Planning a Trip to Greece? Let us discover 15 things to Know Before Traveling
Beautiful summer evenings with music, theatre, food, and dancing. Beautiful Weather, nature, and beautiful Greek Islands. It enchants you, it seduces you and makes you want to stay for a long time here. Cosmopolitan and beautiful. Sad and joyful. Famous in the outskirts of the world, for the bad and the goods. Special and magical like nowhere else… So are you planning a trip to Greece?
1. Food and Drink
Food: Greek food consists mainly of meat and fish but for the Vegetarians and Vegans I have great news. A big variety of Traditional dishes are in fact Vegan! Oh yes, Vegan. Trust me, I am Greek and I assure you that is 100% true. The most popular ones are Gemista, Mpriam, Fasolakia, different kinds of soups, traditional bread, homemade desserts and you can find them almost in every restaurant.
Make sure you read print this Vegan Guide – Main Dishes before your wish of Planning your trip to Greece.
Note —> The original Greek salad is WITHOUT lettuce.
For the Vegetarians, Greek cuisine is famous for its delicious pies, nutritious dips, and aromatic pastries. You will get Spanakopita, Tiropita, Tzatziki, Tirokafteri, Galaktoboureko, Karidopita and much more.
Note —> The original yogurt, is just from Greece. The famous name of “Greek Yogurt” which you can find worldwide, is just a marketing strategy.
Drinks: Concerning the coffees, the popular one is the Greek coffee which is served as single or double in every cafe. During summer, Frappe and Freddo Cappuccino are widely served everywhere. Frappe is a Nescafe drink with foam milk, ice, and sugar. Freddo Cappuccino is an espresso drink with sugar and thick foamed milk or cream on the top. You can find all the milky coffees in Vegan options, with soya or almond milk, in big cities as Athens and Thessaloniki.
Note —> Greek coffee is originated from Turkey. Despite the fact that the Greeks are proud of their Greek coffee and insist on the opposite, the source origin is from Turkey. The taste is different though.
Drink choices are endless! Regarding traditional alcohol, you can’t leave Greece without tasting Raki (mainly in Crete island), ouzo and tsipouro! Yamas!! It means “to our health”. These drinks are quite strong and normally are mixed with water (especially ouzo).
You CAN’T drink ouzo without mixing it with water unless you want to get drunk straightaway. It is that strong!
Planning a Trip to Greece? Keep Reading!
Prices: Depending on which town or island you are on, you will find various prices. Normally, restaurant prices vary from 10 – 15 euro/person. In some islands such as Santorini, Mykonos, and Skiathos, prices are double, and in some tavernas and restaurants even triple! If you want street/canteen food, prices are much lower (5 euro/person without alcohol).
For reasonable prices avoid the months of June, July, August, and the beginning of September.
Another option is the supermarkets. You can buy your supplies and cook in your accommodation, in case you have a cooking area. Regarding Vegan options, be aware that mainly the big cities of Athens and Thessaloniki have organic and vegan stores. You can find them also in islands and small cities but nothing is guaranteed.
Veganism is not popular in Greece unless it’s the Lent season (mainly 40 days before fasting before the Orthodox Easter) and the foods called Nistisima.
There is a big variety of lodgings. From Airbnb, Hostels, Hotels to Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is normally free depending on your host. Hostels are mainly in Athens and big islands. Airbnb and Hotels are in every city and island. Please be advised that during the popular months of July and August is advisable to book as early as possible. Especially August can be a nightmare!
Prices: Hostel prices can vary from 10 euro/person to 30euro/person. Airbnb and hotel prices start from 30 euro/person. Avoid the months of June, July, August, and the beginning of September if you want budget accommodation.
It’s advisable to read the reviews and check the area of each place, prior to any booking.
Generally, Transportation is quite developed in Greece. Specifically, in Athens, there is a Metro, Tram, buses, trains, taxis, and KTEL. KTEL is suburban transportation and it connects towns and big cities. In Athens, the most popular stations are KTEL Kifisou and Liosion.
In small cities and islands, transportation is quite bad so renting a car is advisable.
Taxis are everywhere in Greece and quite expensive. Make sure that there is a meter otherwise the driver can double the original price! In addition, the tariff from midnight up to 5 am is double. Starting tariff is at 1.29 euro, as far as I remember. The price from the airport to certain parts of the cities is fixed.
In addition, to avoid any hassle, there are other taxi operators:
- Kosmos taxi. You call at 18300 and the minimum charge is 5 euros. Highly recommended for quick pickups.
Planning a Trip to Greece? Keep Reading!
4. Driving and Traffic
For the big cities as Athens and Thessaloniki are not advisable to rent a car. Public transportation is good and except that, it’s a lot of traffic!. Be aware that Greeks are driving like crazy, especially in big cities.
In the Islands and smaller cities is better to rent a car to explore the areas. Sometimes, Public transportation can be a hard task.
Regarding cars, manual gear is mainly popular in Greece. You can find Automatic ones but the prices are double. The driving side is on the left. Always wear your seatbelt and do not drive if you had a few drinks. Frequent checks applicable through police.
Prices: Ticket bus in Athens, cost 1.40 per ticket, and you can travel with the same ticket in any mean of transportation for 90 minutes.
If you are in Athens and you want to stay longer than 1 month please check with the stations for further information. Please be aware that soon the paper tickets which are in use today will be replaced by paper and plastic smartcards
Most places accept Credit cards but there are a big majority of small cafes, tavernas, markets, hostels, and street ventures who accept only cash. Currency is Euro only. It’s better do not to make currency exchange in Greek airports as they tend to have high rates. You can find ATM’s everywhere in Greece, except the tiny places. Cheques are seldom in Greece.
One thing is for sure. Υou will never feel bored in Greece!!! Bars, restaurants, tavernas, the famous bouzouki, cafes, clubs, theatres, concerts, galleries, street art, festivals, Greece is full of activities and it is a very livable country. Especially, during Summer the night is young. The nightclubs open late and close early in the morning.
Beach parties are very popular also. Be aware of your drinks though, sometimes can be badly mixed with other chemical substances.
Prices: Drinks can vary from 3 – 4 euros for a wine. Beer can be a little bit cheaper. Regarding cocktails start from 7 euro. In some big clubs, there is an entrance fee normally 15-20 euros.
If you are planning to shop around, the choices are endless. Big and small stores are everywhere. In addition there are a few big malls mainly in big cities.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Greece usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you’re plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
Planning a Trip to Greece? Keep Reading!
9. Dressing code
No restrictions here, except in the Monasteries and Churches.
Greece is generally is one of the safest countries in Europe. For Solo females though, avoid walking alone at night to the dark areas especially in the big cities. You should always be aware of your surroundings.
The official language is Greek but as a tourist, you will not face big problems if you speak English. Normally the majority of Greek people, especially the young ones, speak and understand English.
12. Greek People
Greeks are friendly, generous, and happy to help you anytime! If you learn a few Greek words they will be very happy for your effort. A few popular words to consider are:
- “Giasou” – Hello,
- “Ti Kanis?” – How are you?
- “Kalimera” – Good morning,
- “Kalinixta” – Good night,
- “Efxaristo” – Thank you,
- “Mou aresi i Ellada” – I like Greece,
- “Mou aresis” – I like you (in case of flirting :))
Besides that, a big majority of Greeks LOVE to nug and complain about everything! Are they are sad? they complain. Are they happy? oh yes, they complain! That’s a fact!
Planning a Trip to Greece? Keep Reading!
13. Best Time to visit Grece
Greece is just awesomely beautiful in any season of the year.
Beaches, mountains, endless sun, great weather, and blue skies: During the months of May, June, July, August, and September. July and August are overcrowded though. Avoid like hell if it’s possible! Believe me, can be a nightmare!
Snow, skiing, picturesque villages covered with fog and snow: December, January, February, and March in the mountain cities as Meteora, Araxova, and Karpenisi.
Flower season festivals: April and May
Greece is not all about Santorini, Mykonos and Athens.
As a Greek, I can definitely say that there are way much better places to visit in Greece. Meteora, Pilion, beautiful Crete, Zakynthos, and Thessaloniki which are one of the most beautiful European cities, are some of them. I will soon write a relevant post.
To be honest, I fed up seeing posts about Santorini and Mykonos. Way too expensive and overrated. Real Greece is not about those places, definitely not…
14. Health and Smoking
In case of emergency, you can head to the nearest public hospital that is functioning for emergency purposes. In addition, you can find pharmacies everywhere in Greece.
Greeks love Smoking! In the majority of bars and restaurants, unfortunately, smoking is allowed. They are some cafes though in Thessaloniki, where smoking is prohibited. The article is in Greek but you can see the name of the places. Non-Smoking Cafe and Bars
15. Gay, Lesbians, Queer, and Bi.
You can find relevant bars in big cities. Greece is still a conservative country. As a result, you will not face any problem as a gay, lesbian, queer, and bi. (Except the weird looks…but who cares, right?)
Please find below a few related posts.
- Omalia Village | Kryoneria, Oreini Nafpaktia | Greece
- Kavourotrypes (Orange) Beach – Halkidiki, Greece
Are you a traveler? I have written other vegan guides about various places around the world. Here are a few:
- Vegan in Greece | A complete guide
- Vegan in Santorini, Greece | The best Vegan restaurants
- Vegan in Thessaloniki | Greece
- Vegan Delivery in Thessaloniki | The best delivery in Greece
- Vegan Pizza Delivery | The best 6 eats in Thessaloniki, Greece
- Vegan in Italy | The Ultimate Guide
- Vegan in Glasgow, Scotland | The best restaurants
- Vegan in Romania | Restaurants
- Vegan in Bournemouth, England | Top 5 awesome restaurants
- Vegan Traveler | Everything you need to know
- 15 things to know before your trip to Greece
- Vegan Bakeries in New York
- Vegan in Chile | Learn how to survive as a Vegan
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Thank you for this! This is a really good guide. I especially like your recommendations on where to visit other than Santorini and Mykonos. I’ll be bookmarking this for when I plan to finally visit. 🙂
Hello, Selam! Thanks for your nice message! Love Santorini and Mykonos but way too much overrated, there are so many other places to visit too. 🙂
This is great info for first-time visitors to Greece. The beaches and outdoor dining make me miss Greece so much! Lovely photos as always, and your food photos are making me hungry 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
Many many thanks!! Time to revisit Greece 🙂
I loved Greece when I visited a couple of years go. I have to admit that I fell in love with Mykonos, even though it was pricey. I didn’t realise there were so many veggie and vegan dishes in Greece. I eat meat but I love veggie food so I’ll be looking out for those next time 🙂
Mykonos is great but I agree, pricey indeed! Ans lots of Vegetarians and Vegans all around. 🙂
I’d love to visit Greece too! I didn’t know that the original Greek salad didn’t have lettuce, my favourite! 🙂
Hello, Angie! Yes yes yes Greek Salad is without lettuce. I really do not know who invented that version!
I just spent 2 weeks in Greece (my 3rd time there) and your tips are great. My first time I asked a waiter…what is Greek coffee. He answered and then I said, oh like Turkish coffee then. He got mad and said…No, it’s Greek coffee. LOL. I never made that mistake again! I love my Greeks so much!! They just need to stop smoking:)
Hello, Cherene Thanks for your message!
Hahahaah Greek coffee nightmare! Yes I know, lots of Greeks have the same issue!
I first visited Greece this year, actually more precisely Crete. I fell in love with the food, so tasty! Can’t wait to visit again. Some very helpful tips here too!
Thank you, Amanda! Hope you will revisit Greece, soon.
This is such great info! I’m heading to Santorini soon!
Glad to know! 🙂 Have a great time!
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Hello! I would need some help! We will traveling this year by motorcycle in Greece and I would love some tips about parking. It’s parking apply the same as for cars or is different? How much will be a day of parking in Tesaloniki or Athens? Thank so much! And thank for all the others tips!
Thanks for your message!
Wherever its allowed around cities (designated with “P” sign), its free in whole Greece for both cars and motorcycles (on the side of the streets and near residential buildings in the suburbs).
For paid parking for 3 hours its 4-6 euros.
Hope that helps. If you need any more info please let me know. 🙂
This is a fabulous intro, thank you!
However, are you sure the driving is on the left? Everywhere else says it is the right, and I want to check as that will depend on who drives for us haha.