Thessaloniki is easy to get to and simple to navigate. Here's what you need to know.
The International Film Festival, held late October through mid-November, which draws filmmakers and cinema lovers from all over the world.
August 15th, the day of Panagia (the Mother of God), is the biggest holiday in all of Greece. Nothing is open on the day of Panagia.
Paska (Easter), a Sunday usually in April or May, depending on the year's Orthodox calendar. This is the second largest holiday in Greece. Cities shut down completely on Paska.
There are numerous other festivals, fairs, and conventions held in Thessaloniki throughout the year. To see what's going on when you're there, check the Saloniki Web site.
How to get there
Thessaloniki has an international airport, though flight volume is relatively low. Flights from Athens on Aegean Airlines or Olympic Airlines are quick and, if booked far enough in advance, inexpensive (Aegean's cheapest one-way fare between Athens and Thessaloniki is €61). For more information, or to book flights, check out our Greece budget flights section.
Trains remain the least expensive way to travel throughout Greece. One-way tickets from Athens on the slow 5 1/2 hour train can cost as little as €15, round-trip tickets as little as €24. Travel on the fast 3 1/2 hour train between Athens and Thessaloniki will set you back €50 one way. Trains also connect Thessaloniki with numerous other cities both within and outside of Greece. International destinations that can be reached directly or with a single train change include Budapest, Istanbul, and Sofia.
Buses take six to seven hours to reach Thessaloniki from Athens. A one-way journey costs around €39.
Ferries connect Thessaloniki with the Cycladic islands, Athens, Mitilini, and Rhodes, among other popular Greek destinations. Ferry rides can be a relaxing and scenically spectacular mode of transportation in Greece. Avoid taking a ferry between October and April if you suffer from motion sickness.
Getting into town
From the airport, take bus #78. Amazingly, the ticket price for this bus is the same as for any other city bus: only €.60.
From the main train station, take bus #3 if you are going to the beach, #10 or #14 if you are headed for the city center.
From the main (western) bus station (all buses from the eastern bus station go to Halkidiki), take bus #8 or 31 to reach the city center.
From the port, which is on the periphery of the city center, you can easily walk wherever you are going. If you are loaded down with luggage, hop on bus #3 to take you through the city center.
Getting around town
Walk It! Thessaloniki is a very walkable city, and exploring by foot will provide opportunities to check out below ground-level Byzantine churches, shops, bakeries, tavernas, markets, and cafes that might otherwise be missed. If you are energetic and physically able, slip on some good supportive walking shoes and hoof it.
The public city buses are well-organized, run frequently, and are inexpensive at €.60 per ride. Make sure to validate your ticket on the bus. If an inspector boards the bus and finds that your ticket is not validated, you will be fined. Bus tickets are sold at peripteros, or kiosks, which dot the streets. You can buy your ticket for €.70 on the bus. The signs at every bus stop outline each bus route clearly and in great detail.
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