If you are planning on visiting Greece for the first time, it’s important to plan your trip well in order to make the most of your time in this beautiful country.
Greece offers a wide range of options for travelers, from ancient Greek ruins to stunning beaches and picturesque islands. One must-visit destination for a first-time visitor is Athens, the historic capital city.
Here, you can explore iconic sites such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon, while also immersing yourself in the vibrant modern city life.
It’s best to allocate at least 7 days for your Greece vacation, as there is so much to see and do. The best time to visit Greece is during the spring and fall, when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are less.
However, if you don’t have the time to visit during those periods, Greece in winter can still be a great option, especially for those who enjoy a more peaceful and authentic experience.
Whatever time you decide to go and wherever you choose to stay, Greece is sure to leave a lasting impression on every traveler.
So, let’s get started!
Essential Greece Travel Tips: Best Time to Visit Greece
If you’re planning a trip to Greece, it’s essential to know the best time to visit. The time in Greece can greatly affect your travel experience.
Athens, the capital city, can be extremely hot and crowded during the summer months, making it less enjoyable for some travelers.
Generally, the best time to go to Greece is in the spring (April to early June) or fall (September to October) when the weather is milder and there are fewer tourists.
For first timers spending around 10 days in Greece (more than 7 weeks) is especially important as it allows for a more comfortable and less crowded experience.
If you’re looking to explore the Greek isles, the summer months are generally the best, as the weather is ideal for swimming and island hopping.
However, be prepared for higher prices and bigger crowds during this time. Additionally, it is always recommended to purchase travel insurance when visiting Greece, as unforeseen circumstances can arise.
Lastly, if you plan on renting a car in Greece, familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and regulations, as well as the narrow and winding roads that are common in the country.
Now let’s have a look at the different Greece travel trips!
Locations when Visiting Greece for The First Time in Groups
Greece offers a variety of vacation options for groups of friends, depending on their age and interests.
If you’re looking for a younger crowd, Mykonos is the place to be with its never-ending nightlife, dining, and activities such as beer tasting, cooking classes, and boat trips.
For those looking for something more tranquil, island hopping around the Ionian Sea is perfect to explore the mountains, pastel-colored houses, and Italian vibe.
If history is more your thing, check out Crete, Rhodes, Naxos or Delphi for archaeological sites, historical towns, and delicious food experiences.
Currency in Greece
The European Euro (€) is the official currency in Greece. Since exchange rates can change daily, it’s wise to check them before you go. To be safe, have some cash on hand too.
Most stores accept either credit or debit cards, including those with contactless technology. For best results, use Visa or Mastercard as Dinars and AMEX tend to be more difficult to find acceptance for.
When it comes to pricing, don’t worry as sales tax is already included in the cost of goods.
Transportation to Go in Greece
Traveling to Greece is hassle-free. Flying is the quickest and most convenient option, although there are other alternatives such as driving, taking a train, or even sailing on a cruise ship.
Cruises provide the experience of visiting multiple places during a short period of time and have earned Greece recognition as the world’s best cruise destination.
Best Months to Plan Your Trip to Greece
Visiting Greece in either June or September is a great way to experience the country at its best. You can find discounted prices on flights and accommodation, as well as more availability for last-minute ferry tickets to the islands.
Travel to Greece to Learn About Raki or Ouzo
Enjoying local spirits is a beloved part of a night out with friends and family in Greece. Raki or Ouzo can be enjoyed neat, as a shot or mixed with water to create a cloudy concoction.
This is traditionally accompanied by the saying “Yamas!”, wishing health to everyone present. For those unfamiliar with the custom, it is customary to make eye contact when toasting – an essential part of any Greek evening.
Stay in Greece for More than 7 Days
Spending more than a week (atleast 10 days) in Greece is highly recommended for a rewarding experience – it’s packed with attractions and places to see. When planning, don’t try to cram too much into a short time.
Instead, focus on 3 or 4 destinations and take your time exploring them. If you can, two weeks is ideal – enough time to explore the mainland, visit Athens and spend a week in the Greek islands. This will give you an unforgettable first-time visit.
Do Island Hopping
Those travelling to Greece may not be aware that there are over 227 inhabited Greek islands to explore besides Santorini and Mykonos. The Saronic Islands, for instance, can be reached by ferry from the Port of Piraeus in Athens in little time.
Explorers can take advantage of island hopping or spend a few days on one of these lesser-known isles to relax and unwind.
Other than this, the stunning island of Poros is just an hour away by ferry from Piraeus. It’s harbour is shaped in an amphitheatre and is surrounded by a dense pine forest.
Hydra, also known as the Jewel of Saronics, is definitely worth a visit too with its lack of motorized vehicles and trendy shops, hotels, and Venetian harbour.
Both these islands are so close to Athens that you can combine a city break and island experience in one go.
Spend Time in Athens
Visiting Athens is a must for anyone planning a trip to Greece. This city is filled with historical sites and activities that shouldn’t be missed before heading off to the islands.
What you can do in Athens?
- The Temple of Poseidon, at Cape Sounion on the Athens coast, boasts stunning views of the sea from its elevated position. A drive of approximately 43 miles to reach this photogenic temple in time for sunset is definitely worth it.
- The Acropolis of Athens stands proudly atop a rocky hill and offers captivating views of the cityscape to the distant sea. This ancient citadel is one of Greece’s most iconic destinations.
- Athens Riviera is a popular destination for those looking for an idyllic beach getaway. Located just 10 minutes from the city center, it features upscale hotels and trendy beach clubs.
- Plaka, situated in the center of Athens at the foot of the Acropolis, is a historical neighborhood full of narrow, neoclassical streets and establishments. Visitors experience a unique atmosphere as if they are on an island.
- Exploring the local food and wine scene can be a memorable experience. At the old market, visitors can find an array of delicious produce while immersing themselves in the traditional atmosphere. After browsing through the market, tourists can visit any number of nearby wine bars and restaurants until they are completely satisfied.
Go to Greece to Discover Its Mainland
Greece is not just made up of islands; it has a vibrant mainland too. The Peloponnese peninsula in the south is connected to the mainland by the Corinth Canal or Rion-Antirion Bridge, forming an ‘island’.
Here, visitors can explore the original capital of Greece, Nafplion, with its cobblestone streets and grand architecture. It also makes for an easy day trip from Athens, which is less than two hours away.
Monemvasia is a spectacular castle town located at the bottom of a peninsula jutting out into the sea. It’s connected to the mainland by an accessway, and visitors can also enjoy its breathtaking sights from a boat tour.
Inland from it lies the Oracle of Delphi, which scientists have proven to be the center of the earth.
Move Around Greece Islands in Buses
Travelling around the Greek Islands by bus can be a great option. Paros and Syros have good, regular buses circulating around their islands. Mykonos has plenty of buses linking the popular beaches there.
During peak months like July and August, more buses are usually added to popular routes – however, during quieter periods, some routes may be stopped or reduced. If there is a group of you travelling together, you may find it cheaper to get a taxi.
1. Bus Stops and Luggage
Bus stops are typically found along the side of a road, often with a shelter to protect from the elements. If one isn’t visible across the street, just wait for the bus you need in front of the stop on the opposite side.
When taking a bus in Greece, you must store your luggage and bulky items in the compartments beneath the vehicle. If the compartment doors have handles, passengers may open them and place their belongings inside.
However, if not, the driver will do so from their dashboard. Valuables should always be kept on one’s person; however, other possessions can safely be left behind with no worries.
Doing this is common practice in both Greece and Spain. It is important to note that no bags should be brought onto the bus, as they may take up a seat or simply due to lack of space.
2. Fare Payment
Passengers must pay their fare upon boarding some buses. Other buses require a conductor to come around and collect payment after the passenger is seated.
On certain routes, both methods of payment may be available. It is generally acceptable to use larger denominations of money if necessary.
Be Respectful to The Greek Culture
It is very common to come across beautiful and ornate churches in Greece, as the Orthodox religion plays a significant part in everyday life.
Visitors should be aware that skimpy shorts or tops aren’t well-received by locals if they wish to explore – it’s advised to take a shawl to cover up arms and legs to show respect.
Also, in Greek culture, it is considered offensive to make the “OK” sign with your finger and thumb while facing someone. This is done by forming a circle with your index finger and thumb and splaying your hand with the palm showing.
Get to Greece During an Annual Event
Traveling to Greece during the summer can be even more enjoyable thanks to the numerous festivals and events taking place. From the historic Athens Epidaurus Festival, which showcases performances of music, dance, and theater, to the traditional Panyigiria (Greek folk festivals), every year visitors have the opportunity to enjoy various cultural experiences.
The Epidaurus amphitheatre is known for its incredible acoustics, allowing performers to be heard without a microphone all the way in the top tiers. With so many unique events available, travelers get enthralled with fantastic Greek culture.
English & Greece
Most people in Greece are able to speak English, especially those in customer service. It’s also common for students to learn English as part of their school curriculum. However, Greek is still the official language and can be difficult to learn.
People will appreciate if you at least know a few basic words like ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘hello’. Pay attention to bilingual street signs when visiting cities, and learning the Greek alphabet can be beneficial if you plan on exploring more remote areas.
When traveling to Greece, it is recommended to pack light. If you are visiting in the wintertime, take all necessary items that you can easily transport once you reach your destination.
However, if you plan on exploring the islands in the summertime, try and confine your wardrobe to hand luggage only. This will make navigating the steps, dirt roads, and other uneven pavement much easier.
When organizing door-to-door transfers and having someone else take care of your luggage, it takes away some of the stress.
To show your appreciation, tipping is a great way to say thank you, especially if they’re carrying your luggage up and down stairs, like in Santorini.
- Pack lightweight, breathable fabrics such as linen and cotton in natural colours.
- Consider bringing multi-functional outerwear pieces such as windbreakers or anoraks.
- Include clothing items that can easily be washed in a sink and air-dried.
- Incorporate neutral tones such as whites, greys, and blacks to create many combinations with minimal pieces.
- Choose summer-friendly accessories such as Panama hats, straw bags, and sunglasses.
- Pack cool, loose shorts to avoid chafing during hot Greek days.
- Choose comfortable flat shoes for long village walks and exploring historic sites.
- Bring a skirt/sarong that covers the knees for religious monuments.
- Include a light jacket or jumper in the shoulder seasons.
- Don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen – Mediterranean sun can be strong!
Learn a Few Local Words Like Yasas
If you’re planning a trip to Greece, it’s a good idea to learn a few local words. A great place to start is by learning how to say hello. The formal greeting is “Yassas” and the informal singular is “yasou.”
Hearing locals use these terms instead of “hello” can make conversations more memorable and enjoyable. Consider picking up a Greek language book if you’d like to know more.
Traveling to Greece with Kids
Traveling to Greece with kids is an excellent choice for a family vacation. You and your children will appreciate the wonderful weather, beaches awarded the ‘Blue Flag’ of cleanliness, and plentiful activities suited for young travelers.
Greece offers many enjoyable experiences for the whole family throughout the year.
Greece offers families the perfect combination of safe crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches for their children to explore. From swimming, snorkeling, to sandcastle building, there are plenty of activities that will keep them entertained all day long.
Kids can have a fun learning experience from the plethora of historical sites and monuments around the country. For example, in Ancient Olympia, kids can channel their inner hero Hercules and get competitive by creating their own olive wreaths and challenging each other for the crown.
Additionally, there are medieval forts such as Nafplio, Chlemoutsi and Methoni that offer exciting exploration opportunities. With these places to explore, history and mythology come alive and provide an unforgettable experience for children!
Parents can rest assured their children will love the food at Greek tavernas and restaurants. Dishes are made with fresh produce, such as fruits and vegetables, along with a healthy dose of olive oil. This creates tasty, Mediterranean-style meals that are nutritious for kids
Road Crossing in Greece
When crossing a main road in Greece, it is recommended that you wait for several seconds, even after the traffic signal has indicated to do so. This extra precaution is due to some drivers not respecting the traffic signals, making it unsafe to cross immediately.
Safe or Not?
Travellers should be aware that Greece is one of the safest vacation spots in the world, however some precautions are recommended. To avoid being a victim of pickpocketing, it is important to not carry valuables or money in your back pocket.
Additionally, there have been reports of transportation scams in Piraeus Port and the airport, so always use licensed transfer services.
Evade Throwing Toilet Paper in The Toilet
Visitors to Greece should take note of an important travel tip: never throw toilet paper in the toilet. This is because the sewage pipes are very old and narrow, meaning that even toilet paper can easily become blocked.
Instead, be sure to place your used toilet paper in the small trash can next to the toilet for safe disposal.
If you’re planning your first trip to Greece, it’s important to do some research and gather a few essential tips. Traveling in Greece can be an amazing experience, with its beautiful landscapes, rich history, and welcoming people.
One of the first things to consider is where to go in Greece. The country offers a plethora of destinations to explore, both on the mainland and the Greek Islands.
Athens, the capital city, is a must-visit for its ancient ruins and vibrant culture. Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete are some popular islands to enjoy stunning beaches and picturesque towns.
Another vital aspect to be mindful of is the tipping culture in Greece. While tipping isn’t obligatory, it is customary to leave a small amount of change or round up the bill in restaurants and for services like taxis.
Moreover, it’s important to remember that Greece is a Mediterranean country, which means that meal times can be much later than in other parts of the world.
vSo, be prepared to adjust your eating schedule accordingly. With careful planning and proper knowledge about Greece, you can make the most out of your trip and create unforgettable memories.
So, grab a guidebook, get ready to explore anywhere in Greece, and immerse yourself in the vibrant Greek culture. Good Luck!