Traveling to Greece should be a marvelous adventure. That’s why it’s important that you prepare for it right and plan your trip thoroughly.
Knowing little important details, like how to best take money to Greece or how to best talk to the locals will help you prevent many possible problems and make your trip more enjoyable.
5 Basic Tips for Traveling to Greece
Talk to the locals, but be careful about following their directions
One of the first things you’ll learn about Greeks is that they are extraordinarily friendly and boisterous people. This is the country where talking to strangers is not only expected but also encouraged.
Therefore, don’t be shy and start conversations with vendors and other people you come across.
Remember, it’s socially acceptable to talk about personal opinions and beliefs on any subject. Also, feel free to express your own and start a loud but friendly discussion that will attract the passerby.
You are sure to make lots of new friends when traveling to Greece. This approach can also result in some pleasant surprises like free samples or discounts from market vendors.
Be sure to haggle while you are here.
However, one thing you should never ask the Greeks about is directions. The risk of getting an answer that will make you even more lost is very high, so use Google Maps or buy a map of the city you are visiting.
You should also be careful when establishing new contacts in Athens. After the economic crises. Which hit the country hard, the crime rate there has been climbing. The city is considered to be a low-threat and generally safe place today (OSAC), but it’s best to be on your guard.
Be prepared to pay in cash
The currency you’ll need in Greece is the Euro, so it’s rather easy to obtain. You can take your money in cash, use a prepaid travel card, or use one of the transfer companies that offer sending money to Greece.
Your regular credit or debit cards should work as well, but banks charge large fees for using those abroad.
Note that no matter which method you choose, you need to be prepared to pay in cash in the majority of shops.
If you stay in big cities or places that are most popular with tourists, you should be able to pay with your card.
However, even there smaller vendors might only accept cash. Not all islands and rural towns and villages have ATMs, so be prepared.
You also should carry cash in small denominations, as many vendors will claim they have no change.
If disabled, book well ahead
Despite being one of the more popular tourist destinations in the world, the majority of places in Greece aren’t adapted for people with disabilities.
Therefore, anyone with special needs will have to do a lot of research to create an appropriate itinerary.
You will also need to book everything a few months ahead as rooms adapted for people with special needs are in high demand.
You will also have to avoid hilly and remote islands as they have no facilities for the disabled.
Make your peace with cigarette smoke (or avoid crowded places)
Technically, smoking indoors is banned in Greece. However, many vendors, especially in rural areas, are slow to catch up with this rule. And you shouldn’t forget that smoking outdoors is allowed.
Therefore, if you aren’t comfortable with cigarette smoke, you’ll need to avoid crowded places by default.
The issue for non-smokers coming to Greece is that nearly half of the local population smoke cigarettes.
The cigarette consumption on this country is the highest in the EU, so walking down the busy streets and hanging out in crowded plazas will have you inhale some smoke no matter how hard you try to avoid it.
Be careful when driving
The boisterous nature of the Greeks is reflected in their driving.
The majority of drivers you’ll meet are rather reckless, so you need to be on guard while on the road.
Beware of motorcycles zig-zagging and appearing out of nowhere.
The good news is that some of the Greek islands have no cars at all, so you can avoid the fumes and enjoy calm bike and donkey rides there.
We have tons of posts and experiences for Greece. Make sure to check this section.