1 Day in Thessaloniki Greece: City Itinerary & Food Tour!

1 Day in Thessaloniki

Only have 1 day in Thessaloniki? Don’t worry, so did we! Since it’s known as the food capital of Greece, just the simple task of figuring out where to eat can be overwhelming. We recently made a trip to this amazing city and are excited to share all our tips and recommendations. Here’s our one day Thessaloniki itinerary with an all day food tour, and why it’s so worth visiting.

Where to Stay in Thessaloniki

Before we dive into our one day Thessaloniki itinerary, you should know there are accommodations for every style of traveler. From luxury sea view hotels to small boutique rooms, you’ll find all kinds of places to stay in the city.

We picked the Maroon Bottle Luxury Suites for our own visit. It had a fantastic location in the city center, and was walking distance to all the best attractions and restaurants. We had a large room with a separate seating area and three balconies that overlooked the busy street. 

We included this in our Thessaloniki food tour, but we also wanted to mention the amazing morning meal here. Honestly, there are few better ways to start the day than with a traditional Greek breakfast!

Maroon Bottle Suites definitely didn’t disappoint! Check out some more options below to stay at while planning your 1 day in Thessaloniki. 

Ultra LuxuryThe Excelsior – The only member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World association within the city. Enjoy the perfect location near Aristotle Square, and all the great amenities you’d expect from a 5 star resort.

Whole ApartmentInfinity Sea Front Apartments – These sea view apartments make for a unique stay along the water. Centrally located just a few minutes walk from the White Tower, and near all the historic sites of Thessaloniki. 

HostelJetpak Alternative Eco Hostel – Great budget accommodation for those looking to save some money. Pick from dorms or private rooms at a fair price.

Thessaloniki Hotel

Planning Your Thessaloniki Itinerary 

☎️ Get a Greece E-Sim before you arrive so it’s easier to stay connected! 

⛴  Use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies.

✈️  Check out Skyscanner for cheap flights, especially between Athens and the islands.

🛌 We search both Booking.com and Agoda to find places to stay. Also, visit  Hostelworld if you’re on a budget.

🚗 Use Discover Cars to explore with a vehicle (as low as $15 a day!)

⛵️  Find hundreds of activities using Get Your Guide in Greece.

☀️ Never travel abroad without insurance like SafetyWing.

🎒 Scan through our Amazon packing lists, electronics and camera gear & long flight essentials.

one day in Thessaloniki

Our 1 Day in Thessaloniki Itinerary

We originally flew into Thessaloniki airport to get to the beautiful region of Halkidiki. After our time in the city, we headed off in our rental car to see the three peninsulas and beaches of northern Greece. Check out our 7 day itinerary to Halkidiki here if you’re planning to do the same.

While this meant we only had one full day to explore the city, we had heard so many great things about it! Most recently, Thessaloniki was proclaimed the culinary capital of Greece. So obviously, we were excited to start up our own Thessaloniki food tour. 

We arrived in the late afternoon, grabbed some gyros for dinner, and went to bed early to prepare for our 1 day in Thessaloniki. 

12 Reasons to Book A Trip to Halkidiki Greece This Summer

Thessaloniki Greece

One Day in Thessaloniki Food Tour Breakdown

  • Breakfast: At your hotel or stop into a local bakery! 
  • Morning: Explore historical sites and walk through the city. Don’t miss Roman Forum and Holy Church of Saint Demetrius. 
  • Sweet Snack: Go to Bougatsa Giannis which is a famous city staple. 
  • Lunch: We loved Vomvidia, or you can try the famous fried cod. Don’t miss the fish spot we recommend later!
  • Markets: Visit the two popular street markets which are right in the city centre. 
  • Dinner: Sample the different meze platters at Full Tou Meze
  • Late Night: Grab some drinks in the Ladadika neighborhood, which is full of fun bars and exciting night life. 

Thessaloniki Itinerary

Traditional Greek Breakfast 

Our morning started off with a delicious breakfast at our hotel Maroon Bottle Suites. Know that in Greece most hotels and small B&B’s have breakfast included.

We were treated to a traditional feast of fresh bread, greek salad, cheeses, and baked spinach pastries. We even enjoyed a Greek yogurt with local honey on top!

This was the perfect way to begin our 1 day in Thessaloniki, and the Greek coffee definitely gave us the boost we needed after traveling. If your accommodation doesn’t have breakfast then it’s time to walk to the closest bakery!

Greek Breakfast 

Historical Sites of Thessaloniki 

Thessaloniki is full of incredible history dating back thousands of years. The city was actually named for Alexander the Great’s sister and founded in 316 BC.

We had the opportunity to take a walking tour which included some of the best historical sites and food spots. Be sure to email us if you’d like the info for a fantastic local guide!

Our morning started at the Roman Forum which was the ancient business and social center of the city. It was amazing to see the 2,000 year old excavations here right in the heart of Thessaloniki. 

From there, we ventured off to the Holy Church of Saint Demetrius. He is known as the patron saint of Thessaloniki and this religious building holds many important mosaics and artifacts inside.

The 4th century Arch of Galerius and the Rotunda were up next, and they did not disappoint! On the side of the massive rotunda you can see a tall minaret which was constructed when the city was under Ottoman rule.

All of these places were spectacular, but no Thessaloniki itinerary would be complete without visiting the White Tower. Also known as the “Blood Tower,” this monument has a wild history to discover.

It served as part of a defense fortress (and even a prison) through the Byzantine and Ottoman period. Today, it’s probably the most recognizable attraction in Thessaloniki, and certainly worth climbing up the 6 stories for a view.

One thing to note is that the tower closes at 3:30pm daily. For this reason, it’s better to go in the morning hours.

1 Day Thessaloniki Itinerary

1 day in Thessaloniki

Sweet Treat at Bougatsa Giannis

After we climbed to the top of the White Tower it was time for a snack! We decided to stop in at Bougatsa Giannis and took a walk along the harbor back towards the market area. All along the water you’ll find restaurants and cafes to have a drink at. 

As you can see, this was the start of a heavy eating day with so many specialties to try! Bougatsa is a must-try on your visit to Greece, and this may have been the best one we’ve ever had.

It’s essentially a Greek custard in Phyllo dough that makes for a delicious snack or dessert. Bougatsa Giannas is one of the most popular in the city, but be careful with the hours.

They actually close from 3 to 8pm. Yet, they’re opened every hour beyond that all night long. This makes it a frequent choice for students and people out after late night drinks.

The location is right near the famous White Tower. If you go before you climb the steps, you will definitely have time to get hungry for lunch.

1 day in Thessaloniki Greece

Lunch at Vomvidia 

Our guide gave us so many great food tips, and we decided to take her advice for a local lunch. We headed to Vomvidia, which is a restaurant that’s specialized in their grilled meats since 1982. 

Vomvidia translates in English to “little bombs” which perfectly describes these little Greek meatballs. It reminded us of cevapi which we’ve eaten in North Macedonia and several other Balkan countries. 

Yet, with the tzatziki, tomatoes, and onions, this Greek twist is unmatched! Jake got an ice cold Mamos beer and a sandwich with the meat inside as well.

This was such a tasty lunch and the ultimate start to our Thessaloniki food tour. Foodies should also try the popular battered cod and chips dish down by the port. It comes with a scrumptious Skordalia garlic spread, and you won’t regret a stop at Το Δίχτυ.

Thessaloniki One Day

1 Day in Thessaloniki Markets Guide

Once we’d had lunch, we were off to the market area of Thessaloniki. Kapani Market and Modiano Market are located right across from each other just back from the waterfront.

Kapani is the oldest market in the city, and totally worth taking a stroll through on your one day in Thessaloniki. It’s filled with fresh produce, olives, fish, local butchers, and all sorts of delights. You’ll also find coffee shops and clothing sprinkled throughout.

In contrast, the Modiano market has some of the same features, but also an indoor/outdoor section with restaurants. Not far from here is the Ladadika neighborhood which plays host to endless bars and traditional restaurants. 

All the markets are unfortunately closed on Sundays. Keep that in mind for your own one day in Thessaloniki itinerary!

Thessaloniki Market

Meze Dinner 

After a full day of exploring Thessaloniki we needed to get off our feet and relax a little. We headed back to our hotel until it was time for dinner… And oh were we excited!

Meze is a popular style of eating all across Greece. Basically, you order a bunch of small plates for everyone at your table to share. Of course, it pairs perfectly with wine or a cold beer at dinner.

We headed to Full Tou Meze has soon as we had worked up our appetite. Here we ordered a variety of traditional dips and dishes that came with a healthy portion of bread. We also got some local retsina which went great with our meal. 

In this same square you’ll find other awesome restaurants with the same traditional menus. You can’t really go wrong with any of these meze eateries during your 1 day in Thessaloniki!

1 day in Thessaloniki Greece Itinerary

Late Night Drinks in Ladadika

One last thing to know about Thessaloniki is that it’s a super lively city. Honestly, we can’t remember seeing so many fun bars out in one place! 

This is partly due to the fact that there are so many universities that call this city home. You’ll find everything from funky cafes to live music bars, and night clubs that stay open deep into the night.

We headed out after dinner to check out the scene, but it seemed like the party was just getting started! Don’t be surprised if the bars don’t start to get crowded till 9pm or later. Still, know that even on a Monday or Tuesday night there will be something going on.


Is 1 Day in Thessaloniki Worth It? 

Absolutely! While we surely could’ve spent more days, we’re so happy we got to experience this historic city with the time we had. 

It was the perfect stop en route to Halkidiki, and it couldn’t of been easier to fly in and out of. The food alone is worth visiting for. So the more days you have, the better.

Next time we’d like to visit some of the museums in addition to all the sites and restaurants. In fact, we’re already planning a trip back soon!

1 day in Thessaloniki

Have any questions about this article or want to share your own 1 day in Thessaloniki itinerary? Let us know in the comments below. 

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

This experience was made possible in collaboration with Thessaloniki Tourism. As always, any opinions and recommendations remain our own.

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  1. Megan
    July 6, 2024 / 7:54 pm

    This is super super helpful! Stopping in Thessaloniki on a cruise for 1 day, would love to know your recommendations for a local guide or half day tour.

  2. Gwen Wolken
    June 18, 2024 / 11:12 am

    Wow! Thank you for this in depth analysis. We used this on our last trip and it was super helpful and insightful. The tips you shared were terrific.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      June 18, 2024 / 11:14 am

      Great to hear that! We really loved this city 😀

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