Greece Travel Guide – Everything You Need to Know

Greece is a country in southeastern Europe with thousands of islands throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. Influential in ancient times, it’s often called the cradle of Western civilization. Athens, its capital, retains landmarks including the 5th-century B.C. Acropolis citadel with the Parthenon temple. Greece is also known for its beaches, from the black sands of Santorini to the party resorts of Mykonos. Greece is part of the European Union and Greece money currency is Euro. 

What’s the Best Time to Visit? 📅

The best time to visit Greece depends on your preferences, budget, and itinerary. However, generally, the best time to visit Greece is from late April to early November. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Weather: The weather in Greece is typically warm and sunny from May to September, with temperatures ranging from 25-35°C (77-95°F). However, the weather in April and October can still be pleasant with temperatures ranging from 15-25°C (59-77°F).
  2. Crowds: The peak tourist season in Greece is from June to August when the beaches and tourist sites can be quite crowded. Visiting in the shoulder season (April-May, September-November) can give you more space and fewer crowds, and potentially lower prices on accommodation.
  3. Festivals and Events: Greece hosts many festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, the Athens Marathon, and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. These events often take place in the summer months, making it a great time to experience Greek culture and traditions.
  4. Beaches: Greece is known for its stunning beaches, and the beach season typically runs from May to October. Visiting in the summer months means you can take full advantage of the crystal-clear waters, water sports and activities and stunning sunsets.
  5. Outdoor Activities: Greece has a variety of outdoor activities to offer such as hiking, cycling, and sailing. These activities are best enjoyed in the spring and fall when the weather is cooler and more comfortable.

Overall, Greece is a beautiful country to visit year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences and travel goals.

What’s the Best Way to Get Around? 🚌

There are several ways to get around Greece as a tourist, depending on your budget, itinerary, and personal preferences. Here are some of the most popular options:

  1. Domestic Flights: Greece has several domestic airlines that operate flights between major cities and islands. This is a convenient and time-saving option if you’re traveling long distances or have limited time. Some of the popular airlines include Aegean Airlines, Olympic Air, and Sky Express.
  2. Ferry: Ferries are a popular and affordable way to travel between the Greek islands and the mainland. There are several ferry companies that operate routes throughout the country, including Blue Star Ferries, Hellenic Seaways, and SeaJets. You can book ferry tickets online or at the port.
  3. Bus: Buses are a budget-friendly way to travel around Greece, and there are several bus companies that operate routes between major cities and towns. KTEL is the main intercity bus company in Greece, and their buses are generally comfortable and reliable.
  4. Car Rental: If you want to explore Greece at your own pace, renting a car is a good option. There are several car rental companies in Greece, including international chains like Hertz, Avis, and Europcar, as well as local companies. Keep in mind that driving in Greece can be challenging due to narrow roads, mountainous terrain, and aggressive drivers.
  5. Train: Train travel in Greece is limited, but there are a few routes that connect Athens with other cities, such as Thessaloniki and Patras. The trains are generally comfortable and reliable, but they can be slower than other modes of transportation.

Ultimately, the best way to get around Greece depends on your itinerary, budget, and travel style. You may want to combine different modes of transportation depending on the distance and destination.

What’s the Official Language?

Greek is the official language of Greece, and while many Greeks speak English, it’s always helpful to know a few basic Greek phrases to communicate with locals and show appreciation for their culture. Here are some essential Greek phrases that tourists should know:

  1. Hello – Γεια σας (YAH sahs)
  2. Goodbye – Αντίο (ahn-DEE-oh)
  3. Thank you – Ευχαριστώ (ef-hah-rees-TOH)
  4. Please – Παρακαλώ (para-kah-LOH)
  5. Yes – Ναι (neh)
  6. No – Όχι (OH-hee)
  7. Excuse me – Συγνώμη (seen-GNOH-mee)
  8. Do you speak English? – Μιλάτε Αγγλικά; (MEE-lah-teh ahn-GLEE-kah?)
  9. How much does it cost? – Πόσο κοστίζει; (POH-soh koh-STEE-zee?)
  10. Where is the restroom? – Πού είναι η τουαλέτα; (poo EE-nay ee too-ah-LEH-tah?)

Learning some basic Greek phrases can enhance your experience in Greece and help you connect with the locals. You can also download language apps or phrasebooks to help you learn more Greek words and expressions.

Where to Stay? 🏨

Greece has a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Here are some popular accommodation options to consider when planning your holiday in Greece:

  1. Hotels: Greece has many hotels, ranging from budget-friendly to luxury. Many hotels are located in popular tourist destinations, such as Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos. You can choose from standard rooms to suites with views of the sea and other amenities such as swimming pools, spas, and restaurants.
  2. Villas: Villas are a popular accommodation option in Greece, especially for families or groups. Many villas come with private swimming pools and stunning views of the sea or mountains. You can find villas in many destinations across Greece, such as Crete, Corfu, and Rhodes.
  3. Apartments: Apartments are a popular accommodation option for those who want more space and privacy. Many apartments come with a kitchen and living room, making them ideal for families or those who prefer self-catering. You can find apartments in many destinations across Greece, from big cities to small islands.
  4. Hostels: Hostels are a budget-friendly accommodation option for solo travelers, backpackers, and those on a tight budget. Many hostels in Greece offer dormitory-style rooms and shared facilities, such as kitchens and lounges. You can find hostels in many destinations across Greece, from Athens to Thessaloniki.
  5. Camping: Greece has many campsites for those who want to stay close to nature. Many campsites offer tents or cabins, and some even have swimming pools, restaurants, and other amenities. You can find campsites in many destinations across Greece, from the mainland to the islands.

Ultimately, the best accommodation option in Greece depends on your budget, travel style, and itinerary. Be sure to research and book your accommodation well in advance, especially during the peak tourist season.

What to Eat? 🍽️

Greek cuisine is known for its fresh and flavorful dishes, which often feature locally-sourced ingredients, such as olive oil, herbs, and seafood. Here are some must-try foods when you’re in Greece for a holiday:

  1. Moussaka: A traditional Greek dish made with layers of eggplant, minced meat, and creamy béchamel sauce.
  2. Souvlaki: Grilled meat on a skewer, usually served with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and tomato, onion, and cucumber salad.
  3. Spanakopita: A savory pastry filled with spinach, feta cheese, and herbs, wrapped in filo dough.
  4. Greek Salad: A simple salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and feta cheese, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.
  5. Dolmades: Stuffed grape leaves filled with rice, herbs, and sometimes ground meat.
  6. Gyro: A popular street food made with thinly sliced meat (usually pork, chicken, or lamb) wrapped in a pita bread, with tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce.
  7. Feta Cheese: A staple in Greek cuisine, feta cheese is usually served as a side dish or in salads, and sometimes baked in pastry.
  8. Baklava: A sweet pastry made with layers of filo dough, honey, and nuts, such as pistachios or walnuts.
  9. Taramasalata: A dip made from fish roe, lemon juice, olive oil, and breadcrumbs, usually served with pita bread or crackers.
  10. Octopus: A popular seafood dish in Greece, often served grilled or stewed with olive oil and herbs.

These are just a few of the many delicious dishes to try when in Greece. Be sure to also try some local wine, such as retsina, and finish off your meal with some Greek coffee or a shot of ouzo, a traditional Greek liquor made from anise.

What to See? 🔍

Greece is a country with a rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and beautiful beaches. Here are some must-see tourist places to visit when in Greece:

  1. Athens: The capital city of Greece is famous for its ancient landmarks such as the Acropolis, Parthenon, and the Ancient Agora. Visitors can also explore the bustling neighborhoods of Plaka and Monastiraki, filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants.
  2. Santorini: This beautiful island in the Aegean Sea is famous for its stunning views, whitewashed houses, and blue-domed churches. Visitors can enjoy the stunning sunsets, explore the charming villages, and relax on the black sand beaches.
  3. Mykonos: This cosmopolitan island is known for its vibrant nightlife, picturesque alleys, and beautiful beaches. Visitors can party in the famous clubs, explore the traditional windmills, and enjoy the crystal clear waters.
  4. Crete: The largest island in Greece is famous for its rich history, stunning beaches, and rugged landscapes. Visitors can explore the ancient Minoan ruins, hike the Samaria Gorge, and relax on the beautiful beaches.
  5. Meteora: This unique geological formation features towering rock pillars with monasteries perched on top. Visitors can explore the monasteries, hike the trails, and enjoy the stunning views.
  6. Delphi: This ancient site was considered the center of the world in ancient times and is home to the Temple of Apollo, the ancient theater, and the ruins of the stadium. Visitors can explore the site, learn about ancient Greek history, and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
  7. Corfu: This beautiful island in the Ionian Sea is known for its stunning beaches, charming villages, and historic landmarks. Visitors can explore the Old Town, hike the Corfu Trail, and relax on the sandy beaches.

These are just a few of the many must-see tourist places to visit when in Greece. Be sure to also explore the local markets, try the delicious cuisine, and immerse yourself in the local culture.

What to Do? 📸

Greece is a country with a rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and beautiful beaches. Here are some things to do when in Greece for holiday:

  1. Visit the Acropolis: One of the most famous landmarks in Greece, the Acropolis is a must-visit attraction. Explore the ancient ruins, including the Parthenon, and enjoy the stunning views of Athens.
  2. Relax on the beaches: Greece is famous for its beautiful beaches, from the white sands of Mykonos to the black sands of Santorini. Spend some time soaking up the sun, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoying water sports such as snorkeling, windsurfing, and diving.
  3. Explore the islands: Greece has over 6,000 islands, each with its own unique charm. Take a ferry to explore the islands, from the cosmopolitan Mykonos to the traditional Naxos.
  4. Visit ancient sites: Greece is home to many ancient sites, from the Temple of Zeus in Olympia to the ancient city of Delphi. Explore the ruins, learn about the history, and imagine what life was like in ancient Greece.
  5. Taste the cuisine: Greek cuisine is famous for its fresh and flavorful dishes, from moussaka to souvlaki. Try the local wines and spirits, such as retsina and ouzo, and finish off your meal with a shot of strong coffee.
  6. Hike the trails: Greece is home to many hiking trails, from the Samaria Gorge in Crete to the Vikos Gorge in the Zagori region. Enjoy the stunning landscapes, wildlife, and fresh air.
  7. Experience the nightlife: Greece is famous for its vibrant nightlife, from the clubs of Mykonos to the bars of Athens. Dance the night away to Greek music, enjoy a drink with friends, and experience the local culture.

These are just a few of the many things to do when in Greece for holiday. Be sure to also explore the local markets, visit the museums, and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Culture and Safety 🦺

Greece has a rich cultural heritage and unique customs that tourists should be aware of when visiting the country. Here are some important aspects of Greek culture and customs:

  1. Respect for religion: Greece is a deeply religious country, and visitors should respect the local customs and traditions. Visitors should dress modestly when visiting churches and monasteries and be mindful of their behavior.
  2. Greetings: Greeks are friendly and hospitable people and usually greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. Visitors should be prepared for this and return the gesture if they feel comfortable.
  3. Dining etiquette: Dining in Greece is a social affair, and Greeks enjoy sharing meals with friends and family. It is customary to leave a small tip, around 10% of the total bill.
  4. Festivals and celebrations: Greece is known for its colorful festivals and celebrations, such as the Carnival in February and the Easter celebrations in April. Visitors are welcome to participate in these events and experience the local culture.
  5. Language: Greek is the official language of Greece, but many people also speak English. Learning a few basic Greek phrases can be helpful in communicating with the locals and showing respect for the culture.
  6. Dress code: Greeks value modesty in dress, particularly in religious settings. Visitors should avoid wearing revealing clothing and dress modestly when visiting churches and monasteries.
  7. Hand gestures: Greeks use many hand gestures when speaking, and some may seem rude or offensive to visitors. It is important to be aware of these gestures and their meanings to avoid misunderstandings.

By being respectful of Greek customs and culture, visitors can have a more authentic and enjoyable experience when visiting Greece.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Greece is a wonderful destination for a holiday with its beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. Visitors can enjoy exploring ancient sites, soaking up the sun on the beaches, hiking through stunning natural scenery, tasting the delicious cuisine, and experiencing the local customs and traditions. With its warm and hospitable people, Greece offers a unique and authentic holiday experience that will leave visitors with unforgettable memories. Whether it’s a romantic getaway or a family vacation, Greece is a destination that is sure to please.