Earth > Europe > Southern Europe > Balkans > Greece > Thessaloniki
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|Licence plate:||NA - NZ|
|Major roads:||E75, E90|
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Thessaloniki is a city in Greece.
This route is widely perceived to be difficult. The best and rather easy way of doing this is hitching with a Turkish truck. Take bus #27 from the centre (e.g. Kamara) until the very end of the line. Switch to bus #83 and go a few stops until you see the motorway. Get off when you see a JetOil 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 gas 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 but this IS the way to do it. Do not even consider other small gas stations or thumbing up on the road. 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.
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 where, according to Liva, is a a pretty good spot to stop cars.
Take the bus #27 from the centre the the final s top Platia Stavroupolis (Stavroupolis square). Then take bus #85 and you're already on your way. Almost any stop of this bus leaves you at a good hitchhiking point, but the nineteenth stop 21o chiliometro (21st kilometre) is right on a petrol station on the way to Serres and the Bulgarian border (to Sandansky, Blagoevgrad, Sofia). The road is E79 and it's not a motorway, especially after the border. These city bus tickets cost only 50 cents (that you don't even have to pay) and take you quite some kilometres out of the city towards all destinations.
South to Athens
Take Buses #31, #12, #8 or #78 to the bus station called KTEL. From there take bus #80 to the village called Malgara. You can go down on the station 25 Martiou which is the closest to the tolls (in Greek ikostis pemptis martiou if you wan ask the driver). There you can ask and find the toll station (in Greek diodia) 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.
There are many hospitality network members in the city, so try your luck there. Livas had luck once at sleeping in the train station. She asked the people on the train station if she could sleep there even though they where closed at night, and she could!
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 in Thessaloniki is just in the city centre and it's the perfect place to sleep in your van/tent/sleeping bag, because it's the only green place in the city and because the police are not allowed to enter the university! There are few guards but don't have the right to touch you. It's generally safe, though perhaps not suitable for a single female.
The tickets for the buses in the city are cheap, only 0.50€. Blackriding is possible. 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 Euros for the tax, you say you don't have. Then they ask your id card, you say 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.
Thessaloniki is perhaps the only place in the world where you can eat everyday for free easily. Next to the campus of Aristotles university, Egnatia street, after the crossroad with 3rd September street there is the university canteen. Ask anybody for fititiki leschi/φοιτητική λέσχη. There you can find a free full meal twice a day. 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. Just follow the queue, take the food and eat it. There's never any checks. 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.