Planning A Greece Vacation Soon? Here's What You Need To Know

Read this guide for what you should know before booking tickets to this European idyll
Night view of Athens
Night view of Athensecstk22/

The birthplace of Western civilisation continues to draw visitors every spring and summer, aching to check out its archaeological sites, beach resorts, museums, spas, thermal springs and fascinating wild landscapes. Greek cuisine is often cited as one of the healthiest in the world (part of the so-called “Mediterranean diet”) and the country is home to some of the greatest philosophers in the Western tradition like Plato, Aristotle and Socrates.

Before embarking on your idyll vacation to this lovely country, here are a few things you should know.

Decide When To Go

Hydra Island
Hydra IslandRomas_Photo/

Greece is an all-year destination. While most people head to the country during the summer for family fun and swims in the Mediterranean Sea, prices are also at their highest during this time. The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn typically have lower fares and you will go mostly undisturbed on your walks and hikes around the country. Winter is good for travellers on a budget but some businesses also close down during this time. Islands like Hydra and Spetses are worth visiting in the colder months.

One thing you should be cautious about before booking tickets and accommodation is that wildfire season usually starts from May. Fires burned an estimated 1,750 square kilometres last year alone. Check your weather app and stay up to date with the news from the regions you will be visiting.

Be Mindful About Your Itinerary

A village in Astypalea Island
A village in Astypalea Islandleoks/

Cramming a visit to five or six islands into a seven-day trip is unreasonable and will leave you feeling like the trip was less of a vacation and more of a hassle. You have come to Greece to decompress and relax so take your time and enjoy each destination for as long as you want to. Quality over quantity.

Another thing you should consider is homing in on what you want to do in Greece. Whether it’s visiting the country’s sandy beaches, learning about its history and culture, or dancing to its vibrant nightlife, identify your values and interests and devise your itinerary accordingly.

Athens Is Greater Than The Acropolis

Mount Lycabettus is the tallest point in Athens
Mount Lycabettus is the tallest point in Athenskavalenkava/

The capital city has a plethora of rooftop bars and restaurants, museums, and neighbourhoods like Plaka, Exarcheia, Psyrri, and Pangrati for visitors to check out beyond the Acropolis. Mount Lycabettus is the tallest point in the city and has the best view of Athens. Smaller museums like the Benaki and Museum of Cycladic Art, as well as the Basil and Elise Goulandris art gallery, feature ancient artefacts alongside contemporary artworks for visitors to trawl through.

Greek Food Is Diverse

A traditional Greek restaurant in Kalymnos
A traditional Greek restaurant in KalymnosAnna Jedynak/

Gyros and souvlaki are undoubtedly delicious but you’re missing out if you stick to them during your visit. Tiropita (cheese pie), a freddo espresso and strapatsada, which is made with eggs, feta cheese, tomato sauce and olive oil, are a must-try. Each region has its own specialties so ask for recommendations from locals and restaurant owners. The most popular items on a taverna’s menu are usually calamari, octopus, grilled and fried cheeses (like saganaki and halloumi), and fava.

Carry Cash

Small villages and islands transact business through cash
Small villages and islands transact business through cashzimmytws/

Credit cards are accepted in major towns and cities but it’s good to carry some cash on you as smaller islands and villages use paper notes. Similarly, some museums or buses do business in hard cash only. Check with the establishment if they accept your choice of payment. Tipping is not common in the country but rounding up your taxi fare is an accepted practice so it’s best to have some coins handy. ATMs are commonplace.

Be Wary About Pickpockets

Never leave your bag unattended in a public place
Never leave your bag unattended in a public placeJacob Lund/

Never leave your belongings unattended or out of eyesight when in a crowded place or city. Pay attention to your wallet and bag especially on buses, subways and trains. Make sure the taxi meter is running or negotiate a price before you get in to avoid being ripped off. If you need to report a theft or loss, go to the tourist police first. They will act as interpreters between you and the regular police.

Getting There

Fly to Greece via any of the Gulf countries or Türkiye.

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