Getting Around, Thessaloniki Travel, Transport and Car Rental
(Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia, Greece)
The city of Thessaloniki has become nothing short of a major transport hub for Northern Greece and is often referred to as a 'gateway to the Balkans'. Many tourists holidaying in Thessaloniki choose to travel around by rental car, although bus transport is on hand and for short distances is very affordable.
Worth noting, the city's blue and white taxis tend to transport multiple passengers and will not actually accept your fare unless you are travelling in the same direction as the other passengers. For long distance travel, Thessaloniki is home to a large train station, connecting to the Greek rail network and allowing you to easily reach destinations further afield.
Thessaloniki Airport (SKG) / Arriving by Air
Address: Kalamaria, GR-55103, Thessaloniki, Greece, GR
Tel: +30 2310 985 000
The second-largest airport in the whole of Greece after only Athens
, Thessaloniki Airport is often referred to as Macedonia Airport and is located around 15 km / 9 miles to the south-east of the city centre, near to Thermaikos. The airport serves many large European airline and budget charter flights, and is connected to the city centre by 24-hour bus transport, operated by OASTH. Olympic Airlines are especially prominent here and travel to more than 15 different domestic destinations, including Athens
, Chios, Hania, Iraklio (Crete
), Kerkyra, Limnos, Mytilini, Samos and also Skyros. Thessaloniki Airport has grown to become the third-biggest air facility in the whole of Greece and sees annual passenger figures of around four million.
Car rental is available in nearby Kalamaria, at the airport and within the city itself, with rental outlets being located on the streets of Angelaki and George Papandreou. Both traffic congestion and parking can be a problem within central Thessaloniki, so a little patience may be require at the busiest times. A large parking lot is situated next to the ferry passenger terminal and parking here is quite inexpensive, being charged per hour. Rental cars are the perfect mode of transport if you intention is to explore Macedonia and Northern Greece, with a four-lane highway bypassing the western side of the city. A major highway also links Athens in around five hours, with further roads connect Belgrade (seven hours) and Istanbul (eight hours).
Buses and Coaches
The local OASTH bus company operated bright orange, articulated buses within the city itself, and further blue and orange buses, which travel around both Thessaloniki and its suburbs. Tickets can be purchased from street kiosks (peripteros) remain valid for 70 minutes, meaning that you can use different bus transport with the same ticket, during this allocated period. If you intend to travel around using Thessaloniki's bus network extensively, then 24-hour tickets may a good option and provide unlimited travel. The city's central bus station is easy to find and located on the Plateia Dikastirion, off the Filippou, while the main station resides on the Monastiriou, some 3 km / 2 miles to the west. Bus no. 78 connects the city with the airport, with a journey time of approximately 25 minutes. Long-distance bus transport from Thessaloniki travels as far afield as Alexandroupoli (six hours), Athens (seven hours), Edessa (one hour and 30 minutes), Florina (three hours and 30 minutes), Ioannina (six hours), Kastoria (four hours), Kavala (up to three hours), Pella (one hour), Sarti (four hours), Veria (one hour and 15 minutes) and Volos (four hours).
Surprisingly cheap than most long-distance bus transport, trains serve the city of Thessaloniki well, being both fast and very comfortable. Trains travel to most cities throughout mainland Greece and also through the majority of neighbouring countries, although not through Albania. The city's train station is extremely central and sited on the Monastiriou. Intercity (IC / ICE) trains tend to be the fastest and more pricey option, although regular trains are available to travel to most destinations. Athens is a particularly popular destination and those travelling to Greek's capital city from Thessaloniki train station should either book in advance, or leave enough time to queue. Trains travel to Athens a least five times a day (regular - six hours and 45 minutes / Intercity - five hours and 30 minutes), with further rail transport running to Alexandroupoli (six hours), Edessa (one hour and 30 minutes), Komotini (four hours and 30 minutes), Larissa (two hours), Orestiada (eight hours and 30 minutes), Veria (one hour), Volos (four hours and 30 minutes) and also Xanthi (four hours).
Boats and Ferries
Ferries serve Thessaloniki well and connect many of the Greek islands, such as the Aegeans, the Cyclades, the Sporades and also the island of Crete. Summer hydrofoils travel to and from Alonnisos (four hours and 30 minutes), Skiathos (three hours and 15 minutes) and also Skopelos (four hours).