrios, which attracts religious art specialists aplenty. It honours the city's patron saint, whose relics are housed inside a silver reliquary. South of the Rotunda of Galerius is the Arch of Galerius (AD 303), fondly known as 'Kamara' to locals. This fascinating Roman structure is Thessaloniki's central meeting spot.
What to eat in Thessaloniki
In Thessaloniki, freshly caught seafood is best savoured with full-bodied Macedonian wines and local desserts at the city's tavernas. Must-try dishes include the bagel-like bread, koulouri, with ayran, a salty, yoghurt-like drink. How about some yummy gyros (roasted meat served in pita bread)?
Other ubiquitous delicacies include moussaka, baked meat pie made with aubergines and potatoes, and souvlaki, grilled meat. For desserts, sink your teeth into the semolina custard pastry, bougatsa.
What can you bring back from Thessaloniki?
The main shopping drag, Tsimiski Street, is buzzing with indie boutiques, delicatessens, bookstores and vendors selling branded items at discounted prices. Pick up a pair of Italian leather shoes, handcrafted jewellery, bags or cosmetics. Don't miss the street buskers.
Travellers on a budget will love Egnatia Street and Dimitriou Gounari Street for their reasonably priced boutiques, bookstores and secondhand CD shops. The city markets are your best bet for herbs, cheeses, olives, honey and nuts. Pepper, cinnamon, cloves and star anise are popular takeaways for gourmands, while art fiends can pick up replicas of iconic artworks at Thessaloniki's museum shops.