Before you travel to Greece…

The people

Greek people are very kind and hospitable. The first impression might be different, but this is probably because they’re a bit scared to speak in English. However, this won’t be a problem at touristic places. Very important is that you’re very kind. Be kind and you will be treaded kind. A good way to show your kindness is to use some Greek words, but make sure you have some time left, because they will try to learn you even more.

There’s a good change some locals will ask you where you’re from. The Greek people are truly interested in the people around them and although most of the Greek people prefer an holiday on one of their beautiful islands, they know quite a lot about the rest of the world.

Very important to know is that Greek people have all the time in the world. They are very relaxed, not aware of time. Keep this in mind when you’re waiting for your food or when you try to make an appointment with a Greek. When I just arrived in Greece I really had to get used to this. In my culture it can be disrespectful to let people wait, however once you get used to this way of living, you’ll feel so much more relaxed.

Greeks are very traditional people and also very proud on their history. They will be happy to tell you about the roots of their traditions and you can find taverns with typical Greek food and Greek life music everywhere.

The money

The Euro is the only money accepted in Greece . Very important to know is that you have to take cash with you. Many restaurants or small shops and kiosks (I love the kiosks!) do not accept a credit card. It is pretty unusual to pay with card, and it will even take more time.

In the large cities and touristic islands it won’t be hard to find an ATM. Are you planning to go to a more quite island our small village, make sure you have enough cash with you or check if there is an ATM close to your destination.

Curious about the daily costs in Greece? This very much depends on the season you’re traveling to Greece and also your destination. However in the schedule below you may find some examples:

Budget Midrange Expensive
Streetfood €2 – 4 €4 – 8 From €8
Dining €8 -10 €15 – 20 €20 – 50
Sleeping €10 – 20 €35 -60 From €90
Night out €10-20 €20 – 50 From €50

As I’ve already mentioned, in Greece only the Euro is accepted as money. Check this link to find the exchanges rates

The seasons

When traveling to Greece it’s very important to be aware of the seasons and keep them in mind when planning your trip.

From October until March there is not much to do in Greece. For tourism this is the low season. Many restaurants and hotels are closed and on the small islands everything is completely shut down for tourists. The prices of accommodation, car rentals and other tourist occasions can go down to 50% of the high season price. It can be more difficult to travel through Greece, since the busses, boats and trains are having an adjusted schedule.

During winter it can be pretty cold and sometimes even freeze. In my experience the worst part is that the most houses don’t have a good isolation and heating system, but this probably won’t be an issue when you’re staying in a nice hotel.

Mid-season will be in April (after eastern) and September. The prices for accommodations are still quite low and the touristic places are not crowded. The temperature is perfect, although it can be a bit cold during the evening. The temperature is perfect for sightseeing, mountain walks and you can even take a swim.  During spring the nature is very beautiful. In my opinion April will be the best month to travel to Greece.

High season will be from May until August. Keep in mind that you will pay double for your accommodation, car rental, bike rental and tourist trips. Tourist places can be pretty crowded and especially in Athens it can be very hot. When you are traveling in high season, I would recommend you to visit the Islands, since most of them are more windy and you have the ability to cool down in the sea.

The transport

Car rental is quite affordable in Greece (also depending on season and destination). On Rhodes Ben and I paid 140 Euros to rent a Fiat Panda for three days. A car is a good way to get around the Islands, but I wouldn’t recommend driving in the cities when you’re not used to busy and unorganized traffic. To be honest, the Greek traffic is crazy, especially in Athens (people just ignore the signs, illegal parking is the rule and they always need to get in front of you). If Ben and I rent a car we use it to get around an Island, but we always park a bit outside the City Centre.

When you are planning to visit more than one place in Greece, going by plane can be pretty fast. Most airport are small even in the bigger cities. So being at the airport 1 – 2 hours before boarding is more than enough. Don’t expect much luxury and time entertainment at the airports, but Wi-Fi is almost always available. Domestic flights can be pretty cheap, especially when you have the option to fly with Ryanair.

My favourite way to get around in Greece is by boat. Although I do get a bit seasick, traveling by boat offers you a few benefits. There is no need to check in your luggage (except for when you are traveling with a vehicle), this saves a lot of time on just waiting. Furthermore you have the ability to move and walk on the boat, the seats are pretty comfortable and the big ferry’s always have a restaurant and electricity on board.

Don’t think there won’t be any disadvantages about traveling by boat trough Greece. The boats are often delayed, so make sure you have some time left before your next appointment. Planning a boat trip and flight on the same day is not recommended.

For our previous trips Ben and I used the website of Direct Ferries to compare the prices and timetables. You can find the website here.

Don’t forget: Although you do not have to check in and there is no customs inspection, when you’re entering the bigger ferries you do have to show an Passport or ID card.

Especially when traveling through the mainland, it is also possible to travel by bus. Those busses are pretty comfortable and not really expensive. A huge disadvantages is the accuracy of the schedule. There are schedules for these busses, but this doesn’t mean that the bus will really leave at those times. Ben and I use the phrase “Greek maybe time”.

Click here for more information about traveling by bus from Athens

The internet

Being online can make traveling so much easier! Many restaurants  and organised beaches will offer you free Wi-Fi, but at some places you have to ask for the Wi-Fi code. Don’t be afraid to ask, the waiters will be happy to give you the password as long as you have ordered something. Also most hotels and hostel will offer you free Wi-Fi. Keep in mind that the internet can be quite slow and doesn’t always cover the whole area.

If you wish to be online for 24 hours it is also an option to buy a Greek SIM card. Especially in the big cities they will offer you free SIM cards on touristic places. You will pay about €10,- to receive 1GB mobile data. Keep in mind that you might have to change your internet settings when you’re using a Greek SIM card in your device. When you buy your SIM card in one of the many Vodafone stores the  staff would love to help you.

Bonus tip: Since June 15 2017 inhabitants of the European Union do not have to pay extra costs for their mobile network and data transmissions as long as they are located within the European Union. So you will be able to use your normal mobile data without paying extra.

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