With a population of around one million, Thessaloniki is Greece’s second largest city and considered the cultural capital by many. It attracts a lot of tourists from Greece and other parts of the world, who flock to its many festivals, events, history and world renowned party scene. It has many cultural highlights for all to enjoy and enjoys hot summers, with humid nights. Thessaloniki’s origins date back several millennia, being an important city both in Ancient Greece and the Byzantine Empire. Today, it mixes old and new to create an intriguing cityscape which will astound visitors who have never been before.
An economy car will be perfect for nipping around the city centre streets. It would also be handy for street parking, which can be a problem in Thessaloniki at times.
Driving in Thessaloniki
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Parking in urban areas can prove problematic, so rather than waste time searching for a free space, find a car park where you can expect to pay around €4 for a three-hour stay.
Traffic congestion is a problem in the city, so try to avoid rush hour times. Locals are generally known for being friendly should you get lost and need assistance.
Although parking laws are occasionally flouted by locals, it’s best to stick to them in case you’re worried about receiving a fine from local police.
Highlights & Hotspots
Thessaloniki is blessed with a rich and diverse history, and has a range of different galleries and museums to showcase a variety of different eras and subjects. The city centre is home to the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, as well as the Museum of Byzantine Culture, both contain many interesting artefacts as well as being housed in beautifully historic buildings.
Insectopia is a fantastic place to take the kids, who will love the interactive activities as well as many live ants, beetles and arachnids. Demand for admission to this museum is pretty high, given how unique it is in Greece.
The city centre homes many major shopping streets and is lively and vibrant. Famous for having more cafes and bars per-capita than anywhere else in Europe, it comes as no surprise that the city comes to life in the evening. Lonely Planet recently voted it as the fifth best ultimate party city.
Nea Diagonios is one of the city’s best restaurants, famous for its delicious, barbecued meat dishes which you can enjoy in its chic, super modern setting. To enjoy magical sea views whilst you dine in a restaurant where the décor is as stunning as its dishes, then head to Azzurro in Kalamaria.
Thessaloniki is served by Macedonia International Airport, and is approximately 15km south of the city centre. It is the second busiest airport in Greece and consists of three floors, and many bars and restaurants which overlook the runway.
The airport is accessible by road via the 57 highway, which links to the 25 highway. That road will take you northwards towards central Thessaloniki.