Things to Know When Traveling to Greece
Greece, a fascinating country with a rich history and stunning landscapes, is a dream destination for many travelers. From the ancient ruins of Athens to the picturesque islands of Santorini and Mykonos, Greece has something for everyone. However, before embarking on your Greek adventure, there are a few things you should know to make your trip unforgettable.
1. Currency: The official currency of Greece is the Euro (€). It is advisable to carry some cash with you, especially when visiting more remote areas, as some establishments may not accept credit cards.
2. Language: The official language is Greek. While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, it is always helpful to know a few basic Greek phrases to enhance your experience and communicate with locals.
3. Transportation: Greece has an efficient transportation system, including buses, taxis, and ferries. The Athens metro is a convenient way to explore the city, while ferries are the primary means of transportation between the islands.
4. Weather: Greece enjoys a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October), when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are smaller.
5. Dress Code: Greece is a conservative country, especially in religious sites. It is respectful to dress modestly when visiting churches and monasteries, covering shoulders and knees.
6. Tipping: Tipping is customary in Greece, particularly in restaurants and bars. It is common to leave a 10% tip, although rounding up the bill is also appreciated.
7. Safety: Greece is generally a safe country for travelers. However, as with any destination, it is important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas.
8. Health and Safety Measures: Greece has implemented health and safety measures to ensure the well-being of tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is advisable to stay updated on the latest travel restrictions and requirements before your trip.
9. Local Customs: Greeks are known for their hospitality and warm nature. It is customary to greet people with a handshake and maintain eye contact during conversations. It is also polite to say “kalimera” (good morning), “kalispera” (good evening), and “efharisto” (thank you).
10. Cuisine: Greek cuisine is a highlight of any trip to Greece. From moussaka to souvlaki, the country offers a variety of delicious dishes. Don’t forget to try the local specialties, such as feta cheese, olives, and baklava.
11. Island Hopping: Greece is famous for its stunning islands. Island hopping is a popular activity among travelers, allowing them to explore multiple islands during their trip. Research and plan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your island hopping experience.
12. Historical Sites: Greece is home to numerous historical sites, including the Acropolis in Athens and the Palace of Knossos in Crete. These sites offer a glimpse into the country’s rich ancient history and are a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
13. Sunscreen and Water: Greece experiences long hours of sunshine, so it is essential to protect your skin by wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you and refill it at the numerous drinking fountains available throughout the country.
Common Questions and Answers
1. Do I need a visa to travel to Greece?
Citizens of the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, and many other countries do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days. Check with your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information.
2. Is it safe to drink tap water in Greece?
Tap water in Greece is generally safe to drink. However, some visitors prefer to drink bottled water, which is widely available.
3. Can I use my credit card in Greece?
Credit cards are widely accepted in Greece, especially in tourist areas. However, it is advisable to carry some cash for smaller establishments or when visiting remote areas.
4. What is the best way to get around the Greek islands?
The best way to get around the Greek islands is by ferry. There are regular ferry services connecting the islands, offering a scenic and enjoyable journey.
5. Are there any customs regulations I should be aware of?
Greece is part of the European Union, so there are no customs regulations for travelers coming from other EU countries. However, if you are arriving from a non-EU country, it is essential to check the customs regulations regarding duty-free allowances.
6. Can I use my mobile phone in Greece?
Most international mobile phone networks operate in Greece. However, it is advisable to check with your service provider regarding international roaming charges.
7. What is the tipping etiquette in Greece?
Tipping is customary in Greece. It is common to leave a 10% tip in restaurants and cafes. In taxis, rounding up the fare is appreciated.
8. Are there any specific cultural customs I should be aware of?
Greeks place great importance on hospitality and respect. It is polite to greet people with a handshake and maintain eye contact during conversations. Remember to say “kalimera” (good morning), “kalispera” (good evening), and “efharisto” (thank you).
9. What are some must-visit islands in Greece?
Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes, and Corfu are some of the most popular and beautiful islands in Greece. Each island offers its unique charm and attractions.
10. Is it necessary to rent a car in Greece?
Renting a car can be a great way to explore the Greek mainland, especially if you want to visit remote areas. However, in cities and popular tourist destinations, public transportation is usually sufficient.
11. Are there any specific dress codes for religious sites in Greece?
When visiting churches and monasteries, it is respectful to dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees. This applies to both men and women.
12. Can I visit the Greek islands in winter?
While some islands may be less crowded in winter, many tourist services and attractions may be closed or have limited opening hours. It is advisable to visit the Greek islands during the spring and summer seasons for a more vibrant experience.
13. What is the best way to explore Athens?
The Athens metro is a convenient and affordable way to explore the city. It connects major attractions and neighborhoods, including the Acropolis, Plaka, and Syntagma Square.
In conclusion, Greece offers a wealth of experiences, from exploring ancient ruins to relaxing on pristine beaches. By familiarizing yourself with the local customs, transportation options, and cultural etiquette, you can make the most of your trip to this extraordinary country. So pack your bags, immerse yourself in Greek culture, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.