About Thessaloniki

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Click the links below to find out more about:

Location History & Culture Time & Currency Language
Population Education in Thessaloniki Connectivity Health & Safety
Weather & Climate Attractions & Sightseeing Local Transportations Practical Info


location Location
  • Set on the northern shores of the Thermaikos Gulf that opens into the Aegean Sea, Thessaloniki is a land to be explored; a crossroad of nations, cultures and beauty
  • Privileged geographical location joining the modern western with the traditional eastern countries. A node joining Europe and Asia
  • Easy to be reached either by road, rail, air or marine transportation



Thessaloniki is the second largest city of Greece. According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority's 2011 survey, the Regional Section of Thessaloniki contains 1.104.460 citizens, whereas municipality of Thessaloniki contains 322.240 of them.


Weather & Climate

Thessaloniki enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with its location in northern Greece resulting in the region receiving more rain than other areas of the country, and seeing lower temperatures during the winter. Summers in Thessaloniki are generally hot and dry, and the area receives an abundance of sunshine even during the low season.


The main tourist season begins in early July, but spring sees pleasant temperatures of between 15C and 20C, and although the sun can shine up to 8 hours a day, the weather can be quite unpredictable. July and August are the hottest months, with temperatures reaching an average of 27C, and the sun shining for over 10 hours a day. The summer frequently sees highs of 30C, however these very hot days are cooled by the strong winds that blow from the north, which begin in June and start to die down in September. Thunderstorms are fairly frequent during the summer months, with July and August seeing about 4 or 5 wet days a month, and the humidity levels remaining very high.


Temperatures drop quite dramatically during the winter, which sees an average seasonal temperature of 7C paired with 3 hours of sunshine each day. The period from October to December is the wettest, with over 50mm of rain falling every month. In the mountainous regions of Thessaloniki, temperatures drop even lower and snow is not uncommon in the depths of winter.

See the daily weather forecast here.








History and Culture

Thessaloniki stands in the heart of the Balkans and takes the name from the step sister of Alexander the great and was established by Cassander, her husband, in 315BC. Very soon the city became very populous and under the Romans in 148BC became the capital of roman providence of Macedonia. St Paul passed and preached in Thessaloniki during his second trip (50 BC). The impregnable walls kept the city free until 904 when Saracene Pirates took the city. In 1185 and 1430 the city passed successively to the hands of the Normands and the Turks. 1492 is the crucial year for the history of Thessaloniki because of the arrival of the Sephardic Jews from Spain followed from more Jews arriving from central Europe, giving the city the name mother of Israel or second Jerousalim. The 50 synagons spread all over the city which was divided in three sections: the Jewish by the port, the Greek by Rotunda and the Ottomans in Ano Poly (the Upper city). The majority of Jewish population perished in 1943 after the deportation to Auswitz, Birgenau and Bergen Belsen while in the mind time in 1912-13 and the Balkan wars the city was liberated and joined the Greek state. Today the second city of Greece boast with the two universities, the international fair, the film festival, the Dimitria festivities and all the cultural activities at go on all year round.

Find out more about Greece History & Civilisation.

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Education in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki hosts over 120 000 students in the cities institutes which are the node of the Educational Institutions of Northern Greece, including Ioannina University:

1. Aristotle University

One of the most established universities in the academic community in Europe. Today, it comprises 12 Faculties, 36 Schools and numerous other units (laboratories, study rooms, libraries, clinics, research centres etc.), which make it the largest university in Greece and Southeastern Europe in terms of number of staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students and the facilities offered.

2. The University of Macedonia

The city's second largest university. It currently consists of ten departments which deal mainly with social, political and economic sciences. A Local Committee of AIESEC is in operation and is very active with promoting AIESEC's scopes. Also a local section of Erasmus Student Network, ESN UOM Thessaloniki is active in promoting, developing and supporting the Erasmus community.

3. Alexander Technological Educational Institute

A higher education public institute specialized on applied technologies. The institute has three campuses includes 5 schools, consisting of 22 departments.



physics dept






Attractions & Sightseeing

Some of Thessaloniki's top attractions include the following:

  • The White Tower on the water frond. The landmark of Thessaloniki.
  • The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
  • The Museum of Byzantine Culture
  • The Roman Monuments dating back to the early 4th century a.D.
  • The Ladadika district near the port, known for the 'local color' and the sophisticated entertainment options.
  • Visit the numerous Byzantine Churches of Thessaloniki, dating back to the early Christian years.
  • Experience local and international gastronomy in a city where cookery is a passion! Taste local wine and visit wineries and vineyards following the 'Wine Roads of Macedonia'
  • Enjoy Shopping in one of the most dynamic and innovative commercial centres of Greece

In recognition of Thessaloniki's rich historical and cultural heritage, OASTH created and launched on 1 September 2009 the special "Cultural Route" that departs from the White Tower for a 50-minute tour of the city's key historical and cultural monuments. Download the cultural route.

Thessaloniki sightseeing offers a complete tour of Thessaloniki with its fabulous open deck bus within a tour of hop on – hop off points of interest. More info here.

There is no better way to discover a city than to walk through and wander in it 'thematically'! Historic monuments, city neighborhoods, busy streets, open squares, vivid markets, the city's waterfront, and many more, are all elements that mould Thessaloniki's unique identity, and reveal stories of a vibrant city of the past, the present and the future. Check out the "Walk in Thessaloniki" Guide.

Find out more about Thessaloniki's Museums, Monuments and Interesting Districts.

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Besides Thessaloniki, vast northern Greece and Macedonia has major modern attractions, like the key historical sites Pella and Vergina wnich are really close to the city. Halkidiki Peninsulas just east offer fine sandy coves and big beaches, and the 1000-year-old Athonite monastic community.
Macedonia's other big-ticket sights include legendary Mt Olympus, Greece’s highest peak at 2918m and a great place for hiking; and just opposite, more beaches stretch down the wooded Pieria coast, punctuated by a clifftop Byzantine castle at Platamonas. Traces of this heritage meet shimmering waters again in Macedonia's far northwest, where grand basilica ruins and frescoed church grottoes meet the Prespa Lakes, and in quiet Kastoria, with its sublime Byzantine shrines set above an elliptical lake of its own.
Macedonia's kaleidoscope of landscapes – from mountains and deep forests to arid plains and wetland marshes – make it ideal for nature buffs, food lovers and outdoors adventurers. Florina has Greece's best red peppers and highlands where brown bears amble, while Veria is famous for its peaches; the nearby vineyards produce excellent wines. Birdwatchers will enjoy scanning for pelicans, cormorants and migrating birds at the lakes and saltwater estuaries (where tasty fish are plentiful too). Something is always happening, whatever the season...


Time & Currency

Greece belongs to the Eastern-European time zone and it is two hours (+2) ahead of Greenwich Time.

Greece is a Member-State of the European Union and uses its uniform currency – the Euro. Greece, as is the case with the other Member-States of the E.U. uses eight coins as follows: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents (lepta in Greek) and 1 and 2 Euros. The banknotes are issued in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros.

Currency exchange rates are clearly displayed in every bank that accepts currency exchange, while credit card holders may acquire money from the ATMs of the collaborating banks. Greek banks are open for the public from 8:00 to 14:30 Mondays to Thursdays and from 8:00 to 13:30 on Fridays. They are closed on Public Holidays.

Euros can also be exchanged for notes of other foreign currencies at exchange offices that are situated at the airport and certain main ports, in the larger cities, as well as at many tourist destinations. A passport is required when exchanging currencies.


Connectivity - Flight connections

Thessaloniki's international airport is 16 km outside the city and served by many major airlines. The airport is served by the 24-hour bus line 78 (or 78N during night) from OASTH. Line 78 starts from Macedonia Central Bus Station, stops at the Railway Station of Thessaloniki and arrives to the airport through the city center. Line 78A travels the same route with the difference, that it makes an additional stop at the A.S. IKEA bus station. At the Railway Station and A.S. IKEA bus stops, passengers can find many connections with many other major bus lines.

Thessaloniki International Airport Information.

National flight connections

There are daily flights from Athens airport by Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines (50 minutes). During summer both Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines have daily direct flights from Rhodes, Crete (Heraklion and Chania), Mykonos and [Santorini]], and Aegean Airlines has flights from Corfu. Astra Airlines has scheduled flights from Chios and during the months of July and August flies from Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Kos, Crete (Chania and Heraklion), Karpathos, Kythira and Zakynthos.

International flight connections

  • Germany, Austria, Swiss (Berlin-Tegel, Berlin-Schönefeld, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart, Zürich, Vienna, Basel)
  • United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Norway (London-Gatwick, London-Luton, London-Heathrow, Manchester , Bristol, Stockholm (from April), Oslo(Rygge) (from April))
  • France & BeNeLux, Italy (Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Brussels-Charleroi (from April), Rome-Fiumicino, Rome-Ciampino, Milan-Malpensa, Bergamo-Orio al Serio)
  • Balkans & Eastern Europe (Belgrade, Tirana, Bucharest-Băneasa, Bucharest-Henri Coandă, Prague, Budapest, Brno, Ostrava, Moscow-Vnukovo, Moscow-Domodedovo, Minsk, Krasnodar, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Yerevan)
  • Cyprus (Larnaca, Paphos)

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Local Transportation

Thessaloniki Bus Lines are operated by the Organization of Urban Transportation of Thessaloniki. OASTH buses are state of art, air-conditioned, feature an anti-pollution system and are equipped with facilities for people with special needs.


- Standard adult tickets
  • 1,00€ (purchased at a point of sale) or 1,10€ (when issued by ticket machines on the bus) - Valid for a single trip
  • 1,20€ (purchased at a point of sale) or 1,30€ (when issued by ticket machines on the bus) -Valid for up to two (2) trips made within ninety (70) minutes from the time of issue
  • 1,50€ (purchased at a point of sale ) and 1,50€ (when issued by ticket machines on the bus) -Valid for up to three(3) trips made within ninety (90) minutes from the time of issue
  • 2,00€ (purchased at a point of sale ) and 2,00€ (when issued by ticket machines on the bus) -Valid for up to four (4) trips made within 2 hours (120 minutes) from the time of issue

- 24-hour adult tickets: 4,00€ - Valid for 24 hours and are to be validated only upon first and last use

Travel cards of various durations are also available. Detailed information on ticket options, bus routes and timetables is available at: www.oasth.gr

Taxi Service

Taxi service in Thessaloniki is plentiful and economic. Taxis can easily be found everywhere in the city, the city airport, port and railway station. Taxis are available at most hotels or can easily be ordered by hotel reception staff. Taxi companies operate 24-hour call centers, ready to receive your order or make an advance booking for you.

Minimum taxi fare is 3,10 € [ A double fare is applicable at night (24:00 – 05:00)]. Most taxis currently use satellite navigator systems that facilitate a fast and easy transfer to any destination in the city.







The national official language is Greek. However most of the people speak and understand other languages like English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.


Health & Safety

In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from member states of the European Union (EU) wishing to visit Greece must be holders of the European Health Card (EHIC) or any other legal Community document issued by their competent social security agency. You can find more information about the EHIC here.

In these cases, the necessary treatment in Greece is provided by:

-the IKA (Social Security Institute) Health Units (polyclinics) or doctor's offices in the region;

-Regional clinics (former rural clinics) or the Health Centres of the National Health System; and

-the outpatients' departments of the hospitals on contract

In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from countries other than the member states of the European Union wishing to visit Greece must consult their social security agency for information before travelling.


Practical Info

In case of emergency call

Ambulance Service: 166

SOS Doctors : 1016

Duty Hospitals and Clinics: 1434

Pharmacies: 1434

Open Line for alcohol drug Addiction: 210 36 17 089

Poisoning First Aid: 210 77 93 777

Police: 100

Useful telephone numbers

Telephone directory enquiries - Local 11888

Time 14844

Theatres & cinemas 1422

Internet Access and free WiFi spots

There is a big number of Internet cafes which provide Internet access at reasonable prices.

Free WiFi spots: http://free-wifi.gr/en/find-free-hotspots/thessalonikis

Electrical Plug/Outlet and Voltage

Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)

Primary Socket Type: Europlug, Schuko

Multi-voltage appliances (laptops, etc.): Plug adapter

Click socket type links to view adapter for that type

110-120V electronics: Plug adapter + step-down transformer

Hair dryers, curling irons, etc.: Plug adapter + voltage converter

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