Greece is a fabulous country to visit and the birthplace of the modern world. It’s home to the basis of civilization and democracy and some of the most important architectural and archaeological sites there are. Here’s what to know before taking a very worthwhile visit.
Book Well in Advance
Getting your bookings in well in advance can help you save money. Greece is a holiday destination and millions of people travel to its beaches and sea resorts during the summertime and as such airfares can be quite high if booked late. Getting your Greek air tickets early will help you save money and costs.
Remember That Cash Is King
Unlike some of the other European destinations, Greeks like the dependability of cash so make sure you have what you need on hand. If you don’t, there many ATMs located in larger towns and city centers. This could be an issue when visiting smaller communities and islands regions that don’t have convenient cash withdrawals. Don’t despair though, many of the larger well-established stores and amenities will accept credit card payments. But, you will always want to have some cash on hand, so if you aren’t sure what payment plans will be available, just ask before you get to the checkout.
Be Sure To Plan Ahead
Unfortunately, Greece is lacking on some of the features that make a tourist location suitable for those with disabilities, but you will find your Greek hosts more than willing to help out and accommodate your needs. If you have special need or will be travelling with someone who does, it pays to call ahead and plan the easiest path for your trip. If you will be visiting the beautiful Greek Islands, choose the ones that are relatively flat as steep narrow staircases can be tough even for the physically fit.
Watch Out For the Cigarette Smoke
One thing you will notice when you arrive is that Greeks like their smokes and an estimated 50% of the population smokes regularly. This can be a bit irksome for some visitors, although a ban for smoking in indoor public places has been implemented, it is quite ordinary to walk into a restaurant or bar thick with smoke. Some places are stricter about adhering to these guidelines. As for smoking outdoors, master the art of standing upwind.
Be Vigilant When Driving
Some people have mentioned that Greeks are highly aggressive motorists and this is especially true in the city of Athens. If you are planning on renting an automobile and navigating the roads yourself, do so with caution. Drivers will rarely follow behind and have no problem overtaking on the right or left side of the road and switch lanes at their pleasure. However, this is not so big a problem outside of the city of Athens and other big cities. Smaller islands and rural communities are perfectly safe for all types of motorists.
A taxi fare in Greece is a fairly cost-effective way of getting around, unless you are getting to and from the airport. Throughout the city taxis are plentiful and fast for getting around. But, a Greek taxi driver ay ask where you are headed before agreeing to take you in this direction. “Taxi Pooling” is also not unusual, a taxi driver may stop and pick up and additional fare if their destination is roughly in the same directions as yours is. Of course, you will not be splitting the fee with your fellow passenger.
If you will be travelling during the high-season (mid-July to the end of August), you will save cash by booking ahead of time and purchasing tickets in advance. Just like anywhere else, prices tend to spike during the peak tourist season as hotels, ferries and accommodations fill up quite quickly because everyone, foreigners and Greeks alike, are on holidays.
By All Means Drink, But Behave
Greeks are fond of the drink, just like most countries are. However, you will never see any public displays of drunkenness or misbehavior from the locals and they expect the same moderation from their visitors.
Think Bottled Water On The Islands
Municipal water supplies are clean in just about every Greek city, but if you will be visiting the islands it is better to consider bottled drinking waters. Because there is a shortage of water on many of the Greek islands, the water they do have is best kept for sanitation and hygiene.
Familiarize Yourself With The Opening Hours
Buisness hours for shops, supermarkets, department stores and other publice businesses is from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, except on Saturdays when closing times are 8:00PM. Smaller buinsesses and shops have different schedules and are op[en for business between 9 AM-2:30 PM & 5:30-8:30 PM Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. The schedules for Wednesdays and Mondays is 9:00AM to 3:00 PM. Smaller businesses are closed on Sundays, except for convenience stores and kiosks.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For WiFi
Unless you will be visiting a very remote location, there is a Wi-Fi connection available just about everywhere you go. These are available in public places, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels and bars. Don’t be shy about asking for the password if it is secured as this is a common practice in Greece.
Do Not Flush Toilet Paper
This is an important point in Greece and the waste paper bin is too be used for its intended purpose. This is because the piping systems in Greek cities use a standard 50mm piping that can become clogged easily with toilet paper. Because of this, the waste paper bins are cleaned and changed daily and all waste bins have a lid.
Go Outside And Explore
The Greek country side offers spectacular landscapes including mountains, lakes, meadows and beautiful cities. The Islands are the most popular attraction for obvious reasons, but a traveler on a budget can find beauty, culture and adventure in the cheaper mainland attractions, that are definitely worth the visit. Furthermore, these attractions are less crowded then some of the other attractions and can be very relaxing as well as easy on a tight budget.