19th International Conference on
Automated Planning and Scheduling

September 19-23, 2009, Thessaloniki, Greece

http://icaps09.icaps-conference.org

Useful

This page contains useful information for spending a few days in Thessaloniki or even travelling around Greece. The page is continuously updated. Most of the information in this page is based on the local organizers' experience.

Important

In order to better serve the majority of the participants that stay in Hotels "Makedonia Palace", "Metropolitan" and "Queen Olga", we have scheduled some extra buses for Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th, between these hotels and University of Macedonia. In particular, their schedule is as follows:

Saturday 19th:

  • Departure from hotels Makedonia Palace, Metropolitan and Queen Olga: 08:15
  • Return from University of Makedonia: 17:45 and 18:00

Sunday 20th:

  • Departure from hotels Makedonia Palace, Metropolitan and Queen Olga: 08:30
  • Return from University of Makedonia: 17:45 and 18:00

For participants not staying in these hotels (as well as for participants staying in the aforementioned hotels but cannot catch the above buses), we'd suggest to use the public buses. To facilitate your navigation, we created a (Google) map that includes all bus stops of our interest (with information on the buses that stop there and their direction). Please see below. Furthermore, we created additional Google maps with sketches of the bus lines of our interest (this information is however implicitly included in the map with the bus stops). So, please check the bus stops that are close to your hotel and the bus stops that are close to the places where the conference takes place.

Alternatively, you can use a taxi for your travelling. The cost should not be more that 4 or 5 euros, which can be reduced if you share your taxi with other participants.

Finally, for participants staying out of the city, we strongly recommend to rent a car. During the weekend you can park your car for free at the back of University of Macedonia (there are always empty parking places there during the weekends), whereas for the main conference you can use the private parking of the venue hotel (at a reasonable cost) or try to find empty parking places in the surrounding area.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at info@icaps09.gr for any inquiry.

Index

Intracity transportations

You have two main options to travel around the city: City public buses and taxis. Here are the details for both options:

Buses: Thessaloniki has an extended public local bus transportation system that covers the main city and many of the surroundings. To enter a bus you need a ticket. There are several types of tickets. You have the following options to buy tickets:

  • One way tickets are sold in most of the kiosks around the city. They cost 0,5 each and are sold in bundles of 10 tickets (5 for 10 tickets); but you can also buy fewer. Note that a one-way ticket can be used for multiple transportations, provided that the start time of the last transportation is no later than 70 mins from the start time of the first transportation (you have to "invalidate" your ticket each time you enter a bus).
  • One way tickets and 24h tickets are sold also by automated machines inside the buses. Note however that the one way tickets, when bought inside the bus, costs 0,6 (instead of 0,5 when bought in advance).
  • Other types of tickets (weekly, monthly) are sold only in specific ticket houses.

Another interesting recent evolution of the local bus system concerns the telematics system installed at most of the bus stations. When you are waiting for a bus, an electronic table is giving real-time information about the time the next buses arrive.

Here is a map with all bus routes (unfortunately it is in Greeks); please use it in combination with this map.

We have also created a Google map with the main bus stations. Note that within each bus each bus station is announced orally and in several of them also in a announcement table.


View Thessaloniki buses in large size

Here are some important lines. Please click at the number of each line to have a view of the route on Google Maps.

78, 78N: It starts from the airport, traverses the city (passing close to the main hotels) and goes to the intercity bus station (at the other end of the city). It doesn't stop to all bus stations across its route; it is actually an express bus line. Note that during the night, the route changes slightly (line 78N). Note that a single one way ticket is enough to go from and to the airport with this bus.

3, 5, 6: These lines go mostly parallel to the sea. They coincide a lot, at least for the areas of our interest.

8: This bus line goes close to the sea in the south and away from the sea in the north. It can be useful for people staying at southern hotels ("Macedonia Palace", "Queen Olga", "Metropolitan") to go to University of Macedonia without much walking.

2, 10, 11, 14, 31, 33, 39: These lines also go mostly parallel to the sea but not close to the sea. However, all of them pass close to the University of Macedonia. They are expected to help mostly people staying at northern hotels.

12: This bus line goes close to the sea in the north and away from the sea in the south. It can be useful for people staying at northern hotels close to the sea, in order to go to University of Macedonia.

  • For the timetables of all bus routes please click here and select "Routes" (upper right corner).

Taxis: Thessaloniki has a lot of taxis. They are inexpensive (compared to other European countries). Taxis in Thessaloniki are in blue color with white the upper side (plus the usual yellow sign). In order to get a taxi, you have just to stay next to a main street and raise your hand in view of an empty taxi (however, taxi drivers in Greece used in the past to take multiple passengers, more rarely now).

Alternatively, you can ask for a taxi using your phone (or the reception of your hotel or the conference secretariat) or even making an appointment. Here are some phone numbers for taxi companies in Thessaloniki:

  • Macedonia, (+30) 2310 550500
    • This company has given us a "private" phone number for ICAPS-09 participants, which is (+30) 2310 517700. Apart from having a priority over the public number, whenever you ask for an appointment (i.e. 4 ), you are charged for a direct call (1,7 ). Please mention "ICAPS" whenever using this phone number.
  • Thessaloniki, (+30) 2310 551525
  • Lefkos Pyrgos (White Tower), (+30) 2310 214900, (+30) 2310 218600
  • Eurotaxi, (+30) 2310 866866, (+30) 2310 511855
  • Mercedes Club, (+30) 2310 525000

Concerning pricing of the taxis, please click here. An estimate for the cost from and to the airport is between 12 and 15 , depending on your hotel and the number of suitcases. Phone calls are charged 1,7 whereas requests for appointments are charged between 3 and 5 (depending on the company). Please feel free to ask the conference secretariat to help you with calling a taxi!

Eating

Thessaloniki is full of Greek taverns, cafes and pattisseries. You have just to walk a few building blocks to indentify several of them. Concerning international food, perhaps you should be more systematic in your search. In the following we suggest some restaurants and taverns, based mainly on our experience.


View Thessaloniki Eating in large size

Weather

Intercity transportations

  • Buses: There is an extended network of public buses for intercity transportation (no English site unfortunately). There is a central station in the north of the city where you can find buses for all Greek cities. A large number of city buses (including 8 and 78), have there one of their terminals. However, especially for intercity buses going to areas of Halkidiki, there is an alternative bus station in the south of the city. Please ask the conference secretariat for more information (unfortunately, no international site still available).

  • Trains: Have a look here.

  • Planes:

  • Ships: Have a look here.

Rent a Car in Thessaloniki

Besides the know international car rental companies, it might be useful to have a look at some local companies. Here are a few of them:

Swimming

Being a large city, Thessaloniki is not suitable for sea swimming. In order to find a good beach for swimming, you have to travel some not negligible distance out of the city, so this cannot be combined with attending the conference. So, if you want to swim in Greece, we propose to spend a few days more here. Depending on how many days you are going to spend, here are some suggestions:

Up to 2-3 days

You have a single option, and this is the area of Halkidiki, comprising the three peninsulas at the south of Thessaloniki. Halkidiki has many of the most beautiful beaches all over the Greece, especially in the areas between the peninsulas.

Although there are intercity buses, we strongly suggest you to rent a car to have flexibility visiting Halkidiki.

There are many hotels, as well as rooms to let, in Halkidiki, and September is out of season, so you won't have any problem to find rooms in very competitive prices. Have a look here for accommodation options. One convenient suggestion (relatively closer to Thessaloniki and with excellent beaches) is Pallini beach hotel (this is the place where the 2nd International Summer School on Planning, 2002, took place). Check the sites for prices, however make a phone call for booking; it is always possible to get a better offer!

4 days or more

If you have 4 days of more, we would suggest you to go to an island. Suggested options:

  • Sporades islands (Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos). Although the closest islands to Thessaloniki, it is not that easy to go there. You have to go by car to the Volos city (2,5 hours driving), and then take a fast dolphin (1 to 2 hours, no car) or a slower boat (3 to 4 hours, with car).
  • Cyclades (Myconos, Santorini, Paros, etc): The most famous and distinguished islands of Greece. To several of them you can go by plane (have a look at www.aegeanair.com). Alternatively, go to Athens and take the boat from the port of the city of Piraeus (do not rent a car from Thessaloniki).
  • Ionian islands (mainly Corfu and Lefkada). Western Greece islands, with special culture (affected mostly by the Italians). Rent a car to go there, there is an entirely new road, i.e., Egnatia road, that connects Thessaloniki with the Ionian archipelagos; you need only 3 hours to go there. Then, for Corfu you have to take the ferry from the port of Igoumenitsa; for Lefkada you have to drive 1 hour to the south (however, no boat is required, since Lefkada is connected to the mainland with a bridge; other islands are a bit further away (to the south).
    Note that from Corfu (also from Igoumenitsa port) you can take the ferry to go directly to Italy (an alternative way to arrive to/depart from Thessaloniki, useful for central Europeans). Have a look (among others) at Minoan Lines and ANEK Lines.

Useful Links