Talk to me about Thessaloniki

Old Dec 1st, 2022, 05:01 AM
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Talk to me about Thessaloniki

We've been going to Athens and Naxos for a few years now and were thinking to throw Thessaloniki (and maybe Halkidiki) into the mix.
We are flying from Boston.
There are some good, not crazy expensive flights from BOS-SKG at the moment.
But how hard would it be to get from Thessaloniki to Naxos? (We have been staying in the same place in Naxos, the same week, for years)
Flights seem expensive($1000+ for four round trip, plus you need to change in Athens)
We aren't opposed to flying into SKG, taking the train to Athens, spending a day in Athens, then ferrying to Naxos.
We could I guess fly from Naxos to SKG and then spend a few days in Thessaloniki/Halkidiki

Flights from Boston to Europe right now for August 2023 are really expensive.

Any ideas for us? Right now there are some crazy deals for August travel from Scandinavian Air but we've never flown them before and are a bit worried.
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 07:22 AM
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There are no sheduled direct flights from SKG to Naxos. You may fly to Mykonos or Santorini and reach Naxos from there by ferry or catamaran, but connections via ATH are more handy.
Overnight ferries from Macedonia (port of Kavala) to the Cycladic Islands are not daily. Itinerary:
1st ferry: Kavala - Lemnos - Lesbos - Chios - Samos - Ikaria - Mykonos
2nd ferry: Mykonos - Naxos
Intercity trains between Thessaloniki and Athens are frequent and comfortable.Meteora can be included in this itinerary.
Chalkidiki beaches are nice; I like those around Nidri. But in August, they are completely overrun by tourists from the Balkans (can easily be reached by car, without additional ferry fares).
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 08:15 AM
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After my first trip to Greece (Peloponnese) in 2019, I immediately planned to return do a trip out of SKG the next year. We know how that turned out! I hope to do the trip next year.
I am less of a city person, so I actually find Thessaloniki much more approachable compared with Athens due to the size difference, but it also has a really fascinating history. I read a book called The Thread that covers the fire and the religious tensions over the centuries.I think it would make a perfect few-day city break.
Because I'm a nature but, I was going to head to the Pelion peninsula for hiking. Plus also perhaps stop at Meteora and Vergina (sounds fasciniating!) and possibly Mt. Olympia. This was all for a 12ish day trip, of course, but just in case your plans are altered you know there is a ton in the north as well. I'd stick to using the train between SKG and ATH if flying to Naxos is a definite.
And I'd love to hear more about the Halkidiki area. I considered it because of the beaches but could not find the right spot for us (spoiled--want something historically beautiful like Nafplio for nighttime but stunning nature in the day time).
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 09:45 AM
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Check the Aegean Airlines website and you will find there are nonstop flights from Thessaloniki to Paros in August. Most flights are via Athens, but there is an early morning flight each day nonstop to Paros. That would work well with the morning Blue Star Delos from Paros to Naxos.
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 01:29 PM
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You may want to consider taking a ferry from Thessaloniki to several islands:

The port of Thessaloniki serves routes to the North Aegean islands (Lesbos, Lemnos, Chios, Samos, etc.), the Sporades (Skiathos, Skopelos, etc.) and Crete, as well as to some popular destinations in the Cyclades, such as Mykonos and Syros. The port of Thessaloniki is also connected to Izmir in Turkey.

Many of those islands are worthy of a visit especially the North Aegean ones that don't get over run with tourists if you want a more "Greek" experience. The sporades could be an alternative.

Crete is a wonderful islands, the largest one in Greece and you can find many traditional areas of the island that don't see large numbers of tourists but still offer a good selection of services.

I've been to Lesvos and Chios and can highly recommend either of them. They are very Greek, don't see the hordes of tourists that want Santorini, Mykonos or even Naxos which seems to now be on the tourist "target".
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Old Dec 1st, 2022, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by yorkshire View Post
Because I'm a nature but, I was going to head to the Pelion peninsula for hiking. Plus also perhaps stop at Meteora…,…
And I'd love to hear more about the Halkidiki area. I considered it because of the beaches but could not find the right spot for us (spoiled--want something historically beautiful like Nafplio for nighttime but stunning nature in the day time).
Pelion is stunning, the mountains, villages, old donkey paths for hiking, it is lovely there, especially the east coast.

Halkidiki has beautiful beaches but there is a lack of historical towns or cultural sights, except for Mount Athos which is accessible only to a few. Kassandra is the most popular peninsular but we stayed on Sithonia which was supposed to be more traditional, which it was. We stayed in Neos Marmaras which was a very pleasant town with a good beach, lots of restaurants, well placed to visit other beaches. But no historical sights. As another poster noted, heaving with tourists from Balkan countries in high summer.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2022, 07:05 AM
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Well Mount Athos is out--I am female (but they apparently welcome Putin--interesting!)

Thank for that info--sounds like I was right in heading south to Pelion for my loop around Thessaloniki, hope overit will get more feedback on the city.

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Old Dec 2nd, 2022, 07:37 AM
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Yep, Putin is Orthodox & male so he’s allowed.

Pelion is a beautiful area, villages such as Mouressi, Tsagarada, Vizitsa, Makrinitsa etc, full of old mansion houses, some you can stay in, Milopotamos Beach, Damouhari where some scenes of Mamma Mia were filmed. so much beauty there & green even during summer. Good combo with Meteora.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2022, 08:22 AM
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crazhyh:
"The port of Thessaloniki serves routes to the North Aegean islands (Lesbos, Lemnos, Chios, Samos, etc.), the Sporades (Skiathos, Skopelos, etc.) and Crete, as well as to some popular destinations in the Cyclades, such as Mykonos and Syros."
That was true 25 years ago. This service was offered by Nel Lines (FB Theofilos) and GA Lines (FB Dimitroula). Now, in August, all slow ferries start at Kavala.
The actual Bluestar ferry Thessaloniki - Lemnos - Samos - Piraeus (ex Nissos Myconos) runs in winter only.
The Levante ferry Thessaloniki - Izmir (FB Smyrna di Levante) doesn't run actually. May be it will never do so.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2022, 08:59 AM
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Nel and GA ferries have been defunct so long that I nearly forgot about them, but I see there are still some out of date websites on the internet showing Nel Lines. One of the highlights of going through Piraeus Harbour used to be the row of GA ferries anchored there under arrest by creditors. GA Ferries went bankrupt in 2011 and Nel Lines in 2015. Gerasimos Agoudimos, the former owner of GA ferries died in 2018.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2022, 06:05 AM
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Thank you everyone. Naxos last year was overrun with fancy backbackers and instagrammers - hopefully there's a new "hot" island for them next year but we were happy that the businesses did well. We just love the ease of knowing where everything is, and it's a special place for our kids.

Hopefully we can see Thessaloniki but I can't find good flights right now to either ATH or SKG. Same thing happened last year - I ended up flying into Naples to get to Greece through Aegean! Aer Lingus, which we used last year, costs 50% more.
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