The summer season is in fully swing and that means it’s time to head to Greece. But before you start packing your bags, take some time to read some of my favorite tips for traveling to Greece during summer.
While many of these tips are specifically geared towards the peak season, some can be applied to visiting Greece during the off-season (spring and autumn) as well. An informed traveler will always know how to handle even the not-so-enjoyable situations.
1 – Get the train passes, airplane tickets and ferry tickets in advance
Greece has been a popular vacation destination for years and although the economy has been giving everyone a hard time, it doesn’t seem to affect Greece that much. So expect the trains to be crowded and ferry tickets to be sold out weeks in advance.
Especially if you traveling to Greece in July and August, make sure to book you flight and train tickets/passes in advance. The majority of international travelers will book a flight to Athens. The capital is very well connected to the rest of the country by planes, buses, trains and ferries.
More and more travelers choose the train to travel to Greece. There are a lot of rail passes which include Greece and all are very popular so make sure to get yours about 90 days in advance.
If you plan to take the ferry in Greece and the popular islands – such as Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes or Crete – are on your itinerary, it’s a good idea to book your ticket online, in advance. Some of the routes are sold out weeks in advance, especially if there’s a high speed ferry available.
2 – Pack the appropriate clothes
Greeks might not be as fashion-conscious as Italians and French, but that doesn’t mean you can walk in your flip-flops in the middle of downtown Athens. Of course you can always throw a pair of jeans, some t-shirts and a pair of walking shoes in your backpack and enjoy every single moment of your vacation in Greece, but if you want to attempt to fit in (at least some) and avoid looking like a tourist, it’s a good idea to know what you should pack.
Needless to say that the fashion changes each season but some of the advices regarding what to wear in Greece during summer can be applied each year. Make sure to pack at a pair of light-colored jeans and some shirts and t-shirts to go with them. If you are a lady and the idea of packing light for Greece scares you, then you should know that miracles can be done with a pair of nice Capri pants, some stylish tops and elegant shoes.
Remember that if you want to visit the churches or monasteries, you should have the shoulders and knees covered. So if you like the spaghetti-strap dresses, throw a sarong or a shirt on your shoulders. And guys, shorts are not allowed either.
3 – Expect summer to be hot
But during the summer, expect the weather to be hot. Over the past years, the annual temperature has been rising all over Greece (and the forest fires are good proof) therefore you can leave the wet gear at home. So be prepared for the high temperatures. Bring sun screen with high sun protection factor and wear it even when you go out for a walk, not only when you spend time on the beach. Make sure to have bottled water with you all the time.
And if you need to cool down, the (cold) orthodox churches are an excellent place to catch your breath. You can always check out the (air conditioned) stores when it gets too hot to walk outside.
4 – Know when the attractions are closed
There’s nothing worse than arriving in a city and finding out that the place you really wanted to see is closed. So in order to avoid such a drama, make sure to do the search in advance.
Many museums in Athens have their own websites and they always list the days when the museums are closed. The same thing is valid for the museums in Thessaloniki. You can find the same information from some good guidebooks. Do remember that all public museums are closed on national holidays.
5 – Learn some common phrases in Greek
Greek is not an easy language to learn. But no one expects you to know how to spell the words. Although many Greek speak English enough to be able to help with directions and what to order at a taverna, being able to great, thank and ask for simple stuff in Greek is a good idea.
The first phrases to tackle are:
- Kalimera (good morning)
- Kalipera (good evening)
- Kalinihta (good night)
- Yia sou (hello)
- Adio (bye)
- Efharisto (thank you)
- Parakalo (please)
- Endaxi (OK)
While figuring out your daily food budget, you can also learn how to ask for the menu, how to order the dishes and thank for the service.
Have any questions?
By no means have I tried to create the most comprehensive guide to your Greek vacation – that would probably take a lifetime. But the advices above are meant to help you through the planning and packing process without felling too overwhelmed.
For more details about Greece and planning your vacation here, make sure to read what I’ve already written on WhyGo Greece and if you have any questions drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org .