It is needless to say that Greece is one of those very few countries in the world, which have succeeded in maintaining a perfect balance between their past and future―so, the country that is famous the world over for its historical grandeur, also has the most thought-provoking scene of modern art and contemporary music.
Planning an Affordable Trip to Greece
Greece has always been one of the favorite locations of budget travelers - things are much cheaper here, than in most other parts of Europe.
However, since the adoption of the euro as the national currency in 2002, things have changed to a great extent. The prices have soared largely than in the past. But still, nothing can beat the beauty and grandeur of Greece, and the extremely hospitable attitude of the locals. Given here is a rough guide to help you plan a budget vacation to Greece.
Do Not Travel During the High Season
Greece is often considered to be a year-round destination; however, as is the case with other tourist destinations, it tends to be the crowded and expensive during the high season (mid-June to the end of August). For those traveling on a tight budget, the high season is the worst time to be in Greece.
The weather may not be very pleasant during the off-season, raining heavily and even snowing in certain parts; however, owing to the lesser influx of tourists during this time, you will be able to find numerous profitable bargains, and good deals on air tickets and accommodations.
During winter, especially from December to April, Greece's tourist infrastructure tends to go into hibernation, with many cafés and restaurants closing down, and the public transport services reducing to a great extent. It is vital to consider this while planning your trip, as you surely don't want to end up frustrated without any facilities in Greece.
Compare Airfares Online
This is one of the most important steps in planning a budget vacation to Greece. It is extremely vital to ensure that you get the cheapest deal on your ticket. While you can book directly from the airline, it is a good idea to browse through reputed travel websites. This can help you save a hefty sum of money.
Do not get overwhelmed if you happen to find an unexpectedly low price quoted on some website. Always, check for the conditions that may apply with respect to taxes, surcharges, etc., which might not be included in the quoted fare.
Opt for Budget Accommodation
Mainland Greece and its islands offer a great variety of affordable accommodation choices that range from budget and mid-range hotels to hostels to B&Bs, and guest houses.
In short, there are ample accommodation options for budget travelers. These budget accommodation facilities may not offer you many services; however, they can save you a lot of money. Moreover, you will be able to find further inexpensive accommodation options if you opt to stay on the outskirts of major tourist centers.
Many a time, you'll find that major tourist hubs on mainland Greece, such as Athens, are cheaper than some expensive islands such as Mykonos. It is best avoiding such pricey destinations, which are, often promoted as upscale tourist spots and so, hardly possess any budget options. After all, Greece has countless other things to see and do in limited bucks!
Get Off the Beaten Path
Most Greek itineraries revolve around the country's major tourist centers and popular destinations. It is but obvious that the more popular the place, the pricier it is going to be. To save money and also to add an element of thrill to your holiday, get off the beaten path, and try to explore the less-trodden parts of Greece.
As exciting as that may sound, we tell you that such locations are often the lesser-known ones, and have very few tourists and limited tourist infrastructure. Owing to this, many of them are really inexpensive, and you can actually save decent amount of money. Plus, you will have a story of a different Greece to tell back home.
But planning such an itinerary on your own may be very challenging. Consult a reputed tour operator to help you plan such an itinerary (and bookings) so that you can rest assured of the success of your trip.
Opt for a Suitable Mode of Transport
Greece has a comprehensive public transport system, that connects you with the tiniest of villages. These include buses, trams, boats, and trains, all of which are pretty affordable, especially if booked in advance. Greece also has an extensive domestic air network; however, the tickets are often pricey, so opt for it only if you are in an extreme hurry.
The best mode of transport in Greece for those wanting to go off the beaten track are private cars and bikes. While these can be hired at the last minute, it is advisable to book them in advance to get the best possible bargain. Moreover, most of the Greek countryside can be best explored by foot, which is obviously, free-of-cost.
Owing to the fact that Greece has a lot of islands, there are a lot of ferries that operate from the mainland as well as inter-island. They can be a bit expensive; however, if you opt for an overnight ferry, you can save a lot of bucks. Moreover, if you book these ferries about two months in advance, you may end up saving even more.
Abstain from Eating at Upmarket Places
Greek cuisine holds a special place in the world's culinary culture, and trying out authentic Greek food is something that you cannot return without. While high-end restaurants offer excellent food, they cater to international standards and are rather pricey.
Avoid Visiting Paid Attractions
Greek is home to a great number of tourist attractions, and it goes without saying that many of them charge an admission fee. The good news, however, for budget travelers is that there are also numerous attractions and spots that can be enjoyed for free.
While attractions like the Acropolis and Agora of Athens require expensive tickets, there are days when you can visit them for free. A list of days when admission to these attractions is free is given next. There are heavy crowds on these days; however, the fact that you're seeing these attractions for free comes as a great relief.
Days of free entry to Agora of Athens and Acropolis:
- Sundays from November 1 – March 31
- The 1st Sunday of every month, excluding July, August and September (in case 1st Sunday is a holiday, 2nd Sunday is assigned, etc.)
- Official National holidays
- March 6th
- April 18th
- May 18th
- June 5th
- The last weekend of September every year