Planning a Trip to Greece - The Ultimate Guide
- 402 views
Greece, known as the cradle of classical western civilization, is filled with architectural wonders, from the Pantheon in Athens to the temple of Poseidon in Attica. The country seems to have it all—towering monasteries of Meteora, sun-drenched beaches along the Aegean Sea, an idyllic countryside dotted with olive trees and vineyards, rugged mountains with scenic hiking trails, and lovely islands like Santorini and Mykonos. Add to this endless variety of cuisine that has inspired the world. Planning a trip to Greece? This is your perfect guide to this astonishing country.
Best time to visit Greece
The best time to visit Greece is in the shoulder months of April to May and September to October, when the weather is pleasant but the tourist rush is lower. The peak tourist season in Greece is from June to August as the country sees more tourists arriving to enjoy the warm and balmy weather. Though winter in Greece is not as cold as in many other parts of Europe, some places do see snowfall, and the pace of life does slow down.
What not to miss in Greece
Make sure that you do not miss out on including the following highlights when you are planning your next trip to Greece.
- Athens: Get your fill of Classical Greek at the Acropolis but don’t forget to explore modern Athens. Explore the capital and its neighborhoods (like the lively Monastiraki), embrace the calmness of the National Gardens, and admire the artwork at the National Museum of Contemporary Art. If you’re planning a trip to Athens, it is an excellent destination to travel to throughout the year.
- Thessaloniki: A historic gateway to the east, Thessaloniki has been part of Greece for barely one hundred years—and it shows. Take a tour of the city as you soak in the noise and color of Kapani, its main market. Discover the city’s Ottoman architecture and have a dreamy breakfast in the old town.
- Mykonos: With its lovely beaches, buzzing nightlife, and maze of narrow streets, Mykonos is just the place to start your island hopping in the Aegean Sea. If you are planning on visiting Mykonos, make sure that you take a dip in the blue seawater.
- Delphi: Head for Delphi and discover why it was the center of the earth for ancient Greeks—with its eye-catching landscape, located at the foot of Mount Parnassos. It’s even more beautiful in spring when wildflowers are in full bloom.
- Santorini: A Greek tour is incomplete without a visit to Santorini. The approach to this beautiful island by boat is itself extraordinary: a crescent of cliffs rising more than 1,100 feet and a white cluster of towns greet you.
How long to stay in Greece
If you have little time to spare, we suggest spending at least 5 days in Greece. You can soak up the sights of Athens along with one lovely island stay, either Santorini or Mykonos. Spending seven days in the country will allow you to see more cities, like Thessaloniki, and visit islands such as Corfu and Ios. To get a more rounded taste of this beautiful country, we recommend going on a two-week trip, in which you can also cover top-rated cities and towns like Delphi, Nafplio, and Parga, and then go island hopping.
Make sure to take a look at our travel guide to view our recommendations on how many days to spend in Greece.
How to get to Greece
The simplest way to get to Greece is to fly. There are direct flights to several Greek destinations from all major European cities as well as the American ones. If you’re traveling from another European country, you can consider a train journey like Eurail. A scenic option is to catch an Adriatic ferry from France or Italy. Driving to Greece from within the European Union is also a pleasant experience if you have time to spare.
Ferries are the best way to reach Greece’s islands, and the country’s ferry network is comprehensive. But in winter, schedules are restricted. Aegean Airlines, Olympic Air, and Sky Express are some of the airlines connecting all the major tourist routes, including many islands. Trains are a pleasant way to reach different parts of the mainland. There are regular trains that halt at all stations, and faster intercity trains linking major cities. You can buy a ticket online from the OSE website. The bus network is extensive and most major routes are serviced by the KTEL group.
Budget and money
When planning a trip to Greece, the costs of transport and hotel tariffs are the first things you will have to consider. Besides hotels on the mainland, there are resorts (mostly on beaches and islands) and apartment stays. For backpackers, a dorm bed can cost as little as 13 USD. A decent budget hotel can cost USD 45. To get around, buses are cheaper than trains but less comfortable. A bus trip from Athens to Thessaloniki may cost you a little above USD 30. Overall, you may need a budget of around USD 3,000 per person for a two-week Greece trip. If you’re planning a trip on a budget, we have a great set of budget itineraries to Greece exclusively for you.
What you didn’t know (but should)
Planning any trip is easier when expert help is at hand. Here are some helpful things about Greece you probably didn’t know, but maybe you should:
- Money matters: Always keep a few coins handy for those tips for waiters or rounding off a taxi bill.
- Language helps: Nobody expects you to speak Greece fluently, but a few words will go a long way in connecting with locals.
- Winter way: Ferry services to islands are restricted between November and March and stop altogether to some islands.
- Slow down: The Greek way of doing things can seem slower. So don’t be upset if things don’t work with clockwork precision.
Greece is a very safe place and you don’t need to pay specific attention to safety while making your plans for your trip. Still, it helps to keep these things in mind:
- Pickpockets: They do exist, especially in big cities like Athens. So just keep an eye on your bag, purse, and wallet.
- Mugging: It rarely happens to tourists, but find out which are the unsafe areas to travel to.
- Roads: Greece, unfortunately, has one of the worst vehicle accident rates in Europe. Though road conditions have improved, exercise caution if you’re driving over unfamiliar terrain and always use the seatbelt.
With its superb mix of world-class historical sites, magical islands, stunning beaches, and charming cities, Greece is an excellent destination. Our local travel experts in Greece will provide you with all the help needed to plan a custom trip to Greece that meets your budget and interests.