Greece is one of the most popular destinations to visit in Europe. With its wonderful historic sights and its many amazing islands, you’re sure to have an unforgettable visit. But, with so much to see and do, visitors might get overwhelmed. So here are some Greece travel tips to make your trip a little smoother:
Also Read: The 27 Best Things To Do In Greece
1. Try learning some basic Greek
While most people speak some English at popular tourist destinations, learning the local language can go a long way with Greeks. Though the unfamiliar Greek alphabet can seem daunting a first, why not try to learn some basic phrases, such as:
- Hello / Goodbye – Γειά σου (yah-soo)
- Yes – Ναί (neh)
- No – όχι (oh-hee)
- Good morning – Καλημέρα (kah-lee-mer-ah)
- Good afternoon/evening – Καλησπέρα (kah-lee-sper-ah)
- Good night – Καληνύχτα (kah-lee-neekh-tah)
- Please / You’re welcome – Παρακαλώ (para-kah-loe)
- Thank you – Ευχαριστώ (eff-kha-ri-stoe)
- Excuse me / Sorry – Συγνώμη (See-ghno-mee)
- How are you? – Tι κανείς (tee-kah-nis)?
- Do you speak English? – Μιλάτε αγγλικά (Mee-lah-teh Ag-li-kah)?
- I don’t understand – Δεν καταλαβαίνω (Then Kah-tah-lah-veh-noh)
- How much? – Πόσο κάνει (Poh-soh Kah-nee)
- Help – Βοήθεια (voh-ee-thee-yah)
- Where is…? – Πού είναι (Poh-ee-nay)
2. Plan ahead for any special needs
Greece isn’t always equipped or organised for people with disabilities or special needs. So, be sure to book rooms or cabins well in advance to get suitable accommodation. Also, try to stick to the flatter Greek islands, as most places have steep stairs and inclines.
3. Make your bookings well in advance
In general, it is a good idea to make your bookings ahead of time. In Greece, like most popular destinations, the earlier you book hotels, the less you’ll have to pay. This is especially true during the high season (July – August) when both Greeks and tourists alike are on holiday.
4. There is easily accessible Wi-Fi in most places
Except in remote and isolated places, you will be able to get an internet connection almost anywhere in Greece. There are Wi-Fi spots in many public spaces, as well as in hotels and cafés. Just ask for the password if the connection is secured. You can also buy a prepaid internet card.
5. Most payments are done in cash
Unlike many European countries, Greece is still big on using cash. While hotels, large stores, and restaurants might accept credit cards in cities and tourist destinations, other vendors and businesses (such as cafes and taxis) may not. ATMs can be found in most locations, so always try to have some cash.
6. Outdoor smoking is everywhere
Though smoking was recently banned indoors in Greece, it is still extremely common to see people smoking at restaurants and cafes, and it is estimated that almost 50% of Greeks smoke.
7. Remember the opening hours for stores
Shops, department stores, and supermarkets in Greece are open from 9 AM-9 PM on weekdays. They often close at 8 PM on Saturdays and are completely shut on Sundays. Smaller stores and local shops usually close at 3 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays, and between the hours of 2 PM and 5 PM on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
8. Never flush the toilet paper
When in Greece, do not throw paper in the toilet; use the bin instead. This is because Greek sewage pipes are only 5millimetresrs in diameter and tend to get clogged when toilet paper is flushed. Bins usually have lids and are emptied at the end of each day.
9. You may have to stick to bottled water on the islands
Tap water is drinkable in almost every city in mainland Greece. But, the majority of Greek islands have an insufficient water supply, and what water they do have is usually used for washing and laundry. So it’s best to stick to bottled water, however expensive it may be.
10. But don’t stick to the popular destinations
Greece is a beautiful country with lots of amazing sights to see. So don’t limit yourself to the popular destinations, such as Athens, Delphi and the Cyclades Islands. Explore all the other destinations it has to offer, such as Crete, Nafplio, Thessaloniki, and Meteora. Here are 27 of the best things to do in Greece.
11. Taxis are quite cheap
Taxi fares are quite inexpensive in Greece (except perhaps for airport rides), and you can find them everywhere in the cities. However, once you’ve flagged down a taxi, it’ll be up to the driver to decide whether or not they want to go to your destination.
12. Be careful of traffic if you plan to drive
If you plan to drive yourself, be aware that many Greeks tend to drive quite aggressively, especially in large cities like Athens. So, be wary of other cars overtaking you from either side and of zigzagging motorcyclists. However, this should not be a problem in the countryside or on the islands.
13. If you face a problem, such as theft, contact the Tourism Police
If you are the victim of a theft or any other major issue, you can contact the Tourism Police. The agents here are fluent in many languages and can offer help and information. However, they are not tourist guides, so don’t ask them to help you for touristy things. To reach them, you can dial 171, which is accessible all over Greece 24/7.
Are there any Greece travel tips that we’ve missed? If so, be sure to share them in the comments below.