Category: Thessaloniki

Travelling to Thessaloniki? Read this magazine before you go — or while you’re there

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Greece Is special Thessaloniki magazine issue

The cover of Thessaloniki, a free magazine published by the Greece Is online guide to culture, gastronomy and Greece destination experiences

 

Essential reading: A free magazine I picked up at the Athens International Airport in June, while waiting to fly home after my latest Greek holiday, has me wishing I could take a trip to Thessaloniki soon.

Entitled Thessaloniki, the 176-page glossy magazine is packed with dozens of beautiful photos and interesting articles describing the city’s fascinating history, its important cultural institutions, monuments and landmarks, its exciting arts, entertainment and food scenes, and much more.

 

 

The second-largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki is a dynamic port center and capital of the Central Macedonia region of Greece.

It’s “a cauldron of gods and heroes, civilizations and religions; a place where the old and new cohabitate fruitfully. You can sense it everywhere; during a stroll, at the markets and museums, in the architecture, food and music. It’s in the air!” says a welcome page message penned by Giros Tsiros. He’s the editor-in-chief of Greece Is, the wonderful culture and gastronomy website which has published several destination-specific magazine guides, like the one for Thessaloniki, during the past two years.

 

Thessaloniki waterfront

The historic WhiteTower and the long Thessaloniki waterfront strip are seen in a photo from the online edition of Thessaloniki magazine

 

I’m gradually working my way through the issue, learning about the city’s annual arts events and festivals, its popular port and waterfront areas, its thriving design community, its exciting  gastronomy scene, and nearby attractions like the scenic Halkidiki peninsula and the historic Mount Athos monastery. There are still many more articles for me to peruse, but already I’m amazed at the astounding variety of things to see and do in and near the city — almost overwhelmed, in fact, since there is just so much that has captured my interest. It makes me wonder why I haven’t heard more people talk about Thessaloniki, as well as ask myself why I haven’t made it a priority to go there.

But even though Thessaloniki is blessed with so many places to explore, one of the magazine’s contributors says that simply being in the city is an enchanting and enjoyable experience in itself — visitors don’t have to rush to all the tourist attractions or scour back streets for “secret” shops and restaurants and other hidden gems to discover what the place is all about.

“A great way to get to know Thessaloniki is to do nothing to ‘explore’ her, but instead just ‘be’ there. Just relax,” advises writer Rika Z. Vayianni, an Athenian who has been visiting Thessaloniki for decades. If you pause to linger and listen you will hear the city speak volumes, Rika notes in “The art of doing nothing,” the magazine’s introductory article. “Some of the things she will say, or show to you, will remain in your memory for a long, long time. Some of them will perplex you, take you out of your comfort zone. But the city does speak.”

With luck I will one day have the opportunity to listen as Thessaloniki speaks to me. In the meantime, I will be learning more about the city as I read the rest of the magazine articles over the summer.

 

Trigonian Tower in Thessaloniki

The Trigonian Tower in Thessaloniki’s Ano Poli (Upper Town) district, seen in a photo from the Greece Is website

 

If you will be travelling to Thessaloniki this year, or if you are considering the city for a future trip, be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine so you can get valuable background information, ideas and recommendations for your visit.

Thessaloniki is available at several locations in the city itself, as well as in central Athens and at the Athens airport. 

In Thessaloniki, you can obtain a copy at:

♦ the Kathimerini offices at 99 Tsimiski Street;

♦ the Archaeological Museum at 6 Manoli Andronikou Street; and

♦ the State Museum of Contemporary Art, 21 Kolokotroni St. 

In Athens, the magazine can be found at:

♦ the Kathimerini offices at 47-49 Panepistimiou Street, and

♦ the Acropolis Museum at 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street

Pickup locations at Athens International Airport include:

♦ Press Point

♦ Kir-Yianni Wine Bar

♦ Gate A, and

♦ the Athens Municipality information desk on the Arrivals level

If you can’t get to one of those locations, or if you’d rather read the magazine online, click here to access the collection of Thessaloniki articles on the Greece Is website.

Greece Is magazine distribution stands

Look for distribution racks like the one shown above so you can pick up a copy of Thessaloniki or other special edition magazines published by Greece Is

Thessaloniki: Greece’s historic yet young-at-heart second city

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If you haven’t been to Thessaloniki yet, this promotional film will leave you wondering how to include the city on your next trip to Greece

 

Cultural capital: Thessaloniki, the second biggest city in Greece, is already on my list of must-see destinations for future vacations. But an impressive promotional video produced on behalf of the city has left me wishing I could go there ASAP.

Released on March 18 2016, Thessaloniki, the inside track includes enticing aerial and ground-level views of some of the city’s top attractions, including monuments, historic sites, public squares, the beautiful waterfront and other public places.

Notes accompanying the YouTube video say that “Thessaloniki, historically one of Europe’s oldest and most multiethnic cities, widely considered as the cultural capital of Greece, is truly unique in the sense that it intricately marries its thousands-year-old multicultural heritage and the architectural marvels with the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Sephardic Jew history.  With a student-strong population of 150,000, Thessaloniki boasts an under-30s do-it-yourself youth culture-creative movement seen nowhere else in the Southern part of Europe.”

The notes also describe Thessaloniki as “Gastronomic Capital of Greece,” best party city and best mid-sized European city of the future for human capital and lifestyle.

All perfectly good reasons why the city clearly deserves a visit.

Should you need further convincing, just give the 3.5-minute clip a watch. I’m willing to bet it will make you want to see Thessaloniki, too.

 

 

Tips for budget travel from Turkey to mainland Greece

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Orestiada Bus Station

The bus station at Orestiada, a town in eastern Greece near the Turkish border, is seen in a photo by EcoTripSos.com. The website’s “Travel Tips for Greece” guide provides detailed information about local bus travel. 

 

Survival Guide: Readers occasionally email me for advice on ways to travel overland from Turkey to mainland Greece, and onward to some of the Greek islands. They are typically younger travellers who intend to backpack throughout Europe, as well as individuals who simply want to combine trips to Turkey with a budget-friendly foray into parts of Greece. 

Since I haven’t been to Turkey yet and have never travelled east of Athens to the Greece-Turkey border, I haven’t been able to answer their questions. But an information-packed article published by EcoTripSos should be a valuable research rescource  for anyone seeking economical ways to travel to Greece from Turkey.

Founded by Turkish travel enthusiasts Özge Çetinkayar and Kutay Uzun, EcoTripSos is an online guide offering advice on budget and eco-friendly travel, particularly for inexperienced or beginner travellers.

On November 15, they published Travel Tips for Greece, a photo-illustrated “Greece Survival Guide for Travelers.” It recounts a 10-day journey to seven Greek villages and cities, including Kastanies, Orestiada, Alexandroupolis, and Thessaloniki on the eastern Greece mainland, plus Heraklion, Rethymno and Chania on the island of Crete. The guide describes how the travellers crossed the border at Pazarkule (9 km from the city of Edirne in Turkey) to reach the Greek town of Kastanies, used local bus transportation to travel onward to Alexandroupolis and Thessaloniki, and from the latter city flew to Crete and back. 

Besides providing practical information about how to use Greece’s intercity and local city bus systems (including how and where to buy bus tickets), the article describes air travel between Thessaloniki and Crete,  and offers myriad useful tips about hotels and “Daily Life in Greece from Travelers’ Eyes,” including such topics as food, beer, water and wi-fi service. 

Click here to read the EcoTripSos Guide to Greece.

Kastanies railway station

The tiny train station at Kastanies, near Greece’s border with Turkey

 

More flights & routes to Greece this summer as Ryanair opens new bases in Athens & Thessaloniki

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Ryanair aircraft photo

A Ryanair media image of one of the aircraft in its fleet of more than 300 Boeing 737-800s. The low-fare airline is opening new bases in Athens and Thessaloniki, and is adding new flight routes to Greece.

 

 

More flights: Getting to Greece is becoming a lot easier — and cheaper — with low-cost airline Ryanair announcing today that it will establish bases in Athens and Thessaloniki, and will add nine new flight routes in April.

The new bases and flights are part of a $280 million (U.S.) investment that Irish-based is making in Greece, which last year experienced a strong increase in tourist visits that could be matched or even exceeded in 2014.

Beginning in April, two aircraft will be based at Ryanair’s new operations centre in Athens. They will enable Ryanair to offer 154 flights per week on six new routes — to the Greek cities of Chania, Rhodes and Thessaloniki, to Paphos in Cyprus, and to London and Milan.

Also starting in April, one aircraft will be based at Thessaloniki, This will give Ryanair the opportunity to provide up to 212 weekly flights to Athens, Pisa and Warsaw.

Ryanair already has one base in Greece — at Chania airport.

 

Travellers will benefit from cheaper fares

In a media announcement about the airline’s expansion into Greece, Ryanair’s director of commercial operations, David O’Brien, said the new routes will benefit consumers who until now have not had a cheaper alternative to Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air, which currently dominate flights in the Greek travel market.

“Our 6 new Athens routes will allow Greek consumers and visitors to escape Aegean/Olympic’s high fares and instead enjoy Ryanair’s lowest fares and industry leading customer service and punctuality. Only Ryanair, with its 175 new aircraft order, can deliver the capacity, new markets and low costs demanded by Greek consumers and visitors, and looks forward to working with Athens Airport to unlock the vast potential currently suppressed by high access air costs,” Mr. O’Brien said.

 

Ryanair investment could create 2,800+ jobs

The new operations bases and flights will benefit more than just travellers booking Ryanair flights — they will create thousands of jobs and give the struggling Greek economy a big boost, too.

Ryanair estimates that its Thessaloniki base will handle 1.6 million passengers annually and will create 1,600 on-site jobs. It expects the Athens base to handle over 1.2 million passengers a year, and create more than 1,200 jobs.

Flights on the new routes to and from Thessaloniki and Athens will go on sale Wednesday, January 15.

If you have free time to travel in Europe during February or March, check out the special seat sale that Ryanair is offering to celebrate its expansion in Greece. Until midnight on Thursday January 16, the airline is releasing 100,000 seats with fares starting as low as £16.99. Bookings can be made at www.ryanair.com.