Weekend Getaway Guide: One Night in Thessaloniki

This blog post is long overdue but hey, better late than never. Back in February, I had the opportunity to visit Thessaloniki. Even though Greece is so close to Bulgaria and a lot of Bulgarians choose to go there for their summer vacation (instead of the Bulgarian seaside), I’d never been to our southern neighbor before. I’ve only passed through it on my way to Turkey. So I didn’t really know what to expect.

The idea for this trip was just a quick getaway for the weekend. We didn’t plan where to go or what to do exactly in Thessaloniki so we just went with the flow. We drove there by car – it’s about 290 km (180 miles) from Sofia to Thessaloniki but it seemed like we got there pretty fast.

Thessaloniki promenade

We stayed at this cute and cheap Airbnb (it was 5 of us but it could’ve easily accommodated 1 or 2 more people). The location was perfect – very close to the White Tower and the waterfront. So many cafes, restaurants, bars, and stores were at a walking distance.

Like I said we didn’t stay for long, but we encountered some pretty cool places (especially Diatiriteo – look below for more info). So in no particular order, here’s a list of what to do if you only have one night in Thessaloniki:

Κατσαμάκα (Katsamaka)

We went here for lunch, and boy, oh boy, we were not sorry. I personally am a huge fan of Greek cuisine, especially gyros, feta cheese, some specific Greek salads. So maybe don’t take my word for it, but the food there was splendid. All tables were occupied so we had to wait a bit to be seated (I guess this tells you that the food is delicious, but hey, what do I know, *wink-wink*). I had the chicken gyros – it was very tasty, but maybe a bit dry, so I suggest going for some pork instead. The kontosouvli were pretty good and the pita bread was out of this world.

Overall, the place is simple (meaning not pretentious), but the service was wow and the food was delicious, we licked our fingers. Katsamaka scored an 8.6 out of 10 on Foursquare, and a 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor.

Katsamaka food on TripAdvisor

View it on Foursquare | TripAdvisor

Σέμπρικο (Sebriko)

It was pretty crowded but we had a reservation (so you might wanna get one too if you’re visiting during the weekend). Sebriko is a fine restaurant with excellent (and maybe a bit slow) service but the waiters were super friendly and helpful. I personally enjoyed the shrimps and the baked potatoes with feta cheese very much.

The place was nice and the food was tasty but it was a completely different experience from Katsamaka which I enjoyed more. Sebriko has a rating of 9.4 out of 10 on Foursquare, and a 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor.

Sempriko Thessaloniki

View it on Foursquare | TripAdvisor

Το Διατηρητέο (To Diatiriteo)

My absolute favorite for this trip! We stumbled upon Diatiriteo by accident (we saw a balcony decorated with a lot of big plastic candy figures. The place turned out to be an absolutely stunning magic bar. It’s circus-theme decorated and very cozy. The staff was super friendly and cool. The crowd was eclectic and the place definitely had its vibe. I recommend this place to all my friends who go to Thessaloniki. So I definitely vote a “thumbs up”.

Diatiriteo collage

You can get to the bar by climbing a flight of stairs in a staircase lighted by green and red laser lights. I told you it’s magical! Diatiriteo has a score of 8.6 out of 10 on Foursquare, and a 4.0 out of 5 on TripAdvisor. It looks like a hidden gem to me.

Diatiriteo Magic Circus Bar

View it on Foursquare | TripAdvisor

Μπουγάτσα Γιάννης (Bougatsa Gianni’s)

Breakfast anyone? Hope you’re hungry because you’ll wanna try this. Gianni’s is a bougatsa shop. What’s bougatsa? It looked a bit like the traditional Bulgarian banitsa to me, but I admit I had to Google this one. Wikipedia says that bougatsa is a “Greek breakfast pastry consisting of either semolina custard, cheese, or minced meat filling between layers of phyllo”.

I had one bougatsa with feta cheese and one with chocolate. There were super delicious. We went there on a Sunday morning and the line for the breakfast pastries was quite long so keep that in mind. It’s definitely worth the wait though! A stunning 9.4 out of 10 on Foursquare, and a 4.5 on TripAdvisor.

Bougatsas Giannis in Thessaloniki

View it on Foursquare | TripAdvisor

To Wrap It Up: Thessaloniki

In conclusion, Thessaloniki is definitely not enough for just a weekend and I’d gladly return to experience the atmosphere of this vibrant coastal city once again. What about you? Have you been to Thessaloniki? Share in the comments below what would you recommend there, I’d love to hear :)

Thessaloniki by Paul Gilmore

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