Greece is one of Europe’s most popular destinations and an amazing place to visit. It has everything from ancient ruins, beaches and nightlife, rich history and beautiful landscapes, there's so much to see and do. But there are some things you should know before you go!
Are you planning to visit Greece?
Of course, you are. Welcome to my travel blog, where I share my personal experiences as a "Super organized traveller", as my friends call me.
In this article, you are going to find all the essential tips you need to know to plan the perfect holiday in Greece.
Greece is a beautiful country, and it deserves to be explored and mostly loved by you.
You cannot visit Greece and not entirely fall in love with its culture, food, stunning islands, and very welcoming people.
So here is my list of all the essential tips I can give you before visiting this wonderful country.
To make your vacation the perfect one you will never forget and always talk about.
Tips: As soon as you book your next adventure, make sure to buy good travel insurance in case you need to “unfortunately” delay, extend, or cancel your trip. I recommend VisitorsCoverage for short trips and SafetyWing for tris longer than a month.
*Disclosure: This article contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you I guarantee, if you make a purchase through my links. See it as a way to thank me for all the information I provide.
Read 31 Essential Tips to Know Before Visit Greece Below
If you will like this article, feel free to leave a comment below and share it with your friends, maybe someone you know is planning to visit Greece.
1. Plan to spend more than one day in Athens:
If there is also a visit to the beautiful Athens in your Greece itinerary, please keep in mind that the capital of Greece was also the heart of Ancient Greece, a very famous empire.
Therefore you should give yourself more time to explore it because it is a beautiful city, full of history, charm, and unique places to see. After visiting Athens I realize how much I could have missed if I would have decided to skip this charming city.
Many tourists plan only to visit the Acropolis, which stands on a hilltop right in the middle of the city, and trust me that it is worth it, but Athens is not only the Acropolis.
There are many fascinating museums to visit in Athens, ancient ruins, and neighborhoods where to lose yourself exploring every little street.
Also, the restaurants in Athens offer fantastic typical food that you cannot miss trying.
Planning to Visit Athens?
2. avoid Greece in July and August:
I went to Athens, Santorini, Ios, Paros and Mykonos in the middle of September and they weren't crazy busy, but still, I could not walk freely and take pictures in the evening in the main street cause there were too many people passing by.
I went to Kefalonia in June, and it was a very relaxing vacation, with not too many tourists and prices were very low.
Santorini still receives many cruise ships till the end of September, and trust me that you can get stuck in the middle of a little alley because the crowd doesn't move (it happened to me in Santorini and I was there right in the middle of September).
July and August are the high-season months so every tourist city or island is super crowded and accommodations are much more expensive than usual.
3. Do your research about what island could be the best for your vacation:
If you are looking for a party island you should go to Corfu, Mykonos, Paros, Ios, Zakynthos, Kos or Skiatos (Ios and Paros are crowded only during high-season, from September to May they are very quiet).
If you are looking for a quiet island where to relax you should check out Kasos, Lemnos, Kefalonia, Ithaca, and Karpathos to name a few where even during July and August you can relax far from the noisy crowd.
If you are still looking for the perfect Greek island to visit, read which island to visit in Greece here.
4. Make sure to learn some essential words:
I know, the Greek language might be intimidating for some of us. Still, you have no idea how hospitable Greek people are.
They will appreciate the effort, so learn some essential words to use at your accommodation or in a restaurant, like good morning, good evening, thank you, etc.
You might end up becoming friends with some locals just because you show them how much you like your country and your culture just only by saying a few Greek words. When traveling, I always use Duolingo to learn some basic sentences, it's free and fun!
5. In case you want to visit more islands, check how far they are from each other:
Greece is a vast country. Some islands are next to each other, and you can travel between them in only 30 minutes by ferry, but some of them can be 15 or more hours of travel distance.
So check a Greece map and make sure you have enough time to travel to every place you wish to see.
Make sure to do your research and see how to go from one place to another.
Check out the Ferryhopper widget down below for prices and information about the ferry you need to book to visit the Greece islands.
6. Sleeping on a ferry overnight can be a good option sometimes:
If you have to spend 8 hours on a ferry to reach your destination, traveling at night is an excellent way to save time and money.
It is cheaper, and you will be spending all the time sleeping and waking up at your next destination. In this way, you are also going to save money for one night of accommodation.
I can guarantee you that ferry seats are very big and comfortable, just bring with you a soft beach towel to use as a blanket and a good travel pillow.
7. In case you wish to do island hopping, plan to stay at least three days on each island:
Every island is beautiful, and of course, you wish to visit many of them but keep in mind that your ferry might not always leave early in the morning.
You might get to your next destination after lunchtime, then go to your accommodation, check-in, get ready to go out, and more than half-day is gone.
That is why I highly recommend you make sure to have at least two full days at each place to explore around. Having some time to enjoy the beach is essential, going out at night to a nice restaurant and mostly, relaxing.
It is your holiday, after all, so don't plan a too tight itinerary. Otherwise, you are going to risk ruining your travel and being tired all the time.
8. Make sure to always print out your ferry tickets:
It was a great choice because they want to see your ticket's paper copy while embarking on a ferry.
Otherwise, if you prefer to buy your ferry ticket on the spot, make sure to arrive at the ferry pier in advance and buy your tickets at the ticket office. The queue might be pretty long in some places and during high season, so make sure to arrive a lot in advance.
Another thing you can do in case you leave Athens port and do a hopping island tour is to buy all your tickets at the same time.
Some ferry companies are going to send all of the tickets to you in one go by email. Other companies are going to send you a code to use to collect your ferry tickets at the first port ferry ticket office you are going to go to.
Just be careful to don't lose them.
Travel tip: If you want to avoid all the stress of planning a trip to Greece, check out the best Greek tours available here.
9. Always apply good sunscreen:
Sun can be very hot and damage your skin during the Greeks summers, so be smart and buy a good sunscreen lotion with aloe vera as I always do, and please do not forget to apply it more times a day, it is essential to avoid looking like a lobster and spend the rest of your holiday indoor and in pain.
Also, never forget to apply a good aloe vera aftersun lotion after the shower, every day, even after you went back home. It will help you to extend your tan and prevent your skin to become dry.
Looking for the perfect tan while on holiday?
10. Bring your sunscreen from home or buy it at the airport before you leave:
You have no idea how expensive sunscreen can be in Greece, mainly in the most popular islands. A regular sunscreen that you might pay 5/8 euros/pounds at home, in Greece can cost you even twice the price.
So plan and save money, buy a good natural sunscreen lotion and a good aftersun lotion.
Want to plan the perfect trip to Greece?
Check out “The Ultimate Guide to Greece“ here and read all the articles I wrote about it.
11. Bring with you water shoes:
Greek beaches are beautiful but half of them are not made of soft sand, unfortunately.
Water shoes are very colorful, and comfortable. Trust me, they will save you a lot of pain while walking on the rocks or on the beautiful pebble beach in Greece.
12. If traveling with friends, please share your meal:
And by saying this, I mean that there are so many delicious foods in Greece, you cannot just order a starter and a main course for yourself and try only two things a restaurant offers.
Unless you are traveling alone, share all the food with your travel mates, order different dishes and share everything.
In this way, you are going to try most of the options on the menu, still feeling satisfied but not fully ready to explode (or maybe yes. Greek food is so good you won't be able to stop eating everything), and you will try most of the delicious food Greece has to offer.
About traveling with a travel mate, check out "28 tips for a successful trip with your partner or friend" to get all the tips to make your next travel a wonderful experience.
13. Book a seat inside the ferry:
Trust me that traveling on the hot deck of a ferry, in the middle of the summer with 40 degrees or even more, is not funny at all, so make sure to book a seat when purchasing your ferry tickets and make sure that your seat is inside where the air conditioning is always on.
If you travel during the low season, don't worry about the seat (unless the website asks you to do so), but if you travel during the high season, if you don't book your ferry ticket in advance, you might end up staying outside on the deck because the inside seats are sold out.
14. If you are traveling between very distant places, check what the best traveling option is:
Sometimes the ferry travel can last more than 8 hours and travel only during the day.
So if there is a direct flight between your destinations, see it as an option instead of traveling by ferry if the price is not exceptionally high.
I usually use the Omio website to compare flights, and train and bus ticket prices, in this way, you will save a lot of time that you might spend at the beach instead. Use the Omio widget down below to search for the best and cheapest way to reach Greece.
15. Eat local:
Greek food in Greece is much different from what you might have eaten in your own country at a Greek restaurant.
My advice is always to do your research about the local cuisine. And when you go to a restaurant, ask your waiter what the local dishes are.
Every region has different local delicious food, not only gyros, greek salad, and moussaka (that are delicious), but there is much more to try while exploring Greece. Also, try all the sweets in Greece, they are incredibly good.
16. Buy local products as souvenirs:
I think the best way to bring your holiday back home with you and give a present to your family and friends (if you use to bring back some souvenirs for them) is by buying local Greek products.
In Greece, you can find delicious infused olive oils, olives of every kind and color, dry herbs, infused honey (I bought delicious Thyme honey in Ios, for example), liquors, local beer, almond cookies, and much more.
If you don't want to travel with food, good options are handmade Greek soaps made with olive oil, lava sand, and honey or purchase some local clothes. In Kefalonia, my mom bought me a wonderful Greek pareo and a pochette (Yes I went on holiday with my parents even if I am not a child anymore, and I loved it. You should try it too).
17. Take your time while eating at a restaurant:
While in Greece, take your time to enjoy your holiday, do not rush exploring, eating fast, and pretending that your waiter will give you the bill even before you have finished your meal.
Enjoy an excellent cold espresso and maybe a glass of Ouzo or one of the other typical drinks after your meal (in some restaurants, they will give it to you as a complimentary drink with your bill, so please leave a tip).
Greece is a place where to relax so enjoy every little detail of it.
18. People are allowed to smoke inside restaurants and bars:
In Greece, most people smoke, and they do it inside bars and restaurants.
Suppose you cannot eat in a place where people smoke at the table next to you. I highly recommend you choose a location with a garden or a terrace.
Check if the people at the table next to you are smoking or have an ashtray at their table. In that case, you can ask to be seated at another table.
19. Leave a tip at the restaurant:
If you eat and like the food and the service, please leave at least a 10% tip. It is essential to show appreciation (it is also part of their salary because salaries in hospitality are most of the time relatively low), most of the restaurants on the islands and some in Athens, work only during the summer season.
They also work very hard thanks to the affluence of tourists, so let them know you appreciate their work and service and please don't listen to other bloggers or websites if they tell you that in Greece is not costume to leave a tip.
If the service and food were good, be a good guest and leave a tip, even just 2 euros are appreciated.
20. Gyros can be incredibly cheap:
In case you are on a budget, or even not, you are going to be surprised about how cheap Gyros can be. And they are also delicious.
I ate them a lot for lunch while travelling around Greece. They are fast to get. You can eat them everywhere if you want to save time while travelling.
You will find different Gyros, with varying types of meat and vegetarians, with delicious falafel inside.
21. Always bring cash with you:
Many small bars, tavernas and shops, still do not accept card payments, so keep that in mind and always have some cash with you.
Also, if you are not sure, ask the waiter before starting ordering if they accept card payment so you can go to withdraw some money before enjoying your meal.
22. Cash machines are everywhere:
They are very well signposted, but if you don't see any, don't be shy and enter a shop and ask where you can find one.
It doesn't matter if you don't speak Greek. Most of the locals who work with tourists understand a bit of English in the tourist places.
Otherwise, make sure to have always your Google translator. It can save your life while traveling abroad.
Do you want to know more about Greece?
Check out “The Most Complete Guide of Greece“ here and read all the articles I wrote about it.
23. Book your accommodation a lot in advance:
Greek accommodation, especially in the most famous islands, can get fully booked very soon, so keep that in mind.
Use the Agoda widget down below to book your next holiday.
24. Check also only room rentals when looking for a room:
Hotels are great in Greece but if you are looking to save some money, why not book just a room, without breakfast? In this way, you will have more places to choose from.
When I went the islands of Mykonos and Ios, I didn't book a big hotel, just a room in a nice and clean little house. There were more rooms available, without breakfast, but the way they made them was wonderful. Typical Greek style with also a wonderful sea view.
When in Greece, breakfast is absolutely not a problem. There are plenty of bakeries where to buy delicious and cheap sweet or savoury food. In my opinion, this is the best way to enjoy Greece, eating their incredible food.
Check out some beautiful rooms in Greece on Expedia.
25. Bring with you an international driver's licence:
If you don't, unfortunately, you might end up without the chance to rent a car.
So check how to get it in your country.
It is just a translation of your driver's license, and it is usually valid for one year.
If you are from Europe, you won't have any problems but plan to get it if you come from a country outside the EU.
26. Don't drink and drive:
I don't want to sound like your mother, but when I got to Mykonos and I met the guy who brought my rental car to the port for me, the first thing he told me was: "please, if you drive, do not drink, hire a taxi. Only the summer I went there, more than 50 people died because they got in a scooter or quad crash".
I am not joking, guys, more than 50 people in only three months.
Greece has the third-highest motorcycle deaths in Europe and is because kids go there on holiday, they rent a scooter even if they have never driven one (because it is cool), they get drunk, and they lose their life crashing against something or falling from a cliff.
While in Mykonos, I saw kids driving scooters like it was their first time. And it probably was.
Imagine them driving in the middle of the night, on streets they do not know, under the effect of alcohol.
So, please, be careful and listen to your friend Valentina.
27. Strikes happen everywhere, so be prepared to plan more time than you need to leave the country:
So plan to have plenty of time. My advice is that if your flight is on Saturday, make sure to be in Athens already on Friday.
Spend a night in the beautiful capital, book a nice restaurant, and enjoy your last night in Greece without being worried that you might not be able to catch your flight back home.
28. The most famous islands can be costly during the high season:
In case you are traveling on a budget, try to avoid the high season and look for accommodation outside the main towns, trust me that you will find a little treasure with a beautiful view at a significantly reduced price.
Do you want to know more about Greece?
Check out “The Most Complete Guide of Greece“ here and read all the articles I wrote about it.
29. You won't be able to drink tap water in most of the Greek islands:
In Athens, you might be able to drink tap water without any problems, so carry a reusable bottle with you. But on most of the islands and on the Greek mainland, it is highly recommended to avoid it at all costs.
Tap water is mainly used only to shower and clean, so if you are like me and hate to buy bottled water (avoid plastic and save the planet), you might be forced to do so.
Otherwise, you won't drink water while in Greece, so please keep yourself well-hydrated (Ouzo and Greek beer don't count).
30. Book a boat trip:
This is something that you absolutely cannot miss (unless you suffer from seasickness, in that case, try to see if seasickness pills work for you, they do for me).
Boat trips in Greece are a wonderful and exciting experience. They will take you to see sea caves and tiny beaches that you won't be able to visit in other ways.
You will swim and snorkeling in crystal clear waters, full of fish, some Greek boat trips offer you lunch with fresh food, local fruits, and drinks, it is an experience to try while traveling in Greece.
I book my boat trip in Paros on Viator, one of the best websites where to book all your activities, museum tickets, and much more.
31. Be aware there are some naturalist beaches in Greece:
In case you don't want to end up in one of them for many reasons (if you are with kids, for example), do your research and ask your accommodations where they are so you can avoid them, or in case you like getting tan all over your body, go and enjoy!
Just please, don't forget to apply good sunscreen EVERYWHERE!
Did you enjoy my article?
I have plenty like this one about Greece.
Feel free to leave a comment below and share this article with your friends, maybe someone you know is planning to have their first solo travel.
Also, don't forget to subscribe down below to my weekly newsletter at the bottom of this page, to be always updated with new
Travel Destinations, Discounts, Giveaways and Travel Tips.