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I'm trying to hitchhike from Thessaloniki, Greece to Turkey.

Greece is a very very hard country to hitchhike in, Greek drivers seldom stop, and petrol stations which are useful in many other countries don't seem to work here.

Now experience has shown that Turkish truck drivers are awesome for hitchhiking. They are very friendly and like hitchhikers and can drive very far.

Not just in Turkey but in other nearby countries such as Bulgaria and Romania there seem to be quite a few truckstops run by Turkish expats and catering specifically to Turkish truckdrivers. These places have cheap food and surprisingly good atmosphere and sooner or later a truck driver will be going in your direction and offer you a ride.

Now I've been in Greece a week and a half and the locals assure me there are plenty of trucks going to Turkey but so far I haven't seen any Turkish truck stops here.

So, are there Turkish truck stops in Greece? How can I find them? And does anybody know of one in the direction heading from Thessaloniki to Turkey?

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Well I never did fid a Turkish truckstop in Greece but I did find a Greek truck driver and then a Turkish truck driver and got to Istanbul safe and sound. It will still be good to have an answer for all the hitchhikers out there though. –  hippietrail Oct 21 '11 at 17:12
    
Many Greeks believe that hitchhiking is illegal. Anyway, better you write your direction-destination in a big piece of paper. –  graffic Dec 7 '11 at 23:10
    
I did always have a sign, in Greek actually. I might find a photo of one to upload into the question (-: –  hippietrail Dec 8 '11 at 10:21
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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Hitchhiking in Greece is rare nowadays, but not so uncommon in islands and mountains (between small villages). As another commenter said, there's a popular belief amongst Greeks that it is illegal, but as far as I know this isn't true (but might had been true for a period in the past, hence the myth).

Turkish truck drivers are mostly found in Northern Greece, as RoflcoptrException said, usually traveling in Egnatia Odo (official website, map available), the highway that connects the customs of Kipoi (Κήποι)/Ipsala to Igoumenitsa (Ηγουμενίτσα). It is easy to identify them from their different car license plates.

Between Igoumenitsa and Alexandroupoli there are very few truckstops and gas stations, around 8-10 as far as I remember, and I would say half of them between Thessaloniki and Alexandroupoli. Most of them have been available during the years 2011-2013 (Egnatia is a fairly new highway and most of the truckstops are not yet depicted in Google Earth's imagery) and some of them are not yet open to the public. I've been to most of them, and I'm pretty confident that none is owned or at least predominated by Turkish drivers. But that doesn't mean that you might not find some Turkish trucks in any of those truckstops. It is probable that you will.

I'm not sure if this is useful, but a place where you will ALWAYS find Turkish trucks resting, is the area between Kipoi and Ipsala customs (between the borders). Please note that you cannot pass the borders as a hitchhiker, you will have to pass by walking, and then enter to the truck.

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There isn't much of information available, but I could find one sentence that may help you:

Hundreds of trucks go daily from the port town of Igoumenitsa, in the north-west of Greece (coming with ferry from Italy), Istanbul and other Turkish destinations. 99% of these trucks will be driven by Turks and sometimes Iranians too, and the remaining 1% can be of any European nationality.

So you're best chance would be to stand somewhere on the road between Igoumenitsa and Ipsala, the Turkish border town right at the border to Greece.

As you can see on Google Maps, this is one highway to connects this two cities, and the highway really leads directly through Thessalonikis. So I would suggest to try it everywhere on the E90.

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Yes I hitchhiked the very road you are talking about from the ferry terminal to the entrance to the E90 to Thessaloniki to Turkey. I did get a ride with one Greek truck driver, but no Turkish driver until right at the border between getting stamped out of Greece and getting stamped into Turkey (you can't walk this part). And I didn't spot a Turkish truckstop anywhere though I did find what seemed to be a Greek one just outside Thessaloniki. –  hippietrail Oct 31 '11 at 9:36
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