Why Ikea, Thessaloniki, a two and a half hour drive from Bansko? Greece — another country and another world. Join me on my review of Thassaloniki’s IKEA and its potential value to Bulgaria’s property owners.
I went in April, and the trip made a refreshing change of scenery — along with a welcome boost of warm sunshine. But this article is for Bulgarian property owners, in the main. My review on Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, and its attractions i’ll save for another time. That said, next to IKEA there’s a huge shopping mall which would be a pleasant trip in its own right.
But first, why go to Ikea in Thessaloniki?
Firstly, because we’ll have to wait until next year, before Sofia gets its own IKEA. And secondly, because IKEA can give you an easy route to designing an attractive apartment or home — for both rental and living in.
So here are the Top 10 Reasons To Go To IKEA, Thessaloniki:
1.Â One Stop Shop. You can get achieve a contemporary look in one shop. You can get some similar things for less in Mr Bricolage, Metro and Sofia. But nowhere else can you get all your bathroom, bedroom, living room and kitchen.
2.Â Preparation Before Shopping. You can prepare your shop before the trip simply by using IKEA tools and resources online. The web site has loads of ideas. But be warned: you may change your mind when you get there. I was impressed with the huge size and number of displays in this IKEA. Mirrors, hooks, racks and even pictures semm to become essential.
3.Â Soft Furnishings. If there’s just one thing owners who wish to rent should do, its to buy soft furnishings for their property. Ikea has a huge range of soft furnishings to soften your property and give it the wow factor. From dining room table cloths, rugs, bed spread covers, duvet covers and fabric light fittings, its a load easier to inject style into your apartment than the often drab and conservative and sometimes over priced furniture packages.
4.Â Rental Inventory and Cooking Items. IKEA choice here is immense. A few decent pans, whisks, cooking utensils, tea towels, mugs will impress your guests. Its often the smallest details that make a difference.
5.Â Shopping Mall. You can do your other shopping very nearby. There is a huge shopping centre with most of the major store brands and clothes and shoe brands. Some interesting home stores as well are found in the shopping mall as well, Its all well laid out, not busy and with a supermarket too.
6.Â Price. Well you know what the price is before you go. And whilst some would say it is overpriced — I would only agree on some products. Comparable quality is what to look for. For really cheap items head for Metro and to some extent Mr Bricolage in Blagoevgrad. For other higher quality items I’ve found it more more expensive in Bulgaria than IKEA.
7.Â Lighting. Finding stylish light fittings seems to be a challenge in Bulgaria. The choice and price for IKEA’s lighting alone will make a huge difference to the feel of your apartment. In particular, some well designed ceiling lights, to replace your standard issue fitting, will go a long way to indiviualise your apartment. A stylish apartment will rent easier and command more rental in the long term.
8.Â Food. No, not the IKEA meatballs — but the restaurant there was excellent. But a huge range of restaurants, just by the shopping mall nearby. I found the welcome taste of fresh fish and a meze well worth the Greek prices.Â A typical meal in Bulgaria is under half the price of Thessaloniki.
9.Â The City Of Thassaloniki. Thessaloniki is a destination city in its own right. Greece’s second largest. Stunning quality cafes, bars and restaurants await. A relaxed water front meal, with the sweet smells of the Aegean Sea, is worth the trip alone.
10. Improve Rental Returns. Okay, you certainly don’t have to go to Thessaloniki to make you property look great. But I am confident that a contemporary, fashionable design will help property owners attract clients in the cut throat Bansko rental market. most important, an attractive property will ensure your guests recommend others and will return. Please take a look at part 1 of my article on apartment rental:Â http://banskoblog.com/rent-apartment-help/
There’s a bizarre upside to visiting IKEA in Thessaloniki after the town centre — everything is priced in English. If, like me, you’ve struggled your way through cyrillic, the last thing you feel like is deciphering Greek.
An obvious option for owners from abroad, is to fly to Thessaloniki and hire a car — and then drive to Bansko. This provide the fin opportunity of exploring the coastal area of Halkidiki, as well as other areas. For more info on car hire and transfer take a look at this article: http://banskoblog.com/sofia-transfers/.
If you’ve just stumbled upon this site, and wish to check out some excellent Bansko accommodation options then take a look at this:
And finally, my over riding impression on Greece. How come they are all living, or seem to be living, like Greek Kings?
The wealth on display is truly breathtaking… a monied feeling approaching Monaco. Its the only way I can describe what I’ve now seen twice in Thessaloniki. The same expensively dressed and groomed look I find in many of the new Greek tourists increasingly enjoying Bansko.
The only explanation of all this money that I can think of, is that it must have been given to them by the EU!
I could see a very healthy agricultural sector with barely a patch of soil unutilised. Are the Greek banks generous? Or are the people just entrepreneurial and hard working?
But one thing really struck me:Â There is so much land still uncultivated in Bulgaria — almost everywhere you look.
Bulgaria will receive a huge boost to its economy as it starts to take advantage of investment in agriculture.
Overall I urge Bansko regulars to take a trip to Greece soon. For those in UK pounds then an improving pound will help the costs… with a large beer costing between 5 and 6 euros, you may feel homesick for the 1.5 leva (â‚¬0.70) Bulgarian variety!
http://banskoblog.com/bulgarian-wine-beer-best/ for more on one of my favourite topics!
Useful Info On IKEA:
Web site for IKEA Thessaloniki with map: http://www.ikea.gr/stores/?store=4&language=0
12th km Thessalonikis – Peraias
57001 Pylaia, Thessaloniki
Customer Service Line:
801 11 22 722
fax: 2310 475 150
IKEA Opening hours
Monday – Friday 10.00 – 21.00
Saturday 10.00 – 20.00
What is your experience of furnishing your property?
Have you been to IKEA in Thessaloniki? Please comment below – they are very welcome.