- 1 Hitchhiking out
- 2 Sleep
- 3 Public Transport
- 4 Shower
- 5 Free food
- 6 Trashwiki & Nomadwiki
|<map lat='40.65355504328839' lng='22.928466796875' zoom='10' view='0' float='right' />|
|Licence plate:||NA - NZ|
|Major roads:||E75, E90|
|Meet fellow hitchhikers on Trustroots|
Thessaloniki is a city in Greece.
This route is widely perceived to be difficult. If you are lucky it can be easy if you get to a Turkish truck. Take bus #27 from the centre (e.g. Kamara) until the very end of the line. [UPDATE: bus #83 no longer starts where bus #27 finishes. Instead ask your #27 bus driver where to get off for bus #83] Switch to bus #83 and go a few stops until you see the motorway . Get off at Filothei (Φιλοθέη) when you see a BP Oil in green colour rest area on the other side of the motorway. Just follow the bus and go under the motorway to reach the other side. Once you are there, rally the petrol station personnel to help you . Show them your Istanbul (or Kavala or whatever) sign and ask them to tell you if they notice someone going to Turkey. Be prepared to convince the paranoid drivers that you are not wanted by the police and show them your passport. Getting a ride can take anything between one minute and five hours. If it just does not work at the petrol station see the options below (thumbing up on the road etc). Also, there should be a toll station (peage) about 15 km east of Lagynas, near Analipsi (where bus #83a is supposed to go). When you get to the border you might want to switch to a passenger car because the truck could be stuck in customs for a while.
Bus #83 goes all the way to Lagkadas (Λαγκαδάς). If you stay on the bus until it reaches this small town, you can try hitching out in the direction of Kavala, Istanbul, etc.
Update (July 2022): the options listed above are extremely outdated and not very helpful. This route is still difficult, but there are better options.
1) with bus number 83 you can get to Laguna from where there's about 20 minutes walk to the knot that ties local road 2 and highway 2. Here you can get directly to the entrance of the highway for Kavala where you filter out any cars not going your way. The traffic is very slow but the cars can stop and they get a good look at you. There's a gas station about 30km down before Evangelios
2) The highway entrance after BP near Megalohare kantina is still very local, but there's enough traffic so it's possible to hitch longer rides. Since Greeks don't stop often we opted to go for the first ride which brought us to the 3rd option
3) 40,7214723, 22,9740939 or the spot right after the exit for Laguna is risky. The cars drive fast so be careful and there's a high probability the highway patrol tells you to get off. However we hitched a ride within 5 minutes with a Kavala sign as there are a lot of Turkish truck drivers going from Athens to Istanbul.
None of these options are perfect, but they seem way more likely than the BP station since 4-5 hours of hitchhiking there yielded only 2 rides going to Kilkis. Since we changed strategy we only needed about an hour and a half in total. Good luck!
North-West to Skopje (North Macedonia)
Don't bother to hitch hike to the border!!! There is a free bus from the city centre to the border! These buses belong to the casinos you can find at the border just before Gevgelija. You can find theses buses on Tsimiski street. They are easy to recognize (the name of the casino is printed on the bus, and it is written "free shuttle"). The buses leave at 17:00 and 21:00 though, so it might be quicker to hit the road directly, but more comfortable taking the bus.
Take a bus #8 (or #31?) from Egnatias street in the centre to KTEL (last stop). You can also take bus #45 which goes between KTEL Makedonia and KTEL Halkidiki (you want to go to Makedonia). Then switch to bus #81 which you can find on the upper platform. Afterwards, you can do different things. You can get off at a first bus stop after you drive over the highway Athens-Skopje - here. Be careful, the first big crossing you going to come to is the crossing with the ring road (you are going to driver underneath it) while only the next on is the one you need (you are going to drive above it). Then you have to walk almost 2km backwards (if you walk fast it takes 20 minutes) and you can hitch on the junction to the highway to Skopje. However, if the bus goes into Agios Athanasios you can better get off and find your way from there (it seems that this bus goes differently depending whether it is #81 or #81A and depending on some external stuff; you can talk to the driver to make sure).
Bus 81A from KTEL busstation to Agios Athanasios. Got off when it turns from the highway. From there hitched to Polykastro and another ride got me to the border. At the border asked the car in front of me for a ride, which got me to Skopje. Standing on the highway there, it was very quiet
South to Athens
Take Buses #31, #12, #8 or #78 to the bus station called KTEL. From there take bus #80 or #80A to the village called Malgara (some of these buses don't go all the way to Malgar). You can go out on the stop "25 Martiou" which is the closest to the tolls but on the bus, it's announced differently (in Greek Ikostis Pmptis Martiou ask the driver). There you can ask and find the Malgara Toll Station toll station (in Greek diodia) on E75 easily. You'll have to walk about 2 km to find it, but then there is a possibility to get a ride even straight to Athens. Before you enter the motorway where the toll station is, you will have to go through some fields. If it's night be careful, just before the motorway there is a small ridge that is a bit steep and there is water flowing down, you need to find your way around it. If it's day, from the fields you can see a small canteen on the motorway, head to that direction, you can bypass the ridge there very easily and also you don't need to jump the fence (easy to jump though) because there is an entrance/exit for the canteen. From the canteen you will see the tolls, they are less than 50 m away.
For those not wanting to take a bus or want to hitch closer to the city (and aren't scared to walk), go to the the A1 motorway going towards Athens. It runs right beside the city centre. Starting from near the train station after walking 2 km you will arrive at the international bus station. From there it's a 6km walk along the motorway to where the E90 highway joins on to the A1 road to Athens. This is a good spot due to the high amount of Turkish trucks coming straight from the border and bypassing the city as well as any traffic coming from the north. Stand at the end of the onramp where there is a shoulder for traffic to pull over and you can get a ride to Larissa or even Athens.
West to Igoumenitsa
Go to the train station, which is also the inner-city bus station. From here, take bus 8 KTEL (the KTEL are the blue and white buses) to Makedonia bus station. From there, you can catch the bus #80 to the end of the line, then follow motorway signs walking (approx. 2km) to the toll station. Or rather than taking bus #80, just walk across the road (roundabout) till you come to an on-ramp
Take bus 83 (any of them will get you there, even the express) from Aristotellous Square stop (on Egnatia Street). You want to get off at the Kombo Gerokomeiou exit (Google maps doesnt show the bus stops this far north, but on the opposite side of the highway is a gas station called Derveni Gas S.A.). MAKE SURE you explain to the bus driver you want to get off at this exit. Otherwise, he might not get off the highway here and the next stop is too far to walk back from. Stand on the shoulder of the ramp. There is not a lot of traffic here, so it might take you up to an hour to get a ride, but I think its worth it because most of the cars going as far as Bulgaria will get on the highway here. Good luck!
Update (August '22) Don't take bus 83! You have to take bus 83B to get to the right place! Taking bus 83 will make you walk for a long time until teaching the ramp.
Also, I wasn't so lucky there. I waited a total of 4 hours before I gave up. I think it's better to go to the Shell gas station at 40°41′01.72″N 22°56′28.28″E and ask people. Thumbing on ramps is pretty difficult in Greece. You can take bus 53 until Strophe Oraiokastrou to get to the gas station.
Basically you need to take 2 buses. Very similar to the above direction to Sofia. But this time it is bus #27 / #27a and bus #84 / # 84a. You can change buses in two different places.
This way is faster as you don't need to stay on bus #27 so long. Take bus #27 or #27a and get off at Minerva stop in Oreokastrou suburb. If you walk some hundreds of meters from the bus stop where you get off, in the direction the bus was going, you will reach a crossroads and on your left you will see another bus stop. From there you can take bus #84.
This way is easier because you don't need to change bus stops, it is the way mentioned in the Northeast to Sofia section. Take the bus #27 or #27a from the centre the the final s top Platia Stavroupolis (Stavroupolis square). Then at the same place take bus #84 / #84a and you're already on your way.
Stay on bus #84 whilst it passes through 2 villages, Liti and Melissochiori. When it is out of Melissochiori, at one point the bus will cross the road going to Kilkis and you will see signs for Kilkis. When you are at the cross roads you can press the stop button on the bus and it will stop just after the cross. There is a bus stop there. Then you are at a great spot for hitching a ride to Kilkis, Gallikos or even North Macedonia (but not the most common way to Skopje. it is a different border).
Some have had luck asking the good people at Mikropolis/Micropolis Social Space, (see ). They were very friendly and could advise on where to squat for the night.
The university campus
The university campus in Thessaloniki is just in the city centre and it seems to be a perfect place to sleep in your van/tent/sleeping bag, but IT IS NOT!
It's NOT SAFE THERE (upd.2022). The drug business moved there, as unbelievable as it sounds. People selling drugs and fighting over things related to them, passerbys get attacked. If someone has a van maybe it's okay. But sleeping in a tent or sleeping bag is an invitation to get robbed. It's the worst place to sleep, really. Plus, starting from 2019 it is a place where a lot of immigrants sleep. Police has no right to enter that area because of some tragic past, i.e. it's ideal place for drug sellers and crime.
Forest Recreational Center
Forest Recreational Center near the Zoo (Neapoli-Sykies, 554 38) which is located on the hills above the city can be a solution. However, depending on your choice of the "height" of that forest (after highway it becomes more wild, before highway it more like a park) there can be pack of stray dogs which is not a good gift.
Homeless animals are a big problem in the big cities as Thessaloniki or Athens, so you better have something to protect yourself from them during the night (get some long sticks near you). Normally they are scared of "throwing a rock gesture" because some greeks do that against dogs. So, if you see an unfriendly dog try to pretend taking a rock from the ground - it should work for lonely dog.
Place to stay for a short term. It is not closing for the night, so you can always overnight there.
We slept at a deserted camping space by the beach in Ag. Triada, which is really worth a visit. We even made a big fire at night and it didn't disturb anybody. This place is about 30km south of Thessaloniki and you can reach it within 1,5h by bus. From the famous ottoman tower take the bus to ikea. At the last stop ask for the bus to Perea and Ag. Triada. The last bus will pass by the airport and enter a cupple of villages before you get to Triada. Ask for the old camping at the beach, locals will guide you.
Google maps doesn't really know how buses work, so they are unable to get you directions from point A to B in the city. So, if you want to move inside the city using a public transport download special application (in 2022 there is an application called "Moovit").
The tickets for the buses in the city cost 0.80€ and sometimes 0.90€ (0.40€ for students). 2€ for airport route.
Blackriding is possible. It's risky because there is no chance of recognising controllers before they enter the bus, however the very control is rare.
Controllers are using civil clothes (they doesn't use a special clothes, they just unzip theirs jackets with controllers badges in the middle of the road, so they already know if you didn't validate your ticket). If you speak to the controller in a foreign language (showing that you're a tourist, not an illegal immigrant) they'll just leave you alone. If not, they first ask 30 euro for the tax, in that case you can say you don't have one. Then they ask your an ID card, you say that you don't have it with you and then they'll just give you a paper to note your name and address, where you can write any fake name. Or even simpler you can give your real passport and they are supposed to send you the bill to your country. It's 100% SURE that they will not.
There were big movements in this city about not paying for public transport. Many people don't pay and controls are rare. HHer-Vert was living in that very city 5 years, and got controlled only 2-3 times.
One even safer option is the student residence. Noone here checks who enters. Ever. Even if they see you like a complete stranger with a tons of baggage and ask you anything, just tell them that you are visiting a friend or whatever. After you enter, go upstairs to any floor and you'll find common baths everywhere. It is located near the swimming pool at the city center. You can enter 24h. Location on map: https://goo.gl/maps/H8WZU
Thessaloniki is perhaps the only place in the world where you can eat everyday for free easily.
Fititiki Leshi (Φοιτητική Λέσχη) upd:2022
Next to the campus of Aristotle University, Egnatia street, after the crossroad with 3rd September street there is the university canteen. (Address: Egnatia, Thessaloniki 546 36, Greece). Ask anybody for fititiki leschi. There you can find a free full meal three times per day: 8.00-10.00, 12.00-15.00 and 18.00-20.00. These free meals are provided for the university students, but even if you're not one, you don't have to pay and you don't have to show a student ID or any document (but due to cobtrol re-enforcement you could be asked for your ID).
To avoid control you need to be a part of a big crowd which is hard to control, therefore try to be there during the most crowded time (normally the beginning of opening) and you won't be controlled. Another 'life-hack' that you can use if you have been asked for your ID is to tell that you just started to study greek language for university and you don't own by now any proof of that (there are a lot of foreign students who really study greek for that reason, and yes - they don't have any proof in the beginning). It is harder during the weekends (or holidays) because there are less people and have no crowd, so if you look suspicious you can be asked for an ID.
Just follow the queue, take the food and eat it. There's nothing to be afraid of, just try to look more or less like a student. Only disadvantage is that it is closed on weekends, summer holidays and not-working days for the university in general. Picture of the building here.
Alternative entrance: when you are there look to your right. At the end of the grass there is a stair case, you can go up directly to the dining hall (if it's opened, if it's not you can knock or wave through the door to another student, normally they will let you in).
There is another option (easy in the morning, otherwise is more difficult):
Alfa foititiki estia (Α' φοιτητική εστία):
Your aim is the same - free student food from student canteen, however now you are going to search it directly in canteen of student's dorms. There is no control at the entrance of student's dorms. The restaurant is located on the first floor, at the left side from the big marble stairs. The doors are opened at the meal time.
You can find it by following address: Stilponos Kiriakidi 17, Thessaloniki 546 36, Greece
The best way is to be hosted there by any student through hosting application or ask some students living there to help you get the dinner (regularly even if you cannot get main dish they provide you orangers or apples which no one takes). If you cannot find a student helping you, you can try get some food by your own, follow this instruction:
- They are controling IDs only during day time and evening time, so it's very easy to get there in the morning (8 a.m - 10 a.m). In the morning there are almost no people eating, so staff is really bored of checking IDs or is even absent.
- Take the trey with food and go eat as all do at the table. Don't be suspicious, you are a student now. Many students doesn't really eat there, they are taking food away which they can physically take out and leave the dorms. You can do the same.
- Normally control-staff are crossing out the numbers on the paper. Each student has his own number on ID-card and he tells it in the moment of entering. It's another strategy of pretending to be a student: you tell random number in greek language (p.e. 103 = ekato tria, 25 - ikosi pende, 207 = diakosa epta, etc), so they will cross it out. Don't worry, students rarely take morning breakfast, so you are not "eating someone's food in his place".
- In the end, if you did not get any food, you are desperate and frustrated, you can try to tell staff that you are an adventurer, they are pretty understanding. They will give you food anyway if you came in the restaurant's closing time (10 a.m; 2.30 p.m & 9 p.m). There are always extra food, which they give to random people. Just ask.