Thessaloniki: The New M.I.C.E Destination

In this second part of our installment on M.I.C.E opportunities in Greece, we travel to the north of the country to visit the lovely Thessaloniki. The second biggest city and the de facto foodie capital is a multicultural hotpot and has been for its 2,600 year old existence, being as it was the second seat of the Byzantine Empire, with everything that entailed. It is a crossroads between east and west, and all its history showcases exactly that. The city is littered with Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Ottoman ruins. Thessaloniki is in fact one of the first truly cosmopolitan cities of antiquity and its thriving entrepreneurial spirit is alive more than ever. The advantages for convention tourism are sizeable as it boasts a staggering 19 convention centers, more than 40 4 and 5 star hotels with conference & meeting facilities with the capacity to host 5,000 people. In addition to that, there’s the obvious draw of the weather, proximity to natural wonders such as Olympus, world class wine production, skiing slopes, archaeological treasures and of course the sea side.

Infrastructure & airport

But it is the infrastructure that has really made the difference in making it one of the top M.I.C.E destinations in Europe this past year. The newly renovated ‘Macedonia’ airport is almost double in size, with more departure gates, 2 new terminals, larger concessionary areas, bigger runways and a multitude of new tech advancements. And it now connects with more than 31 international destinations.


Thessaloniki has a very solid background in convention tourism and organizing large scale events. The Annual Thessaloniki International Fair dates back to 1921 and is one of the most respected and venerated events in the country and the Balkan area on the whole. In fact, most of the major meetings, conferences and conventions take place in the Thessaloniki International Exhibition & Congress Centre due to its tremendous capacity. It is an institution unto itself and really showcases the dynamic possibilities on offer for M.I.C.E.

Event organising

Last year Thessaloniki hosted 28 international congresses, making a 30% jump from last year and that is testament to the upwardly trending convention bureau. It also hosted more than 200 local cultural events, such as festivals, screenings and exhibitions. On top of that there are more than 10 studios for hybrid and digital events, in case the need arises. Thessaloniki’s M.I.C.E game is legit.

Culture & vibe

But the truth is that the culture (it was named European Culture Capital in 1997), the history, the wonderful monuments, its cosmopolitanism, the great connectivity are all weaved together by the people themselves. And Greece is teaming with extremely talented people. That is what makes a M.I.C.E event a success. Greece is essentially bilingual as most people over the age of 40 speak English as well as one or two more languages on average, making communication and rapport simpler.

Thessaloniki: The New M.I.C.E Destination

Affordable prices, the lure of an EU country with all the safety and strategic advantages that entails; Thessaloniki is well placed to service any corporate meeting or conference. It jumped up to 5th place on the MTLG Top 10 destinations and is poised to keep moving upwards as new infrastructure projects and investment opportunities in the wider region begin to bear fruit.

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