Greece Travel Planning Guide

Greece Travel Planning Guide

I’m excited to share my experiences and tips to help you plan a trip to Greece.

Greece has every ingredient I need in a perfect destination: it is packed with ancient history and cultural heritage, unbelievably stunning beaches, delicious food and wine, and very friendly locals.

This achingly beautiful country is the birthplace of democracy and the perfect destination for sun and history-loving hedonists!

226 idyllic inhabited islands and lots of deserted ones for you to explore. Greece has warm aqua waters, beaches of every color, a laid-back lifestyle, and 18 UNESCO sites like the Palace of Knossos and its Minotaur’s labyrinth that bring alive the mythology of the Greek gods.

Philosophy, trade, architecture, science, and politics are just some of the ways that the Ancient Greek world influences our own world today.

But Greek culture is also about a relationship with the sea, nature, and community.

Did you know that no part of Greece is more than 137 km (85 miles) from the sea?

It’s the everyday life and cultural traditions of Greece that lure us back to Greece again and again, every bit as much as its beaches and ancient sites.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Greece

As someone who visits beautiful Greece at least once a year for many years now, I can say with confidence that it has a lot to offer.

Here are the top 5 reasons why I think you should plan a trip to Greece:

1. Rich History and Culture

Greece is known for its rich history and culture that dates back thousands of years. From ancient ruins like the Acropolis in Athens to the Palace of Knossos in Crete, there are countless historical sites to explore.

Temple of Apollo at Corinth, Greece
Temple of Apollo at Corinth, Greece

You can also experience Greek culture by attending traditional festivals, trying local cuisine, and interacting with friendly locals.

2. Stunning Beaches

Greece is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Tsigrado Beach, Milos Island, Greece
Tsigrado Beach, Milos Island, Greece

From the famous Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia to the lesser-known Voidokilia Beach in the Peloponnese, there is a beach for every type of traveler.

The crystal clear waters and picturesque scenery make Greece the perfect destination for a beach vacation.

3. Delicious Food and Wine

Greek cuisine is known around the world for its fresh ingredients, bold flavors, simple preparation methods, and as a basis for the Mediterranean Diet.

Stuffed Peppers and Baked Potatoes, Aegina Island, Greece
Stuffed Peppers and Baked Potatoes, Aegina Island, Greece

From classic dishes like moussaka and souvlaki to sweet treats like baklava and loukoumades, there is no shortage of delicious food to try.

Greece is also home to many wineries and breweries, many of which use indigenous grapes, making it an exciting destination for food and wine lovers.

4. Beautiful Landscapes

Greece is a country of diverse landscapes, from the rugged mountains of the mainland to the idyllic islands of the Aegean and Ionian Seas.

Porto Timoni Beach, Corfu Island, Greece
Porto Timoni Beach, Corfu Island, Greece

You can hike through the Samaria Gorge in Crete, explore the Meteora monasteries in central Greece, or relax on the beaches of Santorini or any other Greek island.

There is no shortage of diversity of natural landscape in Greece, but most tourists don’t often get into the wonderful northern parts of the country or discover its wintery side.

Summertime in the Greek Islands is all about swimming in pirate coves and fishing villages, snorkeling in stunningly clear green and blue waters, and enjoying the beach clubs and seaside tavernas.

5. Warm Hospitality

Greek hospitality, or philoxenia, is a way of life in Greece. The locals are known for their warm and welcoming nature, making visitors feel like family.

Baker in Mykonos Chora, Greece
Baker in Mykonos Chora, Greece

Whether you’re staying in a hotel or renting a villa, you can expect to be treated with kindness and respect.

When Is The Best Time to Visit Greece?

The peak tourist season in Greece is during the summer months of July and August when the weather is hot and dry.

This is also the busiest and most expensive time to visit, with overtourism in some areas, high prices for accommodation and activities, and since 2023, a cap on visitor numbers per day to sites such as the Acropolis of Athens.

Simos Beach, Elafonisos, Greece
Simos Beach, Elafonisos, Greece

If you prefer to avoid the crowds and save some money, consider visiting during the shoulder season from May to early June or from late September to October.

During this time, the weather is still warm and pleasant, but there are fewer tourists and prices are more reasonable. I love the Greek islands in summer, but I now avoid Mykonos and Santorini in July and August.

One thing to keep in mind when planning your trip to Greece is the Meltemi wind. The Meltemi is a strong, dry wind that blows from the north during the summer months.

While it can provide relief from the heat, it can also make swimming and other water activities difficult or dangerous.

If you’re planning a Greek island vacation, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast, and on days when the winds will be strong, choose beaches on the more sheltered southern sides of the islands.

In terms of rainfall, Greece generally has a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and mild winters.

A rare snowfall in Athens, February 2021, Greece
A rare snowfall in Athens, February 2021, Greece

However, there can be some rain during the shoulder season and winter months. It’s a good idea to pack a raincoat just in case.

May can be unpredictable – sometimes much warmer than forecast but other times chilly, especially on windy islands.

Finally, if you’re planning a winter trip to Greece, keep in mind that some areas may experience snowfall. While the Greek islands rarely see snow, the mountainous regions of the mainland can be affected.

Here are some our our seasonal guides:

Visa Requirements for Greece

For non-EU citizens, you can enter Greece without a visa for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.

However, from mid-2025 you must also carry the equivalent of the U.S. ESTA visa, called the ETIAS.


Passport Stamp from Athens, Greece
Passport Stamp from Athens, Greece

If you’re not an EU citizen, you cannot stay in Greece for more than 90 days within any 180-day period.

If you do plan to stay in Greece for more than 90 days, you need to apply for a long-term visa or a residence permit once you arrive.

How to Get to Greece

If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you have several options. The most common way is by flying into Athens International Airport, the largest airport in Greece.

There are several other international airports on islands such as Santorini, Rhodes, Crete, Milos, and Corfu, as well as on the mainland at Thessaloniki, Kavala, Kalamata, and Preveza.

I occasionally fly directly into Crete or Rhodes and then take ferries as I make my way to the mainland.


Flying is the quickest and most convenient way to get to Greece. There are many airlines that fly directly to Athens from major cities around the world.

Some of the airlines that offer direct flights to Athens include British Airways, Delta, Emirates, and United Airlines, and Greek airlines like Aegean and Olympic.

Plane flying into Corfu airport, Corfu, Greece
Plane flying into Corfu airport, Corfu, Greece

If you’re traveling from within Europe, you can also consider budget airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet, and Wizz Air.

Although they’re a bit of a nightmare in terms of administrative hassle, they do terrific direct flight routes that can save you many hours of travel and hundreds of dollars per flight.


If you’re already in Europe, you can also consider taking a ferry to Greece.

There are ferry companies that operate between Greece and Italy, as well as between Greece and Albania and Turkey.

From July 2023 it’s been possible during summertime, to take a ferry between Athens and Limassol in Cyprus.

Taking a ferry can be a great way to see some of the beautiful islands and coastlines of Greece, but it can also be time-consuming.


If you’re planning a road trip through Europe, you can also consider driving to Greece.

How to Get Around Greece

When planning a trip to Greece, there are different transportation options available in the different parts of the country. For example, most travel between the islands in Greece is by ferry.

Fast Ferries Ferry at Tinos Port, Tinos Island, Greece
Fast Ferries Ferry at Tinos Port, Tinos Island, Greece

Flights between islands with airports (like Milos, Santorini, Rhodes, and Crete) are possible and save a lot of time. The regional train network is not extensive, but the bus network is.

Especially on the islands, the local bus network will cover all villages and is cheap and reliable.

In Athens, the metro connects with the bus network to the suburbs like Elefsina, where you can visit the archaeological site of Eleusis by a train-bus combination.


I use FerryHopper to book my ferries and to download my electronic ticket so that I don’t lose it!

I know the team at FerryHopper and I can personally vouch for their professionalism – and they’re nice people!


Major companies like Blue Star Ferries, Golden Star Ferries, and Hellenic Seaways offer reliable and comfortable services.

High-speed car ferries often have limited outside deck space or none at all, so if you want to enjoy the sun and the views while you travel – and I love being on deck watching as we pass the islands – choose the slower, traditional boats.

Here is some detailed information about the more popular routes:

  • ⛴️ Mykonos to Tinos Ferry – Routes, Schedules, Tips, How to Plan and Book
  • ⛴️ Ferry from Santorini to Paros – everything you need to know
  • ⛴️ Beginner’s guide to Santorini Ferry Port for Greek island hopping
  • ⛴️ FERRY Athens to Santorini: Times, Prices, Tickets, Itineraries [2024]
  • ⛴️ Mykonos to Santorini Ferries and Flights [2024]
  • ⛴️ How to Get from Athens to Corfu by Car, Bus, Ferry, and Plane in 2024


Buses are a convenient and affordable way to get around Greece. The KTEL buses are modernized, with comfortable seats, luggage compartments, and air conditioners.

They operate under a syndicate of private operators, known as Kratikó Tamío Ellinikón Leoforíon (KTEL). Buses are the best option for traveling within cities and towns or for short distances between them.

Rental Cars

Renting a car is a great way to explore Greece’s countryside and visit remote areas that are not accessible by public transportation.

Car rental prices start at around €300 a week in peak season for the smallest vehicle from a one-off outlet or local chain, including unlimited mileage, tax, and insurance.

You can get much better rates for three days or more, or if you pre-book on the internet. I try and book a long way ahead and get much better rates.

It’s also the case that there are not enough car rentals on some islands during peak season.

There are some excellent motorways in Greece but there are very many narrow and winding roads in the mountains on both the mainland and some islands.

Driving on these roads can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to driving on the right side of the road.

You’ll also need to factor in the cost of gas and tolls, as well as the time it takes to drive to Greece from your starting point.

You won’t need a toll e-tag, but you’ll need to go through the “cash only” booths at toll gates.

An International Driving Permit is a requirement for some nationalities. Here’s a comprehensive article about which countries don’t need one in Greece, but why it’s a good idea to have one:

🚗 Do I need an International Driver’s License in Greece?

ATVs and Scooters

In villages and on the islands, a scooter or ATV is ideal.

You need to be experienced to drive a scooter, but an ATV is not too difficult to learn quickly. Have a drive of one at home before you head off on your first trip.

Here is some detailed information about ATV, Quad, and Scooter rental on the main islands:

  • 🛵 Scooter Rental Naxos [2024]
  • 🛵 Scooter Rental Corfu: The Complete 2024 Guide
  • 🛵 How to Rent a Scooter in Crete [2024]
  • 🛵 How to Rent a Scooter in Crete [2024]
  • 🗺️ ATV Rental Milos – everything you need to know [2024]
  • 🗺️ATV Rental Paros and Antiparos: Everything You Need to Know [2024]
  • 🗺️ATV Rental Naxos Island [2024]
  • 🗺️Quad Rental Corfu: the complete guide [2024]

Where to Stay in Greece

There are a variety of options available, ranging from luxurious hotels to budget-friendly hostels.

Grace Hotel, Santorini, Greece
Grace Hotel, Santorini, Greece

Greece is home to some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. If you’re looking for a high-end experience, you won’t be disappointed.

Since began including apartments and a wider variety of types of accommodation, I have used them exclusively because of their price, and range, but also because of their customer service.

I’ve needed their help several times and they have been generous, responsive, and always left me with a great impression of their after-sales service.

Here are our more in-depth accommodation guides:

  • 🛎️ Where to Stay in Santorini in 2024
  • 🛎️ The 25 Best Hotels in Santorini with Private Pool [2024]
  • 🛎️ Luxury Cave Houses: Best Santorini Oia Hotels
  • 🛎️ Best 11 All-Inclusive Santorini Hotels + Resorts in 2024
  • 🛎️ Best Athens Hotels Near the Acropolis
  • 🛎️ 19 Best Hotels in Folegandros [2024]
  • 🛎️ Best Folegandros Hotels with Private Pools [2024]
  • 🛎️ 31 Best Tinos Hotels [2024]
  • 🛎️ 35 Best Mykonos Hotels with Private Pools [2024]

Everyday Practical Information

Voltage and Electrical Plugs

In Greece, the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.

The country uses Type C and Type F electrical plugs, so if you’re coming from a country that uses a different type of plug, you’ll need to bring an adapter.

Money and ATMs

Greece uses the Euro (EUR) as its official currency.

When it comes to paying for things in Greece, it’s important to note that many businesses prefer cash and many insist upon it.

Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand just in case. Taxis are a case in point.

ATMs are widely available throughout Greece, and most/many accept international cards. I had to use three in an Athens suburb recently before I found one that would take my card.

It’s a good idea to check with your bank before you leave to make sure your card will work in Greece. I have to tell my bank my travel dates and the countries I’m in, otherwise, it blocks my card!


If you need to stay connected while you’re in Greece, you can purchase a SIM card from one of the country’s major mobile providers but I find this a hassle and buy an e-SIM which I do before I set off.

Taxis and Uber

Taxis are a convenient way to get around Greece, but it’s important to make sure you’re getting a fair price.

Taxi rank at the Acropolis of Athens, Greece
Taxi rank at the Acropolis of Athens, Greece

Most taxis in Greece use a meter, but it’s always a good idea to agree on a price before you get in the taxi to avoid any misunderstandings.

It’s also a good idea to carry small bills with you, as some taxi drivers may not have change for larger bills.

Taxi drivers expect a tip (in cash), even if you’ve paid with a card.

Uber exists in Greece but only as an app. It can’t use surge pricing, because the price per km is set by law, and so it is just another booking platform.

Where it is useful is that (a) you probably already have it on your phone, and (b)you don’t need to pay for the fare in cash.

I use Uber in Athens and Santorini because I’m so familiar with it. Otherwise, you can download an app called FreeNow which also allows you to pay through the app. For more information, read:

  • 🚕 UBER in Greece: Complete 2024 guide to where and how Uber Taxi operates in Greece


Tipping in Greece is not mandatory, but it’s always appreciated. In restaurants, it’s customary to leave a tip of between 10% and 15% of the total bill.

Leaving a tip at a cafe in Greece

In taxis, it’s common to round up to the nearest euro or leave a small tip. Here’s more about all the situations in which tipping is preferred in Greece:

  • 🪙 Tipping in Greece – the Complete Guide [2024]

What to Pack for Greece

As I plan my trip to Greece, one of the essential things to consider is what to pack for the trip. Greece has a Mediterranean climate, which means hot and dry summers and mild winters.

Greek dressing is informal except for visiting churches and special occasions. Pretty much anything goes beachside in Greece, and there are naturist beaches where nothing is required at all!

In Mykonos, fur coats, gold sequin g-string bottoms, silk capes, and gladiator sandals are just some of the fashions worn by partygoers heading to Mykonos by ferry last summer. (I wish I was 20 again).

I need to pack accordingly based on the time of year I am visiting, remembering that with climate change, the temperature ranges I used to take for granted, are changing with temperatures rising.

Remember that you need a warm jacket for traveling on deck on ferries, and a raincoat during winter and the shoulder seasons.

White is the predominant color of summer island dressing and is my basic capsule wardrobe color.

Travel Insurance

According to Forbes Advisor, the average trip cost for Greece is around $6,561. This makes Greece the second-most expensive travel destination. It’s wise to invest in travel insurance to protect your investment.

Travel insurance can cover trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical expenses, and more. It’s critical to carefully read the policy to understand what’s covered and what’s not.

The most important things to be covered are activities you might want to do in Greece such as riding scooters, ATVs, horse riding, and of course, the things you really don’t want to do, like catching COVID.

Staying Safe in Greece

Here are some tips to help you stay safe during your trip.

Emergency Numbers

The general emergency number is 112, which can be used for police, fire, and ambulance services.

For medical emergencies, you can also call 166.

Medical Assistance

In case you need medical assistance, there are public and private hospitals in Greece. You can also find pharmacies in most cities and towns.

In fact, Greece seems to have more pharmacies than any other country I’ve visited!

Mosquitoes are a problem at certain times of the year, particularly in Crete. Mosquito spray is one thing I always pack for Greece. Read more about protecting yourself from mosquitoes in Greece.

Important Contacts

One of the problems that can occur on international holidays is losing your passport. I have a picture of my main passport page stored on my phone as well as a photocopy.

It’s a good idea to also have the phone number and address of your embassy or consulate in Greece with you in case of this kind of urgent problem.

Crime and Scams

Like any other tourist destination, be aware of potential scams and pickpocketing. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you.

The main pickpocketing area and the place where people will approach you in order to distract you is in the central area of Athens.

Wear your bag on your front in Athens. Keep it on your lap at dinner. Keep it fastened, and you will almost certainly have an incident-free vacation.

Visiting Greece without Breaking the Bank

If you’re looking to have a moderate holiday spend, here are some tips to pay the least for a memorable holiday.


Consider taking public transportation, such as buses or trains, instead of taxis or rental cars as you’ll be expected to tip as well as pay the fare. Athens has a fantastic public transportation system.

Additionally, booking flights and ferries well in advance can often result in lower prices as there is an element of surge pricing built into these two pricing systems.

See more:

  • 🚌 Bus to Knossos from Heraklion – a complete guide


Prices for accommodation vary widely according to views and location. One or two streets back from the Santorini caldera edge, for example, can save you hundreds of dollars.

In Athens, accommodation is cheap and plentiful in the suburbs, and why would you want to stay next to a nightclub in the center anyway?

On the islands, accommodation in villages (where you need a car) is often much cheaper, especially on popular islands like Corfu and Santorini.

In Santorini, think about staying in Pyrgos, Megalochori, or Emporio.

In Mykonos, think about staying in Ano Mera.

All-Inclusive Holidays

If it’s a flop-by-the-pool/beach holiday with a little shopping and beach bar action is what you’re after, there are some financial advantages to having everything paid in advance.

Knowing the total price of your trip certainly saves an unpleasant surprise when you get back home. Even Santorini Island has what amounts to All-Inclusive Holidays:

  • 🏖️ Best 11 All-Inclusive Santorini Hotels + Resorts in 2024

Food and Wine

Greek cuisine is delicious, but eating out adds up quickly. Consider cooking your own meals and purchasing food from local markets.

Drinking tap water is safe in Santorini, so bring a reusable water bottle to save money on bottled water. Read more about Santorini’s water and its wineries here:

  • 🚰 Is Santorini Water safe to drink? 2024 Santorini drinking water guide


There are plenty of free or low-cost activities to enjoy in Greece, such as hiking, visiting museums, and exploring ancient ruins. Here are some free or lost-cost activities to get you started:

  • 📷 Finding and photographing the Santorini churches blue domes
  • 🏖️ How to Visit Klima Milos + best things to do in 2024
  • 🏖️ Sublime and Tiny Amoudi Bay below Oia, Santorini
  • 🏞️ Halki Naxos (Chalkio) self-guided day trip
  • 🏞️ Fira to Oia Hike – Santorini Caldera Cliff-Top Walk
  • 🎨 Where to See the Best Athens Street Art
  • 🎨 15 of the Best Street Artists in Athens