Living and Studying in Thessaloniki
They say that the years that you spend studying in the university are most probably the best of your life. Well guess what? They can be even better if you happen to be living and studying in Thessaloniki.
I know for sure because I’ve experienced it. The fact that the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is one of the largest universities in Greece, reveals the reason why Thessaloniki is considered the “Mecca” of student life in Greece. While Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece after Athens, it’s not so large in size.
Everything is mainly found at the center of the city which can be found really easy. If you’re not so sure about where you are, just go downhill and you’ll find yourself by the sea and very near the center. This is unfortunately something that you cannot say with certainty and confidence if you are in Athens for example.
The first thing you have to know if you are a student in Thessaloniki or you’ve just moved there for business or any other reason is the key aspects of the city. As I have seen basically there are three basic parallel to the sea streets: Victory Avenue (this is the coastal road), Tsimiski street and Egnatia street. All three of them define the city center. There you can find literary everything. From the famous pies and excellent food flavors, to the bars and clubs that stay open until early morning.
If you are not from Thessaloniki and want to “survive” during your student life here, just remember two things: do not confuse souvlaki with kebab as they do in Southern Greece and also do not speak in a bad way about the sports team of PAOK that is considered to be something more than a religion in Thessaloniki for most of the people that live there.
The food in clubs is not ideal, if you consider what you can actually eat outside. But it’s good enough if you are short on cash, like I was most of the time… The university library has an extended time schedule which is very convenient during Spring and Summer, especially when the weather is actually pretty hot.
Generally, people are very friendly, open hearted and open minded and as I have seen and you will probably too, there’s absolutely no problem at all to make friends. I met 3 of my best friends in Thessaloniki during my first few days as a student.
Most students, as we did, prefer to relax in a café near their neighborhood, where prices are actually very reasonable, not at all comparable to the ones I see every day in Athens now that I have moved. There are also great places to have coffee near the Rotonda and along the coast, but you can also expect more people and fuss there.
Valaoritou street a place to visit during your nights out. Many clubs and bars with a lot of students and young people in general can be found there. The truth is that the music around the center is more in Greek genres of music or pop, so there are not many clubs and bars playing electronic music if that’s your preference. Of course, we should not forget that Fridays and Saturdays are full of great parties inside the University.
During the 80’s and 90’s Thessaloniki was the capital of Greek rock music. Many bands and artists started their career there. Nowadays you can find all kind of music and nightlife in Thessaloniki, that can meet the tastes of even the most demanding people. You just need to know where to look.
If you are looking for great food, then Athonos Square is the place to visit. The quality and taste of the food is excellent and prices are affordable even for students with a limited budget. Probably the best souvlaki and pita gyros is found in Thessaloniki and more specifically at Toumba. You will certainly be eating many of them as a student because they are both affordable and delicious.
As for the cost of living in this gorgeous city, I can tell you that the city center is actually expensive. To have a better picture of what’s happening, the closer to sea, the more expensive it is. Apartments near the center are mostly old and expensive but give you the advantage that you are almost staying next to your school.
If you rent an apartment there, you can go to your lessons either by foot or by bus, since you are just a few minutes away from the University. If you search for a studio in the center in old apartment, rents go for about 150-200 euros. If you decide to rent a bit away from the center, you should of course expect to pay less.