Vacations Around Thessaloniki

June 4, 2024

Admit it, we’ve all scrolled through Instagram looking at pictures of Greece and longed to see those pictures in real life. Well now’s your opportunity! Summer is fast approaching and we’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to visit (and take pictures for Instagram, of course). This article will mostly focus on destinations that are fairly close to Thessaloniki, let us know if you’d like to see an article about the best islands to visit in the future.


As we say in Greek, “σαν τη Χαλκιδική δεν έχει” (there’s no place like Chalkidiki). With white sand beaches and crystal clear water, it is the best place to go to the beach near Thessaloniki. Chalkidiki is a peninsula with three “legs” as they are called by Greeks. The first two legs are home to some of the best beaches in Greece, while the third is home to Mount Athos, an autonomous Orthodox monastic community. Mount Athos is a bit exclusive, as men are only allowed on the peninsula. There are ancient monasteries that are built on cliffs so steep that you wonder how they’re still standing. The monasteries are surrounded by untouched forests, filled with rare fauna and flora. There are also cruises around the peninsula and guided tours. 

The drive to Chalkidiki varies depending on which leg you want to go to. Ideally, it is best to go by car, but there are buses (KTEL) that can take you as well. A trip to the first leg will take around an hour to an hour and half by car, while a trip to the second leg can take up to 2 and half hours. Some excellent places for swimming on the first leg are Pefkohori, Kallithea, and Potidea. However, the second leg is widely considered to have the best beaches. Spots like Vourvourou, Nikiti, and Diaporos island are the must not miss places to go to. It shows because from June to September they are filled with tourists. Ammouliani island, located in between the second and the third leg, is also a good place to keep in mind. Depending on the beach you go to, you may need to pay for a drink to sit under the umbrellas. But, there are also plenty of beaches where you can bring your umbrellas and set it wherever you want. Overall, you can’t go wrong with any beach you choose. 

Mount Olympus/Litochoro

With its stunning view and breathtaking nature, it is easy to see why the Ancient Greeks thought Mount Olympus was the home of the gods. Conveniently, it is also an hour and half’s drive from Thessaloniki. It is the perfect place for a relaxed hike up the mountain. Orlias Canyon offers a picturesque view of a waterfall that is well worth the hike to it. For the more extreme folks, you can also climb to the top of Mount Olympus. Keep in mind, that will require you to spend the night as you are climbing, in order to adjust to the oxygen levels of the air. In the winter, there are places to ski and snowboard, with Skolios peak being the most famous of them all. Litochoro, or better known as the village underneath Mount Olympus, offers a beautiful view of the mountain as well as excellent tavernas to try. It is an excellent place to relax after a hard day’s exploring. 


Meteora is one of those places where if you see a picture, you don’t believe it actually exists. It looks like it belongs in Lord of the Rings, not in central Greece. In a few words, the main attractions of Meteora are the ancient rock formations with monasteries perched on top of that  tower over a richly forested valley. Meteora is a bit further away than the rest of the spots mentioned. By car, it will take around three to four hours to get there. By bus it will be a tad longer, around five hours. The monasteries are UNESCO world heritage sites. The largest one is known as the monastery of the Great Meteoron (also known as Metamorphosis monastery) and it was founded around 1340 A.D. Other monasteries include the monasteries of Varlaam, Rousanou, and St. Nicholas Anapfasas. The monasteries boast ancient frescoes and views of the valley below that definitely deserve a post on your story. After you descend, you can enjoy the gastronomic delights of Trikala, the region of Greece where Meteora is located. Trikala is known as the breadbasket of Greece, so there are plenty of food tours to partake in for any foodies interested. 

I hope I’ve given you an extra reason to close your laptop and start planning a trip. Now, go make those Instagram posts a reality!

Written by Vasilios Petrou, Publications Coordinator, 1st Year Medical Student at Aristotle University School Of Medicine