While many travellers to Greece opt for a flying visit to Athens before fleeing to the islands, Thessaloniki in the north shouldn’t be overlooked. By day, tour the city by neighbourhood, each an individual pocket of history. Come nightfall, head to Ladadika where students, locals and tourists unite in taverns and clubs. You don’t need to break the bank to see Greece’s second city either, with a selection of hostels offering a budget-friendly base.
STAY Hybrid Youth Hostel is conveniently located in downtown Thessaloniki, close to the fashionable districts of Valaoritou and Ladadika. Set up by a team of travellers, the hostel is a cool and welcoming place where you can feel at home, mingle with other urban explorers or unwind after a day of sightseeing in a cosy bedroom before heading for drinks on the rooftop terrace, with fantastic views over the city.
Little Big House is a laid-back hostel in picturesque Ano Poli. It’s homely and serves a delicious Greek breakfast buffet, best enjoyed on the sunny rooftop café. There’s a colourful selection of dorms, mostly mixed, but there’s female-only, too, plus three private rooms with either a garden or a balcony. It’s all conveniently located about 15 minutes from Aristotelous Square and the main city attractions.
Crossroads can be found in the suburban area of Agios Pavlos, next to the Byzantine Walls. A quiet refuge from the city, it features a beautiful courtyard shaded by tall trees and a terrace offering views over the city. It’s a small guesthouse with a homely feel, with just two dorms (a four- and a six-bedder) and a private room with a twin bed and a floating single above.
RentRooms Thessaloniki is next to the university campus and offers dormitory-style rooms, private rooms or apartments. The on-site bar is perfect for a morning cup of coffee with views over the Rotunda, the Arch of Galerius and the nearby park. Restaurants, cafés and bars are within walking distance.
A stay at Thess Hostel comes with free-to-use towels, in-room lockers and a free map of the area. There are no dorm-style rooms; instead, you’ll stay in private singles, doubles or triples. When you do want to mix, head to the rooftop – the standout space – for barbecues, parties and a come-together vibe. A quieter time is found in the lounge area, where you can make use of the coffee bar.
Studios Arabas, in the Old Town, offers five-bed dorms and private rooms in a traditional mansion. There’s a courtyard patio area smattered with a mish-mash of garden furniture and watched over by a street art-style wall mural. And, if you want to explore Thessaloniki, there’s a selection of beach and city tours.
While the option to stay in a bunk bed-style dorm is available, Center Travelers also has private double and twin rooms available for when you want solitude. Each of the rooms offers a balcony with panoramas of Thessaloniki, and rooms also have air conditioning for when you need respite from that sweltering inner-city Greek heat.
Billed as a home for digital nomads and long-term travellers, JETpak Alternative is great for shorter stays, too. Set inside a former department store, the utilitarian-style rooms offer spacious bunks, but you’ll spend most of your time exploring the area (known for a techno scene) or simply perching on the rooftop for a glorious sunset.
Laura Hampson contributed additional reporting to this article.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
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