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Thessaloniki??

We are beginning to dream of Greece for the fall and are debating visiting Thessaloniki (the city). We tend to shy away from big cities but there seems to. be a wealth of history in Thessaloniki and we are wondering what you think. To add to the itinerary or not??
Thank you!!

Posted by
1299 posts

Before Covid struck we made a couple of visits to Thessaloniki and really enjoyed it. As you say there’s a load of history but it also has a very nice laid back atmosphere.

Both times we stayed at Airbnb places. The first time we were in a flat up in the old town which, despite being in a big city, had a real village atmosphere. On the second we were right in the centre, right by Agia Sophia. When we go back, and we will, we’d stay centrally again.

If you go then it’s worth considering a side trip to Pella and Vergina. We paid around 50 euros to go by coach and they are fascinating sites.

One word of warning. On our first trip we were there in September and had real problems with mosquitoes: much worse than anywhere else we had been in Greece. Take plenty of repellent!

Posted by
3051 posts

Why not? There is a lot to see there and it is not quite as full of other tourists as Athens, so it could be a good stop. And since the rail line between Athens and Thessaloniki was upgraded it is very easy to get there.

Posted by
192 posts

Thank you! Our tentative plans include heading from the Peloponese (which we love and have visited before), then on to (maybe) Nafpaktos, Kastoria, Veroia/Vergina, then -- either to Thessaloniki for a few days/to fly to Athens or a drive south, stopping at Dion.

But -- mosquitoes?? We were in Greece last September (Sounion, Delphi, Olympia, Napflio) and didn't see a single one. Where were they a problem??

Posted by
3051 posts

Seems like a good plan. But don't fly from Thessaloniki to Athens, the train is a much better option.

Posted by
1299 posts

The mosquitoes were particularly bad In Thessaloniki on our September visit. They weren’t a problem when we were there in May. We’re generally in Greece in September- often either in Nafplio or on Andros - and have never had a problem elsewhere. All of the pharmacies In Thessaloniki had anti mosquito creams on their counters so I don’t think it was just us!

We spent a week in Nafpaktos a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. The fortress there is well worth a visit.

If you’re crossing from the Peloponnese at Rio-Antirio you aren’t far from Voudeni. This is worth a visit if you’re into sites

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycenaean_cemetery_of_Voudeni

Alan

Posted by
192 posts

Thank you, The cemetery (which looks fascinating) has been added to our itinerary, for a stop en route from Olympia. At the moment, I've only allowed 3 days for Nafpaktos - is that about right to would we enjoy a bit more time? We are looking at the Cavos Fokidos, Chiliadou , Chiliadou, or Airotel Achaia Beach, Milou 44, Patra, for lodging. Would you be familiar with either?

Posted by
3099 posts

Thessaloniki is one of our favorite cities - we've been there 3 times and are planning a 4th visit. While it is a big-ish city we like it better than Athens - there are many excellent restaurants and it's easily walkable. I like Greek history and the Archeological Museum there is worth a visit. There are many great places to visit in northern Greece in general (Metsovo, Ioannina, Kavala, Zagori Villages, etc.)

@ Badger - we're planning to visit this year and are debating about train vs. plane from Athens. The Man in Seat 61 makes it sound as if the train is an easy option but it's a 4-plus hour trip vs. 50 minutes on the plane. Just curious about your experience with the train.
Thanks!

Posted by
3051 posts

When comparing travel time, you need to look at the total travel time when flying. Including the time it takes to travel to and from the airports, check in and security, waiting for luggage etc. When you do that, flying takes about the same time, if not more, compared to the train. And once the new higher speed trains enter service* they are expected to cut the travel time to 3:15 between Athens and Thessaloniki.

*The plan was for them to enter service last year, but it has been delayed.

Posted by
1299 posts

OP - on Nafpaktos, how much time you spend there is, as always, a question of what you want to do.

We were there as the beach and relax part of a longer trip. We’d already been to Diakofto for the railway and spent some time in Patras. My partner is a keen swimmer so we were just swimming, walking and having some nice meals.

Essentially all there is to actually see there are the harbour and the fort. The first is pretty but small,ma good spot for coffee, and the latter has great views. With a car you could do both comfortably in a day and still have time for a longish lunch. Three days is probably too much unless you want to use it to chill out.

Alan

Posted by
192 posts

Again - a million thanks. So much to think about, so much to plan and look forward to. After the past two years and the coldest winter I remember (to maybe I'm just feeling it more!), it's wonderful to dream of Greece.