GREECE TRAVEL GUIDE

GREECE TRAVEL GUIDE

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TOP GREECE TRAVEL TIPS

ΚΑΛΏΣ ΉΛΘΑΤΕ ΣΤΟ GREEZE!

Greece – a country with an archipelago of 6,000 combined islets and islands that dot the Aegean and Ionian Seas is considered the birthplace of Western philosophy, democracy, political science, theatre, poetry, and the Olympic Games.

In addition to being home to 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Acropolis in Athens and the archeological sites of Delphi, Mystras and Olympia, Greece is also home to Greek mythology, Homer, the Parthenon, Mount Olympus, the Theatre of Epidaurus, and the classic philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

Greece produces 7% of the world’s marble and is one of world’s leaders in olive production (some of its current-producing olive trees going back to 13th century). It has over 250 days of sunshine every year, great for wine production, with wetlands that can house as many as 100,000 birds at a time.

Its capital, Athens, is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Greece also holds popular island destinations such as Santorini, Crete, Naxos and Mykonos, to name a few.

LANGUAGES IN GREECE

The official language is Greek, originating over 3,000 years ago making it one of the oldest European languages spoken.

How's Your Greek?

Need any easy way to brush up on your Greek for your trip to Greece?

GREEK CULTURE

Considered to be the cradle of Western culture and democracy, its culture influenced the Roman Empire which in turn spread the Greek culture to many civilizations thereby impacting many modern cultures today – some who owe government by the people, trial by jury and equality under the law to the Greeks. 

Greek art, architecture, science, philosophy, theater, poetry, painting, and sculpture has also influenced many cultures to this day as well. 

The Romans also helped spread Greek cuisine, which is built on wheat, olive oil and wine that thrive in the Mediterranean climate. In fact, it was a Greek who wrote the first cookbook in 320 B.C. Feta cheese, made of goat’s milk, is the Greek national cheese that dates back to 1100 and 800 BC. Traditional diets consist of vegetables, olives and olive oil, cheese, fish and bread, with meat being considered a luxury and eaten on special occasions. 

Byzantine cuisine infused with the Greek’s with fish, basil, lemons and nutmeg. Greek cuisine is also influenced by Italian and Ottoman dishes, such as baklava.  Having produced wine since for over 6,500 years, Greece is considered one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world.

Today, 98% of Greeks classify as Christian Orthodox making religion play an important role in their culture.  The remaining population comprise of Roman Catholics, Jewish and Muslims. 

There is a rich history of Greek traditions, religious or from paganism, and Greeks are considered very superstitious, such traditions and superstitions can vary by region, and island, to island. 

Today, most of the traditions and festivals still celebrated are religious, such as Name Day celebration (most Greeks are named after a Christian saint), Easter, and Apokries (the Greek Carnival). 

The Greeks enjoy a low crime rate and value a strong family structure with mutual support within extended families being considered very important.

POPULAR GREEK ACTIVITIES

Football (soccer) is the national sport of Greece. There are many football leagues in Greece, but it is the Superleague, comprising of 16 clubs, that is considered the best.  With a warm, sunny climate, many Greeks spend time outdoors. 

In many of the small villages or on the islands, “volta” is still practiced – the act of strolling up and down the main street on the beach at sundown. Many Greeks participate in or attend religious celebrations of saints with traditional music.

There are many churches in Greece where attendance is still high. Greece also has many museums of antiquities to visit.

Most Greek festivals take place in the summer but many take place year-round, the most popular being the Athens and Epidaurus Festival

The Greeks also spend a lot of leisure time in their cafés and coffee shops, and nightlife can be lively consisting of dinner followed by drinks in a lounge or nightclub, some with dancing until dawn.

GREEK CURRENCY

Greece uses the Euro (€).  Exchange rates are usually favorable for Europeans but could fluctuate in the other direction. Check throughout your travel planning phase on any exchange rate changes.

GREECE TRANSPORTATION

Ferries are a great way of traveling between islands instead of flying.

Greece has Uber and Carpoolworld, and other possible regional ridesharing services and apps (research in advance if they are in your destination area). There are also taxis, of course.

Greece also has great bus and train services, so getting around and booking transportation is easy.

TIPPING IN GREECE

Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules.  That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated. 

What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc.  For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.

Additionally, you should always tip in the local currency (if tipping in cash), and do not be offended if your tip is refused as it may not be the norm. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not, unless I know it will be considered offensive, like in Japan.

GREEK HOLIDAYS

A key activity to do in your early planning stage is to know, at minimum, the national holidays. I so suggest also looking into the local holidays.  It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money to take the holiday of your lifetime and when you show up at one of your key attractions, it’s closed due to a holiday.  It’s also not fun trying to travel and have a hard time accessing travel or other essential resources when no one is around because, yes, it’s a local holiday.  So, take just a few moments to look at Greece’s holidays.

GREECE ELECTRONIC ESSENTIALS

Besides money, required ID and your ticket, Greece voltage is 230V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz, so bring Type C and F adapters (it doesn’t hurt to bring two of each) for Greece outlets and research if your electronics require a voltage converter, if not already included in the adapter; or, you can bring electronics already adapted for Greece outlets or wait to purchase them there (I recommend just bringing the adapters with converter).  

Remember, most smart phones, tablets and laptops don’t require a converter, but double-check your device(s) before you leave home.  If you are going to another country in addition to Greece on your trip, you can check the global adapters list to make sure you’re prepared. I have also provided suggested adapters below for your convenience.

Schuko, Germany France Travel Power Adapter by Ceptics, Grounded European Plug - Type E/F Outlet, Adaptor for USA to Europe EU Socket - 3 Pack - Use In Norway, Korea, Spain, Greece, Russa, Iceland
14,100 Reviews
Schuko, Germany France Travel Power Adapter by Ceptics, Grounded European Plug - Type E/F Outlet, Adaptor for USA to Europe EU Socket - 3 Pack - Use In Norway, Korea, Spain, Greece, Russa, Iceland*
  • Compact heavy duty - 3 prong grounded safe Type E/F Plug adapter - Compatible in most of European countries such as
  • Perfect for travelling and using with your iPhone charger, laptop charger, camera charger and other dual voltage chargers.
  • Accepts plugs from all countries including USA, does not accept plugs from S. Africa
European Travel Plug Adapter by Ceptics Europe Power Adaptor Charger Dual Input - Ultra Compact - Light Weight - USA to any Type C Countries such as Italy, Iceland, Austria and More (CT-9C), white
6,002 Reviews
European Travel Plug Adapter by Ceptics Europe Power Adaptor Charger Dual Input - Ultra Compact - Light Weight - USA to any Type C Countries such as Italy, Iceland, Austria and More (CT-9C), white*
  • Perfect for your travel needs: This is all you need to charge your cell phones, laptops, camera chargers, CPAP machine or anything else that is dual voltage Compatible.
  • 2 in 1 Input: Accepts the standard N American 2 and/or 3 prong flat pin Plug (including polarized) - No Messy Universal Outlet
  • Ultra Compact Size & Safe: only measures 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.75" & max load rating: 10-15A/250V, round pin thickness - 4.0 mm
Ceptics Travel Adapter with Types A-M Plugs, Travel Plug Adapter Set Compatible with Power Sockets in All Continents, Compact World Travel Adapter, International Plug Adaptor Kit, Set of 12,GP-12PK
471 Reviews
Ceptics Travel Adapter with Types A-M Plugs, Travel Plug Adapter Set Compatible with Power Sockets in All Continents, Compact World Travel Adapter, International Plug Adaptor Kit, Set of 12,GP-12PK*
  • A Powerful Set of 12 Adapters - Our all-in-one international travel adapter set features 1 universal input socket that allows you to connect a plug from almost any country worldwide, including the 2-prong and 3-prong North American plugs.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS FOR GREECE

From the U.S., you will need a valid passport.  Visas are not required if your stay is less than 6 months.  Make sure your passport expiration date is greater than 3 months from your return to the U.S.  

The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to Greece.  It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.  If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

VACCINATIONS FOR GREECE

There are normally no vaccinations required for Greece travel. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to Greece.  It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.  If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

GREECE TRAVEL BOOKING

GREECE ECOTOURISM TIPS

There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Greece. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.

ECO-FRIENDLY AIR TRAVEL

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.

Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

ECO-FRIENDLY GROUND TRANSPORTATION

Try to avoid renting a car in Greece by using bus and train services.

When booking a rideshare in Greece, select the Uber Green option, instead of a traditional rideshare, to support the use of electric cars and carpooling for cleaner transportation in Greece.

Lime also has electric scooters to rent in Greece for faster and cleaner commuting. Search Lime for select city availability.

ECO-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATIONS

Look for accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:

Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for Greece and other European Green Global members.

Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.

Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.

LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for Greece certifications.

Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.

GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.

Another way to find an establishments implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is through Booking.com in which you’ll need to find and review each establishment’s ‘Sustainable Initiatives’ within the booking process. Starting 2022, however, you’ll be able to filter searches for accommodations with the Travel Sustainable badge. Finally!

ECO-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

Greece has ecotourism ideas available to explore for your next vacation.

Search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in Greece. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.

MORE ECO-TRAVEL TIPS

There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel.  Read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.

GREECE SAFETY TIPS

HOW TO TRAVEL GREECE SAFELY

Compared to other countries, Greece is considered safe to visit.  There are rarely travel advisories for Greece.  Although the crime rate is low, just take the general safety measures like you would anywhere else.  That said, here my standard tips for female and solo travelers are:

  • always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
  • always be “street wise”.
  • always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
  • never leave your food or drink unattended.
  • keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
  • be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
  • research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
  • if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.

GREECE BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS

BEST TIME TO VISIT GREECE

Sounds like prices have gone up for Greece since I’ve been there.  You can still do low budget accommodations like a hostel for backpackers or a cheap hotel, but then prices do go up from there. It could be expensive to fly to Greece so if you go, I would recommend making the most of the airfare and visiting at least another country, like Turkey or Italy.  

Like other countries in Europe, Greece’s high, tourist season, and most expensive time, is the summer (late June to August).  Athens is considered pricier than other Greek destinations.  Good prices can be found in April to early June or in September, and the weather will still be very nice.  The off season, October to early April, is definitely the cheapest time to visit Greece.

PERSONAL STORY

The first time I went to Greece was in 1995. I was fortunate enough to see Athens, which I highly recommend, and enjoy beach time on the pink beaches of Naxos and black beaches of Santorini with a cold beers and a souvlaki pitas. If you go to the Santorini beaches, don’t forget your shoes because that black sand can get hot

I can’t believe it took me half my lifetime to get back to Greece in 2021. Time flies! This time around I revisited Santorini (which has become a little too touristy, unfortunately) and find my sea turtles in Zakynthos, which I did. I love Greece and can’t wait to go back. I just hope it doesn’t take me another 26 years.

Go to Greece to unwind in the sun, partake in water sports, and/or volunteer.  Enjoy the many great dishes and wine tasting Greece has to offer followed by amazing sunsets and people.

GREECE PHOTOS

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