The huge amount of our guests, returning from their vacation, spend one or two days in Thessaloniki. It’s a bit short time to completely search and get familiar with Thessaloniki, but it’s still enough to see the most important places.

For such a short stay, we do not recommend spending most of your time in museums, although Thessaloniki is known as the city of museums, but since for this you still need to take more time, we suggest you to leave them for another, longer visit.

Where to stay

If you plan to spend one night in Thessaloniki, be sure to choose one of the hotels located in the very center, on the stretch from Aristotle’s Square to the White Tower, and at the height of Agios Dimitrios Street. You can find cheap hotels from 30e per night for two with breakfast and up. Among the affordable ones are Pella Hotel, Rex and Ilisia, and there are really many more expensive ones. There are also apartments for rent in the very center of the city, so the choice is really big.

Parking lot

Most of the hotels do not have their own parking, but they can direct you to the nearest parking lot with which they have cooperation. Daily parking costs is usually around 13e.

Payment for parking in Thessaloniki is regulated by parking cards that can be purchased at the traffic counter. There is no SMS payment. Depending on the zone, all-day parking costs from 3 to 5e. It happens that there is no tobacconist near the place where you found a free parking space, so in that case, either try to ask in any shop that is close to you, or make sure you don’t block someone. In our experience, controls are very rare. Parking is free on weekends throughout the city, and from Agios Dimitrios street upwards, parking is always free, so you can look for free spaces there too. Considering that cases of car break-ins are relatively common (especially if thieves notice foreign license plates and a lot of things in the car), if you have valuable things in it, it is best to park in one of the many garages in the center of Thessaloniki during your tour of the city (price 3e per hour and up). All in all, these are options, and in our opinion, the safest option is to arrange a garage with the hotel where you are staying.

Many tourists park the car right behind White Tower, but there you need to be careful because there is a large section of the street alongside the theater reserved for buses (although not best marked) and within that part the parking penalty comes within 10 minutes of parking.
More information about parking in Thessaloniki find here: Parking in Thessaloniki

Taxi

In Thessaloniki there are no taxi drivers without taxi licence, so you can always stop an empty taxi on the street and drive at a good price. Of course, before you enter the taxi on the street you can ask how much it will cost you, just to make sure of who you came across :).

There is an official tariff of the Thessaloniki Taxi Association. The start costs €1.90 (minimum driving price is €3.16, a kilometer in the city is 0.68, outside the city €1.19 - the city border is the Ring road, the bypass around Thessaloniki to Halkidiki). Additionally, an airport tax or a station tax (bus, railway) is charged, which is 2-5e. You may also be charged a euro or two for your luggage, but not all taxi drivers.

Public transport in Thessaloniki

You can also use public bus transport in Thessaloniki. You can read a detailed description of the lines leading to the sights in the city in our text Public transport in Thessaloniki - the best option for city trips

What to visit in Thessaloniki if you stay for two days

It would be nice to visit a church dedicated to Saint Demetrius, protector of Thessaloniki. It is located in Ag.Dimitrios street, close to Aristotelous Square. This church is the most important landmark in Thessaloniki and we recommend that you visit it by 1 pm when catacombs are open to visitors.

For the rest of the day, we suggest you simply enjoy walking, eating and exploring. Thessaloniki is a city that is famous for its great atmosphere, spirit and gourmets, so we recommend you to indulge in them :)

The heartbeats of Thessaloniki are the quay by the sea (Nikis Street), as well as the streets of Egnatia and Tsimiski. You should definitely take a walk on quay to the White Tower, but you could also try a new, expanded promenade behind the White Tower towards Makedonia Palace Hotel. The best time to walk is the evening when you can enjoy the beautiful sunset. You will see a multitude of young and old people sitting and enjoying the sea.

There are sellers of various jewelry, corn, sugar candy… Near the White Tower you can see boats that are actually bars. If you have the time, you should stop by the boat for a cup of coffee or a drink and a small cruise off the coast. The ride takes half an hour and it is not charged. You are required, as in any cafe, to order a drink. After the end of the journey, you do not have to leave the boat, but you can continue to enjoy it if you like it. Prices of drinks are the same as in other cafes in the city.

The White Tower itself was once a prison and a torture tower, and today it is a museum. Entrance to the museum costs 3e, and from the top of the tower there is a beautiful view of the city, but since the view is not spectacular, nor a museum, decide for yourself whether you will visit it or not, depending on how much time you have.

IIf you are in the mood for shopping, visit Tsimiski Street, where there are branded stores such as Zara, Stradivarius, Bershka, H&M, and there is also Egnatia Street, which has shops with wardrobes of lesser-known brands, but with very favorable prices. In these stores in Thessaloniki, sales and discounts are frequent, especially from August 15 onwards, as well as after January 15. Monastiriou street, which is also parallel to Nikis, Tsimiski and Egnatia streets, is known for its stores of the world’s most famous brands, Armani, Versace, and in it you can find a store with a formal wardrobe for special occasions.

For shopping, the most famous shopping center is Cosmos, but it takes half an hour’s drive from the center, so if you don’t have time, you really don’t lose anything if you only visit Tsimiski and Monastiriou streets in the city center because the shops are the same. Do not forget that shops in Egnatia are closed on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, as well as in the period from 2 am to 6 pm on weekdays. Shops on Tsimiski Street are open on Saturdays until 6 pm, and on Sundays all shops in the city are closed.
Adress: 11km National Road Thessaloniki – N. Moudania | 57001 Thessaloniki – Greece

One Salonica is one of the newer shopping centers in Thessaloniki. It was opened in 2015.
In this shopping center there is also an outlet stores, as well as a well-stocked Sklavenitis hypermarket where you can buy food products, have lunch or shop for the home.
Address: Kotta Roulia 10, Thessaloniki

The once very popular Mega Outlet is no longer so popular or frequented, but you can still find sports equipment there at low prices. Let us note that the famous NIKE sports equipment outlet store no longer exists in Mega Outlet, nor in Thessaloniki.

Restorans and bars

Walking through the streets of Thessaloniki, you’ll feel the seductive scents of traditional and world cuisine that come literally from all sides and you will notice that there are beautiful restaurants and cafes with beautiful gardens on every corner.

If you want to have a drink, while you enjoy the vibe of the city it is best to sit down in one of the most visited bars in the street by the sea. We recommend Café Essato. For coffee lovers there is a great coffee shop in Electra Palace Hotel. It’s a bar on the roof of the hotel with a magnificent view of Aristotelous Square and sea. Coffee is a little expensive, but the price of coffee also includes a view :) The hotel and the cafe are located on the Aristotelous Square.

The Greeks are not going anywhere without nes coffee or frappe, so the shops where you can buy a coffee to go are very popular. The least expensive coffee is in the chain of Todaylicious shops and you will recognize these shops easily because they are very crowded. If you want to sit down and have a coffee with the locals, then do not miss Mikel cafe. Coffee shops from this chain exist at every corner, but for the best pleasure, choose the most popular and perhaps the largest on the coast, near the White Tower.

If you like sweet coffee, order Mikelocino with ice cream and enjoy.
If you take coffee to go, it’s a cheaper option. If you are not a coffee lover, you can anyway visit Mikel and order a large cup of fresh orange juice that costs 2e, and you could also order an excellent milkshake.

If you enjoy having pastries for breakfast, we recommend you to visit the bakery Paradosiako at the Aristotelous Square. It is excellent.

And what should you have for lunch?
There are so many good taverns that it is really difficult for us to single out any :) Because of that, we will briefly list some of them, and in other post we will deal with taverns and food in Thessaloniki which are inexhaustible inspiration for writing.

There are actually several neighborhoods to visit during lunch and dinner. The most famous is the former Jewish quarter of Ladadika. It is close to the sea and full of restaurants and taverns, with characteristic buildings with colorful facades, paved and romantically lit streets. Whichever tavern you visit in Ladadica, you won’t go wrong, and the prices are slightly higher than in other taverns. Our favorite tavern in this neighborhood is Harupi. If you want to have lunch there and where real Thessalonikians, not tourists, then be sure to read our text about the best restaurants in Thessaloniki recommended by locals.

Another famous place for locals and for tourist lately is Mpit Bazaar. The former quarter where the antique shops were located is now popular among young people for its taverns that are actually uzeri and live music. If you are not a fan of crowds, definitely visit Mpit Bazaar in the evening just to see and feel the atmosphere. It is best to stop by around 9 pm in the evening, and not during the day.

We used to recommend Rogue Tavern as our first choice, but in the meantime we discovered some even better restaurants, so now we would prefer them. You can definitely visit Rouga if you are in the vicinity, but only when you visit the others that we mentioned in the text: The Rouga restaurant is located in a less popular street (Karipi no. 28), but in the very center. There you can order excellent chicken wings, spinach souffle, chicken with mushrooms in a clay pot a la creme, a fantastic salad with arugula and “polysporos” seeds, an excellent Santorini salad, leek meatballs and so on and so forth. This restaurant has great live music in the evenings. On Fridays and Saturdays, you should reserve a table in advance.

If you want a nice restaurant, come to the very popular Elia Lemoni restaurant also in the city center (Kapodistrou number 9). This restaurant has great freshly cooked dishes every day except Sundays and it is really for every recommendation, especially because of the excellent price-quality ratio. On Saturdays and Sundays, you may wait a bit until a table is released, but certainly worth it. Elia Lemoni exists in Botsara, but it is different so we recommend you only that one in the center of Thessaloniki.

Ah the gyros! One of the most famous gyros in Thessaloniki is gyros on Aristetolous Square. The shop itself is called Aristotelos.

Based on our experience, there is a even better gyros located across the White Tower and called Ψισου. The gyros quality is changing over time, so we were disappointed a couple of times, but mostly it was really great.

If you want to try a true, homemade gyros, on coal, and not on an electric spit, then visit the Katsamaka tavern in the Ermou street.

If you want to try something that Thessalonians adore, visit the Savvikos fast food store on Aristotle Square. Apart from the classic fast food menu, the most popular tortillas here are called Gyrlou (Girlu). These are tortillas with pieces of pork or chicken, and if you like oriental spices, you will enjoy every bite.

And the pastry shops! I do not know a city that has more pastry shops than Thessaloniki, and the better ones are certainly not with such a great quality. They have them at every step and offer top-quality cakes. We will suggest you to visit the best.
The best pastry shop in Thessaloniki is Estia. It is located near the White Tower. Every cake in this cake shop is a real work of art, and the tastes can not be described with words. Cakes cost from 2e upwards, and our recommendation is to try chocolate heart with hazelnuts. You’ll notice it in the window.

Another pastry shop is Ble, which is in quality right next to Estia and has it in two locations in Thessaloniki.

Although these two pastry shops are really fantastic, do not buy ice cream in them, but just cakes, because there is a confectionery shop from “dreams” under the name of Fregio. Fregio is on Aristotelous Square and we are sure that you will buy ice cream from here for a long time. Try the taste of hazelnuts, nonabella, nutella, cookies and so on… What you shouldn’t miss are also the waffles in the confectionery Fregio. Not waffle from the showcase, which is also good, but on the cashier you should order a waffle that they will bake for you. From the overflow, look for Nutella, then a biscuit, and one or two balls of ice cream, and you can also fresh strawberries. Of course, what you will add is best to decide for yourself, this is just our favorite combination. You will not find a better waffles :) Just listen to us and let us know the impressions. One waffle is enough for two. In the winter you can sit on the floor of a shop where the ambience is very nice, while during the summer it is a bit warm for that.

In Thessaloniki you can taste excellent chocolate souffles and chocolate brownies. In the pastry shop Fregio, they are fabulously made and after they warm them for you, do not forget to tell them that you want them served with a bowl of vanilla ice cream and you will not be disappointed, on the contrary, you will be thrilled :)
You can try the souffle in the famous traditional pastry shop Terkenlis which is most famous for tsureki. Tsureki is a sweet bread, traditionally prepared for Easter, but in Thessaloniki it is consumed daily. It takes time to get used to the taste of tsureki, but once you get used to it, you will love it and you will not be able to do without it. We recommend that you try tsureki with white chocolate and chestnut filling or with milk chocolate. In addition to these popular and somewhat more expensive pastry shops, there are less known on each corner, and with fantastic cakes at affordable prices.

After lunch and dessert you can continue walking :)

In addition to streets that are parallel with the sea, and walk the streets that are crossroads and you will find a beautiful small, closed streets with beautiful gardens where mostly locals enjoy, and there are not plenty of tourists.

If you wish, you can pay a tourist bus at the White Tower with an hour drive through the city. In the audio guide that you get, you will listen to explanations about the places you pass through. A tourist bus ticket costs from 3e upwards. You can haggle a bit if you are a group. If you want, you can leave the bus at one of the stations, and pick up the next bus after an hour and a half. We recommend this to you if you want to visit a fortress above the city with a beautiful view of the city. So, get out of the bus at the fort and arrange with the driver to pick you up when he drives the next round. This option is included in the price of tickets.

Near Aristotle’s Square, there are the famous Capani and Modiano markets, where you can buy always fresh fish and meat, but also fruits and vegetables, spices… Modiano is a renovated indoor market.

Kalamaria is one of the most beautiful and quite parts of Thessaloniki. It can be reached by bus (20 minutes drive). It is a settlement on the seafront, with a small harbor and marina, reminiscent of classic tourist spots in northern Greece. Here you can walk by the sea, enjoy the park or one of the cafes and restaurants with panoramic sea views. In Kalamaria you will also find a pastry shop Fregio in the street by the sea, so you can combine two nice things :) Some of the most famous restaurants in Thessaloniki are located in Kalamaria, so you can enjoy good food. We recommend the Hamodrakas restaurant that Putin visited on one occasion and other famous people, and if you are for Greek kebabs then Nea Diagonios who makes the most famous kebabs in Thessaloniki. Also visit the small square and promenade just above the street by the sea and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere.

If you are planning to go to Thessaloniki and would like more information about this city, such as places to visit, where to eat, parking, how to get around the city, check out our Thessaloniki - comprehensive tourist guide

We do not believe that you will be able to enjoy all of this in just one or two days, but make some shortlist as time goes by and leave something for the next visit :)