15 Essential Greece Travel Tips: Things to Know For Your First Visit

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From golden sandy beaches and dazzling blue skies to mouth-watering food, Greece offers a plethora of charms and irresistible attractions all year long. 

What’s more, the country is filled with warm-hearted and hospitable people who will help you enjoy a fabulous escape from your overworked and hectic life. 

That said, we wanted to share some essential Greece travel tips with you to help ensure that your trip goes smoothly. We also don’t want you to miss out on any of the classic Greek experiences!

15 Essential Greece Travel Tips

1. Don’t forget to buy Travel Insurance

Lina and David Stock at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
All smiles in Greece!

With all that’s been going on in the world, we can’t stress enough how important it is to protect your trip and the money you spent on it. We do not travel without travel insurance.

There are a lot of options out there for insurance, but we use and stand by Allianz Travel Insurance. Full disclosure, we receive financial compensation as ambassadors for their company.

That said, we’ve been purchasing plans through them for the past 7 years and they have never let us down. Canceled flights, delayed flights, lost luggage, and a global pandemic, they’ve been there for us.

We always renew their AllTrips Premier annual plan that covers all of our trips over a 12-month period. If you take more than 2 trips a year, it’s worth considering an annual plan.

For single trips, we recommend looking at their OneTrip Prime or OneTrip Premier plans.

2. Be prepared for the heat during Greece’s summer

David Stock taking a photo in Oia, Santorini
You’ll be exposed to the full sun when exploring Greece!

Greece’s summer sun isn’t forgiving for tourists who don’t protect themselves against its scorching heat. Heatstroke and sunburns are common for tourists visiting Greece in the summer. As is dehydration, which commonly presents as a stomach bug.

In Greece, summer temperatures can go beyond 95 F (35 C). On some days, it even rises above 104 F (40 C). 

To protect yourself, always wear a wide-brim sun hat, and a pair of sunglasses. Bring a refillable water bottle, and drink frequently to help keep yourself hydrated on your sightseeing and beach trips in Greece. 

Sunblock is a must too, especially if you’re hitting the beaches and outdoor archaeological attractions in Greece. And, even if you’re wearing sunblock, try to avoid direct sunlight as often as possible. 

Wearing light-colored clothes is one of the most important Greece travel tips. Black is cool, but it’s not ideal in a place as sunny and warm as Greece in summer. Also, opt for skirts, or loose long wide pants, and wide, airy, and long sleeves. 

If you’re visiting ancient sites in Greece, do it as early as possible, to avoid walking under the heat of the sun. Afterward, you can stop by a couple of museums, and take advantage of their air-conditioning as the temperature gets hotter during midday. 

3. Consider visiting Greece in September or June 

Lina Stock at a monastery in Mykonos, Greece

June and September are truly the best months to visit Greece. With lower rates for accommodations and flights, these months are perfect for those who want to save some cash on their Greece vacation. 

Last-minute ferry tickets to the Greek islands are easier during these months, too. Don’t get me wrong, June and September are still part of the country’s peak season, but most Greece attractions and places have fewer crowds during these months. The weather is also less windy and cooler.  

4. Buy your ferry, airplane, and train passes in advance 

Boats in an old harbor in Greece
Beautiful harbor in Greece

Greece is an extremely popular destination, especially in the summer months. And, that means you should expect tickets for ferries to be sold out weeks in advance, especially if you’re visiting Greece in June, July, August, and September. 

Try to plan as far in advance as you can and book all the needed tickets in advance. A lot of Europe travels during the summer holiday season, so it’s not just overseas tourists you’ll be up against when it comes to accommodation, ferries, tours, etc.

5. Spend more than a week in Greece 

Island fortification in Nafplio, Greece
Island fortification in Nafplio, Greece

Despite the country’s small size, it is packed with attractions and places to visit. I honestly think this is one of the most overlooked aspects of Greece travel.

People don’t do enough research and only realize once they are in the country that they don’t have the time they need for everything that interests them. Don’t make this mistake!

Also, don’t try to do too much in a short period of time. If you have less than a week to explore the country, focus on 3 destinations instead of trying to fit in 6 or 7 areas. Travel between the islands takes time and is often met with delays or even cancellations due to the wind.

For a first-time visit to Greece, we’d recommend 2 weeks if you can. This will give you time to visit Athens, a couple of sights on the mainland, and spend a week in the Greek Isles.

6. Learn a little Greek lingo 

Greek family teaching us about sourdough and olive oil in Greece
Interacting with friendly locals and learning some Greek lingo

Learning some Greek phrases will do wonders for your Greece vacation. To me, it’s one of the most important Greece travel tips we can offer. 

Not only will it make your vacation more immersive, but Greeks also love it when you can speak a few of their phrases or words. 

Since English is prevalent in Greece, learning their lingo isn’t exactly necessary. But, they will have a deeper level of respect for those who show effort in speaking their language. 

7. Check out the less explored beaches in Greece

Sandy beach scene in Greece
A quiet beach in Greece

The beaches on Greece’s most popular islands, like Santorini and Mykonos, can be extremely crowded. No matter when you visit.  

If you want to steer clear of the crowds, head to the more serene islands, like Astypalaia, Ithaca, Donoussa, Sikinos, Kimolos, Tinos, and Andros.

Furthermore, you can enjoy a road trip along Greece’s coast in South Crete, Evia, Chalkidiki, Pelion, Epirus, and Peloponnese. 

8. Consider visiting during an annual festival or event 

Greece flag flying over a white washed monastery in Greece

Some of the best and most exciting festivals in Greece take place in summer. The Athens Epidaurus Festival, for one, is one of Europe’s oldest performing arts festivals. 

Inaugurated in 1955, this festival features numerous shows of music, dance, and theater. Even better, this festival gives you the chance to enjoy the ancient Greek Epidaurus amphitheater, which is known for its acoustics and is fully operational. 

The amphitheater’s acoustics are so phenomenal that performers won’t need a microphone to be heard in the remotest tier. 

You can also experience Panyigiria (Greek folk festivals). These folk festivals are scattered throughout the country in summer and are fun social gatherings. 

9. Bring a refillable water bottle 

Luckily, tap water in Greece is, in general, safe to drink. So, bring a refillable and reusable water bottle to reduce plastic use and save money during your trip.

This practice goes a long way toward being a mindful traveler and engaging in the principles of Leave No Trace while you travel.  

10. Greece safety tips to be mindful about

Empty street in Mykonos - Greece travel tips
Streets in Mykonos

Greece is generally a safe destination, even for female solo travelers. Violent attacks in Greece are a rarity. Still, there are a few important safety tips you should take note of. 

Pickpocketing is prevalent, specifically in Athens. Though Greek police have cracked down on some of these perpetrators, you should be aware of your surroundings, and hide your valuables when you’re in busy streets, markets, or using public transportation. 

11. Give Athens at least 3 days 

Sunset over the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
Sunset light over Athens & the Acropolis

There’s no better place to start a Greece vacation than Athens. Not only is it the main international gateway to Greece, but it also has a host of fantastic, world-class attractions. 

You could spend an entire week in this city, hitting known attractions, such as the Ancient Agora and the Parthenon. 

Athens is also home to tons of first-rate museums. And, luckily, most of these attractions are air-conditioned, giving summer visitors a respite amid the scorching summer heat. 

If it feels too hot outside, step inside the National Historical Museum and the National Archaeological Museum of Greece. You may also stop at Monastiraki’s covered markets, and pick up some Greek souvenirs.

Spending 3 days gives the perfect balance to see the main sites, hit up a few museums, and slow down just enough to enjoy the cafe life.

12. Don’t miss the Greek Islands 

View of windmills in Oia, Santorini - Greece travel tips
Sunny day in Oia, Santorini

Greece is home to around 1,200 to 6,000 islands. And, these islands are divided into six island groups: the North Aegean, Saronic, the Cyclades, Ionian, Sporades, and the Dodecanese. 

No matter what your travel style or interests are, you’ll find a Greek island that suits you. Some islands offer tranquility, peace, and solitude, while others have raucous nightlife and a party ambiance. 

While Santorini and Mykonos are the typical poster children for the Greek Islands, and their beautiful, we also love Samos and Patmos for a quieter experience.

13. Eat Greek Salad

Lina Stock with a greek salad in Greece
Yummy Greek salad!

One of the most delicious things you can eat while in Greece is a Greek Salad. I am not exaggerating when I say that every time we set foot in Greece, we eat weight in these salads!

Made from plump ripe vine tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, and green peppers, this salad is topped with a generous brick of Greek feta cheese. It is then sprinkled with a seasoning that contains a variety of herbs, salt, and pepper. It is then dressed with olive oil and vinegar.

It is not only refreshing but insanely delicious!

14. Try a Cappucino Freddo

Lina Stock drinking a cappuccino freddo on the street in Athens, Greece
Enjoying the street cafe life with Freddo in hand!

Or as we like to call it, Greek rocket fuel. Coffee is a rite of passage, and with the heat of the summer months, it’s best to drink it ice cold. Enter the Freddo.

You can have it straight up or with milk – we prefer it with milk. They also offer it sweet or unsweet. But be warned, the sweet option is very sweet.

This national drink can be found pretty much anywhere and we suggest you try it in one of the charming street cafes you’ll find in Athens or on any of the Greek Islands.

15. Bring good shoes

Lina Stock at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
There is a lot of uneven ground in Greece!

Lastly, and in my opinion, most importantly, make sure you bring solid shoes with you to Greece! You’re going to be exploring ancient ruins and walking on cobblestone streets.

I can’t tell you how many people I saw wearing shoes with heels or slippery soles struggling to enjoy their time in Greece. Not to mention, bad footwear is dangerous and can lead to injury.

We both lived in our Chaco sandals while in Greece. They offer the coolness of a sandal but have an insanely good grip for exploring. They also have comfortable soles and give good support for long days of walking.

This article is sponsored by Allianz Travel Insurance. As ambassadors we receive financial compensation. However, all opinions, stories, advice, and insane love for Iceland are 100% ours, as always.

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15 Essential Greece Travel Tips: Things to Know For Your First Visit by Americas Adventure Couple Lina and David Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog.


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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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