Greece is one of those dream destinations that most people put on their list. There’s so much history scattered across this beautiful country, as well as some of the world’s best beaches. No matter the type of holiday you’re going for, whether it’s for a honeymoon, a trip with friends, a family trip or even a babymoon, you’ll be surprised by the diversity that Greece offers, catering to every type of trip! There are a few simple ways to make your trip to Greece more enjoyable, more affordable, and one of those trips that you’ll look back on one day and sigh deeply as it was everything you wanted and more. Here are my top 5 tips for visiting Greece this year:
1. Don’t Skip the Beaches
It’s easy to get caught up in all the history and grungy charm of Athens, but in my opinion the real beauty of Greece is the beaches and you’re literally spoiled for choice. Santorini and Mykonos are just as beautiful as the postcards, if not even more beautiful in person, but they get crowded. Why not head to a smaller island that’s going to be quieter, you’ll get cheaper lodging, be able to enjoy that small town charm. I personally loved Paros – a small island not too far from Naxos. This charming town is well known for it’s stunning beaches, traditional villages and is also home to the Panagia Ekatontapiliani, a landmark church from the 4th century. A family beach holiday in Greece is perfect for creating those memories that you will treasure forever. If you’re traveling with younger children, be sure to take a least some supplies so they can build sand castles. Don’t forget sunscreen in order to keep your skin healthy, even if it feels like you’re not getting burned you may be causing irreversible skin damage – not pretty!
2. Travel in the Off Season
During peak season, Greece can become extremely expensive. When you check into your hotel in popular destinations, you may even see pricing on the door of your room that has two rates: peak rate and off season. In a number of hotels I visited on the islands, the room rates doubled or even tripled for the peak summer season. It can be one of the easiest ways to save money, by simply avoiding the busiest months. A quick Google search can bring up peak times for specific regions, so be sure to check ahead of time and try to visit in the shoulder seasons. You’ll likely find yourself enjoying wonderful, warm weather without the peak time prices. I visited Santorini in May, which would be considered a shoulder season and it was still swarmed – I couldn’t imagine how busy and uncomfortable it would be in the peak of summer with the hoards of tourist buses blocking your views. A little bit of forward planning can save you a lot of money and hassle!
3. Eat Street Food
Food is so good in Greece! In my opinion, it’s some of the best in the world. When you’re traveling, you’ll quickly notice that eating out is one of the biggest expenses and eating street food is a great way to reduce the cost. My advice: be sure to visit the restaurants or food trucks that are the busiest with local people, they know what’s good! In some parts of Europe, Greece included, there’s actually a surcharge if you decide to eat something simple like a sandwich in a cafe rather than having it to go. Pay attention to whether that’s the case where you’re visiting and why not make a picnic of it to save a few euros? Try to avoid chains where you can and support local businesses that depend on tourism to stay open. The economy in Greece has taken a bit of a beating in the past few years and while the Greeks are extremely hard working, favouring smaller establishments over chains, especially international chains, is an excellent way to help out the locals and ensure the variety you enjoy stays open! When I was visiting Greece I indulged in Gyros any chance I could: they’re delicious, filling and extremely affordable. Don’t be surprised if your gyro comes with delicious fries inside of it – that’s how they roll over there. Be sure to visit at least one Greek bakery, you’ll see plenty of treats, both local and internationally inspired. The Baklava I tried in Greece was one of the best I’ve ever had!
4. Enjoy Some Watersports
Beaches just don’t have to be about laying down with a good book in the sunshine, although that is truly divine. Consider getting into some fun watersports. One of my favorite new water activities is paddleboarding, it’s an amazing workout for your abs and a great activity for any ability level. But there are so many more watersports to try and fall in love with. If you’re a bit more confident on the water, then surfing is a really fun water sport. There are some places around the Greek islands that are wonderful for snorkeling. You may even fancy yourself a bit of a fisher, so why not do a fun fishing trip while in Greece? There are so many lovely activities to do here, you may find yourself wanting to extend your Greek holiday.
5. Take a Camera
Greece is one of the most photographic places I’ve ever visited: the sea is unlike anywhere else, the people are beautiful and open, and the sunsets are completely out of this world. While most smartphones take great photos, I have a feeling you may want to get some of your travel photos to Greece printed because it’s really that beautiful. Taking a higher quality camera will ensure that the quality is good enough that you could print out a large print or print directly on canvas to have in your home as a lovely reminder of a your trip. A few years ago you would have to get a large and bulky DSLR in order to have high quality images you can print well, but now it’s pretty easy to achieve a similar look with some of the smaller cameras. I have a Canon Gx7 Mark ii and the photos are absolutely incredible. If you don’t own a good digital camera, why not ask around friends and family to see if you can borrow one? This is a destination where you will be snapping so many photos you may even end up with cramp in your fingers: Greece is that beautiful!
Greece is a wonderful destination and if you do decide to go there as a family, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful trip. Do you have any tips for first time visitors to Greece? Share them in the comments below: