This is a brief guide for travel to Greece based on my experience so far. I’ve only been to Athens and Santorini, and there are many other mainland and island destinations to explore! A few friends are from or work in other places so I have added their recommendations as well. Athens is a must-see city if you are in the area. Of course, the Acropolis and the Parthenon are the most famous sites. But there are so many other places to see while walking around the city. Also, the markets are interesting. I prefer the local ones like Monastariki or Plaka rather than going to the typical tourist shops.
As for the islands, each Greek friend I speak with has a different favourite island. There are over 200 inhabited islands so you have your choice! Each one is known for something in particular so I highlighted a few below. Personally, I loved Santorini, and I would like to go again. After visiting, I discovered a wonderful Estate Argyros assyrtiko wine. In fact, assyrtiko is indigenous to the island of Santorini. Someday, I would really love to visit the winery.
- Athens, the capital
- Acropolis, Parthenon and all of the surrounding temples
- Temple of Olympian Zeus
- Odeon of Herodes Atticus
- Panathenaic Stadium
- Holy Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary – Panagia Kapnikarea
- Visiting the islands, all with their own highlights and character
- Santorini with its charming blue and white buildings, stunning sunsets and donkeys with bells
- Crete with its archaeological ruins, beaches and caterpillar migration
- Kalymnos for nature and rock climbing
- Karpathos for a chilled out island with lots of nice beaches
Before you go
- Greece is part of the EU and Schengen areas
- UK and US citizens do not need a visa to visit for up to 90 of 180 days
- The Greek alphabet takes some time to get used to so an app like GoogleTranslate is useful
- Ouzo is a typically Greek liqueur and very strong! It has a liquorice taste
- There are 227 inhabited islands which can be reached by flight and/or ferry. Read up on the highlights of each to decide where you want to go. Some are known for beaches, sunsets, archaeological ruins, partying etc so it depends on what you enjoy
- If you get seasick, then bring medicine for the ferries as they can rock a lot
- Gyros is pronounced YEE-ros
- The Athens International airport has arrivals from many different cities including London
- Metro Line 3 connects the airport to Athens city centre (Syntagma Square). The journey time is approximately 40 minutes
- The Port of Piraeus is where a lot of ferries to the islands depart from. There are a number of ferry companies to choose from and we used Blue Star
- Athens is quite large so you can walk a lot and also take the metro
- Santorini has some buses but hiring a car is more convenient
- In Athens, we stayed at the Arethusa Hotel, which was very comfortable and centrally-located. As a bonus, it has a roof-top garden.
- There were four of us in Santorini and we opted to share an apartment at Loizos near Thera. We had a nice balcony with a view and could hear the jingling of the donkeys with bells. It was peaceful and beautiful.
The official currency in Greece is the Euro. As of November 2022, one British pound is equal to 1.16 Euros.
I recommend to check the currency conversion just before you leave as this fluctuates
Since I was a child, Greek food has been one of my favourites. My dad’s friend from work was Greek American, and his family always made delicious Greek dishes for parties. These included dolmades (vine leaves filled with meat and/or rice), moussaka (aubergine, meat and cream layered casserole), Greek salad, and more. In our area, gyros were also very popular.
Most restaurants we tried had all of the typical Greek foods. The salads were fresh and the meat was tender and tasty. It would be difficult to choose a favourite. However, each restaurant had their own variations on the recipes, even for the salad. Additionally, the gyros were a delicious, quick and cheap lunch or snack.
Additionally, the wines of Greece are excellent and varied. Santorini wines are definitely worth trying. My favourite so far is the white wine assyrtiko from Estate Argyros. However, we enjoyed wine tasting at a few different wineries.
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: Probably not. For Athens, it is easy to find your way around to the sights. And for the each island, you can also find the main activities. To get around the countryside you may want to have a guide if you don’t want to drive yourself.
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Most people speak English. However, the alphabet is Greek so you may want to have GoogleTranslate available to read signs.
Q: Can I travel solo?
A: Yes it is easy and safe to travel solo
Q: How easy is it to send postcards?
A: Postcards can be found in any city or town with tourists. And the post offices are easy to find in the cities. See Sending Postcards from Abroad for details on cost and the time it took to reach the USA.
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