Visiting Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki: These are the places most visited by travellers

A large survey of 9 traveler profiles in the capital.

Thessaloniki continues to be a destination that remains high on tourists’ choices, as those who visit it not only want to repeat it but also recommend it to others, relatives and friends.

This is one of the main conclusions of the research conducted by GBR Consulting for 2022 on tourist satisfaction and hotel performance in Thessaloniki, which was presented at an event organised by the Association of Hoteliers of Thessaloniki.

In particular, although for 2022 the tourists surveyed rated Thessaloniki with an overall score of 7.9, which is the lowest in recent years, the vast majority of them (97%) would recommend the destination to others, while 95% said they would like to visit it again. In his welcome address, the President of EXTH Mr. Andreas Mandrinos referred to the very big problem that still exists regarding the region’s air connectivity with foreign destinations. He also pointed out that no action has yet been taken by the competent bodies regarding the connection of the airport with the Metro, which is under construction, and it is certain that when the Metro starts operating, for a considerable period of time visitors from the airport will continue to aggravate the traffic problem of the city. Mandrinos also pointed out that hotels in the smaller 2-star and 1-star categories are beginning to be directly threatened by the unfair competition from Airbnb accommodation.

Moreover, the President of the Association stressed that the fact that Thessaloniki, despite its problems, continues to be a very popular destination makes it imperative for the local government and all local authorities to create an integrated strategic plan for its development as a tourist destination, while blaming the Regional Governor and the Mayor if this is not created by the end of their term of office. A strategic plan that, once implemented, will achieve a targeted promotion of the destination based on a modern technocratic study of its promotion in order to attract new markets. For his part, the Vice President of the Association, Mr. Constantinos Tornivouskas, referred to the very bad image of the city in relation to the huge parking problem in the city centre, the night-time noise pollution and the cleanliness of the city.
Main purpose of trip to Thessaloniki

The main purpose of travel for visitors to Thessaloniki was a holiday. The main reasons for choosing Thessaloniki for the 18-35 age group were entertainment and nightlife and gastronomic interest, while for the 36-45 age group it was gastronomic interest and the personality of the city. In 2022 compared to previous years, daily expenditure increased significantly in all categories due to high inflation. The majority of visitors to Thessaloniki visited the White Tower, while the most popular museums were the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Byzantine Culture.

In detail, this year’s survey showed that in terms of visibility, Thessaloniki continues to have a strong stigma as a city of gastronomy and entertainment/nightlife, which are among the very strong “assets” of the destination for almost all age groups. In addition, about one in three tourists said they chose Thessaloniki for its personality. Also, compared to 2019, although hotels maintained their high rating in terms of facilities, however, the relationship between price and quality decreased. In general, entertainment and leisure, the behaviour of the residents and the museums and archaeological and cultural sites were rated highly by the surveyed visitors, while it is striking that unfortunately the “black spots” of the city continue to remain exactly the same as the streets and sidewalks, public cleanliness and public transport were rated low once again. Between 2015 and 2022, 4 and 5 star hotels were opened and today the construction of new hotel units continues. International hotel brands are also expected to enter the market.

This year’s study focused on 9 traveler profiles which are as follows: Archaeophiles, Friends, Active, Patriotic, Relaxed, People-centric, Good Eaters, Nightlife Lovers, and Professionals. The common points of all travelers regardless of their interest or purpose of their trip are: visiting the beach where the White Tower is located, Aristotelous Square, and the route that reaches Ladadika.

“The Relaxed”

A large group of tourists, one in three, have no specific interests and want to experience Thessaloniki at a leisurely pace without filling their schedule. In general, the laid-back ones do not visit museums, concerts, festivals and other events. Agios Dimitrios is the most popular religious site, while just one in five visited the Archaeological Museum, Hagia Sophia, the Roman Agora and the Rotunda. The laid-back people visiting Thessaloniki for holidays or to visit friends are aged 26-45 and are mainly travelling with their partner or friends. Their main interests are entertainment and nightlife and gastronomy.

The expenditure of this category of travellers is generally low. Most of their spending is allocated to shopping. The fact that the leisurely ones do not have a full schedule of activities does not affect their satisfaction with their experience in the city. The laid-back are satisfied with an overall rating of 8. The fact that the lazy do not have a full schedule of activities does not affect their satisfaction with their experience in the city. The relaxed are satisfied with an overall rating of 8. The relaxed rated public cleanliness and street condition higher than other profiles with scores of 6 and 6.2 respectively.

Apparently, these travelers also have a more relaxed approach to these issues as well. Only 81% of the relaxed ones said that there is much more to discover in Thessaloniki. However, 97% said they intend to visit the city again. This gives them the opportunity for Thessaloniki to offer them, on their next visit, the experiences they did not have on this particular trip. The majority of the relaxed have visited Thessaloniki more than once. 81% feel that there are more things to see in the city. The relaxed are very satisfied with the entertainment and recreation and the people. They also rated the facilities, hotels, shops and restaurants very highly.
“The Archaeophiles”

Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by General Cassander and due to its geographical location, it developed into one of the most important ports, an economic and commercial centre of Macedonia. Thessaloniki was a centre for ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine culture, preserving monuments from the whole spectrum of historical time. Its great commercial activity also attracted a Jewish element.

Archaeophiles are visitors of all ages, and predominantly travel with their partner and in some cases their children. They choose Thessaloniki for its archaeological interest and its personality, which is essentially reflected in both its modern image and its great history. At the same time they are interested in its gastronomy, as taste and image can take the visitor on a journey through many different periods experienced by the city. In Thessaloniki there are important museums whose exhibits can tell the history of the city and its evolution. Apart from the Archaeological Museum (which is the first choice for archaeophiles) and the Byzantine Museum that refer to earlier times, there are the Macedonian Museum, the Folklore Museum, the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Museum, which is under construction and is estimated to be completed in 2026.

The majority of archaeologists took an organised bus tour, while one in four took an organised walking tour.

With an overall satisfaction rating of 8.1, archaeophiles rated their experience in the city above average. Almost all would like to return and explore things they were unable to see on this trip.

Archaeophiles are among the highest spending travelers. Almost all would recommend Thessaloniki and would visit again. Entertainment and leisure, the behaviour of residents and museums and archaeological and cultural sites were rated highly, in contrast to public transport and public cleanliness.

“The Philoteks”

Philoteks are of different ages and travel with their partner. There is so much to discover in Thessaloniki. Visitors can find pieces from the ancient Greek period, the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. The 14th century is considered the golden age of letters for Thessaloniki. The city was a place of artistic and intellectual ferment, where renowned scholars, jurists and philologists were either born here or lived here, producing wonderful work. Also, Ano Polis with its characteristic Byzantine walls is famous for its picturesqueness, its architecture, its alleys, its colourful houses. About one out of three art lovers participated in an organized architectural or street art tour in order to have the full background. And while enjoying a walk on Thessaloniki’s beach one will come across the umbrellas, a project built in 1997 by George Zongolopoulos the year

Thessaloniki was European Capital of Culture.

Not only the Archaeological and Byzantine Museums are of interest to the art lovers, but also the museums that are part of MOMus (Museum of Contemporary Art – Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Modern Art – Kostakis Collection, Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Experimental Arts Centre). At the same time, NOESIS, Center for the Dissemination of Science and Museum of Technology is also interested in one of the four artists. In terms of events, the art lovers are interested in the Film Festival, which emphasizes independent cinema and emerging filmmakers from around the world, and the Biennale Contemporary Art, which aims to promote the European art scene. One out of three filmmakers attended a cultural event and or a theatre performance.

94% of art lovers feel that there are other things they want to see in Thessaloniki. Around 27% feel that their experience was much better than their expectations. Entertainment and recreation is rated the highest, followed by museums and archaeological cultural sites and the attitude of Thessaloniki residents.

“The Active”

The active ones are that category of travellers who want to experience as much as each destination has to offer in order to have a complete experience. The city is well signposted with information about each place, helping the visitor to gather information about it, to know where they are and the time required to go somewhere else.

Active people belong to the age group 26-45 years old and travel mainly with their partner or friends. The main reasons for choosing Thessaloniki are culture, gastronomy and entertainment.

The schedule of their active ones is full. The majority takes a bus tour and one in three participates in a walking tour and/or a gastronomic tour. One in five visits the sights through a bike tour. Also, the active are second only to the philistines in terms of participating in a street art and architecture tour. A main reason for visiting Thessaloniki is its archaeological sites and cultural interest. The active ones visit the White Tower, the Ancient Agora, the churches of Agia Sophia and Agios Dimitrios, the Rotunda and the Monastery of Vlatades. The majority also visited the Archaeological and Byzantine Museums, while one in three travellers visited the Jewish Museum, the Macedonian Struggle and the Olympic Museum. Active travellers attended a cultural event, a theatre performance or a film at the film festival and participated in a workshop.

Like all travellers, a walk on the beach, Aristotelous Square, Ano Polis and Ladadika are added to their experience.

Because of their activities, their spending on sightseeing and entertainment is higher than the average traveler.

By the end of their trip, the active ones feel that they have really discovered the city to a great extent. The active have the highest overall satisfaction rating of all profiles, despite having rated public cleanliness very low at just 5.1.

Active people have the highest daily expenditure compared to the other visitor profiles. Their highest expenditure is in the catering sector. They are very satisfied with their overall experience in Thessaloniki. They spent a lot on shopping and rated the shopping facilities higher overall compared to the other profiles.

“The Night owls”

Thessaloniki is a very lively city with a plethora of choices in restaurants, cafés, wine bars, bars and music venues. Night owls, who belong to the age group 18-35,travel mainly with their partner or friends and are predominantly coming to the city for the first time. The areas of Thessaloniki that offer a range of entertainment venues are Ladadika, Aristotelous Square and Ano Poli. In the Ladadika area, Katouni Street is known for its taverns, Aigiptou Street is ideal for drinking, while Emporio Square (an old commercial area of the city) is famous for its nightlife. Also, Valaoritou Street is a reference point of the city’s nightlife with many bars.

For nightlife enthusiasts all this is interesting, as the main reasons for choosing Thessaloniki are its entertainment – nightlife and its personality. They also show a particular interest in the gastronomic proposals that Thessaloniki offers as well as in its attractive shopping centre. One out of three participated in an organised bus tour and or a walking tour. The majority of this profile attended a concert or a cultural event, but the theatre was also an option for four out of ten. With a score of 9.1 they are very satisfied with the bar-café facilities and 8.4 with the value for money. Their rating is also high for entertainment options with a score of 9. However, the overall rating for their experience in Thessaloniki is only 8 points.

Night owls know Thessaloniki well, as the majority of them have visited many times. However, Thessaloniki continues to surprise them, as 1 in 2 night owls said that their experience in Thessaloniki was better than they expected.

Night owls rated entertainment & leisure the highest. Restaurant facilities and bars and cafés were rated highest across all profiles. Night owls were the least satisfied with the services and value for money of taxis.

“The Patriarchs”

Different nationalities have lived in Thessaloniki for long periods of time, which over time have been assimilated by the city and at the same time influenced it with their own elements.

Most of the ancestors come from Israel and are aged 36-55. Jewish culture, business, religion and customs have deep roots in Thessaloniki. This nationality has left a strong imprint on Thessaloniki. Patrogrims are a group of travellers seeking their genealogical roots and wishing to learn more about their family history.

The building that now houses the Jewish Museum was erected in 1904 by the Jewish community of Thessaloniki. It was called “Tzedid Hani” (New Building) and is one of the few buildings in the centre of Thessaloniki that survived the great fire of 1917.

The majority of Israelis visit not only the Jewish Museum but also the Archaeological Museum. Also, as part of their archaeological and cultural interest in the city, they visit the White Tower and the Rotunda. Four out of ten participate in an organized bus tour. They visit the city either in organised groups (often through affordable packages) or individually mainly for paternal reasons. Many descendants of Jews who lived in Thessaloniki in the last century feel the need to visit the place where their ancestors lived and turn to the community through which they can get information about their ancestors.

Also, Israelis visit Thessaloniki with an investment intention. They buy old houses and convert them into short-term rentals. Some hotels in Thessaloniki have a kosher restaurant which is exclusively for Jews. The Israeli market is, at present, the No. 1 market in terms of arrivals and overnight stays in hotels in the region.

66% of the patrons visited Thessaloniki for the first time. Almost all would recommend the city.

Patrons are impressed by the people of Thessaloniki, rating their attitude at 8.7. Entertainment and recreation and museums and archaeological cultural sites were also rated highly.

“The Kalofagades”

The city of Thessaloniki has a tradition of gastronomy with multicultural influences mainly from the Asia Minor people who brought their flavours and ingredients to the city. In this field, the city has recently gained international certification, as it has joined the UNESCO World Network of Creative Cities of Gastronomy. In 2011, the Food Festival was launched in Thessaloniki to promote the city’s products and gastronomy. Foodies are mainly young people aged 26 – 35 years old and travel with their partner or friends. The most important reasons for choosing Thessaloniki are its entertainment – nightlife, its gastronomic interest and its personality.

Ladadika is part of the gourmets’ itinerary. The area was for years one of the most important shopping centres of the city. After a long period of decline, in 1985 they were declared an area of cultural value by the Ministry of Culture. Since then, Ladadika has been upgraded to an area with taverns, restaurants, cafés, bars and accommodation options. Today, more than 35 catering establishments operate in Ladadika. Almost all lovers of good food participated in a gastronomic tour.
Thessaloniki has 3 open markets and one closed market, Modiano. The construction of the building, now classified as a listed building, began in 1922 and was completed in 1930. The architectural design was supervised by the Jewish architect Eli Modiano. After a radical renovation, the Modiano Market reopened at the end of 2022 and continues to be a recognizable landmark in the city. Modiano Market is now home to around 75 shops such as delicatessen, pastry shops, traditional taverns, restaurants, bars, etc., while many taverns operate in the adjacent streets.

In general, Thessaloniki has a plethora of restaurants offering a constantly growing range of gastronomic proposals from simple souvlaki and upgraded burgers to flavours of high gastronomic demands.

In addition to the eateries, foodies visit the city’s archaeological sites and temples and participate in some cultural events. Their rating for the facilities of the restaurants and bars & cafes is 8.8, while for the price/quality ratio it is 8.1. The overall score for their experience in Thessaloniki is 8.2.

One in two foodies are visiting Thessaloniki for the first time. Their daily spending is in second place out of all profiles and they spend the most on shopping. Entertainment and leisure, as well as hotel and restaurant facilities are rated highly. Foodies rated public transport lowest of all.


Anthropocentrics is a special category and refers to Greeks living in or outside Greece and foreigners travelling to Thessaloniki to visit friends and relatives. They are repeat visitors to Thessaloniki. Meeting with friends and relatives is the most important purpose of their trip, which can take place with a coffee at Aristotelous Square or a meal at Ladadika. All ages are represented, but the age groups 26 – 45 years old stand out. Around one in three people travel with their partner and or children.

Obviously, the anthropocentrics do not need organised tours as they find their guides among their friends and relatives who will show them around the White Tower, Rotunda, Agios Dimitrios the seafront, Aristotelous Square, Ano Polis and Ladadika. In addition, they attended a theatre performance, a concert or participated in a sports event.

The overall rating of their experience is only 7.9 points and comes mainly from low ratings for streets and sidewalks, public cleanliness and public transport.

Moreover, it seems that anthropocentrics are less impressed by Thessaloniki’s museums and archaeological sites, rating them at 7.9, the lowest rating of all profiles. Probably this has to do with the fact that they have visited the city many times On the other hand, for the majority of them the experience in Thessaloniki has exceeded their expectations, due to the city’s excellent facilities, the entertainment it offers, but especially the attitude of its inhabitants, which includes friends and relatives.

People-centric people are the most frequent visitors to Thessaloniki as visiting friends and relatives is not an isolated affair. Spending in the city is relatively low, which is understandable for this category.

Anthropocentrics rated the activities and events organised in the city higher than all profiles. And as expected, they value the behavior of residents. However, overall satisfaction has the second lowest rating compared to all profiles.

Business travel involves a large group who travel for many different (business) purposes. Some travel to attend or participate in a conference or exhibition, while others travel to meet suppliers, (potential) business partners or a branch located in Thessaloniki. In all cases it involves travel away from the workplace and is an important part of Thessaloniki. In MICE, Thessaloniki was among the top 50 International Convention Cities for 2021 based on the official rankings for 2021 published by the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA). Thessaloniki gained 23 places in 2021, moving up from 70th to 47th worldwide in ICCA’s statistics.

This survey describes the profile of individual professionals and those who participated in a workshop/seminar. The professionals are aged 36-55 years old and know Thessaloniki well, having visited the city more than once. Nowadays work and leisure are increasingly combined, so business travellers may extend their stay a little to do some further sightseeing. Most people travel alone, followed by business travellers travelling with colleagues. One in four business travellers are accompanied by friends or even their children. Two out of ten business travellers visit the Archaeological Museum, the Roman Forum and St. Demetrios Church. In addition, the majority passed by Aristotelous Square and many walked on the beach and passed by the White Tower. In total, one out of ten foreigners in this group of professionals chose to take a bus tour. Ladadika is where the majority visited for food and drink.

The professional who has repeated experience in the city compared to the one who visits it for the first time, is familiar with the International Night Half Marathon held every year. Professionals know the city well. The daily expenditure of professionals is the lowest compared to other visitor profiles. Their expenditure on catering is among the lowest, probably because it is covered by an event or by their partners. Although most professionals had a better or much better experience in Thessaloniki compared to their expectations, they rated their overall experience in Thessaloniki as the lowest compared to other visitors.

Thessaloniki cily located only 20minutes by the thessaloniki airport taxi

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