With its beautiful islands, mountainous interiors, endless coastlines and ancient ruins, Greece continues to amuse its visitors with its rich history and breathtaking landscapes. Despite the economic turmoil it faced, Greece is still one of the prime travel destinations all around the world. However, planning a trip in Greece is not the simplest thing to do. It isn’t as cheap as it’s used to be, and the extensive use of Greek language makes navigating its streets a difficult job. Our Greece travel guide is designed to help you get rid of those problems, and plan the perfect Greek vacation to indulge in the rich culture, delicious food and breathtaking landscape this country has in store for you.
Languages spoken: Modern Greek, English (51%)
Currency: Euro (€)
Best time to go: Any time of the year
Main concern for travelers: The extensive use of Greek alphabets in signboards and road signs
Filled with 5th century monuments and landmarks, the capital of both the ancient and the modern Greece is a must visit destination. Athens is a beautiful city where you can get lost in the rich history of ancient Greece. The ancient Parthenon, the beautiful Temple of Poseidon, the museums, the history filled neighborhood – everything about this city make Athens a necessary part of every Greece travel guide.
Santorini Islands are most probably the most recognized islands of entire Greece. With its unique landscapes, multicolored reefs, romantic sunsets and beautiful volcanic features – Santorini invites more than 1.5 million tourists from all over the world every year.
The historic island of Crete is the largest island of Greece. It is known for its varied terrain, ranging from sandy white beaches to White Mountains. Once home to the ancient Minoan civilization, Crete is an island full of history and beautiful landscapes. This is one of the must visit island present in almost every Greece travel guide.
Corfu is one of the most popular tourist destinations of all times. Celebrated by both backpackers and luxury tourists, this popular tourist spot offers an active night life and jaw dropping views. You can go partying on the beach, or if you like some quite time, move to the inlands where there are a lot of places away from the crowd.
Mykonos is one of the most popular islands among tourists. It is favored by families, cruises and Romanic couples. While it is the most expensive among the Cyclades Islands, still it is widely popular because of its lovely restaurants, beautiful beaches, amazing houses and great nightlife.
The Peloponnese region is truly the place to witness all the legends, quite literally. This is the place where Hercules fought the Nemean lion, and Paris of Troy eloped with Helen. With its ancient archeological sites such as Olympia, Epidaurus, Mycenae and Tirynth, unique castles and settlements, Peloponnese is a place which you will surely fall in love with. A Greece travel guide cannot be complete without mentioning Peloponnese.
When to Visit:
Although summer is the most popular time for tourists to visit Greece, the country remains beautiful throughout the year. The country enjoys a beautiful weather almost round the year. So visiting Greece when it’s not the peak season can be great for backpackers and solitude seekers. Easter and May to August is considered to be the peak season. Prices are quite high during this time, and the country is flooded with tourist. But the excellent weather makes up for all those things. April, September and October are the shoulder months, when crowd begins to thin. November to March is the low season. Temperature drops quite a bit in these months. But the drop in prices of accommodation and restaurant bills make up for it.
Money and Costs:
Greece used to be the cheapest vacation spot in Europe. However, because of the economic crisis it faced in 2007, the prices went up quite a bit. But they have started to fall again and the country is looking beautiful as ever to backpackers and luxury tourists alike. The prices vary from season to season. No matter when you decide to visit Greece, you can be sure to find something which suits your budget, if you look closely. With our Greece Travel Guide, you can get a rough idea of how much you need to spend on different necessities while you spend your vacation in Greece.
The price of accommodation in Greece will greatly vary on the area you’re travelling to. If you are looking for really cheap hostel dorm beds, then you can find one within €15- €30 in the less crowded destinations. However, if you’re in the mood for party and want to stay near the most happening areas – then you’ll need to shell out about €60 for a dorm bed. Mid-range hotel rooms will cost you around €60-150. WiFi, a mini fridge, air-conditioning and sometimes breakfast is included with these rooms. For a top class hotel room, you’ll have to spend one €200/night. Prices are generally 50% higher in high season than the low season. Accommodation in the popular islands are quite a bit more expensive than staying in inland cities.
One can take a trip to Greece just for the Greek food itself. No Greece travel guide can get away without mentioning the food. Not only its own cuisine, the country is famous for its Michelin Star restaurants and spread of delicious food you can find at every corner of Greece. You can find a really enjoyable meal at a market of Greece for less than €15. And that meal will not disappoint you in any way, we can assure you. For something a bit more upscale – a meal at a local taverna will cost about €20 – €30. And for the most extravagant food experience at a really high class or even a Michelin Star restaurant, a meal will cost you anywhere in between €60 – €100. Cocktails at high end bars or restaurants cost about €8 – €15, whereas beers will cost about €3 – €4.
Transportation in Greece is not cheap, although it’s still on the lower side by European standards. As there are a lot of islands in Greece, one major way of transport is ferries. Expect to spend about €12 to €35 depending on how far your destination island is. However the number of ferries decreases dramatically during low seasons. You can save about 50% by travelling in the overnight ferries. Bus and train services are relatively cheaper, and a single use one way ticket costs about €1.40. Monthly pass for local transport goes for about €30. You can also use the Metro service in Athens. Taxi fares start from €3.30 and charges €0.80 per km. However, rural grey taxis do not have meters, so remember to settle on a price before you ride. You can generally rent mopeds, scooters or ATVs in rural and inland areas, where public transportation is scarce.
Entrance fees to most of Greece’s historic sights and ancient ruins cost about €15 – €24. Different watersports like kayaking, parasailing etc. will cost between €20 -€50. Diving certification will cost upward of €250, whereas single driving trips starts from €55. You can also rent an ATV for about €20/day to roam around.
Approximate Budget Per Day:
• Up to €100/day for backpackers including meals at markets and entrance to some sites.
• €150 – €200/day including meals at decent restaurants, entrance to most sites and some water activities.
• Over € 200/day including meals at high end restaurants, diving certifications and partying at islands.
Budget Tips for Backpackers:
1. Eat cheap street snacks like Gyro, Souvlaki, Koulouri etc. to keep your daily meal budget under €10.
2. Avoid touristy destinations where prices of accommodation and food can be quite high.
3. Most of the towns in Greece can be covered on foot. Avoid renting a scooter or taxi.
4. Visit Greece during the low season to enjoy the same scenic beauty at much lower prices.
5. Take the overnight ferry to save up on the ferry cost, as well as a night’s accommodation cost.
6. Skip Mykonos. Although it is a beautiful island, but there aren’t much budget accommodation, and the price of food is quite high too.
7. Rent a moped to visit different town and cities. It is quite cheaper than renting a car, and a great alternative of trains to travel to different corners of Greece.
8. Use car pool service like BlaBlaCar to share rides with locals.
9. There are quite a lot of couchsurfing hosts around Greece. It’s a great way to meet local people and also save a lot of money.
Must See Attractions and Must Do Activities in Greece:
Acropolis in Athens:
The obvious recommendation in any Greece travel guide is a trip to Athens’ iconic Acropolis temple. It is the most important ancient site in the Western Europe. This ancient place is great for learning the history of Athens. The Parthenon is the crown jewel of this place. You can also enjoy the beautiful architectures and the beautiful views of the city and the nearby ruins.
Day trip to Delphi:
The next site which is a must in any Greece travel guide is a trip to Delphi. It is one of the most important archeological sites in all of Europe. You can easily visit this historic place on a day trip from Athens. This UNESCO World heritage listed town is home of the famous Temple of Apollo. The Delphi Archeological Museum is also worth visiting. Spend your whole learning all about Greek history, enjoying the stunning views of the age-old monuments you’ll find in this place.
Hike Mount Olympus:
Walking up the mythical Mount Olympus is a must do activity for any hiking lover in Greece. Mount Olympus is believed to be the home of ancient gods according to Greek mythology. A hike up to this mountain can strenuous, but the magical view from the mountain will surely make the journey worthwhile.
Visit ancient Olympia:
The original ground of the Olympic Games, the ancient Olympia deserves a place in every Greece travel guide. The Olympic Games had been organized here every 4 years for at least a thousand years. During the modern games, the Olympic flame is still lit here. This is another of Greece’s World Heritage listed ruins.
Explore the beaches:
One of the great ways of spending time while you in Greece is exploring its beautiful beaches. Bathe under the sun for as long as you want, stare into the blue ocean on enjoy the summer parties happening on the beach. While it can get quite expensive where all the party happens, still those parties are one of the main reasons people flock over to Greece every year. It’s an insane experience, and no Greece travel guide can be complete without mentioning them.
Visit Santorini Island:
Many consider Santorini Island to be the most beautiful of the numerous Greek islands. The island boasts a truly unique landscape, which has become an almost iconic image of the islands of Greece. It is an awesome place for you to enjoy some beachside camping, various water sports, a tour among the wineries and many more activities.
Trip to Meteora:
A trip to Greece will be incomplete if you do not visit Meteora. Serene, surreal, magical, mystical – no matter how many words are used, language will not be able to describe the beauty of this place until you experience it yourself. This a place where nature’s grandeur becomes one with human history and ancient architecture. The area is dominated by naturally created huge monolithic pillars and hill-like immense boulders. On top of those, lies one of the largest complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece. The sight is stunning, and the trek to the top is worth it for the breathtaking views you get to enjoy.
Party in Ios:
Another must include activity in every Greece travel guide is partying in Ios. The Ios Island has the wildest nightlife in Greece, and is really popular among the backpackers and the young crowd. You can find really cheap accommodation here during the summers too. This is where you’ll want to be if you are in the mood for party. You can also visit the quieter inlands to catch a break from the crowd.
Experience Greek food:
Our Greek travel guide wouldn’t have been complete if we didn’t include this. Food is one of the best ways to experience a place. And with such an extensive and delicious choice of dishes the Greek cuisine has to offer, a vacation in Greece must include a walk down the Greek food trail. Walk down the roads of Athens or any Greek cities, and enjoy the brilliant street food and the local delicacies the place has to offer. The Greek food will surely elevate your Greek vacation to a whole new level.