Balkans Day 9: Timeless Thessaloniki – Live and Let’s Fly


Thessaloniki is timeless in the sense that it merges old and new, modern with ancient, and traditional with avant-garde. The city had some rough edges, but was a delightful and electric mix of trendy antiquity.

Read more of my classic trip report through the Balkans

Introduction: Road Trip Through The Balkans
Review: US Airways A330-300 Business Class Philadelphia To Munich
Balkans Day 1: Sick In Belgrade
Balkans Day 2: Belgrade – Sarajevo
Balkans Day 3: Sarajevo – Dubrovnik
Balkans Day 4: Beauitful Dubrovnik
Balkans Day 5: Accused Of Espionage In Montenegro
Balkans Day 6: The Diverse Architecture Of Tirana, Albania
Balkans Day 7: Refreshment In Kosovo
Balkans Day 8: Racism In Skopje + A Pirated Hollywood Premiere
Balkans Day 9: Timeless Thessaloniki
Review: Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki

The bus from Skopje to Thessaloniki took about four hours, a journey of about 240km. Tickets cost 20€. Greece is part of the Schengen Area, but border formalities were quite informal. We were all herded out of the bus and quickly stamped into Greece.

My Balkans trip was deliberately bookended with Hyatt stays-at the Hyatt Regency Belgrade to start and the Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki to end. I’ve already provided a full review of the hotel in Thessaloniki here.

We spent most of the next few days at the hotel, but did venture out into the city of Thessaloniki. The city is an eclectic mix of old and new, with historical ruins, beautiful architecture, and a delightful seaside breeze. Don’t miss Aristotelous Square, the White Tower of Thessaloniki (dating back to the 12th century), the Hagia Sophia (which does resemble the former church by the same name in Istanbul), and the Roman Agora.

Maybe it is a cultural thing, but the city was covered in graffiti…and I hated it. Why is it just left rather than painted over? Overall, I bet the city looks much better today than it did back in 2012 at the height of the Greek debt crisis.