Where to stay in Thessaloniki for first time: 5 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Thessaloniki as a first-time visitor can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Thessaloniki for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Thessaloniki for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Thessaloniki and recommend some of the best hotels in Thessaloniki for various budgets.

Before get into the detail of the main topic, let’s look at some facts about Thessaloniki:

Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the Central Macedonia region. It is located in the northern part of the country, on the Thermaic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. 

The city has a rich history, founded in 315 BC by Cassander, a Macedonian general of Alexander the Great, and named after his wife Thessalonike, who was the sister of Alexander.

Thessaloniki  is known for its numerous historical and cultural landmarks, including the White Tower, the Rotunda, the Arch of Galerius, and the Byzantine Walls. It has a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki.

The city has a well-developed transportation network, including buses, taxis, and a metro system. It is also connected by air, train, bus, and car to other major cities in Greece and the broader Balkan region.

Thessaloniki is known for its diverse and delicious cuisine. You can find a variety of traditional Greek dishes, as well as influences from the Balkans and the Middle East.

Is Thessaloniki safe to visit?

Thessaloniki is considered a safe city to visit, and most visitors experience it without any issues. But, it’s essential to exercise the usual precautions you would in any large city. Be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye on your belongings, and avoid walking alone in poorly lit areas at night. 

Where to stay in Thessaloniki for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Thessaloniki for first-timers and tourists are Thessaloniki City Centre, the Waterfront area, the ferry Port area, Ano Poli, and Kalamaria. Remember that safety might vary from street to street, so it is important to take common sense precautions no matter where you stay.

Thessaloniki City Centre is the most popular area to stay in Thessaloniki for first-time visitors who want to be in the heart of the action. This area has the highest concentration of tourist amenities, cultural attractions, and nightlife. Aristotelous Square is a central gathering point.

The waterfront area is a part of the city center, a great base for those who want to stay close to the water with beautiful views of the sea and easy access from major sights. There are plenty of choices for accommodations in this area.

Ano Poli is the historic upper town, known for its traditional architecture, narrow streets, and Byzantine walls. It offers a more authentic and quieter experience compared to the bustling city center. Accommodations here are limited in form of apartment, guest houses, and B&B. 

Kalamaria is a residential suburb located midway between the city center and the airport. It’s suitable for those looking for a quieter stay and local atmosphere. It’s a bit farther from the city center and has a few accommodation options.

All of the tourist central areas are overall safe for tourists to book hotel, but it’s recommended to avoid or be cautious if visiting the west area from the city center, Dendropotamos, the south of the railway station, or some parts of Navarinou Square, especially at night. 

During my trip to Thessaloniki, I stayed at the ON Residence. It was a great accommodation in central Thessaloniki, close to everything. The breakfast was delicious  and plentiful. I loved the rooftop bar with beautiful sunset views. My room was very comfortable and clean.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Thessaloniki for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Thessaloniki first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Thessaloniki first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Thessaloniki, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Thessaloniki have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

5 Safe areas to stay in Thessaloniki for first-timers and tourists

1. Thessaloniki City Centre

Thessaloniki City Centre is a popular choice for many visitors, especially first-timers, due to its central location and vibrant atmosphere. The City Centre is the heart of Thessaloniki, making it convenient for exploring the main attractions, historical sites, and cultural landmarks. 

Many of the city’s popular places, such as Aristotelous Square, the White Tower, the Rotunda, and the Arch of Galerius, are within walking distance. 

Museums, galleries, and theaters are scattered throughout the City Centre. The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and the Museum of Byzantine Culture are noteworthy cultural institutions.

The area is known for its shopping streets, including Tsimiski Street, where you can find a variety of shops, boutiques, and international brands.

Thessaloniki City Centre offers a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, and bars. You’ll find options for both traditional Greek cuisine and international dishes. The nightlife in this area is lively, with many bars and clubs staying open late.

The central location ensures easy access to public transportation, including buses and taxis, making it convenient for exploring other parts of the city.

Best places to stay in Thessaloniki City Centre for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Electra Palace Thessaloniki, popular 5-star hotel conveniently located in central Thessaloniki, close to everything. Easy access to major sights such as the Aristotelous square, White Tower, Ladadika, and the Museum of Byzantine History. Beautiful view from the rooftop restaurant. Indoor swimming pool is clean, and breakfast is amazing.

Mid-range ($$): Colors Urban Hotel Thessaloniki, great 4-star accommodation located in the city center of Thessaloniki, great base to explore the city. Short stroll away from restaurants, shops, and attractions. Easy access to  major bus stops. It has airport shuttle services, family rooms, excellent Breakfast, and parking.

Budget ($):  Blue Bottle Boutique Hotel, lovely 3-star hotel in the heart of the city near the train station, 10 minute walk from Ferry, 5 mins walk from the bus stop to/from the airport, within easy walking distance from lively Aristotelous Square. The hotel has a gift shop, bike hire services, family rooms, and 24-hour front desk.

Hostel ($): Stay Hybrid Hostel, popular backpacker hostel in central Thessaloniki, featuring both private and dorm rooms. Close to Ladadika and Valaoritou where you can find several bars and taverns. Aristotelous Square is also nearby, offering great views of the sunset and Gulf. Bus stop is just one block away where you can catch direct buses to the bus station or airport.


2. Thessaloniki Waterfront 

Thessaloniki Waterfront is a fantastic choice for travelers who want to enjoy the beautiful views of the Thermaic Gulf while still having easy access to the city center and its major attractions. 

You can easily enjoy a leisurely stroll along the promenade, relax in waterfront cafes, or dine in restaurants with sea views. Seafood lovers will particularly enjoy the fresh catches available in the area.

The Thessaloniki Waterfront is often close to the marina and the port, providing opportunities for boat tours, cruises, and other maritime activities.

The waterfront area offers easy access to some interesting spots, such as the Museum of Photography, the Royal Theater, White Tower of Thessaloniki, Folklife & Ethnological Museum of Macedonia & Thrace, Museum of Byzantine Culture, and the Garden of Remembrance.

Best places to stay in Thessaloniki Waterfront for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Makedonia Palace, 5-star hotel located right on the water promenade and next to Thessaloniki City Center. It is close to many major attractions such as the White Tower, Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, and Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. It has an excellent breakfast, outdoor swimming pool, parking service, and comfortable spacious rooms.

Mid-range ($$): Noa Hotel, 4-star hotel, centrally located in the heart of the old town, Ladadika, where you can find many café, bars, nightlife, and restaurants.Walking distance to the sea front and the sightseeing attractions. It has a 24-hour front desk, airport transfer, excellent Breakfast, and family rooms.

Budget ($): The Trilogy House, 3-star hotel conveniently situated on Tsimiski, one of the city’s most vibrant and hip streets where you can find many cafes, shops and restaurants. It is in a prime location, within walking distance to everything that Thessaloniki has to offer. 2 mins walk from the seafront area, 5 mins walk from the iconic White Tower. 


3. Thessaloniki Port

The Thessaloniki Ferry Port area is located right next to the city center, offering a convenient base for the port and the city exploration. This area is very close to the Museum of Illusions Thessaloniki, Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki, and Aristotelous Square.

Best places to stay in Thessaloniki Port for first-time visitors:

Luxury ($$$): Mediterranean Palace, 5-star hotel, conveniently located a short walk from the seaside promenade right near Thessaloniki ferry port where the cruise ships dock. Outstanding base for city exploration. Comfortable rooms. 

Luxury ($$$): The Met Hotel Thessaloniki, 5-star hotel in a quiet area in the harbor, featuring a rooftop pool with the views of the City and Gulf. It has a free hourly free shuttle bus to Aristotelous Square. The taxi is also a quick and cheap way to reach the city center. It has Wonderful Breakfast, airport transfer, 2 swimming pools, and family rooms.

Budget ($): Plaza Hotel, Philian Hotels and Resorts, great 3-star hotel in a convenient location, near the port, Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki, Museum Of Illusions and Vardaris Tower.  within walking distance to everything.

Budget ($): Elephant Suites, 3-star accommodation located in the Thessaloniki Port district, offering free parking, airport transfers, and car rental services. Each room has a fully equipped kitchen. Bus stop to the center is also nearby. Good base if you have a car, or don’t mind taking a taxi to the city center.


4. Ano Poli

Ano Poli is the best area for  those seeking a more traditional, historic, and peaceful atmosphere. It is the oldest part of Thessaloniki and is characterized by its narrow cobblestone streets, traditional houses, and Byzantine walls. 

The elevated location of Ano Poli provides stunning panoramic views of Thessaloniki, including the city, the sea, and Mount Olympus. This makes it a great spot for photography and enjoying scenic vistas.

Ano Poli is situated within the remnants of the Byzantine walls, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich history. The walls themselves are a notable historical attraction.

Best places to stay in Thessaloniki in Ano Poli for travelers:

Mid-range ($$): Thess Old Town 2 Free Private Parking, good value for money accommodation close to the city center, near ancient town fortification walls. A 15 minute walk going up alongside the wall offers stunning views of the city and the port. Free parking and Exceptional Breakfast.

Budget ($): Pearl Studio Free Private Parking, good value for money sustainable apartment, in a quiet area in the old town, 15 min of walking from almost everything. 8 mins walk from the Upper town and a 20 mins walk to the Wight Tower. It offers free parking, which is a bonus for those who want to have parking for a car. It has a 24-hour front desk, and paid airport transfer.

Budget ($): Fairytale, Nilie Hospitality MGMT, Spacious, well equipped accommodation with a view of Agios Demetrios church, easy access to the center and all the major attractions.


5. Kalamaria

Kalamaria is a good choice for visitors who prefer a residential and laid-back atmosphere, and proximity to the sea. It’s a great place to explore local flavors and community atmospheres.

Kalamaria is farther from the city center, so reaching the main attractions may require using public transportation or taxis. This could be a consideration for those who prefer a more centrally located base.

Best places to stay in Thessaloniki in Kalamaria for tourists:

  • Mid-range ($$): Seafront Luxury President Suite Aegean Sunset, comfortable 2-bedroom apartment  with wonderful sea views, featuring free parking, a washing machine, and a fully equipped kitchen. Easy access to beachfront restaurants and cafés.
  • Budget ($): Melon Suites, comfortable and Well equipped apartment close to the airport and Kalamaria. Good bus connections.
  • Budget ($): Denis Apartment, good accommodation in a nice location, 10 mins walk ose to the port. It has 1 bedroom, a living room, and a fully equipped kitchen.

In conclusion, Thessaloniki City Centre, Thessaloniki Waterfront, Thessaloniki Port, Ano Poli, and Kalamaria are the safe and best places to stay in Thessaloniki for first-timers and tourists. It’s always essential to take standard precautions and take care of your belongings wherever you go.

You can continue reading other tourist destinations in Greece in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Thessaloniki. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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