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Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

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Evansville, Indiana
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Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

I am planning on a trip to Thessaloniki in March, 2014. Arrive on a Saturday, stay a few nights, then head to Athens,

I am reading that train travel, if you do not mind the 5-6 hour ride, is fairly economical. Agean Air looks to do a flight for 22,00... once you add taxes and all, it's 188,00 for two, return trip.

If I book early, sounds like train is fairly inexpensive... Is this correct?

My wife and I love history and museums, ruins, and general excursions. Would those three days (2 1/2 really) in Thessaloniki be enough, heading to Athens for 4-5 days?

Sorry so many comments, this will be a new adventure for us, as we have not been East of Rome when it comes to European travel.

What are the must-see/do in Thessaloniki? Car rental requires or is most of what we would be interested in doing in public transport or walking distance of the city?

Athens, Greece
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1. Re: Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

it seems that train is much more reasonable with the planes' cost..but be careful,book the ''fast'' train(aka intercity) that needs 5-6 hours,not the slow ,which is far from quality travel.as for thessaloniki,it's a special town,with laid-back attitude residents..it is built in such a way that is very walkable,everything is concetrated.that depends on where you wanna go once there.i have no experience about thessaliniki's public transport .generally it is a laid-back town (hanging in the road next to the sea with your friends,chatting and drinking greek coffee(frape) for hours is pretty much what thessaloniki is about).

athens is more chaotic(it is a very big city),everything is moving fasater than thessaloniki and overpopulated with sighns of the economical crisis.of course if you go to the ''right(aka ''touristy'' places) you'll love it.all you have to do is to search here for the right places to go in both towns and you'll love them.i always urge people (although i know tourists are tired after a long day and want to sleep) to taste a bit of the nightlife to see what we are all about)

Evansville, Indiana
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2. Re: Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

@athanasios

Thanks for the reply! Sitting and drinking frape for hours in Thessaloniki will definitely be right up our alley, so I do look forward to that. We love to not do anything sometimes... Sounds like a few days there to start our trip will be perfect.

We are familiar with large cities, as every couple years we usually travel to Paris for a week or so. I believe the hustle and bustle of Athens will be similar.

We plan on staying somewhere near the Plaka, but I would be open to recommendations. I have seen many affordable rent homes on flipkey.com, homeaway.com and airbnb.com.

If you have a suggestion of a host or area, please share. We'll likely be in Athens for 4-5 nights.

We would be all about being part of the nightlife. The way we look at it, the vacation is something that you only get to do every couple of years (when it comes to going to Europe). So if you have any suggestion about how to "see what you're all about," as you say, please let me know. Be specific. If you state there is a particular place we MUST go to be one with the locals, it's likely we'll go.

We are in our mid-30s are are quite adventurous when it comes to those kind of things.

Look forward to more replies.

Athens, Greece
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3. Re: Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

well i can't help you with hotels etc since i don't use them.we love going out so if you ask any young greek waitor in a cafeteria in thessaloniki about where locals like to go he will be happy to give you examples..as for nightlife there is the usual club scene,bars and of course the ''boyzoykia'' scene (type boyzoykia in you tube to get an idea).

in athens the coastal area(paraliaki as we call it,it's a road next to the sea called poseidonos or paraliaki to locals ) is full of open air clubs by the beach.akrotiri is the biggest,balux is the most relaxed(with pools and sunbeds to enjoy your drink by the beach)..those two would fill the bill,akrotiri being more age-diverse,meaning not only 20 somethings..but there are other similar in paraliaki...imagine it's like LA coastal road with open air clubs.the dress code is ''upscale'' so wear your best(dark blue jeans and a nice shirt will do.enjoy!in paraliaki there are also boyzoykia(we usually combine both,ie go to clubs first and boyzoykia later for ''kapsoya'(sorry ,no english word for that)

you can google these clubs t gt a feeling

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

Hey and welcome Richard M:-) If I'm reading this right, looks like you've got about a week.. 8 days or so?;-) Will you be coming from elsewhere in Europe or just heading straight to Greece from the States?;-) Bottom line, if possible, would certainly add some days.. especially with your stated interests and 'love of history, museums, ruins and general excursions';-) 2.5 days in Salonika will barely scratch the surface between it's museums and 'ruins'.. you can literally walk around the City and see digs where roads had to be built around them.. amazing (head to Navarinou Square to get an idea.. close to the Rotunda and the Arc;-)

If you're looking for excursions.. get a rental and head out to Vergina.. and Pella.. google/read up on them! WIth your interests, shame to come the distance and give them a miss;-) Drive to Edessa for a nice cold beer/cocktail under the natural waterfalls there.. head over to Aghios Nicholaos for some fresh trout straight out of the brook where you can dine waterside in the shadow of the Vermion Mts;-) If there's a bit of a chill, chances are they'll have the fireplaces going inside;-) It's barely a 5-minute drive from Naoussa en route back to Salonika from Edessa;-) Now you're really 'mingling with the locals';-) Salonika and environs can easily use up all your time. then again, so can Athens;-)

Your priorities rule.. as well as travel style.. what you're looking to experience! I'd seriously consider adding more days altogether coming the distance.. give Salonika at least 4-5 days if looking for some excursions as well.. same for Athens;-) If you can manage to spend about 10-12 days, think you'll find it well worth your time.. especially considering you'd like to sit back and take in some local flair and customs.. ie, sitting over a frappe for a bit and partacking of the national pastime of people watching;-)

You're way too early looking for flights now SKG/ATH for March 2014.. sign up now for email alerts with both www.olympicair.com/ www.aegeanair.com/ You'll find some super offers popping up.. chances are will be difficult to resist.. keep an eye out;-) Flight takes about half an hour so quick and easy! If looking to take in some scenery along the way, then the train is a great way to go.. you can book it while there and unless you're looking for a slow journey which can take up to 7 hours, head for the 'express' train.. believe it takes about 4 hours or so;-)

If you state a budget spread, am sure you'll get some great recs for some good, central places to stay in both Cities! You've got plenty of time to plan out an amazing adventure.. and for some great nightlife in Athens proper, head over to Gazi and Psirri areas;-) Rembetika style music is popular in the North at Salonika.. I can't remember the names or locales of places I've been to, but am trusting the locals will kick in with some recs here;-) Both Cities are fantastic and deserve the time..Happy planning.. and enJOY!

Thessaloniki, Greece
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5. Re: Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

"My wife and I love history and museums, ruins, and general excursions."

Thessaloniki has ruins and monuments from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman period.

Roman: Ruins of the Galerius palace, Galerius arch, Roman forum/agora and Rotunda. You can see the first 3 from street level if you don't want to enter the sites. Rotunda is a round building that was built in 306 AD and resembles the Pantheon in Rome. It would serve as a temple to Zeus or as a mausoleum to Caesar Galerius. It's interesting to see that a sanctuary has been added when christianity became the official religion of the empire and later when Ottoman Turks conquered Thessaloniki they converted it to a mosque and added a minaret. Admission is free.

Byzantine: Clearly the most important period for the city. You can see several early christian and byzantine churches throughout the city centre and the city walls. As a whole the byzantine monuments are a "member" of the Unesco World Heritage List.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/456

Ottoman: This actually might be of interest to you since you have never been east of Rome. There are several mosques, hammams (not operational i am afraid) and a bedesten (closed market). By the seaside you will find the White Tower which is the symbol/emblem of the city and was part of the fortification. There is a museum based on digital media and interactive screens. Everything is in greek (or used to be a few months ago) but you can get a free audio guide in english. The view from the top floor is nice.

http://www.lpth.gr/en/

Museums: I would recommend the Archaeological museum and the Museum of Byzantine Culture. The one is next to the other and you can buy a combo ticket at a reduced price.

http://www.amth.gr/index.php/en/

http://www.mbp.gr/html/en/index.htm

Excursions: I believe the most important site is in Vergina where King Phillip's tomb (Alexander the Great's father) was found. It's close to Thessaloniki but i don't know how to get there by public transportation, sorry!

odysseus.culture.gr/h/3/eh352.jsp?obj_id=2362

Now back to Thessaloniki for coffee and food you can go ..errr…pretty much everywhere! The centre is built around the main square which actually looks for the most part like a two way pedestrian street and it's called Aristotle Square. You can also visit the Ladadika region, west of Aristotle sq. for food or coffee. The norm here is to order coffee and sit for a couple of hours watching the people and chatting. So no need to rush!

Now regarding how much time to spend in Thessaloniki and Athens:

In Athens you have a lot more to see and i would definitely give more time there. I won't go into details but keep in mind that in Athens you can see a world class monument, the Acropolis of Athens and two world class museums the Acropolis museum and the National Archaeological Museum with some of the most important artefacts of the hellenic civilisation from several periods (not only classical).

Athens, Greece
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6. Re: Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

richard i saw your pm but for some reason i couldn't post a reply.there is no need for thank you for a simple reply,greeks are helpful with tourists anyway...i hope you'll find that out first hand.enjoy your trip!

Thessaloniki, Greece
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7. Re: Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

Dear Richard,

I think that people covered the must-see/do part for Thessaloniki. I really do think you should rent a car and visit Vergina and Pella.

When it comes to public transportation we only have buses for now. If you stay in the city center we can walk around to almost everything. Have you decided where you will stay?

Thessaloniki has excellent food and deserts so make sure you eat a lot when you visit! :)

Regarding the train to Athens, use only the Intercity (IC) and depending on when you’ll book your ticket you may get a really cheap price. I’ve checked the website (http://www.ose.gr/en/Home.aspx) and you may buy tickets until October for now. Same applies for airlines tickets, you can definitely get tickets for Athens at a good price. I've just checked http://en.aegeanair.com/ and you can buy tickets to Athens for 88 euros for two people for March 2014.

I don’t know your exact dates but please keep in mind Monday, March 3 is a Holiday in Greece.

I live in Thessaloniki so if you need help with hotels and restaurants I’ll be happy to assist!

Happy planning and Enjoy your trip! :)

~ Marina

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8. Re: Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

Is it possible to take a train to Athen from Thessaloniki in February

Athens, Greece
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9. Re: Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

yes

https://tickets.trainose.gr/dromologia/

Evansville, Indiana
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10. Re: Thessaloniki/Athens Trip in March

Thank you so much for the message with the website, this looks simple enough.

We will have one piece of luggage that is large. Can I carry that on-board or will it need to be checked?

If it needs to be checked, how does this work at the New Railway Station in Thessaloniki? Anyone experience this?