Traveling on a budget: Thessaloniki, Greece
September 8, 2019
by Ellie Eleni
Are you young and broke, but still refusing to empty your suitcase and settle down? Then, Thessaloniki, Greece, is probably the perfect place for you.
Located at the point of the Balkans, in the South-East of Europe, Greece is a wonderful place for tourists, but usually known for the fancy nightlife in Mykonos and the luxurious 5-star hotels on the romantic island of Santorini. However, Thessaloniki is here to give a different point of view on Greece and make you make the best out of your experience, with the lowest budget possible.
If you’re lucky enough to visit the city by spring, summer or early fall, then good news for you, the weather will most likely help your experience to rock! Here you can find 3 alternatives of things to do, depending on who you are and what you like doing.
Coffee and morning plans
If you are one of those morning people who cannot handle a whole of a day without a cup of coffee outside in the sun, then Thessaloniki will not disappoint you. In probably every central street you can find coffee shops, but the prices will not always be that kind to you, especially if you enjoy looking at the sea while you rest and have your drink. However, you can always get your drink for a takeaway, from mini coffee shops that sell coffee only for the go, and you will be surprised of how cheaper it can get. Plus, these little coffee places are almost everywhere. Take your drink and don’t lose the chance to sit somewhere around the White Tower” and ”Nea Paralia”, for some refreshing sea air and warm sun, while enjoying your beverage. Keep in mind that Greeks love cold iced coffee and if the temperature is getting red, you’re gonna need one, too!
Evening/night out ideas
If you consider yourself a night owl and you enjoy a cold beer or a refreshing soda drink in the evenings and at nights, but you don’t afford fancy nights out and cocktails, then why not buying your drink from the market instead? Many places of the city become the attraction of people, for those late hours when one wants to enjoy the company of people and share a drink with friends. All along the sea line, on city benches and parks, there are always people hanging out, but there are 2 specific places where you always know there will be someone, even if you don’t have company: ”Ano Poli” and the port of Thessaloniki.
”Ano Poli”, literally meaning ”Upper city”, is located on the top of the city, next to the castles that once used to protect it. Having a panoramic view of the whole city and the sea around it, ”Ano poli” is not only recommended for having your beer at, but also for visiting at any moment. However, when the sun goes down, it always gets even more beautiful. Take a beer or two with you and enjoy them while being sat on the high walls that once protected the citizens. Fascinating, no? Walking there is possible, as the distance is not far from the city center, but keep in mind you’ll have to walk upwards. If you think you’re not physically in the mood for this, you always, also, have the second option, the port.
Located almost close to Aristoteles Square, just some meters away from the district of Ladadika, the port of Thessaloniki is not just a port but also the home of many cultural events that take place in the city. However, the darker it gets, the more people it attracts, as you can sit around the port and take a look on the stars and on the White Tower that is spotted on your horizon. Be sure the weather is good or take a jacket with you because sometimes it can get chilly when you stay by the sea.
Eating out in Rotonda and Bit Bazaar
When we travel on a low budget, the first thing we tend to skip is good food. Instant noodles or sandwiches are one solution, but cheap street food is the other if you know where to find it. When it comes to food, the price always depends on the area of the city you are. The same thing can vary, depending on where you buy it. Makes sense! ”Rotonda” is the student district and it’s located in the city center. Everything there is cheaper than elsewhere, but food especially. These are a variety of typical Greek dishes, such as gyros, souvlaki, moussaka, etc. at very affordable prices, pizza with prices such as 1 EUR per slice, salads, crepes, pasta and many more. Take your time to walk around and give yourself some time to decide on the best option available for you. Don’t miss Navarinou Square, as well, located exactly next to Rotonda, with a huge variety of street food, too.
However, if you don’t like having your food on the go, you can always sit in a traditional tavern and enjoy your meal there, while you can also have some nice wine with. If you’re looking for affordable such options, then the” Bit Bazaar” area will not disappoint you. Located in the center of the city, just some minutes away from Aristoteles Square, on foot, ”Bit Bazaar” is a beautiful place of the city, pretty hidden though. Many taverns gather together in this spot of the city and people come to enjoy drinks such as wine, ouzo, retsina, and beers, while accompanying them with their favorite” meze” (”finger food”) Wherever you go around the city you can still find small and cheap little taverns around. As far as you avoid the fancy, gourmet restaurants, you’ll always be able to enjoy affordable, delicious, traditional dishes!
Not having money is an excuse not to travel and Thessaloniki might teach you this in the best way! If you’re looking for some adventure,
start searching for flights and challenge yourself to spend the least money possible. Maybe you’ll be surprised!