12 ESSENTIAL Greece Travel Tips if Visiting Greece for the First Time

Planning a trip to Greece? I have put together 12 essential Greece travel tips that you need to know before visiting Greece for the first time.

Greece Travel Tips

Although I live in the US, I have spend a lot of time in Greece. Both my parents are from Greece and my extended family still lives there so I visit Greece frequently. I even lived there for a couple of years when I was younger.

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Below are my top Greece travel tips that you need to know before visiting Greece for the first time.

1. Research and Plan Ahead

Greece is a very popular travel destination. To secure your ideal itinerary, research and book accommodations, tours and activities well in advance.

2. Ideal Time to Visit

The best time to visit Greece is during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) when the weather is pleasant but there are fewer tourists.  Summer in Greece can be bery busy and hot.  Winter can be cold and rainy.

3. Local Currency

Greece uses the Euro (EUR) as its currency. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s wise to have some cash for smaller purchases.

4. English is Common

Greek is the official language, but English is widely spoken (especially in tourist areas) making it easy to communicate.

If you are traveling in more off the beaten path places in Greece, seek out younger locals as they are the  most likely to speak English.

5. Learn Some Basic Greek Phrases

Even though most local speak English, learning a few Greek words and phrases can go a long way in showing respect for the local culture. Here are some common Greek phrases to try out:

Hello – Γειά σας (Yia sas)
Thank you – Ευχαριστώ (Efcharistó)
Good Morning – Καλημέρα (Kaliméra)

If you run across a local that does not speak English, you can also use Google Translate to communicate.

6. Respect Religious Sites

When visiting churches and monasteries, dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees. Silence and respect are expected in these places.

7. Pack Light and Layer

what to wear to greece packing list
Light, breathable clothing is a must, but be sure to pack layers (like a scarf and light sweater) for cooler evenings and visits to religious sites where modest dress is required. You can find my complete packing list for Greece here.

8. Take a Siesta

Greeks observe the siesta, where some businesses may close for a few hours in the afternoon for a nap. Plan your activities and meals accordingly. Even if you don’t usually take an afternoon nap at home, I recommend taking a siesta yourself especially if you are visiting in the summer to avoid the mid-day sun and heat.

9. Visit Popular Attractions Early in the Morning

Popular tourist sites can get very busy. Plan visits early in the day to avoid the heat and crowds.

10. Embrace Greek Cuisine

Don’t miss the chance to savor traditional Greek dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, gyros, and fresh seafood. Sample delicious Greek desserts like baklava, loukoumades (honey puffs), and galaktoboureko (custard pastry).

11. Tipping is Appreciated

In Greece, tipping is customary but not mandatory. Leaving a 10% to 15% tip in restaurants is appreciated.

12. Explore the Greek Islands

Santorini Greece

Greece boasts over over 200 inhabited islands. While Santorini and Mykonos are the most popular Greek islands, they are also the most crowded and full of tourists (especially in the summer).  Consider exploring lesser-known nearby islands like Paros,  Milos and Naxos (my favorite Greek island).

While some islands have airports offering flights from Athens and a few other European cities, ferries are a great way to hop between islands. Book tickets in advance during high season to secure your spot.

Read: Most Beautiful Greek Islands You Need to Visit

Do you have any other essential travel tips for Greece?


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