After two weeks in Greece, I have complied a list of tips for traveling in Greece you may find helpful. Some of these are funny, some are helpful, but all are based on actual experiences. We have been to Europe several times in the last few years, and many of these tips are helpful for other counties as well. Most of these points will be expanded on in future posts, so look forward to a ton of more tips and tricks. As always, feel free to contact me with specific questions or anything you would like to see highlighted.
Souvlaki is meat served on a stick or in a pita. A pita wrapped souvlaki with fries, tomatoes, sauce, onions and more is enough to eat for lunch and will cost you around 2.50€. You can’t find this much delicious food this inexpensive anywhere in the States.
Gyros are larger portions and the meat is chopped smaller. They also don’t come pre-wrapped and will cost about 5.50€ or more. Eating these delicious beasts are a great way to save money for nice dinners.
When you’re ready to leave a restaurant, ask for your check. In the United States, food is all about being served quickly, eating, and leaving so you can go on to your next thing. In Greece, and many other European countries, meals are a form of togetherness, fellowship, and entertainment. People sit at tables for hours truly enjoying their meal and company. You can choose to embrace this lifestyle for a change, or eat as you normally would. Either way, ask your server for the check when you are ready to leave.
Tips are not expected from Greeks, but are greatly appreciated. In fact, most places expect tips from toutists. A good rule of thumb is 10% (which is much less than the US , so I was uneasy at first getting used to it).
Toilets are marked in places as “WC“. Most of the restrooms in Greece have signs posted to not throw your toilet paper in the toilet. I assume it has to do with the old plumbing used in the country, but it was difficult to get out of the habit of throwing my toilet paper in immediately after using. There are small trash bins provided for you to use.
Expect to pay about .50€ to use many public restrooms. Sometimes, these will be automated and other times there will be an attendant that takes your money. Most businesses will have a restroom you can use free of charge.
The people are friendly. Ask your hotel concierge for recommendations on places to go/things to do. They typically have an in with some of the rental paces and can get you a good deal. Not to mention, they can give you off the beaten path recommendations that may end up being your favorite.
Most signs are written in Greek and some are translated in English. It can get very confusing. We went in not knowing a bit of Greek and managed just fine. The people also speak primarily Greek, but most know enough English to answer your questions. Although, I will admit, I was embarrassed I did not know how to say the basics (hi, bye, thank you, yes, no, you’re welcome).
Don’t use the money exchange places at the airport (or even outside for that matter). It is much cheaper to withdrawal money from a local ATM when you reach your destination. Your bank’s charges will be much less than what you pay at currency exchange places, I assure you.
ATVs are an inexpensive way to get across the islands and go beach hopping. You should consider doing this at least once. It’s safe and people are on them everywhere, so drivers are on the lookout. If two people are riding one 4-wheeler, be sure to get one that is at least 170cc or you may be jumping off and pushing it up the steep hills.
It is very common for there to be several topless women on every beach. Breasts are not risqué in Europe. In the States, it is very unlikely to see children playing next to a topless woman, but that is very normal in Greece. You should either accept it or embrace it, but don’t judge it. You can choose to avoid the beach if it bothers you that much.
Walking around Greece requires you to be in fair physical shape. Sure you can get by not walking and doing many of the sites, but you miss out on a lot of the beauty of the country. There are a lot of steps and steep hills leading to the Acropolis in Athens. In Mykonos, there are a ton of winding streets and alleyways to walk around. Sanatorini was the most physically demanding of them all. There are several hikes you can take which require a person to be in decent shape. However, just getting to and from most of the hotels may require you to go up and down several flights of stairs. Add in carrying your luggage around and you will wish you had just a backpack.
Lastly, if you go in the summer, don’t bring jeans or have bangs. Colton and I both brought jeans to dress up at night and never pulled them out. Also, it’s so windy that bangs because an ugly burden and are impossible to catch a good photo of. Grown them out or pin them back (or deal with crazy wind bangs).
What other tips for traveling in Greece would you like to see? Did you learn anything new? If you have been, do you have a tip not listed? Leave me a comment below!