Greece is already a pretty low-budget destination. Of course, it depends on which island or area on the mainland you choose to visit.
That is why I decided to write this list, made on my personal experiences while traveling around this beautiful and historic country, to help you plan your perfect vacation without spending a fortune while visiting all the places you have always wanted to see.
Tips: As soon as you book your next adventure, buy good travel insurance in case you need to “unfortunately” delay, extend, or cancel your trip. I recommend VisitorsCoverage fo short trips and SafetyWing for trips longer than a month.
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Read 19 Tips to Visit Greece on a Budget
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1. Visit off-season:
The Greek high season is in July and August when everything gets crazy expensive, so if you plan to travel on a budget, I highly recommend you book your holiday in May, the beginning of June and September.
If you are planning to visit Santorini and Mykonos, the first half of September is still pretty crowded (I have been there in these two weeks), so you might opt to see them in the second half of the month or at the beginning of October.
The water will still be warm, pleasant, sunny weather will wait for you, and prices will be much lower.
And you also will have the chance to take stunning pictures without the high-season crowd around you.
2. Book everything a lot in advance:
Greece is a famous holiday destination, and the cheapest and best accommodations always get booked faster, so plan and save some money.
Use the Booking widget down below to check prices and availability.
3. Choose less famous islands:
There are thousands of islands in Greece; you cannot imagine how cheap some can be. They are all beautiful so that you won't miss anything.
Arrive early and leave in the evening, when the ferries are cheaper. Book a lot in advance, a bed and breakfast but still have the chance to be there and visit these two beautiful but too-expensive islands.
Travel Tip: if you are only interested in seeing Mykonos and Santorini's main towns, you can also opt to get there as a day trip if you are staying or coming from a nearby island. Look at Ferryhopper, the website I used to book all my ferries in Greece.
4. Choose to move by ferry in the afternoon or the evening:
If you look at Greek ferries prices, you will see how cheaper they can be in the afternoon, evening or overnight.
You might end up saving for one trip only more than 20 euros, only because you choose to travel in the afternoon.
Use the Ferryhopper widget down below to check ferry prices and availability.
5. Don't book a ferry seat if traveling during the off-season:
If you choose to travel around Greece in high season, please book a ferry seat (there is a Ferryhopper widget right up to the previous tips) because you might spend hours outside on the deck under the hot sun, and trust me, that is something you do not want to experience.
But if you decide to travel off-season, trust me, you won't need to pay more for an assigned seat.
I traveled to Greece in September, and the ferries (all of the 4 I traveled on) were more than half empty so that I could sit almost everywhere I wanted (be careful about the classes, if you purchase a second-class ticket, you cannot go into the first class. I know it because I tried it).
6. If traveling between very distant islands, book an overnight ferry:
Greece is huge, and some islands can be far more than 10 hours by ferry, so if you plan to visit islands that are so distant, why not save money on accommodation and sleep on a ferry?
7. Most of the best activities to do in Greece are free:
All the beaches are free to access, so you will only need a beach towel and some beach shoes, and you are set up for the day.
Snorkeling is free if you bring with you your snorkeling gear. Walking around and exploring is free, and bus tickets are very cheap.
And enjoy a beautiful sunset alone or with your travel mates; that is priceless.
You can buy a bottle of wine or some beer at a supermarket and then drink it while losing your sight looking at the sea. Just don't forget to bring your camera to take stunning pictures.
8. On many beaches, sunbeds and umbrellas are free (almost):
Maybe not in Santorini and Mykonos, of course, but in other islands I visited, like Paros and Ios, if you buy something to drink or have lunch at the restaurant/taverna that owns those sunbeds, you can lay down all day for free.
This is something I loved about the less famous islands. In Mykonos, I asked how much they wanted for the first row of sunbeds (part of a beach club), and the price was 150 euros.
For one sunbed!!! Unbelievable!
So ask how much they want for the sunbeds if you are lucky, they are free, you will only need to spend a few euros to buy some drinks in their bar or have a light lunch (you need to have lunch anyway, don't you?).
9. Stay in a Bed and Breakfast:
Bed and Breakfasts in Greece can be so much cheaper than hotels. If you book your accommodations a lot in advance, you will find so many great options at a very good price.
Do you want to know more about Greece?
Check out “The Most Complete Guide of Greece“ and read all my articles to plan the perfect trip to Greece.
10. Book free walking tours while in Athens:
There are free walking tours in every major city, so why not try them?
You will also meet other travelers, who might give you some advice about places they have already visited and you might also meet some new friends to keep exploring the city together.
11. Avoid tourist traps:
You will see that some restaurants have pictures on the menu or outside the door. The pictures look good, but they are tourist traps where the food is mediocre and high prices. So please avoid them.
Greece is full of local tavernas where to eat delicious and authentic Greek food; look for them.
Travel Tip: If I had been there, I wrote a "complete guide" listing all the local places to eat original food. Look for those destinations in "The most complete guide of Greece" (more articles are added regularly).
12. Eat far from the main roads:
On the busiest streets, there are always tourist restaurants. My advice is to go a little further, maybe only one or two streets away, and you will find local restaurants full of Greek people where the food will be exceptional at a reasonable price.
13. Book a scooter to move around instead of a car:
Greece has the third highest motorcycles death in Europe, and it is because young people rent them for the first time while on holiday; they get drunk and end up dying while on holiday.
Use the BikesBooking widget down below to check prices and availability.
When I arrived in Mykonos, the guy from the car rental met me at the port to give me my rental car, we chatted a little, and he told me that only that summer, in 3 months, more than 50 kids died while driving a scooter.
I saw a scooter incident and so many kids driving in the worst possible way during my stay, so I was not surprised.
That is why you will rent a car if you have never driven a scooter. Listen to me and protect yourself, please. (I sound so much like a mom sometimes, right?).
14. Do not rent a car or a scooter near the airport or the city center:
Everything is more expensive in tourist locations, but if you look a little further, trust me, you will find great deals and save a lot of money.
My advice is to rent a car or a scooter online. In this way, you will see all the prices available and don't risk ending up without a car available. Check out Discovercars for car rentals and Bikebookings.com for scooters, motorcycles, and quads.
Also, remember to never pay for a scooter/car insurance when booking online. The best price and customer service are if you buy it at the rental car office.
15. Choose to eat in local Bakeries:
Greek bakeries offer delicious and cheap food. You can buy everything from breakfast to lunch and something for dinner.
For example, don't think of a bakery as where you only buy sweets and bread. You can buy sandwiches, savory pastries, and hot local Greek food in Greek bakeries.
Everything is freshly made overnight, delicious (and cheap).
Do you want to know more about Greece?
Check out “The Most Complete Guide of Greece“ and read all my articles to plan your trip to Greece.
16. Have lunch or dinner in small family-run restaurants:
There are many local family-run tavernas in Greece. You only need to find them. The best way is to ask locals. Ask at your accommodation, enter a shop and ask where the people who work there usually go for a friendly and cheap lunch.
They know the area because they work and live there, so do not be shy, use google translate if you need it, and find a delicious place to eat excellent homemade food at a very reasonable price.
Travel Tip: I wrote an article about where to eat cheap local food for every place I visited. Check them out on the main page of the city/island. Go to my page, "The best guide to Greece."
17. Eat Gyros on the go:
You will find every kind of Gyros in Greece. They are made with different types of meat and vegetarians, with grilled veggies or delicious falafel.
The price depends on where you are, Gyros are a delicious and a very cheap option even in the most tourist place.
I got one in Athens in the city center for only 2.5 euros. I ate only one, and I was full for hours.
18. Bring sunscreen from home:
Aloe vera sunscreen lotion can be crazy expensive in Greece, so my advice to save money is to bring it home.
If you are traveling with only a carry-on bag, buy it at the airport, but do not wait to buy it in Greece because it can cost you twice the price.
If you plan to travel with a big suitcase, I highly recommend you buy what is, in my opinion, the best natural aloe vera sunscreen lotion. To take care of your skin and avoid any sunburn.
Also, don't forget to purchase a good aloe vera aftersun lotion to give your skin all the nutrients it needs after a day at the beach.
19. Be a House sitter:
Do you see these two pictures above? She is my friend Brittnay from The Travelling Housesitters while house-sitting a wonderful house with the Pantheon view in Athens.
This can also be a great way to explore Greece or any other country worldwide.
House sitting is a fantastic idea if you love pets, want to save money, and are flexible (there might not be any house sittings available where you want to go, but many other ones are available in unexpected and beautiful places).
It consists in taking care of a house with pets (most of the time there are some pets to take care of) while the owner is on holiday or away for a business trip.
I haven't tried it yet (but I will because it sounds marvelous). So, if you want to know more about it, why don't you check out my friend Brittnay's article? She has been doing it for more than 6 years with her boyfriend, and she has saved so much money so far that you can thank me later for this great tip I just gave you.
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