Thessaloniki is a great place to consider if you want to visit Greece with kids. In fact, it’s one of my top destinations for a European city break with my family! When looking for the top things to do in Thessaloniki, you’ll never be short of content. The hard thing is narrowing all the wonderful experiences down! That’s why this article is here to help.
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Is Thessaloniki Worth Visiting?
Yes! Thessaloniki with kids is a fantastic place to be for anyone looking for something a little different and exciting. From Thessaloniki’s beautiful city to the easy-to-reach clean beaches, restaurants, and historical places to see, there’s something for everyone in a Thessaloniki city break.
When is the Best Time to Visit Thessaloniki?
Thessaloniki is beautiful year-round. The best time to visit Thessaloniki with kids isn’t in the middle of the tourist season! While the Thessaloniki weather is at its peak in summer, the heat can get too hot– and prices rise dramatically!
In general, spring and fall are best. My two favourite months for a Thessaloniki city break are May and September.
Thessaloniki in May
With highs of 25°C and lows of 13°C on average, as well as only four days of rain, May is an excellent time for those looking for Thessaloniki city beach adventures.
Just before peak tourist season, the weather is warm enough to swim but not enough to cause heat exhaustion in the little ones!
There’s also scuba, water-skiing, and more readily available in the city suburbs!
May is ideal for that perfect city break in Greece with the best beaches in Thessaloniki just a stone’s throw away. Flowers bloom everywhere, giving the city extra beauty. Let’s not forget the Thessaloniki International Book festival for all book lovers!
Thessaloniki in September
September is a bit busier than May as the tourist season draws to a close, and it is jam-packed with activities for all ages. If you want to experience Thessaloniki with kids in a way that will keep them on their toes, September is the time to visit.
The weather is a bit hotter, still feeling like summer, but it starts to cool as the month goes on. It’s the best time to eat outdoors in Thessaloniki restaurants and find the best stuff to do around Thessaloniki.
This is the month of festivals and events, including the Reworks cultural festival, the Thessaloniki Mystery Festival, the International Trade Fair, and the massive Dimitria festival.
How to Get to Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki has its own international airport, and the average flight time from London to Thessaloniki is just over three hours non-stop. Thessaloniki flights also serve many other major cities, and it’s possible to fly within Greece; The journey from Thessaloniki to Athens by plane takes around an hour, though it can be pricey.
Thessaloniki Airport is only a 20-minute drive from the city centre or 40 minutes by Thessaloniki city bus.
Thessaloniki can also be reached by bus from several European cities, such as Istanbul. Get Your Bus Ticket Here.
A train from Athens to Thessaloniki takes around four and a half hours, with prices starting at approximately €10 if you book them early enough! Get your train ticket here.
Finally, Thessaloniki is possible to drive from mainland Europe and is accessible by ferry.
How to Get Around Thessaloniki
Many of the major Thessaloniki attractions are within easy walking distance of each other! If you prefer not to walk, then it’s just as easy. No matter where you go, nothing in the city is further than 30 minutes by bus from the centre!
All buses are public, and tickets are for sale at stores, kiosks, and machines on the buses. The buses in Thessaloniki have a flat fare for up to a certain amount of time. Children under seven also travel free.
It’s possible to drive around the city, and taxis are readily available. It’s also common for people to share taxis. Welcome Pickups is a reputable company we use for airport transfers and day trips.
Top 10 Things to do in Thessaloniki with Kids
So what’s the best stuff to do in Thessaloniki for you and your family? These recommendations cover a range of different days out and experiences and some of the best places to see in Thessaloniki.
1. The White Tower
This 15th-century landmark is one of the city’s most famous sights and is also considered the city’s symbol. Built-in the Ottoman era, it has served as a prison and a watchtower in the past.
Now it hosts a fascinating display of the history of Thessaloniki, dating back to 315 BCE. It makes it one of the best things to do in Thessaloniki for those looking to learn and immerse themselves in history – at any age!
When sightseeing in Thessaloniki, the White Tower is one of the most impressive sights, and the inside is even more fascinating over its six floors and rooftop with binoculars.
2. Dinosaur Park of Thessaloniki
Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Kids of all ages will find something fascinating to see at this small, inexpensive park surrounded by prehistoric figures; that’s one of the hidden gems of things to do in Thessaloniki.
Filled with interactive museums, toys, a botanical garden, and life-sized dinos, as well as tours by real palaeontologists and a mini fairground, families will love it!
Website: Dino Park
3. Noesis Science and Technology Museum
When you’re in Thessaloniki, what to do with the kids isn’t a trick question. You can take them to this museum for hours of fun and even learning! The science museum has hundreds of exhibitions, from temporary shows on shadow puppetry to permanent interactive exhibits on both Ancient Greek and modern tech. The kids won’t ever want to leave!
4. Kapani Market (Agora Kapani)
One of the best things to do in Thessaloniki with the family is soaked in its history. This market is the oldest traditional open-air market in the city!
Everything you can think of is available here, from traditional arts and foods to restaurants to clothes shops. Spices, toys, traditional sweets and everything in-between – the market isn’t to be missed.
My nephews’ mum was born in Thessaloniki, and every time the kids and I travel to see them, the boys insist on taking us all to Waterland. It’s a huge park with many exciting slides and other water rides to keep the kids and adults occupied all day. There’s even a zoo inside, with llamas, camels, and more!
6. Ziogas Western City
Thessaloniki transport makes it easy to see some of the best places outside the city. Ziogas is around a forty-minute journey away, with many buses leaving from hotels, and it lets the family live the lives of cowboys!
The western-themed park offers tours, horse riding, a pony park, a zoo, and more.
7. Floating restaurants
The best Thessaloniki activities take full advantage of the port and the sea, and the many floating restaurants are no exception. These bars and eateries are actually on boats floating on the water!
One exciting example is the Arabella Floating Bar – a restaurant and bar in a working pirate ship that sails while you eat. It even has its own pirate shop!
8. Day at the beach
You can’t talk about Thessaloniki things to do without mentioning the many beaches in the suburbs. Several are family-friendly, complete with lifeguards, sandy shores, and shallow water.
There are even several trips and tours to travel between beaches and find rare gems.
9. Magic Park
Rides include rollercoasters, bumper cars, baby carts for little kids, slides, and more! It’s also quite close to the Thessaloniki Mall, the Mediterranean Cosmos.
City breaks in Thessaloniki wouldn’t be complete without a Thessaloniki city tour. There are many available, each themed differently. Some are perfect for sightseeing in Thessaloniki, others for experiencing food and restaurants, and others are still geared specifically to families with young kids. There are many to choose from!
Where to Stay in Thessaloniki with Kids
City breaks in Thessaloniki start with a hotel that’s perfect for you all. The best areas include Aristotelous (Aristotle) Square in the centre of the city, the Ano Poli (Upper Old Town) with its quiet history, and Paralia, the beachfront promenade that takes you right along the port.
Some of the best hotels in Thessaloniki for kids don’t have to smash your budget! Many Thessaloniki hotels are beautiful and welcoming without breaking the bank. Here are some of my favourites! Prices are based on a family of 4 visiting Thessaloniki in May.
Budget: Hotel Nea Metropolis
With family rooms from around 50-60 euros a night (with one child under 17 staying free), this hotel is perfect for families looking for cheap hotels in Thessaloniki.
It’s highly rated for hygiene and safety, including having a medical professional on call. It’s close to lots of the places to see in Thessaloniki, right in the heart of downtown.
Amenities at the hotel that are especially good for families include free wifi and a computer/printer, laundry service, wake-up services, and satellite tv, amongst many others.
Cots and extra beds are subject to availability and should be requested when booking.
Mid-Range: Hotel El Greco
On Egnatia Street, in the heart of the city between the best Thessaloniki restaurants, the Hotel El Greco is a top-rated hotel for families and a top pick for those visiting Thessaloniki with kids.
It’s five minutes from the port and the railway station and right by all the main tourist attractions.
The best family amenities include an on-site restaurant, a soundproofed family room very accessible to those with disabilities, a flat-screen tv, laundry, and a tour desk.
There’s also a barber and a beauty shop to keep you looking fabulous. Cots and extra beds are subject to availability and should be requested when booking.
Splashing Out: Daios Luxury Living
Looking for a bit more luxury on your trip to Thessaloniki city centre? Located on the seafront next to the famous White Tower, this beautiful hotel is where you spend your time in Thessaloniki with kids.
Daios offers a flat-screen tv, an ocean or city view, complimentary breakfast and wifi, airport transport, and a coffee maker for those early mornings.
They also offer in-room dining if requested and bike hire to explore the city. Cots and extra beds are subject to availability and should be requested when booking.
Where to Eat in Thessaloniki for Families
Gyros, bougatsa, koulouri, and tsoureki are all topped off with a frappe – Thessaloniki has a wealth of traditional Greek food that will keep you and the kids full and satisfied. Its food culture is also influenced by its location, giving unique tastes when compared to elsewhere in Greece! Why not try…
Diagonios – A soutzoukakia restaurant that’s been popular with tourists and locals since 1997. View on TripAdvisor Here >>>
Terkenlis Patisserie – One of the most famous bakeries in Thessaloniki, open since 1948, that prides itself on its sweet tsoureki. View on TripAdvisor Here >>>
Bougatsa Giannis – A 24/7 bougatsa shop that sets itself as a frontrunner amongst the thousand or so like it in the city. View on TripAdvisor Here >>>
2 Days in Thessaloniki Itinerary
A short trip to Thessaloniki might seem overwhelming with so much to see, but this short itinerary is an example from my own last trip with the kids. We had a blast!
Day 1: 1 Day in Thessaloniki
Morning: A relaxing morning at the beach, enjoying the sea, sand, and sun.
Afternoon: Waterland! We spent all afternoon here before returning to the hotel, ready for a nice long sleep. The tickets are also cheaper after a certain time, so take advantage of that! The kids couldn’t get enough of the rides, and we enjoyed them just as much.
Day 2: 48 Hours in Thessaloniki Kids
Morning: A visit to the White Tower. The museum was fascinating, and the kids had as much fun as we did learning the history of this fantastic city
Afternoon: Dinner in a floating restaurant, setting sail from outside the White Tower and living the pirate life!
Day Trips from Thessaloniki with Kids
We’ve already talked about the Ziogas Western City, but there are many more fantastic day trips for families from the city. Three of my personal favourites are:
The home of the gods in Ancient Greek myth is today a national park accessible by bus and taxi or, more commonly, a guided tour arranged through one of several companies.
As well as hiking trails, in the spring and summer, Olympus offers beautiful swimmable springs. The kids will love blending myth and magic with modern life.
Why not try this day trip from Thessaloniki to Mount Olympus – perfect for older kids and teens!
A naturally beautiful region filled with ancient churches and traditional buildings, Chalkidiki also contains shallow, sandy beaches that are perfect for families, especially those with young kids.
Many hotels and local tour companies offer buses, and it’s also accessible by car or even a hike for those willing to walk a little longer!
A popular favourite of the locals, Naousa is a great day trip for the family in summer and winter alike. As well as Aristotle’s school and freshly-caught fish dinners, it offers winter sports, a municipal park, several wineries, and many historical monuments.
It’s truly a beautiful place. Getting to Naousa is easy; it’s just over an hour by car and can also be accessed by bus (around 2hrs) or train (around 1hr).
Plan Your Trip to Thessaloniki
Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.