Annual Festivals in Thessaloniki

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Thessaloniki is a city that is a mecca of arts, culture, and innovation. As the city is a major economic hub in the geographic region of Macedonia, it also is home to an array of cultural and social festivals that are a treat to both Greek locals and travelers alike.

There are three major annual festivals that happen each year in Thessaloniki, each one appealing to a variety of interests and hobbies. Depending on what time of year you travel to Thessaloniki, you’ll be sure to find a festival or event that appeals to at least one person in your travel group (in addition to all of the other cultural and historical treasures the city of Thessaloniki has to offer).

Thessaloniki International Fair
When: Every September

The first ever Thessaloniki International Fair (also known as the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair) was held back in 1926. Parliamentarian Nikolaos Germanos approached the Ministry of National Economy with an idea for an international fair, which would be the first ever type of fair held in Greece. The inaugural fair attracted major domestic and international businesses. Today, the fair is organized by HELEXPO and takes place every September at the Thessaloniki International Exhibition Center.

Attendees are treated to an array of exhibitions. Unlike niche specific trade shows popular in the United States, the Thessaloniki International Fair is a meeting ground for businesses in multiple industries including information technology, agriculture, food, lifestyle, tourism, and home goods. It is estimated that over 1,000 exhibitors from over 40 countries are in attendance each year for the event, which lists over the course of a week in September.

Thessaloniki International Film Festival
When: Every November

Founded in 1960, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival celebrates independent filmmakers in Greece and in the surrounding areas. In fact, the festival has become the one of the primary showcases for new and emerging filmmakers in the Balkans. The Thessaloniki International Film Festival also features an International Competition for 1st and 2nd, which draws in an audience from across Europe and across the globe. The event is held every November and takes place at different venues across Thessaloniki.

International Book Fair
When: Every May

Held every May, the Thessaloniki Book Fair was established in 2003 and is hosted by Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports, and General Secretary of Culture in collaboration with Helexpo, the Hellenic Federation of Publishers and Booksellers. The event is held at the Helexpo Exhibition Center and features publishers and authors from Greece as well as over thirty other foreign countries. In addition to appealing to book lovers and bibliophiles alike, the event has also included in past years a poetry festival, Comics festival, and a special children’s book component.

Thessaloniki also hosts other exhibitions each year including the Thessaloniki Hip Hop Festival, DMC DJ Championship, Video Dance Festival, and the International Festival of Photography.

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