There seems to be a myth that Greece is unattainable because it’s un-affordable. I am happy to report that this is not the case.
Yes, you can spend two thousand dollars a night on a hotel room if you choose, but you can also easily stick to a budget staying at a hotel less than $190 a night for a family. Greece like many other places offers a wide range of hotels, restaurants, and activities at all different price points. One of the most affordable cities to see that is packed with history, architecture, phenomenal food and more is Thessaloniki in northern Greece.
Thessaloniki, one of the most affordable cities in Greece
Thessaloniki flies under the radar for most people, especially Americans. We are so far away from Europe that we tend to get only the highlight reel of Europe. And although the highlight reel is fantastic and all those places are worth seeing there are so many more cities, beaches, and islands worth visiting too. And I have no problem admitting that I was one of those Americans that knew nothing of Thessaloniki until the Astoria Hotel invited my kids and I for a visit. I was completely unfamiliar with Thessaloniki, but I have spent enough time traveling through Europe to know it was probably going to be awesome.
Low Cost and Activities in Thessaloniki
One of the best things for families in any city in Greece is that museums or landmarks typically do not charge kids an admission fee. For example, we toured through the White Tower in Thessaloniki and I paid a whopping 4 euros. All three kids were no charge and the English electronic audio tour was free. All four of us got to experience it for essentially one euro each.
Do you realize the amount of money it saves a family not to have to pay for kids? The savings you are going to experience here, not having to pay for your kids to get into various attractions, is going to be enough to cover a night or two of your hotel stay!
We spent just three days in Thessaloniki, but we were able to see so much. Every church we came across was open and free for the public to come in and view. The same went for many of the historical monuments we stopped by. All of them we attempted to go inside were open. We went into the Trigonion Tower and walked all around for free. The views up there were excellent.
Also completely free are the many churches located here. They have absolutely beautiful churches all around town. They are free to go in and look at.
Throughout Thessaloniki are areas for pedestrians only making it much easier to walk around with the kids. These areas are typically loaded with shopping and dining options. Kids will enjoy walking around more with the freedom that comes with no cars.
Affordable Accommodations in Thessaloniki
An easy way to save some money is staying at an affordable hotel. Take it a step further by making sure that the hotel also includes breakfast.
In Thessaloniki I highly recommend staying at the Astoria Hotel. They hosted us and I am so glad they did. Our rooms were sparkling clean, spacious enough for the four of us, and it included breakfast and dinner. The breakfast each day was a nice buffet as was the dinner. I noticed that they have a kosher kitchen as well. I looked it up when we got home and sure enough Astoria Hotel is a certified Kosher Chabad center. They provide traditional Greek Kosher meals and Shabbat rituals. Daily a la carte KOSHER menu and special gala menus are available upon request.
I also loved the location, it was fabulous. We were across the street from Ladadiki a vibrant pedestrian only area full of bars and restaurants. The kids and I enjoyed this area so much we ended up having three meals here.
Find Discounted Flights
The biggest cost you will occur is getting yourself there, but they do have a few budget airlines that fly in there. Watch for good deals, especially on budget airlines that fly in here like Aegean Airlines. There are some sights that let you set up alerts so you get notified if the price drops below a certain point.
If you cannot find an affordable flight to Thessaloniki an alternative option is flying into Athens and taking the train to Thessaloniki. This is what we did. You can read more about that and my tips for taking trains with kids.
Here’s a short video I put together of our two days in Thessaloniki.