Planning a Trip to Greece: Your Insider’s 2022 Guide

Planning a trip to Greece? You’ve come to the right place!

This comprehensive guide has been written by someone who has lived in Greece for several years and has travelled the country extensively during that time. It aims to answer all of your burning questions about planning a trip to Greece.

Planning a Trip to Greece

ing a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

Greece (officially the “Hellenic Republic”) is one of the most beautiful countries in the Mediterranean. It borders Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the North, and Turkey to the Northeast.

Excellent ferry links to Italy also help make Greece a great jump-off point for a wider exploration of the Mediterranean. The sheer mention of planning a trip to Greece probably conjures up images of paradisical beaches, sleepy island idylls, and blue and white Cycladic architecture.

But Greece is a larger country than many realize. Indeed, Greece boasts 15,000km of coastline and approximately 6000 islands!

Island hopping during the summer months and visiting the historical highlights of Athens are among the main reasons to venture to Greece. But did you know that Greece actually makes an excellent year-round travel destination?

Greece in the Spring and Autumn months still sees excellent weather conditions and warm sunny days. As a matter of fact, you may even prefer travelling at this time as conditions are much more bearable than during the hot summer months.

If you want to swim in crystal clear cerulean waters and hop from one gorgeous island to another, then Greece is absolutely the travel destination for you. But similarly, if you want to hike through breathtaking natural scenery, or enjoy a winter getaway in a quaint stone village, Greece remains a good choice.

The Stages of Planning a Trip to Greece

Planning a trip to Greece: Metsovo, Northern Greece
Planning a trip to Greece: Metsovo, Northern Greece

There’s a lot more involved in planning a trip to Greece than you may think. A step-by-step guide is provided below to help you through the various stages of planning.

This guide is pretty beastly so feel free to use the Table of Contents to navigate to the relevant section. This guide will cover:

  • Being realistic about planning a trip to Greece

  • Choosing where to travel in Greece

  • Consider travelling off the beaten path

  • Making a budget

  • Take the time to research travel resources and blogs

  • The best season to travel to Greece

  • Drafting out an itinerary

  • Planning local transportation in Greece

  • Consider renting a car in Greece

  • Searching for accommodation in Greece

  • Purchase attraction tickets in advance

  • Know what to pack for Greece

  • Check your visa requirements

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance

  • Exchange some Euros ready for your trip

  • Learn a Few Words of Greek

  • Book your flights to beautiful Greece!

  • Purchase a local SIM card on arrival

Be Realistic About Your Trip

Panormos beach, Skopelos
Panormos beach, Skopelos

When a lot of people are planning their trips to Greece they want to go everywhere. That is understandable!

This is a beautiful country and there is just so much to see and do here that it is easy to get carried away and want to see it all. That said, Greece is also extremely vast. 

You may want to realise your own fairytale at the Mamma Mia island of Skopelos, hike up to the ancient monasteries of Meteora, sip coffee on the scenic seafront of Thessaloniki, and sail around the islands of the Cyclades. That sounds lovely.

However, there are huge distances between these destinations. Accept that you may not be able to do everything in one trip to Greece.

Feel happy in the notion that that means that you have a reason to come again to lovely Greece in the future. Make a list of the places that you want to visit in Greece, observe their locations on a map, and be practical about what is possible. 

Don’t be afraid to choose a different itinerary

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

A lot of people that are planning a trip to Greece for the first time all wind up following the same route. For instance, they start in Athens and then continue onwards to Santorini and Mykonos, or they spend two weeks in Zakynthos or Crete.

While these places are absolutely beautiful and very worthy of your time, they become very crowded with tourists from June to October.

Book everything independently

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

Countless Greek and international tour companies and travel agents offer cross-country and island hopping tours of Greece. Yes, this can take some of the stress out of planning a trip to Greece individually. However, they are certainly charging you a premium for that service!

Most sell tours and itineraries that cost several times more than what the trip would cost if you organised it independently. That is not a marginal increase.

Getting to Greece

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

Greece is home to several international airports. However, the main airport and port of entry into the country is Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport.

If you are planning on travelling to an island, keep in mind that not every Greek island has an airport. Presently, there are 15 Greek islands with international airports.

So, depending on your itinerary, you may have to fly into Athens and then continue onwards via domestic flight or ferry. From Europe and the Middle East, it is easy to find low cost, direct flights to Greece.

Flying from the USA to Greece

There are now several direct flight routes operating between Greece and the USA. American travellers can fly direct to Athens from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Newark and Washington DC.

If you are planning a trip to Greece from the USA, you might find that it works out substantially cheaper if you fly into Athens first, rather than booking a flight to one of the islands.

Budget Flights to Greece from Europe

You can easily find deals from London to Athens for as little as £25! Flights from the UK to Corfu, Crete, and Thessaloniki can be purchased for just £50-£60, even in the height of summer. 

Numerous budget airlines operate flight routes to Greece, including RyanAir, Wizz Air, Jet2, and Aegean Airlines. Athens Eleftherios Venizelos is Greece’s main international airport. Thessaloniki, Heraklion (Crete) and Corfu also operate as major hubs. 

Finding Cheap Flights

It is easier to find cheap flights than you might think. Instead of specifying an end destination, search for flights from your departure city to “Greece” as a whole.

This way, you can find out which is the cheapest part of Greece to fly into first. If your travel dates are somewhat flexible, you may be able to find better deals.

Use an aggregator flight website like Skyscanner or Google Flights to find and book your flights to Greece. These platforms give you the option to view all flights to Greece across a month.

You will be surprised how much the prices vary from one day to another. Having some small flexibility on your travel dates can help you save a lot of money.

You may be able to make substantial savings by, for instance, flying on a Friday rather than a Saturday. It is worth checking.

Money in Greece

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

The official currency in Greece is the euro. US dollars, British pounds and other currencies will not be accepted here.

Greece is still very much a cash-based society. By law, businesses are required to accept POS cards.

However, in reality, you will note that everyone prefers everything to be paid in cash and these point-of-sale machines are often out of order. It is worth purchasing a small number of euros in advance of your trip to take with you to Greece.

If you need to exchange currency in Greece, you should avoid doing so at the airport or at exchange kiosks in Syntagma Square, hotels, train stations, or close to tourist attractions. The rate will not be competitive.

Try to open a borderless bank account before your trip like those offered by Wise or Revolut. This means that you will not incur any fees on withdrawals and foreign transactions.

Choosing Where to Travel in Greece

Ioannina, Northern Greece
Ioannina, Northern Greece

The best places to travel depend a lot on you and your personal preferences. For example, do you prefer sleepy idyllic Cycladic islands or places known for all-night parties?

Do you prefer relaxing on the beach or exploring archaeological sites? There are so many options in this breathtaking Mediterranean country. However, some of the most popular travel destinations in Greece are discussed below for your consideration.

Athens 

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

The Greek capital of Athens is one of Europe’s grittiest capital cities. However, it certainly has its charm.

The historic centre is filled with sunbleached ruins and ramshackle streets that play host to countless traditional tavernas and quaint coffee shops. Athens is considered by many as the starting point of modern civilisation.  

Since Greece’s largest airport (Eleftherios Venizelos) is situated in Athens, it makes sense to start your Greek adventure here. Don’t miss the Acropolis, the historical sites of ancient Plaka, and a chance to take a trip to the nearby Athenian Riviera. 

You could quite comfortably base yourself in Athens for as much as a week. The city makes a good jumping-off point for exploring the wider Attica region. You can take day trips from Athens out to Cape Sounion, Mount Parnassus, and some of the best beaches in Southern Greece.

The Cycladic Islands 

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

The Cyclades are probably what springs to most people’s minds at the thought of spending a summer in Greece. Mention of the Cyclades conjures up images of white-washed walls and blue-domed roofs of quaint Cycladic houses, and a backdrop of breathtaking coastlines and volcanic sand beaches. 

Santorini and Mykonos are no doubt the Cycladic islands that make an appearance on most people’s travel bucket lists. However, there are other lesser-known yet equally beautiful alternatives to consider.

Rugged Folegandros is great for free camping and for those who enjoy immersing themselves in nature and the great outdoors, while Naxos is steeped in history, with the crumbling remnants of several ancient temples scattered throughout its landscapes. The sacred island of Delos is an uninhabited, UNESCO protected island that was supposedly the birthplace of the Gods Apollo and Artemis.

Thessaloniki 

Aristotelous Square, Thessaloniki
Aristotelous Square, Thessaloniki

Greece’s second city is located a little farther north than most tourists care to venture. However, Thessaloniki, with its seafront location, beautiful views over the water, and rich history, also has plenty to offer.

Thessaloniki’s restaurants are some of the best in the country. Indeed, many locals and ex-pats will often refer to it as being Greece’s foodie capital.

Thessaloniki’s neighbourhoods each have their own unique character. It is hard not to fall in love with the pastel-coloured promenades of Ladadika, the ramshackle Ottoman houses of Ano Poli or the hip Navarinou Square. 

The city also makes a great base for taking day trips to places such as Kerkini Lake or Halkidiki. If you travel to Thessaloniki during the summer months, you can take a boat from the White Tower to the nearby beach town of Peraia.

The Islands of the Saronic Gulf 

Vlychos Fishing Village, Hydra
Vlychos Fishing Village, Hydra

The Saronic Gulf islands may well be one of the most underrated places in Greece. This beautiful archipelago awaits in the cerulean waters of the Aegean sea.

The islands here are among the closest islands to Athens. They are easy to reach via ferry from Athens.

This makes them the perfect destination for those who want to combine an island getaway with some exploration of the mainland. Each island offers something a little different.

For instance, rugged Spetses is predominantly comprised of national parks making it the perfect spot for hiking and outdoor adventure. Hydra island feels like a journey back in time.

It consists of several quaint fishing villages that can only be reached on foot or by horseback. Vehicles are strictly prohibited in Hydra.  

The beaches on the Saronic islands of Spetses, Poros, Aegina and Agistri are okay but perhaps not the best in the country. It is the architectural beauty, culture, and gastronomy of this region that is the main draw for visiting.

Lefkada 

Floating in the Ionian sea, yet connected to the mainland, Greece’s large western island of Lefkada is a popular summer travel destination among locals. Lefkada is often affectionately referred to as being “the Caribbean of Greece” on account of its exotic landscapes and beaches. 

Various towns and villages are scattered throughout Lefkada. They make a nice base for exploring the wider region. Nidri Lefkada and Agios Nikitas Lefkada are two lovely seaside towns to consider. 

Zakynthos 

Zakynthos (Zante) is one of the most popular summer getaway destinations in Greece. The island has become almost synonymous with large resorts and package holidays. However, there is a lot more to Zakynthos than initially meets the eye.

Once you travel away from the touristic southern part of the island, you are greeted with traditional rural villages, dense forests, rugged wilderness, and breathtaking coastlines. Here, jagged limestone cliffs meet clear turquoise waters. 

The Peloponnese 

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

The Peloponnese is a region of Greece like no other. It is altogether more wild and rugged than other parts of the country,

The Peloponnese is also grossly underrated and seldom explored by international tourists. This, in part, maybe due to the fact that the area is tricky to explore without a car. Public transport links in the Peloponnese are virtually nonexistent.

You could quite easily dedicate 2-3 weeks solely to exploring the Peloponnese on a Greece road trip. Start your journey in Nafplio, the former capital of Greece.

From there, travel onwards to Sparta and see what remains of King Leonidas’ infamous city of Ancient Spara. The fortified Byzantine towns of Mystras and Monemvasia are not to be missed.

If you are travelling during the summer, get some respite from the heat in the little seaside Lakonia village of Gythio. Alternatively, you may want to organise some hiking excursions in the Deep Mani, continue onwards to Kalamata, or indulge in a wine-tasting at some of the region’s beloved vineyards.

Go Off-the-Beaten-Path in Greece

Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire world. More than 33 million people travelled to Greece in 2018.

Some areas of the country do get very overrun with tourists. This is especially the case during the summer months when some islands and parts of Athens seem to see more foreigners than Greeks!

However, it is easier than you think to travel off-the-beaten-path in Greece. Most tourists seem to stick to the same few places.

Instead of visiting Santorini or Mykonos this summer, venture to the lesser-known islands of Kea, Milos, and Tinos. Instead of Athens and Thessaloniki, book a trip to Ioannina or Kastoria.

The Benefits of Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel in Greece

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

The perks of travelling off the beaten path in Greece are plentiful. For one, you don’t have to contend with annoying crowds everywhere you go.

You can take photos outside of beautiful monasteries and lounge on pristine beaches without having to share the experience with thousands of others. From an ethical travel standpoint, travelling off the beaten path enables you to spread your euros to smaller, local businesses. That’s great for the Greek economy!

Travelling to places less frequented by tourists also guarantees that you will have a more rewarding, genuine experience. There are many places that I have travelled to in Greece where you may be the only tourist in town!
Some less-visited destinations in Greece include Northern Greece, the Peloponnese, Volos, Parga, and Trikala, to name a few.

Do Plenty of Research When Planning a Trip to Greece

Planning a trip to Greece: Metsovo, Northern Greece
Planning a trip to Greece: Metsovo, Northern Greece

There are two extremes of travellers: the type-A kind of travellers that like to plan out every last detail of their trip (*raises hand*) and those who prefer to live with spontaneity.

Arguably a happy medium is somewhere between the two. Doing at least some reading while planning a trip to Greece will help you to plan out your schedule and make the most of your time.

There are a plethora of free resources, travel blogs and books about Greece online. Sometimes flicking through a good travel book is even better!

Some high-rated travel books about Greece that you may want to consider are:

  • Lonely Planet Greece

  • Rick Steves: Athens and the Peloponnese

  • Fodor’s: Essential Greece

  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Ancient Greece

  • Lonely Planet: Greek Islands

Draft Out a Budget 

The Saronic Gulf, Greece
The Saronic Gulf, Greece

Greece is one of the most budget-friendly travel destinations in Europe. You can easily travel to Greece on a budget of as little as $40 per day, especially in the off-peak season.

That said, the time of year really does play a huge factor in how much things cost – supply and demand and all that.  The main aspects to consider when drawing out your Greece travel budget are outlined below. 

When Are You Planning a Trip to Greece For?

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

The summer months of July and August are the “peak” season for visiting Greece. At this time, millions (literally) of travellers from across the world flock to the various islands and coastal areas in search of a slice of paradise. 

During the summer season, accommodation, flights, tours, and ferry tickets in Greece can be as much as 60% higher than during the shoulder season. Try to avoid visiting at this time if you can.

If it’s unavoidable, make sure that you are aware of how much things cost so that you don’t get a shock upon arrival. You should also be sure to reserve your hotels, flights, local tours and excursions, and ferries several months in advance if you are planning a trip to Greece in the summer.

Where Will You Be Travelling? 

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

It is impossible to provide one broad generalisation as to how much things cost in Greece. Prices vary substantially depending upon where you are going.

In major Greek cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki for example, you can find an entire Airbnb apartment for as little as $15 per night. Boutique and mid-range hotels here cost as little as $30 per night.

Prices are similar on some of the lesser-known islands, especially during the off-peak seasons. Some Greek travel destinations such as Santorini or Mykonos are more upscale and it is impossible to find anything for less than $80 a night. 

What Will You be Doing? 

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

If you are going to be basing yourself in one or two places, staying in an Airbnb accommodation, eating out at tavernas, and generally doing free or low-cost activities, a budget of $40 per day is more than enough. This assumes that you are walking everywhere, cooking a lot of your own meals and occasionally visiting a museum or archaeological site.

On the other hand, if you want to make use of local tour guides, take cooking classes, visit theatrical performances, and visit private beaches or upscale restaurants, your daily budget will be much more. 

When to Travel to Greece

When is the best time to travel to Greece? That is the million-dollar question.

The best time to travel to Greece varies significantly depending on where you plan on going, and what you plan on doing when you arrive. It is important to note that Greece is not a hot Mediterranean paradise all year-round.

It does get cold here during the winter and tourism to most parts of Greece is extremely seasonal. 

The Best Time to Visit the Greek Islands

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

If you are planning on visiting the islands, it is best to do so in May, early June, or late September so as to avoid the crowds and the higher prices. This also means that you can enjoy more pleasant temperatures.

In the shoulder season, average temperatures range from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. This is much more bearable than the 30-40 degrees climates that you will see in July and August. 

Spring in Greece

Ferries between the mainland and the Greek islands start running on a more regular schedule from March onwards. This is the shoulder season and temperatures range between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius during this time.

The spring season is a nice time to go hiking in Greece before it gets too hot. Some touristic businesses on the islands do not open until the end of May/early June. However, the weather is pleasant enough to go swimming and enjoy the beaches.

Summer in Greece

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

Summer is the high season for travel to Greece. Tourists from across the globe flock to the Greek islands en masse to live out their Mamma Mia fantasy.

Prices are at their annual high during July and August. Accommodation, ferries, and attraction tickets for the summer months should also be reserved in advance.

Expect long queues when passing through major airports such as Athens Eleftherios Venizelos. The headaches of travelling during the high season can be mostly avoided if you travel off the beaten path.

Autumn in Greece

September and October in Greece are still very pleasant. From late September, the number of tourists n Greece starts to subside dramatically.

The conditions in Greece in Autumn are similar to Spring. This is also a great time to go hiking. Prices drop significantly from October onwards.

Winter in Greece

Winters in Greece can become bitterly cold with temperatures that dip well below 10 degrees. We have even had a lot of snow in recent years!

Autumn and Winter are nice times to plan city breaks to Athens and Thessaloniki. You can visit all of the main sites without the crowds.

The temperatures may be low. However, the skies are usually blue and it doesn’t rain excessively.

You could also consider some of Greece’s lesser-known winter travel destinations. For instance, the mountain villages of Arachova, Zagori, and Karpenisi.

Important Dates in Greece

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

When planning a trip to Greece, it is helpful to know some important dates and festivals. It can really enrich your Greek adventure if your trip coincides with major celebrations such as Apokries or Christmas in Athens.

  • New Year’s Day: January 1st

  • Apokries: Greek carnival celebrations (changing dates in February)

  • Orthodox Easter: Changing dates in March or April

  • Greek Independence Day: March 25th

  • Labour Day: May 1st

  • The Epidaurus Festival: An annual musical and theatre festival that takes place between May and October

  • The Ascension of the Virgin Mary: August 15th

  • Ohi Day (The Day of No): October 28th

  • Thessaloniki International Film Festival: November 5th – 15th

  • Christmas: December 25th

Draft Out a Greece Itinerary

Once you have made a final decision on where you want to go, it’s time to draw up your itinerary. I have written several cross-country and island hopping Greece itineraries.  

There are lots of things you want to consider when drafting out your itinerary. You may wish to ask yourself questions such as:

  • Am I more interested in Greek history and mythology or relaxing on a beach?

  • Do I want to explore one part of Greece in-depth?

  • Do I want to hop around different islands and see what they have to offer?

Allow Yourself Time to Relax

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

To reiterate again – don’t try and cram too much in! If you have to rush through each stop on your itinerary, it will not be as enjoyable as it could be.

Allow enough time to truly immerse yourself in the surroundings and culture of each place you visit. 

As a general rule, if you have two weeks to spend in Greece, try to add no more than 4 or 5 stops to your itinerary. If you have just four or five days, try to base yourself in one city. You can always take day trips out from there.

Getting Around Greece

Parga, Epirus
Parga, Epirus

Once you have mapped out your itinerary, the next stage is to establish how you are going to get from one place to another. Public transport links in Greece are very good.

Local trains, buses, and ferries are very modern and efficient. This helps make Greece a great destination for independent travel. 

Train Travel in Greece

Trains are a good way to get around Greece. They are often more affordable than buses.

However, the only issue is that the Greek train network is not extensive. At the moment, trains run between Athens to Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki/Athens to Meteora/Kalambaka and Thessaloniki/Athens to Larissa.

So, while Greek trains can be a convenient and comfortable way to get between major Greek cities, you will likely have to use a combination of trains and buses for your trip if you plan to get around via public transport.

Greek rail services are operated by the Italian-run OSE company. There are two types of services that you can travel on – regular trains and “IC” fast services.

There is a moderate price difference between the two. The regular trains are relatively slow and stop at every station along the route.

However, the intercity (IC) services speed along to the major stations. You can check the latest timetables and fares here

Buses in Greece

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

KTEL buses are the largest bus network in Greece. There are also some smaller, local companies that operate in and around various towns and cities.

Frustratingly, there is not one central website for all Greek buses or all KTEL buses. There are different websites for each region. For example, KTEL Attikis for Athens, KTEL Thessalonikis for Thessaloniki, etc.

The best way to find the routes and information that you want is by googling “KTEL” and the name of the city. For example, KTEL Meteora. Here’s hoping this process is made easier in the future!

Ferries and Boats in Greece

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

Ferries and hydrofoils are a popular way to get between the islands and the mainland. Schedules and ticket prices vary depending upon the season.

If you are travelling to Greece during the summer, you are strongly advised to purchase your ticket in advance. Routes and schedules are likely to change without notice.

If you are traveling between Greek islands by ferry, particularly during the summer months, you need to arrive at the port at least an hour before departure. Allow more time if you need to pick up your tickets.

Consider Renting Your Own Car in Greece

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

Tell anyone that you’re thinking about driving in Greece and they look at you as if you have sprouted a third head. However, renting a car in Greece is actually much easier than it may sound.

This is a nice choice if you want a little more freedom and flexibility in your schedule. Many small towns and villages across the mainland are tricky to get to if you do not have your own transport.

It is advisable to book your rental in advance, especially if you will be travelling during the summer months. Various reputable rental companies offer collections from airports across the islands and the mainland. 

Shortlist Some Accommodation Options 

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

Browse booking.com and other hotel comparison sites to review some possible accommodation options ahead of your trip. This needs to be booked in advance if you are travelling during the summer months. 

One tip is to consider making reservations at hotels that have free cancellation up until a certain date. That way you have some flexibility in your Greece trip if you desire it.

If you decided that you would like to spend a little longer in a certain city, you can do that. If you are likely to stay in one place for a month or longer, consider looking for rental options on Airbnb.

A lot of hosts offer substantial discounts to guests that stay longer than a week or longer than 28 days. This can often be to the tune of 40% or more.  

Planning a Trip to Greece: Sounion, Southern Greece
Planning a Trip to Greece: Sounion, Southern Greece

Many tours, excursions, and cultural experiences can be booked once you arrive in Greece. However, if there is a day trip or a particular tour that you are really interested in, consider reserving your spot in advance while you are still in the stages of planning a trip to Greece. 

Tours and Excursions in Greece

Small tours with local guides can enable you to really scratch beneath the surface of a country’s history and culture. For example, you might be interested to do a food tour in Athens or take a traditional Greek cooking class. 

One really nice tour company to have on your radar is Get Your Guide. The company organises intimate cultural experiences with local guides in various destinations around the world. You can also purchase airport transfers and ferry tickets with them too, which is nice because then you can keep everything in one place ready for your trip. 

Tickets to Buy Ahead of Arrival

Planning a trip to Greece

When planning a trip to Greece, it is worth getting some things organised in advance. You may wish to pre-purchase the below tickets to save yourself from having to endure long queues on arrival in Greece.

Know What to Pack for Greece

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

Knowing how to prepare for a trip to Greece includes finding out what to pack (and what to leave behind). The climate between different seasons can vary significantly in Greece.

So, it’s a good idea to learn the approximate temperature for the time of year you’re visiting. You can then pack accordingly from there.

You should include good, sturdy footwear in your Greece packing list, regardless of where you are travelling. The pavements in many Greek cities are often uneven.

Greece is not an overly conservative country when it comes to general fashion sense. You can comfortably wear whatever clothes you like to wear here.

The only time that you need to cover up is if you visit a monastery or religious site. In places like the Meteora monasteries and the monasteries of Mystras, you will need to cover your shoulders and knees.

If you are travelling to Greece during the summer months, your standard go-to summer wardrobe will be fine. A suggested packing list is included below for your consideration.

Greece is a modern country and shopping in Athens and beyond is excellent. So, if you do happen to forget anything when planning a trip to Greece, you can pick it up locally.

What to Pack for Your Trip to Greece

Check Your Visa Requirements 

Check your government’s local travel advice when planning a trip to Greece. Visa requirements vary depending on the type of passport that you hold.

Greece is part of the Schengen Zone. The residents of most European countries, in addition to all twenty-six Schengen zone countries, do not require a visa to visit Greece. 

People who hold a passport from the following countries are permitted to enter the Schengen Zone without a visa for 90 days in any 180 day period: 

Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong S.A.R*, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macao S.A.R*, Macedonia*, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova*, Monaco*, Montenegro*, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Samoa, Serbia*, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan**, Timor Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela

Those nations that are marked with an asterisk above have special requirements to be allowed visa-free travel to the Schengen zone so check with the government accordingly.  This information is subject to change, and High Heels and a Backpack provides no guarantees about its validity. Always double-check the latest travel updates with your local government before travelling. 

Overstaying a Schengen visa can result in deportation and fines. Always ensure that you have enough days remaining. 

Purchase Comprehensive Travel Insurance

Travel insurance should be considered an essential purchase for travelling anywhere and planning a trip to Greece is no different. You never know what may happen, and medical costs abroad can be extortionate.

Ensure that you purchase a comprehensive travel insurance package that provides adequate medical cover (a minimum of $1 million is advisable), in addition to other aspects of cover such as repatriation and theft. 

Always check the fine print and make sure that you understand exactly what is covered. Most sports (including hiking!) are not covered by the standard insurance cover. 

Dust Off Your Greek Phrasebook 

Anafiotika, Athens
Anafiotika, Athens

It’s always polite to learn one or two phrases of the local language before you travel. A few words of Greek are always appreciated but don’t worry about conquering the language too much.

Almost everyone in Greece speaks English, even in the more remote areas. Regardless, if you are able to just introduce yourself in Greek and order food/coffee, it will be much appreciated.  

Duolingo is a free, easy to use app that uses games to teach you Greek words and phrases. It is also useful to download Google Translate on your phone.

Google Translate works offline. It can be a useful tool to have available for the worst-case scenario if you need to communicate with someone and you are struggling.

Useful Greek Words

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece
  • Yassas (Yass ass) – Hi

  • Kalimera (Kali Mera) – Good morning

  • Kalispera (Kali Spera) – Good evening (also used in the afternoon/any time after 3 pm)

  • Kalinichta (Kali Nichta) – Goodnight

  • Efcharistó (Ef Hari Sto) – Thank you 

  • Tikanis? (Tee Kah Nis?) – How are you? 

  • Parakalo (Para Kah Lo) – You’re welcome 

  • Nai (Neh) – Yes

  • Oxi (Oh hee) – No 

  • Yamas (Yah mas!) – Cheers  

Parting Words

Planning a trip to Greece
Planning a trip to Greece

Do you have any further questions about planning a trip to Greece? I’ve lived here since 2017. I am happy to assist with any queries you may have. Feel free to drop me an email or a comment below.

Safe travels! Geia sou, Melissa xo 


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

3 thoughts on “Planning a Trip to Greece: Your Insider’s 2022 Guide”

  1. Hi Melissa,

    I am so grateful for your travel articles! My daughters are 21 and 23 and my 21 year old will doing a semester in Greece in fall 2020. We are going to all fly out and spend about 10 days there in total. My daughter will be staying in Pangrati. My thoughts were to go to Santorini, then Mykonos, then downtown Athens, and then the last night in Pangrati so we can move my daughter in. Her move in date is 8/31/20 so my older daughter and I would fly home (NY) on 9/1/20. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. This itinerary is just after reading two suggested 10 day itineraries.

  2. HI MELISSAKalimer¡! MY ÑAME IS SERGIO AND PAULA we TRAVELED ALL OVER GREECE and Med Is BUT NOT BEENTO SKOPELOS HOW CAN I GET SOME INFO OF APARMENTS TO RENT FOR A MONTH NEAR MAINTOWN ACCESIBLE BY BUSES TO BEACHES ,I M ALWAYS ALL OVER THE MED AT SPRING TIME April to June pls let me know any info ok, I live in HAWAII NOW , AND COASTAL CALIFORNIA I ORGANIZE major events of olímpicos World Cup skiing etc of SPORTS TRAVEL IN THE 70:s all over world so well traveled here ,I m retired from the fashion world business Efe Aristo!

  3. Hi Melissa,
    I am Rupen Parekh from Mumbai, India. Your travel article to Greece was very informative & interesting. We friends are planning a trip to Greece between 8th May to 16th May. We are 4 couples & were planning to visit Athens, Santorini & Mykonos.
    Could you assist with planning the trip, suggestions for stay (preferably villas), things to do in each location, travel options, etc. We could also increase our stay by a day or two if you have any suggestions which are a must do. Whilst we do not wish to spend exorbitantly on hotel stays, we would still prefer villas with pool, good locations for stay, etc
    Also please advise your fees for your services. Do you also assist with hotel bookings, local transportation, etc
    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Yamas,
    Rupen

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