With its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and azure coastlines, Greece is a traveler’s paradise. From the imposing Parthenon atop Athens to the glistening beaches of Mykonos and Crete, this country’s diverse splendor beckons. As with any international voyage, however, a trip to Greece requires some planning and forethought. This guide will serve as your introduction to the land of gods, champions, and unparalleled culture.
Attraction of Greece
Greece is more than a country; it is a tapestry of time, woven with mythological tales, formidable empires, and a vibrant contemporary culture. It provides:
Treasures of History: Delve into the pages of history by visiting Acropolis, Ancient Olympia, and Delphi.
From the distinctive rock formations of Meteora to the idyllic beaches of the Cyclades and the rugged landscapes of Crete, Greece’s natural beauty is diverse and breathtaking.
Greek cuisine is a reflection of the country’s diverse cultural influences and verdant land, with dishes that are both flavourful and healthy.
The Greek people, with their tradition of “philoxenia” (love of strangers), leave an indelible impression on every traveler.
Preparation for the Trip
Traveling to Greece, particularly for those unfamiliar with its customs and landscape, can be an exciting journey full of discoveries.
- What is the best time to visit, considering the Mediterranean climate and tourist seasons into account?
- How should you navigate the country’s varied landscapes, ranging from teeming urban centers to secluded island retreats?
- What cultural nuances must you be aware of to ensure a respectful and engaging experience?
Greece, located in Southeast Europe, is famous for its ancient history, stunning islands, and rich culinary heritage. Comprising a mainland and thousands of islands, Greece offers a myriad of experiences for every traveler.
Best Time to Visit
High Season (June to August): Warm weather, but crowded and more expensive.
Shoulder Season (April-May, September-October): Pleasant temperatures, fewer crowds, and often lower prices.
Low Season (November to March): Colder, especially in the north, but great for experiencing Greece without the tourist rush and at lower prices.
Athens: The capital city and home to historical sites like the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora.
Santorini: An iconic island known for its blue-domed churches, caldera views, and incredible sunsets.
Mykonos: Famous for its beaches, nightlife, and charming old town.
Crete: Greece’s largest island, offering diverse experiences from ancient ruins to beautiful beaches.
Delphi: In ancient Greek religion, Delphi was regarded as the center of the universe.
Rhodes: An island boasting rich history, beautiful beaches, and the medieval old town of Rhodes City.
Meteora: Stunning monasteries perched atop towering rock formations.
By Air: Internal flights connect major cities and islands.
By Ferry: An extensive ferry network connects the islands. Booking in advance during the high season is recommended.
By Car: Renting a car provides flexibility, especially on the mainland and larger islands.
By Bus: A cost-effective way to travel between cities and towns.
Greetings: A handshake is standard; close friends may greet with a hug or a kiss on both cheeks.
Dress: Greeks dress smartly. Visits to churches and monasteries necessitate modest attire.
Tipping: It’s customary to leave a small tip in restaurants and for services.
Food & Drink
Must-try Dishes: Moussaka (layered eggplant, meat, and béchamel sauce), Souvlaki (grilled meat skewers), Tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, and garlic dip), and Baklava (sweet pastry with nuts and honey).
Drink: Ouzo (anise-flavored liqueur) and local Greek wines.
Money & Costs
Currency: Euro (€)
Budget: Greece can cater to various budgets, from backpackers to luxury seekers. To save, consider eating at local tavernas and traveling during the shoulder season.
- Greece is generally a safe destination. However, like anywhere, it’s wise to take standard precautions:
- Beware of pickpockets in crowded places.
- Stay cautious if traveling to remote areas or late at night.
Greek is the official language. In tourist areas, English is extensively spoken.
Island Hopping: Consider getting a multi-island ferry pass if you’re exploring several islands.
Stay Connected: Get a local SIM card for mobile data and calls.
Sun Protection: The Greek sun can be strong, especially during summer. Carry sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
Stay Hydrated: Always carry a bottle of water, especially when exploring in the heat.
How To Reach The Destination
Flights to Athens are frequently the cheapest means to enter Greece, followed by budget airlines serving the major tourist islands (such as Rhodes, Crete, Corfu, Kos, and Mykonos). From these locations, ferries to lesser islands are accessible.
As the most northwesterly vacation island, Corfu is slightly easier to reach than Athens (approximately 3 hours 10 versus 3 hours 40). And don’t overlook Preveza, the 3 hours and 20 minutes marvel from which you can reach both the mainland and the islands.
It is possible to reach Greece from the United Kingdom solely by train and ship. Your train voyage, beginning with Eurostar, will take you to Paris, Milan, and Bari. The ferry from Bari to Patras, where the Peloponnese meets the mainland, takes 16 hours.
Greece is renowned for its self-catering, no-frills apartments, despite its enviable luxurious hotels. Self-catering, white-tiled-and-toweled accommodations (some with front desks and a swimming pool) are available for as little as £40 per night for budget-minded travelers. Many have the finest views of the bay, and a convenience store selling yogurt and peaches for breakfast is never more than a short walk away.
How is the weather today?
In April and May, daily highs will be in the low 20s Celsius, making it an excellent destination for an active spring break. Summer is characterized by reliably sunny days with temperatures in the 30s, whereas October is characterized by pleasant sunlit days in the mid-20s. During the months of July and August, certain islands, notably the Aegean, are buffeted by gusty ‘Meltemi’ winds. As it is a large nation, it is important to examine local weather patterns; islands in the south and east may remain milder for longer than those in the north.
What currency do I need?
Remember that Greece is not merely a location; it is an experience, a sensation, and a call to return. According to the poet Odysseas Elytis, if Greece is deconstructed, only an olive tree, a grapevine, and a canoe will remain. Thus, with the same amount, you reconstitute her.”
Have a safe journey, and may the allure of Greece entice you to return again and again.