Welcome to our blog, “Things To Know Before Traveling To Greece“!
Greece is quite popular for its aww-so-beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, and delicious food. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo trip, Greece has something to offer for everyone. However, before you book your flight and pack your bags, there are a few things you should know to make your trip as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
In this blog, we’ll be sharing tips and information on everything from the best time to visit, to what to pack, to how to navigate the country’s transportation system. We’ll also provide an overview of popular destinations, such as Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos, and share our favorite Greek foods and cultural experiences.
So, whether you are on a first-time tour or a frequent traveler, this blog is helpful as you plan your Trip to Greece.
Why Greece Is So Attractive?
Greece is considered a worth-visiting tourist destination for so many good reasons. Some of the most notable reasons include:
Rich History & Culture
Greece is home to some of the most important and well-preserved ancient ruins in the world. Visitors can explore the Acropolis in Athens, the ancient city of Olympia, and the Oracle of Delphi to name a few. Also, the country offers a rich cultural heritage, and the art, traditional festivities, and architecture here are a clear representation.
Beautiful Beaches & Islands
Greece is known for its broad beaches touching the horizons with their crystal-clear waters. The country has more than 6,000 islands, many of which are popular tourist destinations. Some of the most famous islands include Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete.
Greek cuisine is an amazingly healthy yet refreshing combination of fresh ingredients combined with bold flavors. Visitors can enjoy traditional dishes such as moussaka, tzatziki, and souvlaki. Greek wines and ouzo are also popular with visitors.
No wonder, Greeks are one of the most hospitable people having friendly nature towards locals as well as visitors. This makes the country a welcoming and enjoyable place for visitors but it may not be the case every time.
Greece is a country with a Mediterranean climate, in general, proposing mild winters and hot summers. This distinguishes it as one of the ideal destinations for tourists looking to escape the cold and enjoy some sunshine.
Greece offers good value for money as prices of accommodation, food, and many activities are relatively low.
All these reasons make Greece an attractive destination for visitors from all over the world who are looking for a mix of history, culture, natural beauty, good food, and a friendly atmosphere.
15 Thing To Know Before Traveling To Greece
1. Greece Isn’t the Most Disability-Friendly
Greece has made some efforts to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, but accessibility is still limited in many areas. Many historic sites and monuments, as well as public transportation and private businesses, were not designed with accessibility in mind. However, you can find more accessibility in the major cities and tourist areas.
The following are some of the things to consider when traveling with a disability in Greece:
Mobility: Many sidewalks and streets are uneven and cobblestoned, and buildings often lack elevators. Accessible taxis and buses are available in some areas.
Accommodation: A restricted number of apartments and hotels are provided for people with disabilities. It is always better to know if there are accessible rooms before making a reservation.
Tourism: Many ancient sites, such as the Acropolis in Athens, are not wheelchair accessible. However, a few have ramps or elevators to access some of the sites.
Emergency: Emergency phone numbers are 112 for general emergencies and 100 for ambulances.
It is recommended that people with disabilities planning to visit Greece do some research and make arrangements in advance, and also be prepared for some challenges.
2. Driving Can Be Difficult
Driving in Greece can be challenging for visitors, particularly those who are not familiar with the roads and driving conditions. The following are some things to consider when driving in Greece:
Road conditions: Many roads in Greece are winding and narrow, and some are in poor condition. It is crucial to be aware of roadsides and traffic when driving to be extra cautious.
Traffic: Traffic can be heavy in major cities and tourist areas during peak season, and this can impact your trip. This is why you should use Google Maps or any other similar app to see if you have traffic on your route.
Signage: Road signage in Greece is not always clear, and it is important to be familiar with the Greek alphabet, as many road signs are written in Greek.
Laws: Greece has strict laws regarding seatbelt use and drinking and driving. It is essential for people to be aware of the laws and follows them accordingly.
Parking: Finding parking in major cities and tourist areas can be difficult, and it is important to be aware of this when planning your route.
Gas stations: Gas stations can be way far for the residents of some areas, especially rural ones. So that you can fill up when needed.
Vehicles: Greek roads are not always suitable for large vehicles and it is better to rent a small car.
License: Visitors with a valid driver’s license from their home country can drive in Greece for up to six months.
It is recommended for visitors who are less familiar with the road maps as well as driving attributes in Greece to consider using public transportation or hiring a driver.
3. Smoking & Drinking In Greece
Smoking and drinking in Greece are legal, but there are some restrictions and regulations to be aware of.
- Smoking is banned in all public places and surrounding including cafes, restaurants, bars, and clubs.
- Plus, banned in all public transportation.
- The legal age, as directed by the law, is 18.
- The drinking age, as directed by the law, is 18 years.
- Drinking in public is legal with an exception of some places like public transportation, schools, and government buildings.
- It is, as in so many other countries, illegal to drive when drunk or driving when drinking in Greece. The maximum, as per the rule, blood alcohol limit should be 0.05% or less.
- It is important to be aware of and respect the laws and regulations regarding smoking and drinking in Greece, and to be mindful of the impact of smoking and drinking on others.
4. Greek toilette system
The toilet facilities in Greece can vary depending on the location and type of establishment. In general, most public restrooms in Greece are not as modern or well-maintained as those in other Western countries. It is good to have some basic know-how about the Greek toilet system.
Public toilets: Public toilets in Greece can be found in tourist areas, airports, train stations, and bus stations. They can be clean or dirty, and may or may not have toilet paper, soap, or a sink. You can find toilets in parks, museums, and other public places. It’s a good idea to carry some toilet paper with you; just in case.
Restaurants and cafes: Many restaurants and cafes have toilets, but not all of them are public. It’s better to ask permission from the staff before using them.
Hotels and vacation rentals: Most hotels and vacation rentals have private bathrooms. However, it’s a good idea to check before booking if you have special needs.
Squat toilets: Some public toilets in Greece, especially in older buildings, may have squat toilets. These are toilets that are set on the floor, rather than raised on a platform.
Beach toilets: Many beaches in Greece have toilets, but they may not be well-maintained.
It is advisable to be prepared for the different types of toilet facilities that you may encounter in Greece and to carry basic necessities such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
5. Internet connections In Greece
Greece has generally good internet connectivity, but the quality and reliability of internet connections can vary depending on the location and the type of service. Here are some things to know about internet connections in Greece for visitors:
Wifi: Most hotels, cafes, restaurants, and other public places in tourist areas have wifi, but the quality and reliability of wifi can vary.
Mobile internet: Greece has several mobile network providers that offer prepaid and postpaid plans for visitors. Many of these providers offer 4G LTE coverage, but it’s better to check the coverage map of the provider before signing up.
Roaming: Visitors from EU countries can use their mobile phones in Greece without additional charges, but for visitors from other countries, it’s best to check with your mobile phone provider about international roaming rates.
Internet cafes: You can find internet cafes in tourist areas and major cities, but they may not be as common as in other countries.
Portable Wifi: You can rent portable wifi devices for the duration of your stay, which allows you to connect multiple devices.
Public transportation: Some public transportation systems, such as buses, trains, and the metro in Athens, offer wifi, but the quality and reliability of the wifi can vary.
Tip: It is advisable to check with your hotel or vacation rental about internet options and to purchase a local SIM card or portable wifi device if you plan to use your phone or another device while traveling in Greece.
6. Hospitality Of Greeks
Greece is known for its warm and friendly hospitality, and visitors can expect a welcoming and gracious experience when traveling in the country. Greeks are known for their generosity and willingness to help, and they often go out of their way to make guests feel comfortable.
Here are a few things to know about the hospitality of Greeks:
Greek hospitality is rooted in ancient tradition: In ancient Greece, hospitality was considered a sacred duty, and it was customary to offer food and lodging to travelers. Usually, this tradition is called Greek culture.
Greeks are known for their generosity: Greeks are known for their generosity, and they often go out of their way to make guests feel comfortable. They may offer you food or drink, even if you haven’t asked for it, and they may invite you to their homes or to a family meal.
Greeks are friendly and welcoming: Greeks are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, and visitors can expect a warm and gracious experience when traveling in the country.
Greeks may be direct: Greeks may be direct and speak their mind, but it is not intended to be rude, but rather honest.
Greeks are passionate about their culture and history: Greeks are passionate about their culture and history, and they are often eager to share their stories and traditions with visitors.
Greeks may be patient and understanding: Greeks understand visitors who may not be fluent in Greek, and they often speak at least some English. The hospitality of the Greeks is an important aspect of their culture and should be enjoyed and respected while you’re visiting the country.
7. Monetary Unit Of Greece
The monetary unit of Greece is the £ (EUR). It is the official currency of the country and is used throughout Greece, including in tourist areas and major cities. Here are a few things to know about the monetary unit of Greece before visiting:
Currency exchange: You can exchange currency at banks, currency exchange offices, and some large hotels. You can find ATMs all over Greece, and they dispense euros.
Credit and debit cards: Major credit and debit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted in Greece, but it’s a good idea to check with your bank before traveling to confirm that your card will work in Greece and to know about any additional fees.
Tipping: Tipping is common in Greece, and it is expected in restaurants, cafes, and bars. A tip of 10-15% of the total bill is considered appropriate.
Prices: Prices in Greece can vary depending on the location and type of establishment, but in general, prices for food, accommodation, and transportation are similar to those in other Western European countries.
Sales tax: Greece has a value-added tax (VAT) of 24%, which is included in the prices of goods and services. Visitors from non-EU countries may be able to claim back the VAT on some purchases.
Currency restrictions: There are no restrictions for bringing in or taking out the amount of currency but you will have to declare if you’re carrying more than €10,000.
Tip: It is advisable to carry some cash and a credit/debit card while traveling in Greece and to check with your bank about any additional fees for using your card in Greece.
8. Paying with Credit Cards in Greece
Paying with credit cards in Greece is generally easy and convenient, as most major credit and debit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted in the country. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using credit cards in Greece:
Not all merchants accept credit cards: While most larger establishments and businesses accept credit cards, some smaller shops and vendors may only accept cash.
Check with your bank: Before traveling to Greece, it’s a good idea to, if possible, check with your bank to know if your credit card will be compatible with the payment gateways there in Greece. If yes, what would be the additional charges or taxes, etc to spend wisely or plan accordingly?
Check for the chip and pin system: In Greece, as well as in most of Europe, the Chip and Pin system is used, make sure your card has a chip and you have the pin or you may face difficulty in making the payments.
Be aware of foreign transaction fees: Some credit card companies charge a fee for foreign transactions, so it’s worth checking with your bank to is there any issue the visitors can face paying with their local Credit Cards in Greece
Visitors may face some issues when paying with their local credit cards in Greece, but these issues are generally minor and can usually be resolved easily. Some of the common issues that visitors may face when paying with credit cards in Greece include:
Credit card not being accepted: Some smaller shops and vendors may only accept cash, so visitors may find that their credit card is not accepted in these places.
The credit card being declined: Visitors may find that their credit card is declined due to fraud protection measures put in place by their bank. In this case, they should contact their bank to resolve the issue.
Currency conversion issues: Visitors may find that the exchange rate used by their bank or credit card company is not favorable, leading to higher charges on their credit card statements.
The credit card being blocked: Some banks may block credit cards if they detect unusual or suspicious activity, to prevent fraud. Visitors should contact their bank to resolve this issue.
Additional fees: Some credit card companies charge a fee for foreign transactions, so it’s worth checking with your bank to find out if this will apply to your credit card usage in Greece.
Overall, issues with credit card payments in Greece are not common and can usually be resolved easily with a quick call to your bank or credit card company. It’s a good idea to inform your bank that you’ll be traveling to Greece to avoid any unexpected blocks on your card.
9. Visitors Safety In Greece
Greece is generally considered a safe destination for visitors. Crime rates there in Greece are quite low and there are almost no cases of tourists being targeted. However, as with any destination, visitors should take basic precautionary measures to ensure a safe and light-on-pocket yet enjoyable trip.
Be aware of pickpocketing: As in any tourist area, pickpocketing can occur in crowded places such as markets, busy streets, and on public transportation. Keep your valuables close and try to be aware of the surroundings as much as possible.
Be aware of the surroundings: Especially in tourist areas, be aware of everything happening around to suspect if there is anything suspicious.
Be cautious about ATMs: Use ATMs located in apparently safe areas and this can be judged if it is in well-lit and busy areas. Also, be aware if anyone is following or spying on you.
Respect the local culture: Greece is a culturally rich country, and visitors should respect local customs and traditions.
Take care while driving: Greek roads can be challenging, and visitors should be prepared for winding roads, narrow streets, and aggressive drivers.
Be prepared for emergencies: Greece has a high-quality healthcare system, and visitors should be prepared for any emergencies by carrying with them copies of important documents (passport, insurance details, etc.
Overall, Greece can be considered or declared a safe place for visitors, and with a little common sense and preparation, most visitors have a safe and enjoyable trip.
10. No Baywatchers In Greece
The beach lifeguards in Greece are responsible for performing many tasks such as monitoring the weather conditions, scanning the waters for any signs of danger, performing rescues if necessary, providing first aid, and providing information and guidance to beachgoers. They are also well-trained to help the sufferers as they have skills as well as specialized equipment like rescue boats and jet skis.
It is advisable for visitors to pay attention to the flags on the beach which indicate the swimming conditions, the red flag means swimming is prohibited, a yellow flag means swimming with caution and the green flag means swimming is safe.
11. Shopping and Restaurant Timings
Shopping and restaurant hours in Greece can vary depending on the location and type of establishment. In general, however, the following are typical hours:
Shopping: Most shops in Greece are open from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sundays. Some shops in tourist areas may stay open later or open on Sundays to accommodate tourists. Supermarkets, in most areas, are open between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm.
Restaurants: The majority of eateries in Greece are open for lunch from 12:00 to 3:00 and supper from 7:00 to 11:00. Some restaurants in tourist areas may stay open till late to accommodate the visitors.
Bars: Most bars in Greece are open from around 10:00 am to 2:00 am.
Nightlife: Nightclubs in Greece are open from around 11:00 pm to 3:00 am.
It is important to note that these are general guidelines and hours may vary depending on the location and the establishment. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to check the opening hours before visiting a specific shop or restaurant, especially if you’re traveling outside of major cities or tourist areas.
12. Places For Couples In Greece
Greece is also known for its amazing attractions for couples, offering a variety of romantic settings, from beaches and islands to historic sites and charming towns. Some popular destinations for couples in Greece include;
- Santorini – Known for its stunning sunsets and white-washed buildings, Santorini is a romantic destination with a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops
- Mykonos – Known as a party island, Mykonos also offers a romantic atmosphere with charming streets and beautiful beaches.
- Crete – The largest of the Greek islands, Crete offers a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty, with charming towns and villages, beaches, and historic sites.
- Athens – The capital of Greece, Athens offers a mix of ancient history and modern culture, with sights such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon, as well as a variety of restaurants and shops.
- Naxos – One of the largest islands of the Cyclades, Naxos has beaches that can steal your breath and can still a next-level peace in your heart. Along with that, there are some charming villages with rich histories.
- Pelion – A mountainous region in Greece, Pelion is known for its charming villages, traditional architecture, and beautiful landscapes.
- Meteora – This unique rock formation in Greece, offers breathtaking views and a chance to explore ancient monasteries.
- Skiathos – An island in the Northern Sporades group, Skiathos is known for having inspiring beaches, crystal clear waters, and lively nightlife.
Overall, Greece has a lot to offer for couples with its charming villages, beautiful beaches, historic sites, and delicious cuisine.
13. Do Not Miss Visiting Greece Taverns
There are several reasons why tourists should not miss visiting taverns in Greece:
Authentic Greek cuisine: Taverns in Greece offer a wide variety of traditional Greek dishes, such as moussaka, souvlaki, and tzatziki. These dishes are often made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and are a great way to experience the flavors of Greece.
Friendly atmosphere: Greek taverns are known for their friendly and welcoming atmosphere. They are often family-run businesses where locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy good food and conversation.
Live entertainment: Many taverns in Greece offer live entertainment, such as Greek music and dancing, which adds to the lively atmosphere.
Affordable prices: Taverns in Greece offer affordable prices, especially compared to other dining options in the country, making it a great option for budget-conscious travelers.
Cultural experience: Visiting a tavern in Greece is a great way to experience the country’s culture and tradition. It is a place where locals gather and socialize, and you can learn about local customs and culture from the locals themselves.
Great for groups: Taverns are often large and open spaces, making them great for groups of friends or family. They also often offer large tables for groups to gather around.
Overall, taverns in Greece are a great way to experience authentic Greek cuisine, culture, and hospitality at an affordable price. They are a must-visit destination for any tourist looking to immerse themselves in Greek culture and tradition.
14. Do not drive a car within the city limits
There are several reasons why it is not recommended to drive a car within the city limits in Greece:
Traffic and congestion: Greek cities, especially Athens, have heavy traffic and congestion, making it difficult to navigate and find parking. This can lead to long delays and frustration for drivers.
Limited parking: Finding parking in Greek cities can be difficult and time-consuming. Many cities have limited parking options, and parking spots are often hard to find, particularly in the city center.
Narrow streets: Many streets in Greek cities, especially in the older, historic areas, are narrow and winding. This can make it difficult for cars to navigate and can also be dangerous for pedestrians.
Public transportation: Greek cities have well-developed public transportation systems, including buses, metro, and trams, which can be a more efficient and convenient way to get around.
Walkable cities: Many Greek cities, especially in historic areas, are designed to be walkable, with a variety of shops, restaurants, and sights within easy reach. This makes it easy to explore the city on foot, without the need for a car.
15. Motorcycles and taxis must be avoided
There are several reasons why motorcycles and taxis may be avoided in Greece:
Safety concerns: Motorcycles can be dangerous in Greece, as the roads are often winding, narrow and congested. Many drivers are not used to sharing the road with motorcycles and may not always be aware of them. Additionally, helmets are not always worn by motorcyclists and the Greek traffic laws are not always strictly enforced.
Taxi scams: Taxis in Greece have a reputation for overcharging tourists, particularly in tourist areas. Some taxi drivers may take advantage of tourists who are unfamiliar with the city or country and may charge them more than the standard fare.
Unreliable service: Taxis in Greece can be unreliable, and it can be difficult to find one that is available during peak hours or in certain areas.
Quality of service: Some taxis may be in poor condition and may not be well-maintained. Additionally, some taxi drivers may not speak English, making it difficult for tourists to communicate their destination or understand the fare.
Cost: Taxis and motorbikes might cost more to travel than other options like public transit or rented vehicles..
It is worth noting that not all taxis and motorcycles are problematic, and many are operated by reputable drivers. However, it may be best to be vigilant and do some research before using either service in Greece.
Read More About: MYKONOS VS. SANTORINI: THE SUPREME GUIDE FOR CHOOSING THE BEST ONE!
Things To Know!
Before traveling to Athens Greece, it’s important to know a few things such as;
- Local currency (Euro)
- The official language (Greek)
- The time difference (GMT+2)
- The climate (the Mediterranean with hot summers and mild winters).
- It’s also recommended to purchase a travel insurance policy, familiarize yourself with basic Greek phrases, and research the city’s public transportation options.
- Additionally, visitors should be aware of the cultural and historical significance of the city, as Athens is home to many world-renowned landmarks such as the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Ancient Agora.
Plus, besides, there are few Greece travel restrictions, As of 2021 Greece has implemented a number of travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors from certain countries may be required to present a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours, as well as complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before arrival. Some countries may also face quarantine requirements upon arrival.
Additionally, there may be restrictions on gatherings and the operation of bars, restaurants, and other public venues. It’s important to check the most up-to-date information from the Greek government and your home country’s travel advisory before traveling to Greece. Travelers are also advised to follow all local health and safety guidelines, such as wearing masks in indoor public spaces and practicing social distancing.
Tip: Must read Greece travel tips 2022, before traveling to Greece.
In a nutshell, Greece is a beautiful country with a prosperous culture and history. It offers a vast variety of interests, including picturesque islands, ancient ruins, and delicious food. Generally, there are 15 things to know before traveling to Greece. It includes Greece isn’t the most disability-friendly driving can be difficult, smoking & drinking in Greece, the Greek toilette system, Internet connections In Greece, the hospitality of Greeks, the Monetary unit of Greece, Paying with Credit Cards in Greece, visitors’ safety in Greece, no bay watchers in Greece, shopping and restaurant timings, places for couples in Greece, do not miss visiting Greece taverns, do not drive a car within the city limits and motorcycles and taxis must be avoided. I hope this tailored list of “things to know before traveling to Greece” can be helpful for your upcoming Greek tour.