Northern Greece is the large, varied upper half of Greece which, apart from a few scattered famous attractions, is still relatively untouristed, though much of this area offers rewarding destinations that deserve to be better known. Distances are long, and though the major cities are easy enough to get to by bus or train, and almost everywhere is served by at least one bus a day, visitors who want to get off the beaten track or cover a lot of ground in a limited time will probably find it most practical to have a car.
The main cities in central and northern Greece are:
- 1 Preveza
- 2 Ioannina: beautiful old town with monuments of Turkish history
- 3 Veria — The city boasts a considerable number of Byzantine monuments
- 4 Thessaloniki - Big city with many sights from all eras and a lot of nightlife
- 5 Serres - Provincial town with some sights from Ottoman times.
- 6 Kavala - One of the most beautiful towns in Greece
- 7 Xanthi - Famous for its carnival
- 8 Komotini - interesting Christian-Muslim appearance of the city center
- 9 Alexandroupoli - modern port city with a beautiful promenade
- 1 Zagori —impressive landscape with high mountains, dense barely inhabited forests and impressive gorges and the wild beauty of the Zagoria mountain villages
- 2 Olympos National Park – The highest mountain of Greece, major trekking destination
- 3 Chalkidiki — No.1 tourist destination in Norther Grecce
- 4 Pangaion Hills — mountainous area with picturesque mountain villages, a multitude of old famous monasteries and impressive vegetation.
- 5 Rhodope Mountains National Park — Wild mountainous nature in between Greece and Bulgaria
- 6 Nestos National reserve area — Unique landscape and wild life
- Thasos-Island: the most beautiful island in Northern Greece
- Samothrace-Island: wild mountainous with few tourism and stunning nature
The North of Greece is a mountainous area and the climate is much colder and more rainy than southern Greece. Best time to visit is June to End of September
There are a few airports in central and northern Greece. The biggest one is in Thessaloniki.
- Alexandroupolis International Airport "Democritus"
- Kavala International Airport "Megas Alexandros"
- Thessaloniki International Airport "Macedonia"
- Volos Central Greece Airport (Nea Anchialos National Airport)
- Ioannina National Airport "Epirus"
- Kastoria National Airport "Aristotelis"
- Kozani National Airport "Filippos"
- Aktion National Airport (Lefkada Airport "Aktion")
Thessaloniki is Greece's hub for international rail service. Trains connect Thessaloníki to Sofia (3 daily), Bucharest (1 daily), Istanbul (2 daily) and Belgrade via Skopje (2 daily). There are special fares as Balkan Flexipass and other offers e.g. the City-Star Ticket form Czech Republic to Greece. From Athens the train connects most of the cities in the eastern part of Greece. The state train company is Trainose (Τραινοσέ).
Northern Greece can be entered by car either from any of its land neighbors countries, or from Athens. From western Europe, the most popular route to Greece was through Yugoslavia. Following the troubles in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, most motorists from western Europe came overland by Italy, and then took a trans-Adriatic ferry from there. Although the countries of the former Yugoslavia have since stabilized, and Hungary-Romania-Bulgaria form another, albeit a much longer, alternative, the overland route through Italy now remains the most popular option.
There is some, albeit limited, international bus service to neighboring Albania, Bulgaria, and Turkey, as well as Georgia. From Athens there are buses to every town in Central and Northern Greece.
By regional coach
Interurban coaches ("KTEL" buses) are by far the most convenient way to travel around Greece, as well as for intra-regional travelling.
Trains (OSE) connects most of the towns on the east part of Greece. The main train line connects Volos, Larissa, Katerini, Thessaloniki, Kilkis, Serres, Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupoli. There is also a train connection between Larissa and Kalampaka (Meteora) and a train line connecting Thessaloniki Veria, Naoussa and Edessa. Travelling with ordinary trains can be cheaper, although a little bit slower, whereas choosing a fancy faster Intercity train will cost the same amount of money, or even more than a KTEL bus.