In this post, I will help you to find Where to stay in Thessaloniki (for first-timers, families, and couples). I’ll also provide a list of the best areas to stay in Thessaloniki (with a video and map), best hotels in Thessaloniki for all budgets (including the hotel where I stayed), and safest places.
Located in northern Greece, on the Thermic Gulf of the Aegean Sea, Thessaloniki is the second largest city in the country. Brimming with ancient history for the history buffs, as well as stunning scenery, bars, hotels, and restaurants, Thessaloniki is a great place for tourists of all interests.
Thessaloniki is a safe city to visit with low crime rates. But, it is essential to exercise caution, stay vigilant, and be aware of pickpocketing, just as you would in any unfamiliar city. You should stick into popular areas and avoid poorly lit or deserted areas at night.
Thessaloniki City Center is one of the safest places in Thessaloniki for tourists, offering plenty of things to do and see, and a wide range of hotels for all budget travelers. Also avoid the south of the railway station and the west area from the city center as they are high crime rates.
Thessaloniki International Airport Macedonia is the main airport serving the city. It receives flights from various destinations within Europe and other parts of the world. From the airport, you can reach the city center by taxi, bus, or car rental.
Where to stay in Thessaloniki first time?
Some of the best areas to stay in Thessaloniki are the City Centre, Ladadika, Ano Poli (Upper Town), Upper Toumba, and Kalamaria. These are the city’s most popular neighborhoods for tourists that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities.
Thessaloniki city center is the best overall place for first-time visitors due to its central location, excellent connections to transportation, and easy access to both modern and historic attractions. Staying here also offers easy walk to tourist amenities such as restaurants, bars, and shops.
Those who are interested in car hire will even be able to visit the Mount Olympus. If you want the most historic experience during your stay in Thessaloniki, stay in Ladadika. With many of the city’s most iconic landmarks, it is the perfect choice for those wanting to soak up the history.
That said, anyone simply hoping to experience the traditional side of the city will want to stay in Ano Poli. The upper town of the city, it features traditional architecture and offers you a glimpse at the more authentic way of life in the city.
Upper Toumba is a good choice for those on a budget or visiting a student, as this is the location of the city’s university. Meanwhile, Kalamaria is a nice quiet option for those who would rather stay outside the city itself or would like to be a little closer to the airport.
Three to four days are generally enough to explore the highlights of Thessaloniki. This timeframe allows you to explore its rich history, admire ancient ruins, savor Greek cuisine, stroll along the waterfront, and soak in the city’s vibrant culture and nightlife.
Where did I stayed in Thessaloniki?
When I visited Thessaloniki, I stayed for 3 days at the Teight Hotel. It has a prime location in the city center, easy distance from major sights such as the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle, White Tower, Aristotelous Square, and Archaeological Museum. I had a comfortable bed and spacious bathroom.
|💖 Best Area for first-timers:
|The City Centre
|💎 Best luxury hotel:
|Electra Palace Thessaloniki
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:
|The Modernist Thessaloniki
|💰 Best budget hotel:
|Blue Bottle Boutique Hotel
Map of areas and neighborhoods in Thessaloniki:
The Best areas to stay in Thessaloniki for tourists are:
1. City Centre – best overall area to stay in Thessaloniki for first time
Thessaloniki city centre is best overall area to stay in Thessaloniki for first-time travelers due to its prime location. If you book a hotel here, you will be located in the heart of action, within walking distance to the top tourist attractions, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.
The city centre runs from Aristotelous Square to the 15th century White Tower on the waterfront, containing four central streets Egnatia, Nikis, Tsimiski, Ermou, parallel to the busy waterfront. This is a part of the city that perfectly blends the new and old.
The city centre features perhaps the best mix of amenities anywhere in Thessaloniki. Numerous bars, markets, restaurants, shops, and attractions are located within easy walking distance from one another.
This makes it perfect for those seeking a relaxing vacation, sampling local products and delicacies. With many of these bars staying open late into the evening and restaurants serving fabulous cuisine, it also makes the city centre a great choice for anyone who enjoys vibrant nightlife during their trip.
The range of accommodation in the city centre is similarly varied as well. Whether you want a flashy hotel, a boutique hotel, or even if you just need a budget hotel that provides good value, there will be something to suit you in this part of the city.
For those looking to explore the more cultured side of Thessaloniki, there are plenty of historical attractions to visit such as Aristotelous Square, White Tower, Tsimiski Avenue, Mitropoleos Avenue, and the Church of Saint Sophia (Ayía Sofía).
This stunning Agia Sophia orthodox church was built during the Byzantine era and is one of the most historic and iconic buildings in Thessaloniki. Elaborate statues, chandeliers, paintings, and mosaics are enclosed in a building featuring beautiful architecture, with massive arches bringing everything together.
With free entry and Byzantine singing still taking place, it gives you the perfect opportunity to travel back in time to a bygone era and experience the feel of the city as it would once have been.
Those who want to take their exploration even further back in time have the 2nd-century Roman Forum Of Thessaloniki just a short walk away. It is a two-terrace forum with two storey stoas that was only discovered in the 1960s. Among its attractions are a restored amphitheatre, two Roman baths, and numerous excavated corridors to explore.
On top of all the historic locations in this part of the city, there are also a number of museums such as the Olympic Museum, Jewish Museum, Contemporary Art Centre of Thessaloniki, Archaeological Museum, Thessaloniki Concert Hall, Photography Museum, and War Museum.
Perhaps the best option is the Olympic Museum Of Thessaloniki. A small yet insightful museum, it explains the history of the Olympic Games, an event which is intertwined with the history of Greece.
Beyond the attractions and amenities themselves, the city centre also benefits from its fabulous location. Being centrally located and featuring wonderful public transport links, it gives you easy access to many of the other most popular parts of the city.
Best places to stay in Thessaloniki city centre:
luxury ($$$): Electra Palace Thessaloniki, 5-star hotel, located in Aristotelous Square, in the heart of Thessaloniki. Its top floor offers panoramic views of the Thermaic Gulf, Mount Olympus, and the city. It is within short walk from major attractions such as the White Tower, Modiano Market, the Port, Ancient Agora of Thessaloniki, and Harbour- Passenger Terminal.
mid-range ($$): The Modernist Thessaloniki, 4-star hotel, located close to many boutique shops, fancy restaurants and bars, the seafront promenade, as well as numerous landmarks such as Museum of the Macedonian Struggle, Eleftherias Square car park, Cypriot Consulate, Cinema Museum, and Rotunda and Arch of Galerius.
budget ($): Blue Bottle Boutique Hotel, 3-star boutique hotel, close to Aristotelous Square, Church of Agios Dimitrios. You can find some restaurants nearby such as Extravaganza, Chili Wine Bar, Kitchen Bar, Apallou Cafe, Sinatra Espresso & Wine Bar, and Olympion within easy walking distance.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN CITY CENTRE
2. Ladadika – best area for nightlife
Ladadika is the most iconic part of the city, often referred to as the historic district or the old town. Located near the Port Of Thessaloniki, it is separated from the city centre by Tsimiski Street.
It is a great place to stay in Thessaloniki for those who want to combine a historic adventure with panoramic views of the ocean.
It takes its name from the collection of olive oil shops that have historically been located in this part of the city, which were run by the French and Italian residents in the area. To this day it remains one of the most important marketplaces in Thessaloniki.
Throughout the area you will find some of the most notable buildings the city has to offer.
For starters, there is the White Tower of Thessaloniki, considered by many to be the symbol of the city. A prison and site for mass executions when the city was under Ottoman rule, it has been converted into a monument and museum.
Standing 112ft high and 75ft in diameter, the White Tower dominates the skyline of the Thessaloniki seafront. While many modifications have been made over the centuries, the tower was originally built in the Byzantine era. This makes it a great place to see how the city evolved through the ages.
For those who are seeking more information on the history of the city, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is another great location to visit.
Containing artefacts excavated from the city and surrounding areas, you will find exhibits from eras including the Prehistoric, Neolithic, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, and Bronze Age periods.
Speaking of museums, the War Museum of Thessaloniki gives you a glimpse into the slightly more recent history of the city.
Covering the period from the turn of the 20th century to when Greece took back control of the city from the Germans after World War II, it explains how Thessaloniki as we know it today came to be.
Ladadika isn’t all about history though. Aristotelous Square, also known as Aristotle Square, is one of the most popular parts of the entire city. Surrounded by many of the best bars, cafes, restaurants, and hotels in Thessaloniki, it is a great place to sit back and relax, people watching and enjoying the views of the sea.
Then, of an evening, Ladadika turns into the nightlife hub of the town. The bars and restaurants quickly begin to fill up, as clubs open their doors, and residents and tourists alike flock to the area from all over the city.
With so many options available, people of all tastes are catered for. Whether you want a civilised evening of wine and fine dining, or a night spent drinking and dancing till the sun comes up, this part of the city will have somewhere that meets your needs.
Best places to stay in Thessaloniki in Ladadika:
luxury ($$$): S Hotel Boutique, 5-star hotel in central Thessaloniki, within easy distance from Aristotelous Square and White Tower. Featuring spacious rooms, the hotel is one of the best places to stay in Thessaloniki for couples, families, and singles both young and old.
mid-range ($$): City Hotel Thessaloniki, 4-star family-friendly hotel, located just a few steps from Aristotelous Square with its many pavement cafes and restaurants. It has soundproofed rooms and daily American breakfast buffet.
budget ($): Hotel Luxembourg, 3-star hotel, one of the best places to stay in Thessaloniki on a budget. It is located in a prime location, a minute walk from Aristotelous Square, the promenade, the centre of Thessaloniki’s night life in Ladadika. Also close to the port and central bus station.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN LADADIKA
3. Ano Poli (Upper Town) – traditional area in Thessaloniki
Ano Poli, also known as Upper Town, is located immediately to the north of the city centre. As the highest point in the city, it offers stunning views of Thessaloniki and its surrounding countryside. Settled during the Ottoman occupation, it is well known for its abundance of Byzantine culture.
Ano Poli is built around the city’s acropolis and is considered one of the most traditional areas in Thessaloniki. The acropolis itself is known as Eptapyrgio and is a Byzantine and Ottoman era fort, which at one point served as the main district of the historic city.
Surrounding the fort, winding stone-paved streets weave around beautiful historic squares. Almost every house features traditional Greek or Ottoman architecture, allowing you to see a more authentic side of the city.
Beyond the simple beauty of the structures in Ano Poli, there are also a number of historic attractions as well. Perhaps the most notable among these is the famous Byzantine baths.
The Byzantine Baths are a 12th-century structure that features a Byzantine take on traditional Roman baths. It remained in operation until 1940 when it was closed during World War II.
The baths were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988 and were reopened to the public as a museum and cultural space in 2015.
Beyond the baths, many of the other attractions in the area feature a heavily religious connection.
You have the Church Of Prophet Elijah, a 14th-century church from the Palaiologan period that once served as a mosque. Its stunning architecture is of the Athonite style that takes influence from Constantinople. Its masonry using alternating layers of brick and white ashlar is unique in the city.
The Church Of Saint Catherine features a similar style and age to the Church Of Prophet Elijah. While also having been used as a mosque at one point, it is believed to have originally been the katholikon of the Monastery Of The Almighty. It was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
The Alaca Imaret Mosque, on the other hand, has always operated under its current guise. A colourful, 15th-century building, it is currently being restored to its former glory, giving you the opportunity to watch construction techniques almost forgotten in modern times.
The Church Of Saint Nicholas Orphanos is much more modest in appearance. Dating from the 14th-century, features like its wooden roof and plain exterior give it a much simpler feel.
However, don’t be fooled, as its marble templon and beautiful Frescoes murals demonstrate Thessalonican artwork from the height of the Palaiologan period.
The same could also be said of the Vlatades Monastery. Similarly modest in comparison to some of the other locations in the area, its historic value to the city cannot be underestimated, and it is one of the 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located within Thessaloniki.
You also have the Ataturk Museum, a museum dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Tukey, who was born in the house in 1881.
Its bright pink exterior looks the same as it would have done while he lived here, while the furniture inside is either authentic or has been replaced with pieces from his mausoleum in Istanbul.
With pictures and exhibits from numerous periods in his life, it is a fabulous place to get greater insight into the life of one of the most important people in the recent history of the region.
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the Turkish consulate is also located on the outskirts of Ano Poli. This shows how the local authorities of modern Turkey are still connected to their Byzantine roots.
You also have Trgoniou Tower, The Portara Gate, The seven towers of the Eptapirgion Fortress, Pasha’s Gardens, Sheikh Sou forest to explore in this area.
All of this is enclosed it what remains of the Byzantine Walls (Ancient Ramparts) of the original city, helping to give you an idea of the scale of the area when it was first settled.
Best places to stay in Thessaloniki’s Ano Poli:
luxury ($$$): Antigon Urban Chic Hotel, 5-star hotel, located within walking distance from the Church of Agios Dimitrios and from the city heart. It features family rooms with views of city or courtyard.
mid-range ($$): Imperial Palace Classical Hotel, one of the best 4-star Sustainable hotels in Thessaloniki for families and couples to stay. Located in the heart of Thessaloniki’s historic & commercial center, it is close to important monuments such as the church of Agios Dimitrios, the catholic church of St. Paul, and Aristotelous avenue.
budget ($): Park Hotel, great base in central Thessaloniki for budget-concious travelers, offering rooms with city views. It is 1km from the seafront and the train station, while most of the city’s commercial, cultural and nightlife hotspots are within easy walking distance from the hotel.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN ANO POLI
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4. Upper Toumba – best place to stay in Thessaloniki on a budget
Upper Toumba is a largely residential area, located on the outskirts of the city. With local markets, shops, bars, and restaurants, it is a perfect option for those who want to get an experience of what life in the city is truly like for locals.
Its name derives from the phrase used to describe mounds formed by prehistoric settlements. This is because it located on numerous settlements that have been built on top of one another since the bronze age in 3000 BC.
With excavations still ongoing, it makes Upper Toumba a great place to visit for fans of archaeology, or those who like to see how a city has changed throughout the millenniums.
Outside of archaeology and the local experience, there are two things that usually draw visitors to Upper Toumba.
The first is the Toumba Stadium, home of PAOK FC, the third largest football team in Greece. This makes Upper Toumba a convenient place to stay for fans coming to watch a game, as they won’t have far to travel to games, and can walk, as opposed to getting stuck in the match day traffic.
The other reason people often stay in Upper Toumba is because it is the location of the Aristotle University Of Thessaloniki. Named after the philosopher Aristotle, who was born less than 25 miles away, it is the 6th oldest and one of the most highly regarded universities in all of Greece.
This makes it a convenient place to stay for anyone visiting a student at the university, as well as any prospective students visiting the university themselves.
As is often the case in a student dominated area, you will find a distinctly bohemian atmosphere, which is ideal for anyone seeking a freer, more laid-back experience.
When combined with the more residential nature of the area, it also makes Upper Toumba one of the best value parts of the city. This means whether you are looking for a low-cost hotel or simply cheaper rates in general, Upper Toumba is likely to have options that suit you perfectly.
Best places to stay in Upper Toumba:
luxury ($$$): Makedonia Palace, 5-star and one of the best hotels in Thessaloniki, located right on the seafront on Thermaikos Gulf and next to City Centre. You can enjoy the views of Thermaikos’ sunset at its seafront Restaurant, or relax les bains at the hotel’s Hammam Baths. Great base for couples and families seeking for a relaxing holiday in Thessaloniki.
mid-range($$): Abc Hotel, 3-star hotel, centrally located, short walk from Helexpo Exhibition Centre and several museums. It has family rooms, and easy access to a wide variety of taverns, cafes and bars. The hotel can help to arrange excursions to the countryside such as rafting and woodland walks.
budget ($): ICON Urban Living, budget-friendly aparthotel located close to the Archaeological Museum, Exhibition Centre and White Tower.
5. Kalamaria – near airport
Kalamaria is a suburb technically located outside Thessaloniki itself, found 4 miles to the south of the city. It is a popular place to stay for those seeking a slightly quieter experience than they will find in the heart of the city.
In terms of attractions, Kalamaria is well known for its abundance of sports teams, with 14 located within an area covering less than 2.5 square miles. This means sports fans are almost certain to find a game or event to watch while they are in town.
For fans of a more refined form of entertainment, Kalamaria is also the home of the Thessaloniki Concert Hall. Its incredible acoustics mean the venue hosts the top concerts, operas, and theatrical events in the city, so is a fabulous place to visit for any fans of the arts.
Beyond the attractions actually located in Kalamaria, one of the most common reasons people choose to stay here is because it is significantly closer to the main airport in the region, Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia.
Whether you are worried about missing your flight, stopping on a layover, don’t want to drag your luggage all over town, or have any other reason you want to stay near the airport, Kalamaria will allow you to remain conveniently close, while still providing quick and easy access to the city itself.
Best places to stay in Kalamaria:
luxury ($$$): Hotel Nikopolis, 5-star hotel, featuring free private parking, Olympic-size pool and spacious, modern rooms with wooden floors. It is located within a short drive from Makedonia Airport and Thessaloniki’s city centre.
mid-range ($$): Avalon Airport Hotel Thessaloniki, one of the best places to stay in Thessaloniki near airport as it is located only a 5-minute drive from Makedonia Airport, offering free airport shuttle and free parking, which is great for those travel with a car.
budget ($): Agora Luxury Studios & Suites, budget-friendly guest house, close to the Science Center & Technology Museum – NOESIS, featuring air-conditioned family rooms and private car parking.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN KALAMARIA
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Thessaloniki is a safe city for tourists. While the city center is the safest for visitors, you should avoid the south of the railway station and the west area from the city center because they are dangerous areas.
To summarize, City Centre, Ladadika, Ano Poli, Upper Toumba, and Kalamaria are the best places to stay in Thessaloniki for tourists. They offer central, safe locations with plenty of accommodation options for all budget travelers to stay and explore the city.
Overall, I recommend Thessaloniki city centre as the best base to stay in Thessalonoki for first-timers due to its central location. If you stay here, you will be located within easy access to tourist attractions and amenities.