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Woohoo! Summer is finally here! I, for one, couldn’t be happier. I literally spent weeks planning my perfect summer vacation to Greece and now that I’m finally off to paradise, I want to share this ultimate travel guide for the magical lands of Greece with you.
From Athens, the heart of Ancient Greece, to Corfu, Kefalonia and the well-known Santorini, Greece is a sight for those sore eyes that wanted a vacation for far too long. Besides, compared to other exotic destinations such as Bali, Hawaii or Fiji, the Greek paradise is just as beautiful, but – as you might expect – cheaper. So here’s a list of all the things you need to know before packing your bags for a long-awaited summer vacation in Greece.
Here’s what you should know before traveling to Greece
The best time to go to Greece: If you want to sunbathe and enjoy the crystal clear water, the absolute best months to visit Greece are May, June, and September. Avoid July and August. It usually gets too hot and crowded with tourists during this period.
Don’t forget to: Try the olives, the Ouzo (Greece’s most popular drink) and make small talk with your host or any of the other Greeks you will meet. They are very nice and warm people with a lot of positive energy to share.
Language: As you may expect… Greek. The Hellenes are not big on speaking English, so you may find yourself in difficulty if you somehow need help. Don’t worry though! I’ve also put together a list of basic Greek travel phrases and words to help you break the communicational barrier and enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
On the other hand, you may also have a chance with English. There are people in Greece that speak English, but their accent is very… exotic. I remember talking to my landlord two years ago in Thassos. Really funny man, but I only understood two words once every three sentences from him (hahaha).
Weather: Since Greece is a Mediterranean country, the weather is a dream for everyone who loves hot summer days. Careful though! Wear sunscreen at all times and only sunbathe from 7 A.M. to 11 A.M. and from 4 P.M. until dark. You know the rules!
Getting around: The best way to travel on the islands is on foot, by bus or ATV. Depending on your needs, you’ll choose the best option once you get there. I, for one, rented a car as soon as I got to Thassos. It was really useful since I wanted to go to a different beach every day.
Currency: Good news! Or are they? In 2001, the euro became the sole currency of Greece.
Before you go, make sure you have at least half of your vacation money in cash. Depending on the city or island you are visiting, paying with a credit card might be a problem.
Typical costs: If you on a tight budget, I’d recommend going to Greece somewhere around mid-September. Food, accommodation, and entertainment tend to be cheaper towards the end of the season.
Depending on your preferences and the island you are visiting, a meal (main course, salad, and a soft drink) for one person at a restaurant ranges between €20 and €45.
On the other hand, if you want to stay under budget, a €1.70 – 3.50 Gyros sandwich or a €1.50 – 2.00 Souvlaki are just as tasty!
From my experience, a good reference point for typical costs is the classical water bottle. In Greece, a water bottle is €0.50 in stores and around €1 in most restaurants and cafés.
Find out even more details about typical costs in Greece right here.
15 Greek words you’ll need in your vacation
Moving on to language barriers and how to break them, let’s continue with some basic Greek words you will probably need during your trip to Greece:
- Yes – Ναι – Ne
- No – Όχι – Ó̱chi
- pharmacy – φαρμακείο – Farmakeio
- sunscreen – αντηλιακό – Antiliakó
- toilet – μπάνιο – Banio
- airport – αεροδρόμιο – aerodrómio
- taxi – ταξί – taxi
- train station – σιδηροδρομικός σταθμός – sidi̱rodromikos̱ stathmos̱
- bus station – στάση λεωφορείου – stási leoforeíou
- hotel – ξενοδοχείο – xenodocheio
- beach – παραλία – paralia
- help – βοηθάω – voithao
- city centre – κέντρο της πόλης – kéntro tis pólis
- supermarket – σουπερ-μάρκετ – souper-market
- souvenir – ενθύμιο – enthymio
Top 5 places you must visit in Greece
Before helping you discover the basic Greek travel phases you’ll most definitely need for your vacation in the Greek islands, here are the top 5 most beautiful Greek places you must visit in this life. As I mentioned in the beginning, I recently spent weeks organizing my third Greek vacation (yes, that’s how much I love Greece!). So why keep this entire research to myself?
Not a surprise. Santorini is probably the most well-known place in Greece. With its blue waters, colorful sunsets and white buildings, Santorini is the definition of “instagramable”!
If you are a sucker for history, Athens is the place to go! One of the world’s oldest cities with a recorded history of over 3,400 years, Athens will lure you with ancient buildings, museums, stories, and good food.
Do you remember Leo DiCaprio’s movie The Beach? Well, if you’ve always dreamed to go to a place like that, Zakynthos is your best bet. Zakynthos Shipwreck Beach is an absolute dream!
Greece’s largest island, Crete is home to the Ideon Cave, which was the birthplace of Zeus, according to Greek mythology. You wouldn’t want to miss that, would you? If you decide to go to Crete, it’s a must to visit the Balos beach and the Elafonisi island. Why? Because when the weather allows it, it is possible to walk to Elafonisi. How cool is that?
The largest island of the Ionian sea is well-known for its stunning beaches, gorgeous forests and The Cave of Melissani. Do not dare miss that because it is surely one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see in your life.
Other cool places that deserve your attention: Lefkada, Halkidiki, Corfu, Meteora, Hania, and Delphi.
Greek travel phrases
Last but not least, my favorite part of a vacation in a foreign destination: learning the travel phrases.
Everywhere you go in the world, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to communication. Why not learn some essential travel phrases beforehand and avoid stressful situations like not finding the toilet when you need it? Besides, learning something as little as the basic greetings it’s a sign of respect towards the culture you are entering.
So let’s begin! We will explore some Greek greetings, continue with some common ways to ask for help, some basic phrases for when you’ll go to a restaurant and some basic phrases for your shopping sprees.
Greek Greetings and other basics
- Good morning! – Καλημέρα. – Kali̱méra.
- Good afternoon! – Καλό απόγευμα. – Kaló apógev̱ma.
- Good evening! – Καλησπέρα. – Kalispera.
- Good night! – Καληνύχτα. – Kali̱nýchta.
- Hello! – Γειά σας! – Geiá sas!
- How are you? – Τι κάνεις; – Ti káneis?
- Very good. Thank you – Πολύ καλά, σας ευχαριστώ. – Polý kalá, sas ef̱charistó̱.
- What is your name? – Πως σε λένε; – Po̱s se léne?
- My name is Mondly. – Το όνομα μου είναι Μόντλυ. – To onoma mou einai Mondly.
- Nice to meet you. – Χάρηκα για την γνωριμία. – Chári̱ka gia ti̱n gno̱rimía.
- Please. – Παρακαλώ. – Parakaló̱.
- Thank you. – Ευχαριστώ. – Efcharistó.
- I’m sorry. – Λυπάμαι. – Lypámai.
- You’re welcome. – Παρακαλώ. – Parakaló̱.
- Excuse me. – Συγνώμη. – Sygnómi.
- No problem. – Κανένα πρόβλημα. – Kanéna próvli̱ma.
Common Greek phrases for travelers that need help
- Can you help me? – Μπορείτε να με βοηθήσετε; – Boreíte na me voi̱thí̱sete?
- Where can I find a taxi? – Που μπορώ να βρω ένα ταξί; – Pou boró̱ na vro̱ éna taxí?
- Where is the toilet? – Που βρίσκεται η τουαλέτα; – Pou vrísketai i̱ toualéta?
- Where is the bus station, please? – Που είναι ο σταθμός των λεωφορείων, παρακαλώ; – Pou eínai o stathmós to̱n leo̱foreío̱n, parakaló̱?
- Where can I buy tickets? – Από που μπορώ να αγοράσω εισιτήρια; – Apó pou boró̱ na agoráso̱ eisití̱ria?
- Where is a pharmacy? – Που υπάρχει ένα φαρμακείο; – Pou ypárchei éna farmakeío?
- Where is a supermarket? – Πού είναι ένα σούπερ μάρκετ; – Pou einai ena souper market?
Learn Greek to experience the local cuisine
- We are ready to order. – Είμαστε έτοιμοι να παραγγείλουμε. – Eímaste étoimoi na parangeíloume.
- We would like two glasses of wine. – Θα ήθελα κάτι χωρίς κρέας. – Tha í̱thela káti cho̱rís kréas.
- I’d like something without meat. – Θα ήθελα κάτι χωρίς κρέας. – Tha í̱thela káti cho̱rís kréas.
- I’d like a mineral water. – Θα ήθελα ένα μεταλλικό νερό. – Tha í̱thela éna metallikó neró.
- I’d like an orange juice. – Θα ήθελα έναν χυμό πορτοκάλι. – Tha í̱thela énan chymó portokáli.
- I would like a salad. – Θα ήθελα μία σαλάτα. – Tha í̱thela mía saláta.
- I would like a soup. – Θα ήθελα μία σούπα. – Tha í̱thela mía soúpa.
Basic Greek phrases for shopping sprees
- How much does it cost? – Πόσο κοστίζει αυτό; – Póso kostízei af̱tó?
- I would like _____. – Θα ήθελα _____. – Tha í̱thela _____.
- How much are they? – Πόσο κοστίζουν; – Póso kostízoun?
- Can I have a receipt? – Μπορώ να έχω μια απόδειξη; – Boró̱ na écho̱ mia apódeixi̱?
- Can I have some ice cream? – Μπορώ να έχω ένα παγωτό; – Boró̱ na écho̱ éna pago̱tó?
Well, this is it! This is your travel guide for your next Greek vacation. Don’t forget to bookmark it! It might come in handy someday.
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