Discover Thessaloniki


Download tourist map of the city of Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki, also familiarly known as Thessalonica, Salonica, or Salonika is the second-largest city in Greece, with over 1 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area. It is located on the Thermaic Gulf, at the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea. It is bounded on the west by the delta of the Axios river.

Thessaloniki is Greece's second major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre; it is a major transportation hub for Greece and southeastern Europe, notably through the Port of Thessaloniki. The city is renowned for its festivals, events and vibrant cultural life in general, and is considered to be Greece's cultural capital.

The city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. It was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430 and passed from the Ottoman Empire to Greece on 8 November 1912.

Thessaloniki is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments, including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as several Roman, Ottoman and Sephardic Jewish structures. The city's main university, Aristotle University, is the largest in Greece and the Balkans.

The numerous monuments, dating to various historical periods, coexist in a singular and charming way and manifest Thessaloniki’s historical multicultural and cosmopolitan nature. Nowadays, the historic capital -by right- of Macedonia, the land of Alexander the Great, has evolved into a modern and particularly charming metropolis. A multitude of monuments and cultural assets and the town’s traditional ways exist in harmony with modern trends and high quality infrastructure, the relaxed atmosphere, the spirit of hospitality, the vitality of the locals – particularly the young – setting the pace of town life, the diversity of artistic events, the long list of choices for entertainment, the exceptional culinary tradition, and the fresh breezes coming from the seafront.

Thessaloniki is a popular tourist destination in Greece. In 2013, National Geographic Magazine included Thessaloniki in its top tourist destinations worldwide, while in 2014 Financial Times FDI magazine (Foreign Direct Investments) declared Thessaloniki as the best mid-sized European city of the future for human capital and lifestyle.

Thessaloniki is situated at the heart of an extensive area of incomparable historical monuments and natural assets and provides the opportunity to visit archaeological sites known the world over (Ancient Pella, Vergina, Dion, Petralona Cave and so on), to areas of exquisite nature (river deltas, lakes, Mt Olympus), to the monastic state of Agion Oros [the Holy Mountain better known as Mount Athos] as well as to Halkidiki, a famous tourist destination. Of course, there is always an opportunity for sports (swimming, skiing, golf and so on) or to indulge in health tourism (hot springs and spas). In short, Thessaloniki is a city that caters to even the most demanding needs year-round.

Thessaloniki transport links

The city of Thessaloniki is located approximately 16 km from the Thessaloniki Airport Macedonia and there are two ways to travel to the city. It takes about 35 minutes to get to the city centre by taxi and costs 20-25€ (taxi fare after midnight is higher). Taxis can be found just outside the arrival terminal. Bus service is also available 7 days a week. The bus numbers are 78 and 01X for daily routes. There is also night bus service (numbers 78N and N1)for the leaving the bus station every 30 minutes. The bus service takes about 45-65 minutes depending on the day and time.

Single Tickets for buses 78 and 78N οr 01X and 01N airport lines costs:

  • 2€- Regular
  • 1€- Discounted (for people up to 18 years old and over 65 years old)

Tickets can be purchased from ticket vending machines onboard or at OASTH kiosks at the airport and more places in the city. Please click here for more information about the kiosks.

There are several car rental companies operating at the airport terminal. More information is available at

Thessaloniki has a good transport network and for more information about travelling options please visit the official transportation service page here.

Thessaloniki bus service: City Centre - University Campus

See also: Accommodation