Trip to Thessaloniki region
To reach the Thessaloniki region, from Belgrade, you can travel by car through two main roads. From Belgrade it is almost 15% shorter road and cheaper to travel through Bulgaria, but it is safer to travel through North Macedonia.
This “safer” refers exclusively to traffic safety. The route through Bulgaria is especially favorable for travelers from some parts of eastern Serbia, especially for people from Pirot, because for them this route is significantly shorter. For those who want to travel at night, I can not recommend this route for now, primarily because from Niš to Kavala, via Dimitrovgrad and Seres, which is the shortest way, it has only about 100km of highway. The rest of the road mostly belongs to the category of main roads, which are very good in Bulgaria, but they are quite loaded with trucks and ruthless drivers, while they are not high quality, but they are not overburdened through Greece. In addition, this significantly slows down traffic, statistics show that the frequency of traffic accidents is four times smaller on the highway, so main roads should be avoided if there is an alternative in the form of a slightly longer motorway.
For some young parents with small children is convenient to travel at night and, when both parents are drivers and they change, this time is tolerably tough. However, it is important to take maximum care of the safety of your family, and therefore keep in mind that most traffic accidents, as a result of the driver’s tiredness, occurred between 5 and 7am.
** Belgrade (Bubanj Potok) - Preševo - Dojran - Kilkis (Liti) - Thessaloniki - Asprovalta/Vrasna/Stavros (685km) **
The border crossing Dojran - Doirani you will usually pass quickly because there is no big crowd. So, after entering N. Macedonia, drive 145km to the village of Udovo where you encounter large and clearly visible signposts for Dojran. For those whose cars use gas or diesel, right behind these apartments, a hundred meters away, there is the last gas station before entering Greece (where the fuel is considerably more expensive) and where a full tank needs to be filled. The gas station is opened from 08-22h and you can pay by credit card as well. For those who have LPG and want to take this route, the last gas station in N. Macedonia is 20km before Dojran, in Valandovo. After 3km you will reach the Old Dojran, where you can eat excellent burek in the center of the town next to the market. At the end of the town is the border crossing. After you enter Greece, follow the signposts for Kilkis - Thessaloniki and proceed well alongside Kilkis towards Thessaloniki, but after 53km from the border, in the town of Lita, you will enter the “Egnatia Odos”, the highway and continue towards Kavala.
If you do not want to crawl through Lita, a more simple but a few kilograms longer route is the one at the intersection with a traffic light, where the road sign shows to turn right to Kavala, continue straight where the green table for Thessaloniki leads you. Here you will join the highway for Thessaloniki, and exactly 8km from that intersection, when you cross the hill, turn off the highway (follow the sign that leads to the Serres), pass the underpass below and turn in the opposite direction towards Kavala. On this section there is one toll station on which the toll is 2.4€. After 73km from the intersection with signposts for Serres, Thessaloniki and Lita, on the highway we come across the first roadmap for Asprovalta and Nea Vrasna. We turn off left and continue to follow the signs to Asprovalti and Vrasna. Those who are going to Stavros should continue on the second traffic light after being excluded from the highway.
From Belgrade to the border with N. Macedonia, you will pay toll a total of 1460.00 dinars. It can be paid with cards Visa, MasterCard, AmEx.
More about tolls read here.
Fuel prices in N. Macedonia and Bulgaria are similar to those in Serbia; the euro-diesel is cheaper, gasoline and gas are a little expensive, but all this is significantly cheaper than in Greece (20-25% cheaper), so the cheapest way is if you exit from N. Macedonia or Bulgaria and fill the tanks to the top. You can pay with cards in all major gas stations in N. Macedonia and Bulgaria, or, of course, in euros, but not all will charge you 60 denars or 1.95 lev for 1€. Therefore, if you do not have a card, it is best to exchange the required amount of the euro in cash or lev in exchange offices that are at border crossings.
There are not many LPG gas stations in Greece, so be informed, on this site there are texts about where you can find them. Also, when traveling through N. Macedonia, I note that on the highway from Thessaloniki to Kavala there are no gas stations that are, as in Serbia and N. Macedonia, right next to the highway, but you have to get off the road and search 1-2km to find it. In addition to a better price, this is another reason why you need to pour fuel in N. Macedonia before you go to Greece.
Have a nice trip!
To check out accommodation offers in Thessaloniki region click HERE.