There are many things and travel tips for Greece you should know before you travel to the most beautiful plot of earth, as someone once said about Greece. Your travel experience in Greece can be once in a lifetime trip -obviously, it WILL be – but it may take a turn for the worst. For this reason, we have gathered for you the top 10 must-know travel hacks for Greece that everyone should know! Take a look at them and travel in Greece like a travel pro!
1. Best time to visit Greece
There has been much debate about which is the best time of year to visit Greece. Due to the Mediterranean climate and the geography of the country, winter in Greece is mild with frequent rainfalls, while the summer days are hot and sunny. The best time to visit Greece is spring or early summer and autumn. We highly recommend that you visit Greece in early autumn when the weather is neither cold nor hot, and you can swim in the Greek sea, which is still warm. Furthermore, who doesn’t want to enjoy the beach without hundreds of people lying next to each other? For sure, if you travel to Greece in early autumn, you will not face crowded streets and beaches, and high prices.
2. Survive on the roads of Greece
What you have to know before visiting Greece is that Greek drivers sometimes go crazy while driving and do not follow the driving rules. You should be more than careful when you drive in Greece, especially in the major Greek cities. Athens can turn into a jungle full of cars and drivers in a hurry, mainly during the peak hours of the day, early in the morning and in the afternoon. What we recommend you is to use the public transportation system, mainly in Athens, where the subway goes almost to all the popular sights. In addition, taking a taxi for short routes is inexpensive. Moreover, finding a parking seat in the city center is like a treasure hunt. You never know if you will win!
Insiders’ tip: Be careful..Ιn Greece, there is a bad habit when the traffic light turns orange, Greek drivers usually speed up, instead of stopping.
3. Greek words to learn
There are some Greek phrases and words that you should know before traveling to Greece! Greeks feel so excited when hearing foreigners greeting them in Greek. You need just a “Yasas” – formal greeting or “Yasu” – an informal one, instead of saying “Hello”, for being a special guest in the hands of Greeks. Start your day with “Kalimera” – “Good morning” and take in return a broad smile from people on the streets. “Poso kani”, meaning “How much does it cost” is another Greek phrase you need to know, especially if you want to buy local products at open-air markets in Greece. A kind seller will probably answer you by making a gesture. That’s Greek-style communication!
See below a few essential Greek words for your next trip to Greece:
- Kalispera – Good evening
- Kalinihta – Goodnight
- Ti kanete? – How are you?
- Kala, eseis? – Fine, thanks. And you?
- Yamas! – Cheers!
- Efharisto – Thank you
- Parakalo – Please
4. Carry some cash in Euro
Money, money, money… Yeah, you need real money, if you want to survive in Greece. Keep your credit card with you, but also take cash in Euro. Many restaurants, bars, and shops do not accept credit cards. Similarly, when you take a taxi, be prepared to pay cash. Keep also in mind to have a lot of change, because taxi drivers quite often do not have enough change to break a larger bill. In any case, you can withdraw money from any ATM with a transaction fee of 2-3 euro. Find ATMs outside any Greek bank or in central spots around the town. During the high summer season, it’s very common not to be able to withdraw cash from ATMs. In highly-visited places, some ATMs can run out of money.
5. Arrange your travel bookings early in advance
Who wants to stay at a campsite? We like campings, but not everyone is a camping-lover! In order not to sleep on a beach under the sky, it’s better to book your room well in advance. Keep in mind that popular destinations, like Mykonos or Santorini, are fully-booked in high season. The truth is that the earlier you book your accommodation and transportation tickets, the cheaper tickets you will find. If you gonna visit any of the Greek islands, find your ferry tickets at Ferryhopper.com at the lowest price! Another travel hack for travel to Greece is to plan well in advance your trip unless you want to chill out all day at the beach. Book your tours and activities before your arrival, mainly if you gonna visit Greece during the peak season. Don’t miss out to immerse yourself into the best activities and tours in Greece and live authentic travel experiences.
6. Visit mainland of Greece
For sure you are dreaming of visiting the romantic island of Santorini or the cosmopolitan Mykonos, but we are here to tell you with absolute certainty, that Greece is more than just islands. In the mainland of Greece, you can find hidden spots, on and off the beaten path, dreamy places and live a unique adventure. From archaeological sites, with significant historical importance, to amazing beaches and vibrant cities, mainland Greece has always a new story to tell you.
Insiders’ tip: Your bucket-list of worth visiting destinations in the mainland of Greece should include Meteora, a unique place with the majestic monasteries built on the rock formations. What else…Peloponnese land, that combines Greek history with tradition, nature and golden beaches. Of course, don’t miss out the capital of history Athens and the “Lady of the North”, Thessaloniki.
7. What to pack for a vacation in Greece
If you intend to visit Greece in the summer and you are looking for packing tips, you should not forget to add the following items in your Greece packing list. You will need mainly light clothes, which you can easily wash, even by hand. We are sure, you don’t want to do laundry while on vacation! Who really wants to? However, remember to take with you a light jacket. Even if the weather is good in summer, there is always a need for a jacket, especially if you plan to travel to an island. The temperature drops down at night and you will have probably to face the so-called ‘Meltemi’ Greek winds.
Insiders’ tip: If you love walking or hiking and discovering every hidden corner of a new destination, don’t forget to take with you comfortable shoes. Another travel hack for Greece that refers to all the women who want to impress everyone on a Greek island is that you should better leave your heels at home! Walking on the cobblestone streets and the paved narrow paths of Greek islands can become an adventurous process on heels.
8. Support local, small businesses
It’s certain that you have heard about the financial crisis in Greece. Even if the majority of Greeks have suffered a blow in recent years, we know how to stand on our own feet. Supporting each other is not an obligation for Greeks, it’s mutual sympathy. Therefore, how about supporting local businesses instead of large, international companies? When you want to book a room in a hotel, go directly to the hotel website. Perhaps, you will find also some good deals, exclusively available on the own website of the hotel. In a similar way, trust Greek online travel portals and travel activities platforms to book tours and activities in Greece. Greeks know better their place than others who just do business in Greece. After all, we love “Made in Greece”! What about you?
Insiders’ tip: To taste the most delicious, fresh vegetables and fruits, visit the local open-air market instead of going to big grocery stores. Ask a local about the operating days and hours of the open-air markets, since some of the local markets do not operate on a daily basis.
9. Taste Greek food like a local
Now, let’s talk about food! Did you think that we wouldn’t include food into the list with the travel hacks you should know before traveling to Greece? We can talk about Greek food and Greek gastronomy for hours! Every place you visit has its very own food culture and history behind each traditional dish! We will not tell you to taste gyros, moussaka, tzatziki, and souvlaki. We are sure, you will! What we recommend is trying to reveal the culture behind the Greek gastronomy and sample as many local products as possible!
Insiders’ tip: Every destination has a food story! What’s your next Greek destination? Discover all the flavors of Greece on a food & wine tour and experience the Greek cuisine like a local! And, If you are a foodie traveler to Greece, we will tell you this! There is no better tasting experience than enjoying a home-cooked meal with a company of fellow Greek food enthusiasts. Eat a traditional lunch with a family in Mykonos and experience the Greek hospitality to its fullest!
10. Take it easy
Last but not least, we couldn’t end up this list with all the travel hacks and tips for travel to Greece, without asking you…why are you coming to Greece? Your incentive to visit Greece may be the rich Greek history, the Greek picturesque islands, the countless Greek beaches, the sea, and the sun or just the Greek mentality and philosophy. Just one word to remember- Halara. What does it mean? “Loosely” – It means that Greeks are relaxed, Greeks enjoy their coffee, Greeks sometimes slow down the pace of life. To live like a local in Greece, leave any stress at home and take everything halara!
Insiders’ tip: Remember that Greeks usually take a nap in the early afternoon after lunch, immersing themselves into a rejuvenating Greek ‘siesta’. Take into consideration that most of the shops are closed from 15:00 to 17:00. This Greek habit is absolutely justified if you take into account the extremely hot weather in the summer during these hours.
If you have any extra tips and travel hacks for Greece, you would like to add, feel free to leave a comment below! We would love to share them with all the Grekaddicts!