Thessaloniki is located at the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea and is the second largest city in Greece. A car hire at Thessaloniki Airport is the way to move around if you’d like to truly experience the city’s spirit at your own pace.
Besides being an economic and political centre, Thessaloniki is considered to be Greece’s cultural capital as well. Ancient ruins, churches and towers will make you recognise its multidimensional history. Gold is the Thessaloniki’s immense attraction – just visit the Archeological Museum and check it out for yourself. But as the saying goes: “Better a drop of wisdom than an ocean of gold” - do not forget that Greece is still the cradle of philosophy. Named after Aristotle its Faculty of Philosophy is one of the most highly ranked education institutions in Greece. So, here you have it all; history, wisdom and the ocean, yes, the ocean is astonishing. Time travel through Thessaloniki is an intrinsic experience. A car hire in Thessaloniki is an excellent choice for all the sightseeing. Highly recommended!
Basic info and car hire in Thessaloniki
Location: northwest corner of the Aegean Sea
Official language: Greek
Currency: euro (€)
Weather: The climate is a mixture of humid subtropical climate, Mediterranean, as well as semi-amid climate. Average summer temperatures range from 29-31 °C/84-88 F, with record highs over 41 °C/106F. Winters are dry and foggy, temperatures in winter range from 1-3 °C/34- 37F.
Public holidays in Greece: It’s good to have in mind when the local banks will close their doors, so check the full list of all public holidays in Thessaloniki.
Internet coverage: Numerous places in Thessaloniki offer free Wi-Fi. The majority of cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels and stores will give you access for free. For more info this link.
Road conditions: Quality of the roads may vary and also - have in mind that the Greek temperament is felt behind the wheel of the driver's.
Driving in Thessaloniki
Car hire in Thessaloniki might be a good starting point of your road trip, however, keep a few things in mind. Greek drivers can be very unpredictable and aggressive, so caution is advised. Also, speed limits vary from place to place. The speed limit on newly built highways is 100-120 km/h and 50 km/h in built up areas, but Greek drivers rarely stick to it. Roads in rural areas can be in deplorable conditions, have lots of blind curves and unprotected embankments. They have many petrol stations, but not all accept credit cards. Bear in mind that while driving max BAC level is 0,05%. It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. If you hire a car in Thessaloniki and you’re travelling with a toddler, ask your agency for a car seat. If you are used to an automatic car, it is probably the best to request for an automatic when making your reservation. Car hire agencies can’t make that promise 100% but it’s important to emphasise your wishes in advance.
- Age limits: 18
- International Driving Permit: yes
- Additional papers: valid ID, valid driving licence
- Additional requirements: warning triangle and first aid kit are required.
- Children in the car: Children under 135 cm must use the correct child seat or child restraint system suitable for their height.
- Driving side of the road: right
- Lights: Dipped headlights should be used in poor visibility. The use of full beam headlights in towns is prohibited.
- General speed limits: 120 km/h on motorways, 110 km/h on open roads, 50 km/h in built up areas
- Parking suggestions: You can find lots of parking meters and tickets machines for your hired car close to the centre. For more parking suggestions, check the parkopedia map:
What to see in Thessaloniki
Our favourite spots
Church of Agia Sophia
Gloom and bloom of this Byzantine Church also went through transfiguration from church to mosque and back. Conspicuous wall paintings, eye-catching mosaics and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling are very well something not to be missed.
In search for a parking spot, click here»
For more detailed insight into affluent Macedonian and Hellenistic history visit the Archeological Museum. It holds exhibitions of Macedonia from its birth to the Classic and Roman periods dedicated to precious finds such as gold artefacts as well as Greece’s oldest surviving papyrus item.
Parking suggestions for your hired car:
Church of Agios Dimitrios
Humongous basilica from 5th century still serving its purpose may be the most significant architectonic attraction. This domed beauty dedicated to Saint Dimitrios, a Roman soldier, will please all spiritual and artistic seekers as many different styles enforced the church making it as exclusive as can be.
Check all the parking options for your hired car on parkopedia
Also called the Tower of blood as this dominant landmark used to serve as prison and torture chamber. Besides its terrifying history, this recognisable sight is worth a visit just to enjoy the panoramic view from the top.
If you hired a car, you can find your parking spot here »
Hotels in Thessaloniki
The Tobacco Hotel
Le Palace Art Hotel
Care for a morning swim in the pool? Free of charge in this rustic hotel that offers a gorgeous view of the sea. Satellite TV, balcony, mini bar, Wi-Fi and free parking will make your accommodation comfortable.
Drive your rental car around Thessaloniki
Outskirt of the Thessaloniki has also a lot for you to explore. Besides beaches you can delve into Greek mythology at Mount Olympus or check out other historical sites. With a car hire in Thessaloniki you can drive to Kavala or Vergina, there are number possibilities for you.
Kavala was built in 6th century BC and still remains one of the major port cities. If you hire a car, it will take you about 1,45 h to get there from Thessaloniki. Cultural highlights include museums, ancient ruins and castles. On the way back to Thessaloniki you will find enchanting beaches, such as Asprovalta beach with crystal clear water. Hire a car in Thessaloniki and take the E90 Highroad.
This small city with great character reveals all the secrets of Ancient Greece, and it definitely deserves the name of Unesco World Heritage Monument. Vergina is where all the great things took place, such as Alexander the Great becoming a king. And it will take you only an hour to get here with your hired car.
100 km south of Thessaloniki lies the crib of the gods of Greek mythology – Mount Olympus. If Zeus and his goddesses are just not your point of interest, you can always take a hike and ignore the legends. There are plenty of paths to explore, just make sure you have the right footwear and plenty of water.
Halkidiki is a peninsula in Northern Greece, its main town Poligiros is about 60 km south of Thessaloniki. Halkidiki’s endless beaches are waiting to be discovered. You can choose between translucent shallow waters, turquoise waters with white rocks, sandy beaches or those with pine forest surrounding hills. Hire a car in Thessaloniki to see this hidden paradise.
Where to eat, drink and party in Thessaloniki
This cosy Greek Taverna offers traditional Greek cuisine. Don’t skip their local beer and tsipouro with the music of a greek guitar playing in the background.
If you haven’t found the perfect pizza yet, this is the place; best pizza with truffle oil and delicious mozzarella right in the heart of the city.
For beer enthusiasts, we highly recommend the Hoppy Pub that is a hop away from White Tower. You can find some rare pieces of first-rate bottled beer in here. Rock music playing and people watching football. Priceless.
This simple, family tavern will show you what Greek food is all about. Meatballs and steaks at a very reasonable price and for the veggies, a tzatziki sauce, with several other greek starters will make your meal very tasty
This simple, family tavern will show you what Greek food is all about. Meatballs and steaks at a very reasonable price.
If you are euphoric about the sweets, this Cafe is just for you. All sorts of sweets to melt your senses. Have in mind while ordering that the Greeks have an extremly sweet tooth.
Major events and festivals in Thessaloniki
If you want to nourish your soul with just a little bit more culture, Thessaloniki offers you all sorts of art related activities. Most famous is definitely Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Very recently they started with PicNic Urban Festival http://www.urbanpicnic.gr/ which includes concerts and film screening. Something for everyone.
Thessaloniki International Film Festival takes place in autumn and hosts some of the worlds leading film makers, producers and celebrities.
Hip Hop FestivalDecember
Traditional International Trade Fair in September includes food, film and business. Greek coffee frappe was invented right here in 1957.