Thessaloniki is one of the most affordable places to holiday in Greece, especially when it comes to food. Due to its reduced tourism compared to the islands and the south, the heart of the city has been relatively untainted and therefore friendly for those on a budget who would like to visit. The city’s reputation as a vibrant student capital means that there’s plenty of well-known student areas to shop and eat on a budget.
Good morning lovely 😍 Thessaloniki!📸 Photo credits: drone_traveler_gr 👏
As mentioned, you don’t have to spend a lot to get a cheap meal in Thessaloniki. Plenty of pizza, pasta, salads and gyro (Greek souvlaki) are only going to cost you a euro or two. Similarly, bakeries and coffee shops can be a cheap option for those on a budget; if you pick a small coffee will only cost you just over a euro, as will most of their goods in the cabinets. This is especially prevalent in student areas around the Rotunda and the University of Thessaloniki.
Thessaloniki: Last day in town #thessaloniki #photo #today by Daniel Wanrooy https://www.instagram.com/danielwanrooy/
Free Walking Tours
There’s so much to see in the city that you can take in most of the sights and shops by just going for a walk. Grab a coffee and get going, there’s no need to pay for any of the sights you can see from the outside – Thessaloniki is a beautiful city and looking is absolutely free!
Καλημέρα απο την όμορφη πλατεία μας! Πλατεία ΝαυαρίνουPhotography by ©Stathis Delichristos
Visit the Markets
Shopping for food in the major chain supermarkets can be expensive, so going to get some cheap, locally grown produce and meats at the markets can be a great way to reduce costs if you want to cook your own food. Similarly, you can find cheap gifts for home, or clothes and shoes!
Make Use of Free Days
Tourist traps can be expensive and often museums will advertise free entry days – usually on weekends outside of peak hours, so this is a great way to save some money. Multi-buy tickets for all the sights are available too and can be a good way to get a deal if you’re planning to see a few things in one day.
Καλημέρα και καλό μήνα!Αρχαία Ρωμαϊκή Αγορά ένα από τα ομορφότερα στολίδια της Θεσσαλονίκης..Photography by ©Stathis Delichristos
There’s some awesome community events in Thessaloniki such as street markets, food stalls, pop up shops and events that run throughout the summer and winter months. Just keep an eye out for advertising – often they are free and a great way to see what’s going on around the city.
Καλημέρα!Πανελλήνιο Πρωτάθλημα Ταχυπλοΐας και jet-skiPhotography by ©SpyCine
You’ll find that the best accommodation is the cheaper ones, anyway! Thessaloniki’s vibrant student culture attracts a lot of young tourists, so one of the best ways to meet people is to stay at hostels or backpackers. They are cheap, homey and friendly – even right in the middle of the city!
Greece is part of the EU and use the Euro as their currency. ATM’s are frequent around the city, but exchange bureaus are less frequent, therefore it is best to do exchanges at the airport or take money out when you arrive. For shopping and larger, more upscale restaurants and supermarket chains, cards are accepted. Often places will prefer cash and will bring the bill to the table. Servers carry around their own change. Tipping is not expected but is often appreciated. You will need plenty of change for the bus and taxis if you plan to use them. If you’re a non-EU visitor, be sure to ask for a GST receipt as you can claim your tax-back at the airport.
There are a few major banks in the city that have many ATMs around. Eurobank, Pireaus, HSBC and Alpha are some of the more notable ones. Some banks will have a deal with others, so you may want to check with your bank as to whether there is one you should prefer to use over the others. Be aware of your local bank charges for using foreign ATMs, some charge more than others and its often more economical to take a large chunk of cash out infrequently than take lots of small amounts.
Using your Mobile
Thessaloniki’s major mobile providers are Vodafone, Cosmote and Wind. All the different services offer different deals, but due to their forever changing market, it is best to shop around. Vodafone phones and sims operate all over Europe, so if you are doing more travelling this is a good option. Often pre-pay services are easy to get, data and voice is plentiful on these deals, but you are able to choose the package that you prefer (heavy on voice/data/texts). Most of the stores are located in the city centre and most places have English-speaking staff that are able to help you. You will need some form of photo ID (passport is best) and if you are a student, take note of the student offers which are usually cheap and a great deal (you will need your student ID for this too). Ensure your phone is not sim-locked, as this can cause issues with local sim cards. In terms of WiFi, most places around the city will offer free-wifi or code access with a purchase, so you can often get by using this if you prefer.
If you wish to save time, you can get all your phone issues sorted through Welcome! You can arrange a local sim card, complete with 5GB of data and voice calling to help you be connected and stay connected as soon as you arrive in Thessaloniki. If you take this option, your driver will hand you your sim card when they collect you from the airport. It’s that simple!