2024 Greece On A Budget Tips – Travel To Greece Cheap

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Post author Gabi

Written by our local expert Gabi

Gabi is an award-winning writer who lives on the Island of Crete in Greece. She is an expert in Greek travel and writes guides for the everyday traveler.

Are you looking to travel to Greece cheaply? You’re in luck; I have lived in Greece for many years and know how to help you save a few euros with some careful planning.

So, here is my detailed guide on traveling to Greece on a budget.

QUICK GUIDE ON SAVING MONEY ON GREECE

There is no one best way to stick to a Greece travel budget, but rather a few ways, like these:

  1. Save Early By Booking In Advance: find your flights and book accommodation well in advance – this can help you secure better deals and save money on your trip to Greece
  2. Visit During The Off-Season: traveling to Greece outside the high season can help you save. Book a trip during the fall (shoulder season) or winter months (low season) can lead to significant cost savings as prices for accommodations and attractions tend to be lower
  3. Choose Less Visited Islands (Skip Mykonos & Santorini): opt for less popular Greek islands like Corfu and Milos instead of well-known and pricier destinations like Mykonos and Santorini to save on accommodation and other expenses
  4. Catch The Ferry To The Islands: using ferries to travel between the Greek islands is often more cost-effective than flying. It’s also a scenic way to explore the beautiful Greek archipelago
  5. Move Around Greece On A Budget: consider using budget-friendly transportation options such as renting a moped or using public transportation when exploring cities and regions in Greece
  6. Save With Cheap Accommodation: look for budget-friendly accommodation options such as hostels, guesthouses, or vacation rentals to reduce your lodging expenses
  7. Look For Free & Discounted Tours And Activities: seek out free or discounted tours and activities to explore Greece’s culture and history without breaking the bank
  8. Track Down Cheap Eats: save on food expenses by dining at local tavernas and seeking out affordable street food options

Contrary to popular belief, Greece is not an overly pricey destination, and you can travel to Greece cheaply.

Suppose you avoid some selected, exclusive islands, such as Mykonos or specific areas in Santorini, and instead head to the lesser-known islands. In that case, enjoying a stunning holiday while traveling to Greece on a budget is still very much possible.

You don’t need to break the bank to travel to Greece; otherwise, it wouldn’t be as popular as it is.  You will be fine if you pay attention to some of these travel tips.

Tips To Save Some Money When Traveling To Greece

Here are my best tips (as a local) for helping you save money in Greece. 

Save Early By Booking In Advance

Guide To Where To Stay In Crete, Greece

Saving money for a holiday in Greece should start early in your holiday planning. Once you have a clear picture of which islands you wish to visit, when, and how long to stay, booking your property in advance will be essential when trying to cut costs.

Saving from the beginning also applies to transportation travel expenses, both for the plane and ferry tickets and also for car rentals.

Booking your airfare several months in advance is always a great way to save money, no matter the destination.

Start looking up to a year ahead of time – these prices will likely be on the high end. As your travel date gets closer, you’ll notice price drops, and you will quickly know a good deal on a fare when you see it.

If you need to cut costs, you may find it cheaper to fly to a different European destination and then take a cheap flight or train from there to Greece. Often, RyanAir and EasyJet are budget airlines that you can use to connect to Greece from most European countries.

These low-cost airlines don’t offer the lux amenities that you might be used to, but when you can save hundreds of dollars on a flight, it is well worth it.

Renting a car in Greece is still relatively cheap, especially if you book your vehicle through a local car rental company.

Car leasing in Greece is budget-friendly, even in the peak season. Renting your vehicle way ahead of time can be even cheaper than traveling with public transport, especially if you intend to explore bigger islands such as Rhodes, Corfu, or Crete. Avoid international car rental companies whenever possible. 

Visit During The Off Season

Winter in Greece - Small town Oia on Santorini

Avoiding the peak seasons of July and August will also help you cut costs and crowds! July and August coincide with the European school summer holidays, so these months are hectic, and prices skyrocket!

Instead, plan to travel during the shoulder months – April to early June and September to October. 

Greece is in the Mediterranean. That means you will undoubtedly get excellent beach weather during less traditional months.

September and October are great times to plan a beach holiday, as the sea is still warm from the summer heat. While the temperatures are pleasant during May and June, the Aegean Sea will not have warmed fully from the winter yet.

Speaking of winter, it is also becoming a popular time to visit Greece! Archaeological sites and museums have reduced entrance fees from November to March, making it a budget-friendly time to visit if you plan to focus on exploring Greek history.

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Choose Less Visited Islands (Skip Mykonos & Santorini)

Ideas For Things To Do In Corfu In Winter For Everyone - Paleokastrisa

It’s relatively easy to be tempted to visit the most popular Greek Islands. How can you resist the breathtaking views from the Santorini Caldera or the unique perspective of Mykonos’ windmills?

Well, you can actually soak in superb Greek panoramas without spending a fortune – in fact, Greece has over 200 inhabited islands to choose from, and choosing a less popular island will cut your total cost by 30% right off the bat!

There are many more islands in the Cycladic cluster besides Mykonos and Santorini. Almost any other Cycladic Island will guarantee the same blue-domed churches, the whitewashed cubic houses, and the gardens and paths adorned with pink bougainvillea, while the price tag won’t be as high. 

Choose less-visited islands, such as Sifnos, Serifos, Anafi, or even Paros, to get the authentic Greek island vibe at more affordable prices. You will undoubtedly discover unspoiled beaches and much, much more.

Another great idea to cut out spending the big bucks is to explore Greece’s mainland. Although the Greek Islands might sound like a paradise, you can enjoy many other places on the mainland, including beaches, ancient ruins, and much more!

Not all the best places in Greece are on the islands.

Tip: If you go island-hopping, select islands close together to minimize ferry ticket costs when planning a Greek island-hopping route.

GREECE BUDGET DESTINATION IDEAS
  • Athens, Tinos, and Andros: You can experience mainland Greece along with nearby islands that are relatively off the radar.
  • Crete: As Crete is such a big island, the exploration, accommodation, and restaurant options are endless, many of which are super budget-friendly.
  • Corfu or Milos: These are the perfect islands to visit if you want to experience local Greek life.

Catch The Ferry To The Islands

Lesser-Known Greek Islands - Karpathos

Air travel is undoubtedly the fastest way to reach the islands from the capital. If you want to save time, always look into flight offers first.

However, ferries have an advantage for budget travelers: their price. 

A ferry ticket is much cheaper than a plane ticket, but you will spend more time traveling. For instance, it can take you about an hour to fly to Chania, in Crete, from Athens, but you will need to sail all night long to get there by the early morning by ferry.

That being said, ferry travel is ideal on a budget.

HOW A FERRY RIDE WILL SAVE YOU MONEY IN GREECE
  • Ferry travel is cheaper than air travel
  • Slow ferries are more affordable than fast ferries
  • Overnight ferries save you a night of accommodation costs (Blue Star Ferries)
  • Pre-booking ferry rides months in advance saves LOADS
  • Student IDs often get you discounts on ferry tickets
  • Children below a certain age travel for free

TIP: Ferryhopper is an excellent tool for pre-booking ferry rides and comparing route options, or check out our complete guide to traveling between the islands. 

Move Around Greece On A Budget

As mentioned, traveling to the islands is cheapest by ferry, but how should you travel once you are on the island or if you choose to stay on the mainland?

Traveling In Greek Cities

Public transport is cheap and easy. You can hop on the metro in Athens for as little as 1.4 euros. 

Most cities are also set up so you can easily walk, including central Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, and Kalamata. If you are visiting these locations, you may be able to see everything without spending on transport at all.

If you need to take a taxi, use the app iMovie to schedule a car transport.

Traveling Off The Beaten Path

If you are hoping to travel off the beaten path a bit in Greece, the best option is to rent a car, especially if there are multiple people in your travel group. Sharing car rental costs will be more effective than paying for taxis or buying bus tickets if you’re traveling with friends.

Remember that toll road are found throughout the country, and taking a car on a ferry is costly, so you may want to rent a car for short periods when you really need it. 

Check Flights Within Greece

You may be surprised to find that some flights within Greece are cheaper than long-distance bus or train travel, so it’s always worth checking prices. A short flight could cost $35 and save loads of time.

Save With Cheap Hotels & Accommodations

Greece Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Crete_Pepi’s Boutique Hotel
Photo Credit: Pepi’s Boutique Hotel

There are so many options for accommodation that it won’t be challenging to find the perfect place to stay. No matter your budget, renting a flat or a house on Airbnb for a short term or longer to save on hotel room costs is always possible.

You can also opt to stay in a family-run hotel instead of a large, international structure. Other cheap accommodations include hostels (common in bigger cities & popular islands) and campgrounds (which often have tents for rent).

Prices tend to be lower the sooner you start looking, so don’t leave this step until the last minute. Cheap and easy places book really fast!

TIP: Book accommodations that include breakfast or have cooking amenities to save on your food budget.

CITIES FOR CHEAPEST ACCOMMODATION
  • Athens
  • Thessaloniki
  • Crete

Look For Free & Discounted Tours And Activities

Ancient Sites iIn Greece - Scenic view of temple of Hephaestus in Ancient Agora, Athens

Museums, Archaeological Sites & Art Galleries

Generally speaking, activities and attractions such as archaeological sites and museums are not extremely expensive. It’s common to find package deals that allow you to visit several places within the same week to save money. 

You can even access some of these sites for free on some occasions or special days of the year. 

Discounts also apply to children, students, senior citizens, journalists, and more, so it’s always a good idea to contact the museum or site you want to visit in advance to check what identification you need to carry with you and present at the ticket office for you to enjoy a discount.

In big cities, such as Athens, city passes are available to make your life easier by allowing you to save a few euros as you go.

PUBLIC MUSEUM & ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE FREE DAYS
  • 6 March
  • 18 April – International Monuments Day (this includes the Panathenaic Stadium)
  • 18 May – International Museums Day (includes private museums)
  • Last Weekend in September – European Heritage Days
  • 28 October – Ochi public holiday
  • First Sunday in November, December, January, February & March

Remember that free days are busy, so arrive early and expect crowds.

Greece Travel Blog_How To Travel Greece On A Budget_Tips From A Local

Free Walking Tours

In large cities like Mykonos or Athens, joining a free walking tour is a fun way to orient yourself with the city and learn some of its rich history.

Even though it’s free, don’t forget to tip your guide!

Beach Days

Swimming in the Mediterranean is free, so plan lots of beach days! Equipment rentals for activities such as water sports are also easy to do on location and are sensibly priced.

Picnics & Sunsets

One of the best ways to enjoy Greece on a budget is to pack up a picnic, your camera, and a bottle of wine, then head to the coast, a national park, or some other natural space where you can catch a sunset and enjoy nature while you eat fresh Greek food.

Track Down Cheap Eats

Albanian Food - Baklava

When it comes to the capital, Athens, or even bigger cities such as Thessaloniki, Larisa, or Heraklion, you will be able to find endless food choices, not just Greek, if you were wondering, at relatively low fees.

Street food is usually delicious, and the prices are even more affordable.

CHEAP, FILLING STREET FOODS
  • Gyros
  • Souvlaki
  • Spinach & Cheese Pie (Spanakopita)
  • Koulouri
  • Falafel
  • Shawarma

Local markets are also great places to pick up inexpensive produce, cheese, and bread for easy picnic meals and snacks on the go.

When traveling around the islands, choose the same places locals go for lunch or dinner. Traditional, family-run tavernas are more convenient than fancy restaurants with views, music, or shows. Portions are generally massive in more modest restaurants, so sharing meals with your travel mates won’t be hard to cut even more expenses.

Those who love to pair their meals with a glass of wine will be happy to know that wine in Greece is generally not expensive and even more delighted to discover that quality is top-notch. Not all Greek wine is retsina! On the contrary, more and more local wineries are producing unique labels that are getting recognition worldwide, so take advantage of the trip and taste some stunning Greek wine!

Those who are not keen on alcohol will find that bottled water is cheap. Soft drinks are more expensive than freshly squeezed orange juice, so if the fruit is your thing, you won’t be disappointed at the taste of Greek oranges. On the contrary, you will love the fragrance, the taste, and the freshness!


Enjoy The Coffee Culture

Greek Coffee - Frappe, ice coffee on the beac

Make sure you take advantage of the local customs, including the opportunity to spend hours over a coffee while you chat, read a book, or take in the stunning local views. Spending just a few bucks to enjoy a whole afternoon is well spent!

So, how does your tight budget look now after reading these tips? Set your travel dates out of summer, and I am sure you will find the cheapest way to travel while still enjoying everything a Greek vacation offers.

TRAVELING GREECE ON A BUDGET FAQS

Can I travel to Greece on a budget?

Definitely! You can find plenty of budget options, especially when visiting during the shoulder months of April-June and September-October.

How much should I budget for a trip to Greece?

If you want to travel cheaply with a friend or partner, plan for about 50 euros per day, including a budget hotel, a few meals out, and ferry costs.

What’s the cheapest city to fly into in Greece?

Athens airport is the busiest and cheapest airport in Greece to fly into. 

How do I visit Greek islands on a budget?

Hop on an overnight ferry, which will save half the price of a ferry ticket, then rent a moped and explore the island. Consider going when historical sites on the island have discounts. Eat street food while there and watch a sunset along the coastline.

Is Santorini cheap or expensive?

Short answer – expensive.

What are the cheapest islands to visit in Greece?

Crete, Andros, Tinos, Corfu & Naxos

Is Crete cheaper than Mykonos?

Crete is significantly cheaper to visit than Mykonos, making it a great spot for budget travelers.

How many days do I need to see Greece?

10 to 15 days is ideal to explore the Greek mainland and then hop to a few islands.

Making intelligent decisions about where to go, when to go, and how much in advance to book can make all the difference when traveling to Greece on a budget, letting you enjoy a top-class holiday at a very reasonable price.

Bookmark this guide and remember all these traveling to Greece on budget tips for your next trip to Greece!

Comments (3)

  1. I was so happy to come across your article on Sifnos. I first came across your articles last year when planning a trip to Croatia. I loved your extensive explanation of what to eat in Greece. Eating is a big part of any vacation, isn’t it! At home or abroad! I plan on traveling to Greece sometime around the 1-10. We will be two 70 year old female travel friends. If you have an article on traveling safely in Athens, and what area to stay in, could you please send me the link. Thanks for your great articles!!!!

  2. Greece is a wonderful place I love architecture whenever I get vacations I always visit greece I love your tips a lot thanks for the tips.

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