If you want to celebrate Christmas in Greece, head to the festive city of Thessaloniki this Christmas time. With special celebrations held city-wide, the Thessaloniki Christmas Market is not to be missed!
We spoke with Pinelopi Gkamprani from the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization to get the best insider tips so you can plan a flawless visit to Thessaloniki at Christmas.
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How to Visit the Thessaloniki Christmas Market
Pinelopi was kind enough to answer all of our questions about how to visit. Here’s everything you need to know to attend the Thessaloniki Christmas Market.
What are the dates and times for the 2019 Thessaloniki Christmas Market?
While the events are still being finalized, traditionally the main Christmas events have been held from early December to early January. Pinelopi wanted to highlight the following information:
Christmas in Thessaloniki is a celebration all over the city. Each district has its own street party and Christmas market.
The visitors should have in mind that the most glamorous days of the merrymaking celebration are the three days before Christmas (December 22-23-24, 2019) and before New Year’s Eve (December 29-30-31, 2019).
Most of the Christmas events have not been announced yet. However, below you can find a list of the events that have already been scheduled:
- 2nd Thessaloniki Christmas Flea Market: From Friday 20 until Sunday 22 December & from Friday 27 until Sunday 29 December, the Thessaloniki Christmas Flea Market will be held at Warehouse C, within the Port Thessaloniki.
- VorOina, Wine Tasting Christmas event: VorOina, the annual wine tasting event of the wine producers of Northern Greece in Thessaloniki, will be held on Monday, December 9, 2019 from 18:00 to 22:00 hours at the Electra Palace Thessaloniki hotel, featuring the impressive selection of indigenous and international grape varieties cultivated at the famous vineyards of the area.
- Events at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall:
We will keep this post updated as we get more information about this year’s events!
Where is the market located?
Because each district has its own celebrations, you can find wonderful parties and markets throughout the city. However, one highlight you won’t want to miss are the celebrations in Aristotle’s Square.
What kind of entertainment will there be for adults?
In addition to the concerts, wine tasting, New Year’s Eve displays, and shopping, there is traditional Christmas market entertainment available in the form of performers and musicians, ice skating, and rides.
What kind of entertainment will there be for children?
Children love the ice skating rink and the rides just like adults, but there will also be special shows for children and children’s entertainment.
What kind of goods will be for sale?
Along with authentic Greek souvenirs, you can find locally made Christmas ornaments and seasonal gifts.
What kind of food and drinks will be available?
While we are obsessed with Greek food, we also love traditional Christmas market food like mulled wine (Gluhwein). Both are available at the Thessaloniki Christmas Market.
Is there a ticket price to get into the events?
While there are prices for special events like concerts and activities like ice skating, visiting the actual Christmas market is free.
We suggest you bring cash with you to buy tickets for rides and to purchase food and gifts from the vendors.
Are there any other special festivities in Thessaloniki this December or January that travelers might want to attend?
Events are still being finalized, so we will update you once we know more!
How can travelers learn more?
We have our own recommendations and resources for visiting Thessaloniki below. I want to thank Pinelopi from the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization for answering our questions about this spectacular event! For more detailed information about the market, check out the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization website.
What to Pack for Thessaloniki in Winter
We have an entire Greece packing list that includes exactly what to bring to dress for winter in Thessaloniki, but here are some essentials you don’t want to miss!
A Guidebook – While travel blogs are great, we also definitely see the benefit of having a good paper guidebook in hand to refer to in your on-the-ground travel. We own and recommend the Lonely Planet Greece book.
Winter accessories: Bring a winter scarf like this one (women’s) or this cashmere scarf (men’s) to help block out the wind. We recommend women’s gloves like these which are compatible with your smartphone (for a men’s version, check these). You lose also lose a lot of heat from the top of your head and ears, so a fleece-lined knit hat (women’s) that you wear tight, like a beanie, is a fantastic choice. Pick a colorful one for cute photos! Here’s a men’s version as well.
An ultra-light down jacket: You can wear this on its own or pair it with a warmer jacket for colder days. This rolls up and packs easily in your day bag so it’s good to bring along – I have one really similar to this (women’s) but there’s a men’s version as well. If you really want to be warm, I recommend a winter jacket like this North Face parka which I’ve owned for years and years.
Winter boots: It was snowy and icy for much of my first week in Thessaloniki in January and a lot of the streets were extremely slick. For snowy days and super cold weather when you still want to be comfortable, I love these knee-high waterproof Blondo boots and have owned them for over a decade. For men, I suggest a waterproof boot with good traction, like these Timberlands.
Motion sickness pills: Great for bus rides especially on mountain roads such as if you’re going to Meteora – I buy these non-drowsy ones. You can also try these natural motion sickness bands which use acupressure to reduce nausea – they actually work pretty well.
Where to Stay in Thessaloniki
Budget: For a vibrant and unique hostel experience in Thessaloniki, I suggest Stay Hybrid Thessaloniki. It’s located near my favorite neighborhood, Ladadika, which has some of the best bars, restaurants, and cafés in Thessaloniki. The hostel has beautiful design elements that bring it a step above other hostels in terms of sophistication, yet the price is still affordable. There’s a roof terrace for sunset views, a shared kitchen to cook in, and everything has a funky music theme! Check prices and availability here.
Mid-Range: For a funky B&B a 10-minute walk from Aristotelous Square, you’ll be enamored by The Caravan B&B. It’s perfect for people who want the comfort of an Airbnb with the seamlessness of a hotel, including perks like daily housekeeping and reception services like luggage storage. It’s cute, it’s quirky, it’s conveniently located — what’s not to love? Check prices and availability here.
More Greece Travel Resources
Headed to Greece? We have some great travel resources to help you with your trip. First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more.
Wondering what else to do in Thessaloniki in December? Check out 7 Lovely Things to Do in Thessaloniki in Winter.
If you’re not sure if winter is the right time for your Greece trip, check out our guide on the best time to visit Greece. If you’re decided it is, we also have a guide on Crete in winter and Rhodes in winter.
If you’ve decided to visit Greece in winter, do check out the winter sections of our Greece packing list!
For Thessaloniki, we currently have a guide to the best Instagram spots in Thessaloniki and our favorite Thessaloniki cafés. If you’re trying to decide on Thessaloniki vs. Athens, we have a guide to help you! We also have a post on how to get from Thessaloniki to Meteora on a day trip.
We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.
Finally, Make Sure You Come to Thessaloniki with Travel Insurance
I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a good idea to have travel insurance for traveling in Greece, the Balkans, or anywhere in the world!
Allison and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.
While Greece is safe, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury — especially when it comes to winter travel, where a slip and fall on the ice could potentially ruin your trip — so it’s better to play it safe.
Pin This Guide to Visiting the Thessaloniki Christmas Market for Your Trip
Stephanie has been living in and traveling around the Balkans for the past three years. She’s written for National Geographic Online, appeared on CNN Arabic and in the New York Times, and ridden more Balkan buses than is good for a person.