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Getting to (and from)Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki, Greece harbor

Traveling to Greece's second largest city is simple and worth the trip whether it is by car, train, ferry or flight. This page will give you enough information to get there and back, but like the islands I recommend working with a reliable Greek travel agent who can coordinate your flights, ferries and hotels and help you make the most of your time, as well as solve them if there are any problems or changes that need to be made.

By Air
By Air Thessaloniki is linked to Athens, Ioannina, Hania, Heraklion, Lemnos, Lesvos, Rhodes and Skiathos (in Summer). The city's airport (16 km outside Thessaloniki) is international and served by many of the major airlines. You can even fly here from the USA. For flights to Thessaloniki try www.greeceflights.com

For transfers from the airport to town contact Thessaloniki's popular taxi driver Grigoris Mosiadis through his website at Thessaloniki Taxi

By Train
Rail services link Thessaloniki with, Athens and the towns of Macedonia and Thrace. The line through what was once Yugoslavia provides connections with Central and Western Europe. The line through Bulgaria connects to Eastern Europe and the line through Istanbul, Turkey with the countries of the Near East. Information: State Rail ways office at No 18, Aristotelous St. tel.2310 276.382 and the new railway terminal, tel. 2310 517.517. (They had a website that was worse than useless)
Or visit
www.athensguide.com/practicalinfo where you can find more information on the troubled National Train System of Greece. They received a large EU Grant for improving train service on the Athens-Thessaloniki line, among others but that does not mean they will. In 2010 it was discovered that the Greek railway was losing so much money that if they gave all their passengers taxi fare instead of running the trains it would have cost them less. Be aware that there are express and local trains and the locals make a million stops and take hours longer to get between Athens and Thessaloniki.

According to the schedule I have there are trains from Athens to Thessaloniki at:
6:50(IC), 7:50(ICE), 9:54, 10:50(IC), 13:23(IC), 14:50, 16:24, 19:22(ICE), 20:40(IC), 22:57 and 23:55.
The slow trains cost 15 euros and take 6 hours and the fast trains(ICE) cost 50 euros and take 4 hours and 20 minutes. There is something in between(IC) that takes 5 hours and costs 36 euro.

By Bus
Coach services are operated by KTEL between Thessaloniki and Athens, Larissa, Volos, Patras and Aedipsos (only during the summer).

BUSES FROM ATHENS TO THESSALONIKI
The trip lasts 6 hours to Thessaloniki. Ticket price is 35 euro one-way and 55 euros return ticket.
You don't have to pre-book for a ticket. In fact you can't. You can pay at the terminal, before bus departure or on the bus. If you are there 30 minutes before departure you should find a seat.
For further information pls contact
ktelgr@otenet.gr or call 210-51.50.025

Green Park (PEDIO AREOS) (Mavromattaion & Ioulianou 19, Tel.210-8225148): 06:30 - 07:30 - 09:30 - 11:30 - 13:00 - 14:30 - 16:00 - 17:30 - 19:00 - 21:00* - 22:30 - 23:30
*  Sometimes only Friday & Sunday
 
KIFISOS BUS TERMINAL (Kifisou 100, Tel.210-5150025): 07:00 - 08:00 - 10:00 - 12:00 - 13:30 - 15:00 - 16:30 - 18:00 - 19:30 - 21:30- 23:00 - 24:00

*  Sometimes only Friday & Sunday

BUSES FROM THESSALONIKI TO ATHENS

MONASTERIOU 69 STATION (near railway station): 07:15 - 08:30 - 10:00 - 12:00 - 13:30 - 15:00 - 16:30 - 18:00 - 21:00* - 23:00 - 24:00

GATE 7 AT THE CENTRAL STATION "KTEL MACEDONIA", 194, GIANNITSON STR: 07:30 - 08:45 - 10:15 - 12:15 - 13:45 - 15:15 - 16:45 - 18:15 - 21:15* - 23:15 - 00:15

The trip to Athens lasts aprox. 6 hours. Ticket price is 35 euro per single route and 55 euros return ticket.
You don't have to pre-book for a ticket. In fact you can't. You can pay at the terminal, before bus departure or on the bus. If you are there 30 minutes before departure you should find a seat. For further information contact
ktelgr@otenet.gr or call 2310-500111.

Visit www.athensguide.com/practicalinfo for info on getting to the Athens Bus terminal.

KTEL  has two daily buses to Istanbul Turkey, leaving at 10.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m. Departing from Irenes Street 17, in the centre of Thessaloniki.
Ticket prices are: 
45 euro one-way(35 euro for students)
80 euro return ticket(64 euro for students)

By Sea
There are connections by sea with the islands Lemnos,
Lesvos, Chios and Pireaus all year round but only once or twice a week usually on Saturday night at midnight. Also summer connections with the island groups of Sporades, Dodecanese and Cyclades though they are usually the once-a-week variety. There is (or maybe is) a ferry that goes on Wednesdays at 22:00 to Santorini and Iraklion Crete and does the same thing on Saturday with a stop in Tinos. Information: Thessaloniki Port Authority. Tel. 2310 531.504

Driving
You can drive from Athens to Thessaloniki in about 6 hours on the National Road. We drove to Meteora, stayed overnight and then continued to Thessaloniki. Its not a bad drive and you pass some interesting countryside. Of course it is a lot more interesting for the passenger than it is for the driver who has to keep his eye on the road to be alert for all the crazy things Greek drivers do. But even that can be entertaining and if you are a good driver you won't have any problems. Be aware that the stretch of road at Tempe is the most dangerous in Greece. The highway narrows from 4 lanes down to one lane as it cuts through a narrow pass through a ravine next to a river. To add to the excitement there can be fog here too. Much of the time cars are only going about 5 miles an hour because traffic backs up during busy periods. But it is the most likely place to have an accident on the Greek roads. There are some beautiful beaches to stop at on the way to Thessaloniki around Mount Olympus too. If you are planning to rent a car and drive from Athens to Thessaloniki or touring around Greece check out Swift Rent-a-Car. They will pick you up at the airport or your hotel and drive you to the National road and let you by-pass the notorious Athens traffic. See their website at www.greektravel.com/swift and while you are at it see my guide to driving in Greece at www.athensguide.com/driving

If you have flown into Thessaloniki and need to rent a car I recommend Fantasy Car Rental who have offices all over Greece.

Where to Stay
Like any city there are hotels of every catagory. There is a youth Hostel at 44 Alex Svolou street where beds are cheap. There is also a campground at the beach of Agia Triada, but it's 27 kilometers away and limits your nightlife. The Hotel Capsis Bristol has low summer rates and a great location and is one of the best small hotels in Greece. See the
Thessaloniki hotels page or visit  Booking.com's Thessaloniki Page where you can find hotels of all catagories and prices and information on booking them.

Travel Agents
For hotels, transportation and more info contact Dolphin Hellas Travel especially if Thessaloniki is part of a bigger plan that has you traveling all over Greece and visiting the islands too. They can keep it all together for you and in the end save you money. A good Thessaloniki-island combination would be with
Lesvos. There are several ferries a week and you can start in Athens, spend a few days in Lesvos, take the ferry to Thessaloniki, spend a few days there and then take the train down to Athens. Or you can do it in reverse.

More Interesting Stuff
For taxi tours of Thessaloniki and the surrounding areas as well as transfers to and from the airport see
Taxi in Thessaloniki

You can also include Thessaloniki in any mainland tours you do with George the Famous Taxi Driver, for example Athens-Delphi-Meteora-Vergina-Pella-Thessaloniki. See www.greecetravel.com/taxi

Dolphin Hellas Travel offers a Footsteps of Saint Paul Guided Tour that begins in Thessaloniki and visits all the most important early Christian sites in Greece.

For information on visiting Istanbul from Thessaloniki see www.greecetravel.com/turkey/istanbul

For organized tours of Mainland Greece that include Thessaloniki and Macedonia see www.greecetravel.com/tours/mainland

Istanbul Guide

Thessaloniki TaxiGrigoris' Thessaloniki Taxi
Transfers, Tours and Excursions in and around Thessaloniki
Click Here

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