19 Best Tips & Tricks When Traveling To Greece

Things You Should Know

From Day one, Greece was on our bucket list, and it did not disappoint! There are a few things you may want to consider before leaving on your Greece vacation. We compiled a list of our Best Tips When Traveling To Greece which you should read before going on your vacation. Before traveling to Greece in May of 2019, I did a lot of research for our trip. I read blog posts, watched YouTube videos, read travel guides, and despite all of the research beforehand, there were still things I wish I knew before visiting Greece. I am a planner, no matter how much I plan, it seems there are always revelations when we get to a country that comes as a surprise.

Of course, some of the fun when traveling to a new place is exploring and learning as you go.  But for me, it’s comforting to know what to expect especially when I’m traveling to a country for the first time. Here is a list of the 19 Best Tips When Traveling To Greece.

1. Wacky Weather

The weather seems to change on a dime, especially in the Greek islands. The day can start with the sun shining not a cloud in the sky then 4 hours later, clouds are everywhere, and it’s pouring rain. The temperatures can change drastically depending on the time of day. Be prepared for what seemed like a daily occurrence of rain and winds coming in during the afternoon, especially on the islands. It may be more consistent during other times of the year. Although, after speaking to many locals they said the weather has been crazy for the last few years throughout Greece.

2.  Shady Cab Drivers

There are a lot of shady cab drivers, especially in Athens. We learned this first-hand when our cab driver told us a fare but didn’t turn on the meter. We ended up paying twice as much as a taxi with a meter.  Later we found out the police are trying to crack down on these illegal cab drivers who are taking advantage of tourists. Make sure you ask the driver to turn the meter on and if he says no get out and take the next cab.

*** There is no Uber as we know it in Greece. We found when using our Uber app.; it would go directly to their taxi services. Having said all this, the cost of taxi transportation within the city limits is relatively inexpensive.



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Yummy Greek Treats!!

3. Friendly, laid-back Greek people

We found the Greek people to be friendly, laid back, and helpful. I’ve read stories about how rude Greek people can be; however, we didn’t find that to be true for us. We do not speak the language and all of the restaurants, street signs, etc. are in Greek writing, so it was impossible for us to decipher what anything was called. The people were always welcoming even though most couldn’t speak our language they still tried, and we tried to communicate too. Our suggestion would be to learn a few key phrases before traveling to Greece so you can communicate at least with the basics.

 4. Gyros, Bakeries & Ice Cream

Gyros are everywhere, and they are very tasty and filling! I think Joel had a gyro every day. They are so big it would last me for two meals. Most cost under 3 euros and you can find them all over any town. Food, in general, was relatively inexpensive in Greece, especially eating at the little food stores along the streets.  Also, the bakeries are to die for!! Greece is not the place to watch your waistline! Along with the bakeries they have numerous ice cream shops, gyros, coffees, and bakery items are all big in Greece.

5. Greek coffee & Greek salads

Make sure you try Greek coffee it’s fabulous, and it quickly became a favorite staple of ours every morning. If you prefer an iced version the Cappuccino Freddo and the Cappuccino Espresso are amazing and can be found everywhere. Greek salads have no lettuce; instead, they come with a big square of feta cheese on top, and they are fabulous!

6. Eating in a Restaurant

The restaurant setting is a little different in Greece than what we are familiar with in the United States. It was a more relaxed setting, which is a great thing; you could sit at a table as long as you want and not feel pressured to leave. Many people would sit in a restaurant socializing while drinking their coffee for hours. It’s not uncommon to see people drinking coffee at 9 or 10 at night either. Also, tipping is not expected, or typical in Greece as most restaurants charge a service fee. We would tip extra for excellent service.

When you go to a restaurant, if you don’t order at once, the server will give you a bill each time they come to take your order. For instance, the server expects to take your entire order at once and then they will bring you back the bill (sometimes before you’ve even had the food). If you order separately (such as drinks first), you will most likely receive separate bills for your food, drinks, and dessert. Make sure you check your bill to see if there is a service fee (tip), many times the tip is included in the bill.

More Greece Tips…

 7. Museums

Many museums are closed during off and shoulder season, so be sure to check the hours, especially on the islands. Some museums offer free entrance on the first Sunday of every month, so that’s another thing to check. We wrote a blog post during our time of visiting museums in Thessaloniki if you’d like to check into it click here.

8. Feta & Greek yogurt

The feta cheese and the Greek yogurt are amazing, and in my opinion, much better than the United States. They’re made from sheep’s and goat’s milk rather than cow’s milk like in the United States. If you are a cheese lover, make sure you try the fried kasseri or haloumi, it’s fantastic (better than fried mozzarella). The Greek yogurt is the creamiest best yogurt we’ve ever had, and it quickly became a staple of our diet.  Many mornings we would have plain yogurt mixed with fruit and sometimes granola.

9. Restrooms (τουαλέτα) – pronunciation – toualéta

It may cost you to go to the bathroom in Greece. It’s usually a quarter of a euro, and there was even one time the toilet was just a hole in the ground with porcelain around it. Also, sometimes it can be hard to find a public bathroom (there are few), so plan ahead.

10. Be prepared for less than stellar service

In regards to the service industry, we found it to be not as friendly and lacking in quality as compared to the United States. I think it has to do with the service charge added to your bill rather than tipping for excellent service. Another thing, cash is king in Greece. We found at times when you pull out a credit card the person helping you would appear somewhat irritated.  The service industry was the only time we felt any “rudeness”.  

11. Public protests are common in Greece

Be aware in the bigger cities there may be large groups of protesters walking through the streets. We saw this in Athens and Thessaloniki a few times; the police were in full riot gear. In one instance, the police used tear gas, and it was still present the next day.

12. Currency and coins

Keep track of your change it’s not like the United States they have 2 euro coins, which essentially to us is worth about $2.60. Also, check your change, a few times we got back Mexican pesos. We could not figure that one out.

TIP: Make sure your credit card does not charge foreign transaction fees. For the best travel credits, check out “Top 3 Credit Cards For Travelers”.

13. Graffiti is Everywhere

Graffiti is prevalent in the bigger cities of Greece; some of it is quite artistic and appears more like artwork than graffiti. One of our tour guides told us, the city can’t keep up with the removal, so they leave most of the graffiti and when it is removed its back again within a couple of days.


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The Greek Islands

14. Stay on the less known Greek islands

Don’t rule out the smaller islands when staying in the Greek Islands. We visited Santorini, but we found it very crowded and touristy for our taste. We stayed in Naxos, which is the largest in the Cyclades Islands, and we found many things to do and had a great time. There are lots of water activities, restaurants, beaches, etc. Our suggestion if you want to see the famed Santorini would be to stay on one of the islands away from Santorini such as Naxos and take a ferry to Santorini, then stay for a night or two.

After our stay in Naxos, we took a ferry to Santorini, and we stayed just north of Faros for a couple of nights. We found a great boutique hotel, a 20-minute bus ride away from Oia (famous place to watch the sunset) for $50 a night. Here’s the booking.com link if you want to check it out.

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15. Travel Drone

You may want to consider bringing a travel drone, especially when traveling to the islands. We got some of the best drone footage we’ve ever taken during our travels. The two travel drones we recommend are the Spark and Mavic Air. If you want to check out a few of our videos with extensive drone footage, click on the links below.

Sunset & Drone shots Santorini

Grotto Beach in Naxos Drone shots

 

 

Trip Video

Here is a travel guide to our favorite place while visiting Greece. Welcome to Naxos!

More Tips…

16. Be aware of pickpockets

We luckily did not experience a problem with pickpockets; however, we were warned about the issue many times because it’s a serious problem, especially in the bigger cities. We always use a travel backpack, partially for the security and the many pockets with built-in insulated cooler section. Also, the canvas satchel bag I use as a purse zips up tightly and can be worn across my shoulder. According to our tour guide, the Acropolis has the highest rate of pickpocketing where the flag is located at the top of the hill.

17.  Renting a car

If you happen to be traveling to the island of Corfu or any of the other busier mountainous islands and you rent a car consider renting an automatic over a stick shift unless you are familiar with driving a stick shift. We rented a manual (stick shift) in Corfu, and it was a nightmare because we hadn’t driven one in years, the roads are very narrow and crowded.  

18. Public Transportation

Public transportation seemed to be excellent throughout Greece. If you want to take a plane within Greece from let’s say Athens to Thessaloniki or Athens to one of the islands, it’s reasonably priced. We used many modes of transportation while traveling throughout Greece without any problems. Our articles and videos will be included at the end of this post, which gives detailed descriptions of the best transportation for each area.

19. Water

You can buy a 2-liter bottle of water at the grocery store for .35 euro. Another cool thing is in many Greek towns there are faucets with fresh drinking water to refill your water bottles.  

“Jobs fill your pockets, adventures fill your soul.”

Closing Words

I hope you found our 19 Best Tips When Traveling To Greece useful and you are excited to visit the beautiful country of Greece. We wrote many articles and produced videos during our stay throughout Greece.  If you interesting in visiting Greece hopefully you will find our information helpful.  Here are a few links to our articles and videos:

Your Complete Travel Guide To Naxos

Best Happy Hour & Nightlife Tour In Athens

Your Complete Travel Guide For Thessaloniki

Cost of Living For A Couple In Greece

2 Traveling Lovers YouTube Channel Videos:

Naxos, One Of The Top Vacation Destinations On Earth

Best Things To Do In Thessaloniki

Best Museums & Fish Market In Athens

 Our Mission

Our goal while traveling the world is to help couples find the best cultural experiences in every country while keeping costs very reasonable. We have become experts in planning travel and not breaking the bank!!

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Travel Resources

If you are interested in checking hotel prices we have found booking.com to have the most competitive prices.  Click here to check out hotels.

All of our video footage is taken with GoPro HERO6.  It’s a waterproof digital action camera for travel with a touchscreen.  We use this camera daily, and we love it. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link:  Click here.

The drone we use is the DJ Spark with Remote Control Combo.  We like this drone because it’s compact, it’s effortless to take on trips, it’s easy to fly, and it shoots 1080p.  All of our drone footage on our blog posts and youtube videos are taken with this drone. We highly recommend it. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link:  Click here.             

Another item we use daily is our Primocean Backpack with an insulated cooler bag.  We use this as Christie’s carry on bag on the plane and as our cooler at our final destination.  We used to use a different backpack and we switched to this one because it’s better made of durable material with quality zippers.  We love this backpack!!  The cooler section is smaller; however, all the compartments and the quality of the backpack make it a much better choice for basically the same cost.  We wish we would have thought of this item a long time ago. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link: Click Here.  

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