What You Need To Know About Planning A Trip To Greece

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Here is your ultimate guide to planning a trip to Greece. We’ve covered everything from island hopping, accommodation, visa, food, entertainment, and much, much, much more.

Greece Travel Blog_How To Plan A Trip To Greece

Planning A Trip To Greece

Are you getting ready to plan a trip to Greece? Yay! You’re going to have a blast.

Heading to a place like Greece will guarantee you a great time. However, I know from past experiences that navigating the details can be a little mind-boggling, especially when you want to include a few Greek islands on your itinerary.

Below, we’ve covered all the main questions, like what to eat in Greece, the best places to stay in Greece, Greek trip visa requirements, and, of course, things to do in Greece. Read on for these and more ideas on how best to plan your trip to Greece

When Is The Best Time To Visit Greece

Best Greek Islands For Couples

Whenever considering a trip to Greece, the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind is a paradisiac beach holiday. Home to some of the most stunning European beaches, the country is instantly synonymous with seascapes, glorious beaches, and turquoise seas.

However, not everyone knows that Greece’s summers can be unbearably hot and humid and that sometimes it might be a much more successful idea to plan a trip to Greece during spring or even autumn.

It is also true that when we hear the word Greece, dozens of named islands come to our minds as if only Crete, Santorini, or Mykonos are places worth visiting. However, the Greek Islands are just a fraction of the country’s landscape.

Mainland Greece is made of unique cities, villages, and landscapes, primarily mountainous, making the country a perfect winter destination, ideal for practicing winter sports, including skiing or snowboarding.

For this reason, we’ve created this season-by-season guide to Greece to help you discover the different types of vacations you can enjoy in the country, even for those who don’t go crazy about beach holidays!

How Many Days To Spend In Greece

Planning A Trip To Greece - Temple of Concordia and the statue of Fallen Icarus, in the Valley of the temples

As many as you can. Honestly, the country offers so much that you should not try to rush Greece. Take as many vacation days as possible.

How To Plan A Greece Vacation – Make An Itinerary

Aerial view over southern skiathos island, Greece
Skiathos Island

Whoah, this is the trickiest of all Greek vacation planning. After all, there is no amount of time on any one vacation to see all of this incredible country.

Greek Trip Plans – Decide If You Stopover Or Spend A Few Days

If you’re heading to Greece on a stopover to another place and have just a few days, stick to Athens and perhaps one of the Greek islands closest to Athens, such as the hypnotizing island of Hydra. Other choices include:

  • Hydra
  • Spetses
  • Poros
  • Aegina
  • Agistri
  • Kea
  • Kythnos
  • Andros
  • Tinos
  • Sifnos
  • Serifos
  • Syros

A Week In Greece

Now, if you have a week to spend in Greece, your options open up much more! I would not skip exploring the place you’re landing in – which would most likely be either Athens or Thessonali. You can see quite a few things in either place in two or three days and get your bearings in Greece

Of course, it is then time to start planning a trip to the Greek islands. Try to choose islands where you can add a trip or two, making the most of your week’s stay. Otherwise, you’ll spend too much time packing and traveling and less time on the beaches and eating Greek food! I would stick to a maximum of two islands.

Ten Days In Greece Itinerary

Having more than a week in Greece seriously opens up your island exploration options. If it’s your first time in Greece, you might want to try to fit in as many destinations as possible in your itinerary – just be warned, the result could be too overwhelming.

However, if you keep your itinerary well-planned and straightforward, ten days can be a good number of days to see the best of the country and its islands.

If you’re lucky enough to have ten days (or more) to spend in Greece, here are some ideas for making the most of them. 

  • Mainland Greece Itinerary
  • Island Itinerary – Classic Cyclades
    • Days 1 – 2 Athens
    • Day 3 Mykonos
    • Days 4-6 Naxos
    • Days 7-8 Paros
    • Days 9-10 Mykonos – Athens
  • Mainland And Top Islands
    • Days 1-3 Athens
    • Days 3-5 Mykonos-Santorini
    • Days 6-9 Crete
    • Day 10 Athens

How Much Is A Trip To Greece

Things to do in Ios Island - Traditional Greek taverns on the streets. Ios island

When you plan a vacation in Greece, you want to know how much you need to budget for it. 

But this is one question that we can not answer. We tend to travel in a mix between budgets and do not keep track of costs. But, like any place, Greece can be done on a budget if you travel to Greece out of season or stay out of the more popular areas. 

Equally, you can spend thousands of euros a day on a villa and much the same on good food and booze.  So when you plan a Greece vacation, know you can find things to do and see suitable for all budgets!

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How To Get Around The Greek Islands

There is nothing more magical, romantic, and adventurous than boarding a Greek ferry and sailing the sea to explore Greece’s unique beaches. Although most of us close our eyes and dream about the enchanting images of white Santorini, there are so many more Greek islands to choose from that you never know exactly where to start when planning a trip.

First, you must know that the islands are divided into different groups. Some are extremely popular among Greek island-hopping tourists, while others, equally enchanting, are almost unknown and offer a great vacation spot for those looking for less crowded places.

Ferry

So, how are you planning to get around? First, you need to know which islands you want to visit and whether they have direct ferry connections. In that case, you need to start here and choose the islands you want to see. 

After you have done that, we have many island guides to help you plan how to travel between them.

Flights

For those who are short on time or looking to jump between islands not connected by direct ferries, domestic flights can be a game-changer. Major islands like Crete, Rhodes, and Corfu have airports with flights to and from Athens, making them accessible starting points or additions to your journey.

Boats & Yachts

For a more intimate or luxurious experience, consider renting a boat or joining a yacht tour. This option offers flexibility and the chance to visit secluded coves and beaches not accessible by large ferries.

Public Transport, Ride Share & Taxis

Once on the islands, buses and taxis are reliable ways to get around. Buses cater to major routes and are affordable ways to explore. Taxis, while pricier, provide convenience and comfort, especially for late-night returns from a day of exploring or a night out.

And as of 2023, you now have Uber in some places like Corfu and Rhodes.

Rental Cars

For the ultimate freedom, renting a car, scooter, or ATV can open up hidden corners of the islands. This option lets you explore at your own pace, following the sun from one stunning beach to another. Just remember to check local licensing requirements and drive safely!

How To Choose Which Greek Islands & Places To Visit

With thousands of choices about where to go and what to see, we know it’s all so hard to choose. To help you weigh up where to go and what to know, we’ve started a few lists and will add to them over the year.

How To Get To Greece

Airports On Greek Islands - Greek Islands With Airports - Thessaloniki Airport, Greece

Are you looking to find out about flights to the Greek islands? Like, which Greek islands have airports? Maybe you need to know where the international airports in Greece are. Almost all of the Greek island groups have at least one international airport; the exception is Evia, but it is very close to the mainland, so in that case, you can fly into Athens.  

There are two major airports in Greece; the busiest is in Athens (ATH), and the second is in Thessaloniki (SKG).

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What To Buy In Greece

What to buy in Greece - Greek Souvenirs - Komboloi

If you’re planning a trip to Greece and are wondering what souvenirs you can bring home from your Greece vacation, we’ve got you covered!

Souvenir collecting is always fun. Several items in this list represent Greece, which makes excellent gifts for someone who loves Greece. The good news is that Greece is a country with rich culture and local specialties.

Accommodation In Greece & Deciding Where To Stay

Those Instagram-worthy hotels fill up fast; I advise booking well in advance if you want the best views and rooms. If you’re much more flexible, nothing ever fills up completely, so you can book last minute—be prepared to be on the outskirts and have the older, less renovated accommodations.  

What To Pack For Greece

What To Pack For Greece - Greece Packing List

Are you an over-packer? You may want to try to trim down your luggage when packing for Greece. Why? There are lots of stairs, cobblestone streets to navigate, and often no bellhops in sight.

Of course, you can not forget the essentials, such as:

  • Visa & passport: If you’re from a European country belonging to the Schengen Zone, you can access the country only with your ID. But now it’s a good time to check if your passport is valid or if you need to renew it. Please keep it safe in a passport holder
  • Rental cars: find out if you need an International Driving Permit, and if you do, check how to get the request process started. Also, check what other documents you might need to rent a car in Greece, including your credit card here
  • Insurance: Never travel abroad without adequate insurance coverage. Now is the time to take care of it!

After you have sorted those things out, you should read our detailed guide about what to pack for Greece here.

How To Get Around The Greek Islands

Getting around Istanbul - The ferry in the Bosphorus, Istanbul

There is magic to be had onboard a Greek ferry, island hopping from one glorious island to the next! Some islands are not easy to reach, while others are so close. We have guides on how to get to the main ones below and will add more later this year.

Traveling Greece With Kids

Your Guide To Santorini With Kids (Plus The Pros and Cons List)

Greece is one of the most family-friendly destinations in the world. Really! It is! As a mom of two boys, I have to take my kids everywhere I travel, and Greece with kids is easy.

Few countries are as perfect for a family holiday as Greece. It is a trip where both kids and parents can enjoy something, especially for each of them. Other favorites of ours are Croatia and Slovenia). The government manages to combine many key features that attract families from all over the world year after year, coming to Greece to enjoy a relaxing and pleasant family vacation in Greece that’s also fun for every family member.,

Car Rental And Driving Tips In Greece

Planning A Trip To Greece - Driving in Greece

Is it a good idea to drive to Greece? Yes! Provided you listen to the rules, take your time, bear in mind that locals sometimes drive a little more erratically than you might be used to, and hire the correct type of car for your needs, driving is a beautiful way to check out the passing landscapes.

Drinking & Eating In Greece

What To Eat In Turkey - Turkish Food - Tavuk Shish

Greek food is loved worldwide and will be well remembered once your holiday is over.

Any mealtime in Greece is a big event. Moreover, enjoying Greek cuisine comes with a lesson; you will learn that the simplest ingredients are the best ones, and you will realize that you need nothing more than freshness and simplicity to have a feast at the table.

Mediterranean vegetables, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, the catch of the day, goat, lamb, chicken, grains, fantastic varieties of bread, creative pies, and unique fresh salads are some things you’ll experience. Good quality honey, thick, rich yogurt, and good local wine are among the staples of Greek cuisine that you should try.

Visa Requirements For Greece

Balkan Flags_Greece 2

To make things very easy, Greece is part of the Schengen Zone, which means that many of you can probably visit without the need to apply for a visa.

If you’re eligible, you can enjoy up to ninety days in the Schengen Zone in as many countries as you like – make sure you do not have too much fun and overstay your 90 days (in 180 days), or else you’ll get into big trouble.  

Short On Time? Stay On The Mainland

Archaeological Sites In Greece - Parthenon on Acropolis, Athens, Greece

The islands are a must-see without question, but make sure you leave time for the mainland. You’ll take home tonnes of photos and memories from places like Meteora; the archaeological sites and the beaches on the mainland are just as pretty as those on the islands.


Honeymoon In Greece

Active Honeymoon In Greece - Santorini Honeymoon
Santorini

It’s a no-brainer that Greece is the ideal spot for lovers and honeymooners. If you’re designing a couples’ Greek island vacation, we’ve got the low down for a Greece trip below:

How To Tip In Greece

Balkan Flags_Greece 2

The tipping culture in Greece may not be known to you as it varies from country to country in Europe. This Greece tipping guide will help you navigate this tricky part of travel.

What Currency To Take To Greece

How to save money as an expat_Euro

There is only one currency that you can use—euros. The local currency in Greece has been the Euro since 2002. If you’ve spoken to people about travels in Greece before ’02, then they would’ve used the Greek Drachma.

Euro notes: 5 – 500

Euro coins: 1 & 2 euro coins, 5 – 50 euro cents

Are you wondering, “Will my credit card work in Greece?” Worry not; you’re free to use your credit or debit card quite widely in main towns, cities, and tourist areas.

However, be sure to have cash handy if you’re heading into a more rural or smaller area, as you may struggle to find ATMs or restaurants with card machines. Outside of rural areas, ATMs are very widely available.

Facts About Greece

Archaeological Sites In Greece - Knossos Palace

When getting ready for your epic trip to Greece, you might be curious to learn interesting, fun, and fascinating facts about the country. Or maybe you want to surprise your friends after a holiday? No matter what your case is, we’ve got you covered. 

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Learn Some Basic Greek Phrases

Learning a few basic Greek phrases can greatly enhance your vacation experience in Greece, making interactions with locals smoother and more enjoyable.

Here’s a list of essential Greek phrases to get you started:

  1. Hello: “Γειά σου” (Ya sou) – informal, “Γειά σας” (Ya sas) – formal or to more than one person
  2. Goodbye: “Αντίο” (Adio)
  3. Please: “Παρακαλώ” (Parakaló)
  4. Thank you: “Ευχαριστώ” (Efcharistó)
  5. Yes: “Ναι” (Nai)
  6. No: “Όχι” (Óchi)
  7. Excuse me / Sorry: “Συγγνώμη” (Signómi)
  8. I don’t understand: “Δεν καταλαβαίνω” (Den katalavéno)
  9. Do you speak English?: “Μιλάτε Αγγλικά;” (Miláte Angliká?)
  10. How much is this?: “Πόσο κοστίζει αυτό;” (Póso kostízei aftó?)
  11. Where is…?: “Πού είναι…?” (Poú eínai…?)
  12. The bathroom: “Το μπάνιο” (To bánio)
  13. Help!: “Βοήθεια!” (Voíthia!)
  14. Water: “Νερό” (Neró)
  15. Food: “Φαγητό” (Fagitó)
  16. The bill, please: “Τον λογαριασμό, παρακαλώ” (Ton logariasmó, parakaló)

Best Greece FAQs 

GREECE TRIP PLANNER FAQs

Do I need a passport to travel to Greece?

If you’re a citizen of an EU country or Schengen Area member, you do not need a passport to travel to Greece; a national ID card is sufficient for entry and travel within Greece and the rest of the Schengen Area, for non-EU/Schengen international travelers, such as those from the United States, Canada, and Australia, a valid passport is required. This passport should be valid for at least three months beyond your planned departure date from the Schengen area, although some countries demand six months of validity.

What are some must-see attractions in beautiful Greece?

Some must-see attractions in beautiful Greece include Delphi, known for its ancient ruins, and the vibrant city of Athens.

When is the best time to travel to Greece?

The best time to travel to Greece is typically during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) to avoid the crowds and extreme heat of July and August.

What should I pack for my Greece trip?

It’s recommended to pack light and comfortable clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses, a travel adapter, and any necessary medications. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beauty of Greece!

How do I start planning my Greece vacation without a travel agent?

You can start planning your Greece vacation by researching the best itinerary that suits your travel style, booking accommodations, and transportation. We can help you create the perfect Greek itinerary here.

When is the peak season in Greece, and when do most visitors arrive?

The peak season in Greece is July and August when most visitors arrive to enjoy the Mediterranean climate and vibrant atmosphere. It’s recommended that accommodations and activities be booked well in advance during this time.

This little guide to planning a trip to Greece is just a taste of what we can tell you about Greece. Be sure to hit Greece in the menu above to find more hints and tips on how to plan a trip to Greece.

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