Today’s topic is tricky: how do you choose between two of the most popular vacation destinations? Perfect spots to visit during the summer, Greece and Spain can be enjoyed during the winter months as well due to the incredible number of attractions they both offer.
If you are planning a trip somewhere with jaw-dropping beaches with crystal clear waters, rich cultural heritage, national parks, and mouthwatering cuisine, choosing between Spain or Greece might be particularly challenging.
To help you find out which better suits your travel plans, I have put together this blog post with an in-depth comparison of the two destinations.
Note: sorry in advance, Mom, for not telling people that Greece is better – I have to do my job and be unbiased here, you know?
Keep reading below to find out everything you need to know to decide which Mediterranean country is best for your holiday.
Skip Ahead To My Advice Here!
Overview Of Greece And Spain
Whether you’re looking for an exciting city break or a beach-and-sun gateway, Greece and Spain are fantastic options. But how do you choose if Spain or Greece is suitable for you? Here’s a synopsis of Spain versus Greece to help you figure it out.
Greece is the perfect destination if you want to relax on some pristine beaches and visit traditional villages. Greece is made up of thousands of idyllic islands; some are ideal for a laid-back time, while others are best for practicing water sports, like diving and kite surfing.
Instead, Greece’s mainland boasts ancient ruins you won’t find anywhere else, tall mountains ideal for hiking, and beautiful churches and museums you can spend endless hours visiting.
There’s plenty to explore in Spain! You could travel from northern Spain to the south of Spain and feel like you’re in two completely different countries.
Spain has something for everyone. Bustling cities with incredible museums, food, and shopping venues, wonderful Mediterranean beaches, two sets of islands – the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, which boast completely different landscapes and vibes – and the impressive Pyrenees mountain range.
Are you curious to know the pros and cons of each country? Let’s have a look.
Pros And Cons Of Greece Over Spain
Greece is a mindblowing country with a prosperous heritage and millennia-old rich history. It goes without saying that Greece is worth visiting. Packed with tourists during the summer, there are some pros and cons to keep in mind if you’re planning to visit Greece.
- A priceless heritage made of countless ancient sites like the Acropolis of Athens
- Great weather, not just in the summer but also for the rest of the year
- Breathtaking natural beauty with mountains, pristine beaches, and to-die-for islands
- Healthy and delicious cuisine based on fresh local produce, including olive oil, fresh vegetables, cheeses, and seafood
- Greece is generally a safe country to visit
- The popular places in the country are jam-packed with sightseers in the summer months
- Greece has expensive areas, like the island of Santorini
- Sweltering summers can make sightseeing difficult
Pros And Cons Of Spain Over Greece
The Spanish culture is rich with lots of ancient history and sightseeing, making it one of Europe’s most visited countries. Before traveling to Spain, consider these pros and cons.
- Fabulous cities and towns with plenty of activities
- A varied landscape that offers a more diverse experience
- A cuisine that conquers every palate – and the tapas culture!
- A bustling nightlife in many places
- Top-notch public transit network
- Hot summers all around with cold winters in the central and north of the country
- Such a varied landscape means you’ll have to choose what to see and miss the rest
- English isn’t widely spread, and you will have difficulties communicating in less touristy areas
Cost Of A Vacation In Greece Vs Spain
A critical factor in deciding which one to travel to, Greece or Spain, is the cost of your vacation. When comparing Spain and Greece, which is the cheaper destination?
We can state that there isn’t much difference between Greece and Spain regarding costs. Accommodation, food, and transportation costs are pretty much the same in both countries, with Spain being a little more affordable than Greece during the peak of the tourist season.
What really changes it all is where in Greece or Spain you will travel to. Santorini is consistently more expensive than other Greek islands, while a trip to Barcelona will cost you more than a city break in, let’s say, Valencia.
One area where Greece is significantly more expensive than Spain is for activities like snorkeling and diving trips, and sightseeing since you will need to purchase entrance tickets and you will likely hire an expert guide to show you around.
On the other hand, if relaxing at the beach is your main goal while in Greece, your vacation will be affordable since there are countless free beaches you can spend as much time on as you wish without spending a euro.
Must-See Historical Places In Greece
Greece is a beautiful country with so many places to visit that you will be spoiled with choices! Let’s check our suggestions on the best places to see during your vacation in Greece:
- Acropolis of Athens: one of the most famous ancient sites worldwide, the Acropolis is perched atop a hill overlooking the entire city of Athens. Stroll through famous temples and buildings like the Parthenon to learn all about Ancient Greek history and admire stunning views of the city.
- Palace of Knossos: an impressive complex on the island of Crete, the Palace of Knossos underwent a state-of-the-art archaeological restoration, which is a step back in time. This palace was said to be the site of the mythological Labyrinth, where the Minotaur lived.
- Temple of Apollo: this is a must-see site in the town of Delphi. Surrounded by high mountains and perfectly preserved, the Temple of Apollo was once a pilgrimage place visited by people from all over Greece.
- Mount Olympus: the best area in Greece for hiking and rock climbing, Mount Olympus isn’t just ideal for outdoor and nature lovers. Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in the country, is the mythological home of Greek gods and goddesses.
- Greek Islands: with over 6,000 islands, Greece is a paradise for beach lovers! There is something for every taste. Go to Santorini for a luxurious getaway, Ithaca for an authentic Greek trip, Mykonos if you are a partygoer, and Alonnisos if you’re looking for a scuba diving experience like no other!
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Must-See Places In Spain
Spain is wide and varied, and you will have plenty of things to see and do depending on where you go. Here is a bullet list of the top places to visit in Spain:
- La Rambla in Barcelona: one of the most iconic streets in the world, La Rambla is the city’s main pedestrian artery. Connecting the stunning Plaça de Catalunya to the harbor, stroll up and down its 1.3 kilometers to discover unmissable spots like La Boqueria market
- Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences: this architectural masterpiece is the very symbol of Valencia. A huge complex of buildings with a unique structure, the City of Arts and Sciences includes attractions like the Oceanografic Aquarium, a planetarium, an IMAX theater, and the Natural History Museum
- The Andalucia region: once Spain’s poorest region, today, it is among Spain’s top destinations. Sandy beaches, the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountains, charming towns with Moorish architecture, and the birthplace of flamenco, Andalucia is all of this and much more
- Spain’s incredible beaches: for a sun-filled holiday, head to the northeastern coastal region called Costa Brava or the southern Costa del Sol. Besides wonderful beaches, these areas are dotted with lovely seaside towns offering plenty of sightseeing, traditional restaurants, and shopping opportunities. Are you looking for some more? Travel to the Balearic Islands for a luxurious beach vacation
- The Canary Islands: an archipelago like no other, it’s located off the coast of Africa. These islands boast year-round perfect weather, slow-going villages and towns, and incredible natural landscapes, including tall volcanoes you can hike for breathtaking views
Who Has Better Food – Spain Or Greece?
When it’s time to sit at the dinner table, you will be delighted by Greece and Spain. There is much to say about Greece vs Spain and their respective cuisines!
Generally speaking, Greek food is typically lighter and healthier, while Spanish cuisine is rich and has strong flavors. Both cuisines are delicious and prepared with local ingredients that make them particularly tasty.
Greece is famous for some staple ingredients that you will find in many dishes, such as feta, olives (and olive oil), lamb, and fresh seafood. Delightful Greek salads with feta and kalamata olives, gyros stuffed with roasted lamb or chicken and tzatziki sauce, and shrimp saganaki are on every menu.
For something more fun and hearty, Spanish food is the way to go. Nothing is more typical than tapas, small plates of food to enjoy while drinking. Tapas can include anything and everything, from patatas bravas and croquetas to tortilla española.
There is only one thing more traditional than tapas – paella. Originally from Valencia, this main dish based on rice is quintessentially Spanish!
No matter what you like, you’ll indeed find delicious food in Greece and Spain.
Islands & Beaches Comparison Between Greece And Spain
Greece and Spain are fantastic destinations for a summer holiday, and for good reason.
With over 6,000 islands scattered on the Aegean and Ionian seas, Greece is a magical place to visit. Island hopping is among the best activities you can do in Greece, and the best about its countless islands is that each has its unique charm.
From Santorini’s whitewashed houses and blue domes to Rhodes’s many archeological sites, the islands in Greece are just perfect. Speaking of Greek beaches, you’ll also find many on mainland Greece, for example, in the Halkidiki region.
Spain has two stunning archipelagos (the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands). The Balearic Islands are quintessential Mediterranean and packed with tourists in the summer, while the Canary Islands are somewhat crowded during the European winters as well for their African climate.
The various islands of the Canary archipelago are incredibly diverse, with Lanzarote and the tiny La Gomera having a wild appearance and atmosphere. Besides the islands, Spain is blessed with over 5,000 kilometers of coastline, with an array of sun-kissed beaches to suit every taste.
If you want to relax, do water sports or party, Spain’s beaches have you covered! Plus, Spain has the highest number of beaches globally awarded the Blue Flag status.
- More islands to choose from
- Historical sites and ruins to explore on many islands
- Depending on the island of choosing, it can be a costly holiday
- A longer coastline with a perfect climate
- Less crowded beaches
- Overall, it is more affordable (exception made for jet-set islands like Ibiza)
So, Greece or Spain for summer vacation? With pristine beaches and jaw-dropping islands, you can’t go wrong picking one or the other.
Spain Vs. Greece For Large Cities
When discussing Greece vs Spain vacation, we need to talk about cities. Both countries have various options, but which is better for a city break?
- Athens: Greece’s capital, Athens, has world-famous historical sites, first and foremost the Acropolis with the stunning Parthenon. One of the oldest cities in Europe, Athens has a special atmosphere, and it’s home to some of the best restaurants, bars, and nightlife venues.
- Thessaloniki: Greece’s second-largest city, the charming port town of Thessaloniki has a great mix of history and culture and an exciting food scene.
- Heraklion: The main city on Greece’s largest island, Crete, Heraklion boasts Blue Flag beaches and the nearby archeological site of Knossos.
- Madrid: Spain’s capital and largest city, Madrid, has elegant architecture and a vibrant cultural scene. Home to one of Europe’s best museums, the El Prado, Madrid is a perfect city break destination for its many parks, sightseeing opportunities, and restaurants.
- Barcelona: the capital city of Catalonia’s autonomous community, Barcelona is one of Spain’s largest cities. Boasting iconic attractions, from the Sagrada Familia to Gaudì creations, Barcelona has a perfect mix of culture and history with a contemporary and cosmopolitan vibe and many hang-out spots.
- Seville: the third-largest Spanish city, Seville is the capital of the region of Andalusia. The birthplace of the flamenco dance, Seville offers visitors the remnants of its Moorish past and great attractions, including Plaza de España and the Royal Alcázar.
So, which country do you think is best for your next city break?
Is Greece Or Spain Better For Hiking
Both Spain and Greece are fabulous hiking destinations. Greece offers everything you can dream of for a hiking vacation: rugged mountains with deep gorges and caves, alpine lakes, and volcanic calderas.
Regarding Spain, the hiking options in the country are endless, including the peaks of Sierra Nevada and the Pyrenees and the famed Camino de Santiago.
Both Spain and Greece are nature lovers’ heaven when it comes to hiking and marveling at breathtaking vistas. Most people pick Spain over Greece for hiking, but ultimately, the top destination for your vacation will depend on personal preferences.
Nightlife In Greece Vs Spain
When it comes to nightlife entertainment, Greece and Spain have different scenes to offer.
There are fewer hang-out destinations in Greece. On top of the list for the mainland is Athens, which boasts a popular nightlife scene with a great mix of bars, nightclubs, and theater productions. On the islands, the best options if you are a partygoer are Mykonos, Ios, and Corfù.
Spain has countless nightlife places, as all the main cities, beach holiday towns, and islands have active nightlife scenes. Madrid, Granda, Malaga, and Valencia all offer plenty of party opportunities, but Barcelona is the undisputed capital of Spanish nightlife.
Speaking of the Balearic archipelago, Ibiza and Formentera are the islands if you want to dance the night away. Mallorca also has some great nightlife but is mostly limited to its capital city, Palma de Mallorca.
Overall, Spain has more nightlife venues than Greece. However, you can still find spots in Greece for chill and pleasant evenings.
Language Barrier Comparison Greece Vs Spain
Regarding communication, you won’t have a single problem in Greece or Spain’s tourist areas. Those working in the hospitality sector know English very well.
You will find most signage and public announcements in the respective languages both in Spain and Greece. This can make getting around challenging, especially in Greece, since the Greek alphabet is different from the Latin alphabet – you won’t even recognize the letters!
Spain Vs Greece For Public Transport
You might want to travel between different places once in Greece or Spain and to do it; you can rent a car or use public transport.
Greece has an excellent public transportation network, with buses connecting all the major towns with the small villages. Buses are also incredibly cheap, so they are a fantastic option for those traveling on a budget. To get to the various islands, you can hop on the ferries and go quickly from one beautiful place to another.
Spain has top-notch public transport, with an extensive network of high-speed trains, inter-regional buses, metro lines within the big cities, and cheap flight connections.
Both countries offer affordable public transportation, but Spain’s public transportation system is more extensive and efficient, which makes it a better destination if you don’t want to drive but would still want to explore more places.
Why Is Greece Worth Visiting
It goes without saying that Greece is a wonderful destination with many attractions to offer visitors. Here is a summary of why Greece is worth visiting:
- Millennia-old history and culture
- Unique archeological sites, many of which are perfectly conserved
- Countless islands with the most beautiful beaches
- Amazing seafood and overall healthy and delicious traditional cuisine
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Why Is Spain Worth Visiting
Spain is also incredible to visit, and tourists are spoiled for choice regarding things to see and do. Here is an overview of why Spain is worth visiting:
- World-class museums and exciting cities
- Diverse cultures, traditions, and architecture that vary from region to region
- A rich and lush cuisine with the lovely tradition of tapas
- Extraordinary nature for outdoor adventures, from hiking to skiing
Greece And Spain FAQs
So, Is Spain Or Greece Better
After considering all the pros and cons of Greece and Spain, it’s obvious which is the main takeaway: both countries are incredible to explore.
Greece and Spain have unique histories and cultures that mesmerize every tourist. Whether you’re planning to visit Ancient Greek sites, go island hopping, or stroll around magnificent Spanish cities with diverse attractions, entertainment, and food, there’s something special in both countries.
So, how do you choose between Greece and Spain? Which is the best country for you? Well, I think that it all comes down to what you are looking for from your next Mediterranean coast holiday.
Skim through our guide again, and pick where to go next between Greece and Spain! You are sure to have an unforgettable time in either country.