Travel Destinations / Greece
As one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, Greece and all of its islands are the perfect destination for those after sun, sea and relaxation. That doesn’t mean Greece is a one-trick pony though, as it’s a country steeped in historical significance. Greece provides a fantastic balance between a modern amenities and old world charm.
Greece is a complete sensory experience, from its delectable cuisine, to its local pride and hospitality; it really is an all-in-one holiday destination. Visitors will be able to experience crusader castles, Roman and Hellenistic ruins, as well as some of the most gorgeous countryside, not to mention what the Mediterranean is most famous for, the beaches!
Greece can boast the longest coastline of any European country, and that coastline is lined with more than 2000 islands! Some of the most notable ones include Mykonos, San Torini, Rhodes, Skiathos and Patmos. Make the most of the islands around the mainland as they offer incredible insight and understanding into Greek culture, not to mention the nightlife that some of them offer to those who are interested.
A Greek holiday is less of a holiday, and more of journey. There is so much to see and do, both in- and outdoors that spending your time wisely while there is paramount.
The majority of the Greek population is incredibly friendly, almost to a point where it could be perceived as being intrusive. Don’t take offense, or be shocked if you’re asked personal questions upon arrival, regardless of how long you’ve known your hosts. It’s also important to remember that you will more than likely be invited to at least one Greek home during your stay, if you’re socializing with the locals. And this is where cultural differences become more apparent. If you are invited to someone’s home for a meal or event, you should be aware that you’re not expect to be punctual, at all. Arriving 30 minutes late is normal, and try to bring a small gift with you, such a flowers, or a cake from a local bakery. It’s also important to be aware that if you’re invited to dinner, you can offer to pay, although it’s unlikely that the locals will allow you to. Don’t make a fuss about paying as it could be considered rude by some.
Shopping in Greece is phenomenal, and because of the fixed prices you’ll see in most establishments, you can leave your bargaining skills at home for you holiday to Greece. The only time when you could haggle a little is if you’re there during the off-season, then you can try to negotiate a better rate for your rooms. Best way to do this would be to ask for a cheaper room, as opposed to demand a lower price for the room of your choice.
There are numerous markets, shopping centres and curio merchants throughout the country and across all of its islands, so remember to bring some savings as you are sure to be tempted by some incredible goods and mementos.
Greece has adopted the Euro as its currency. There are eight different Euro coins, and six notes. The coins are available in denominations of one and two euros, then 50, 20, 10, five, two and one cents. Notes you will use are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100 and €200.
ATMs are easy to find and most towns big enough to have a bank branch will have an ATM. Tourist areas are well catered for and Visa/MasterCard availability is as readily available as you’d expect from one of the world’s premier holiday destinations. Cirrus and Maestro users will also be able to find ATMs for withdrawals in all major towns and tourist areas.
The same goes for automatic foreign exchange machines that you will find in most major tourist areas. These machines accept most major European currencies, Australian and USA dollars, as well as Japanese yen. These do charge a significant commission, so we’d recommend only using them when you have absolutely no other options.
Cash is still the most convenient way to pay for things in Greece, but don’t carry your entire holiday budget in cash, because if lost, it can’t be replaced. Credit cards are also accepted in all major hotels, and tourist attractions.
PRIOR TO ARRIVAL
Prevention is always better than finding a cure, so planning ahead for any trip abroad is critical. Fill all of your prescriptions in clearly market bottles to avoid any confusion with customs. You will also need a signed and dated letter from your physician stating your condition and medication that you require to travel with. There are no required vaccinations required prior to arrival in Greece, however, you will need a yellow-fever certificate if you’ve visited an infected area recently. The World Health Organisation recommends that all individuals travelling should be protected against diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio.
Should you require a doctor while on holiday in Greece, call 166. This number will put you through to your nearest practitioner. Even the small islands have at least one doctor on them, but if you’re worried about availability, call ahead and find out where the nearest doctor is before you even arrive.
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There are a number of climatic regions in Greece, with Northern Macedonia and northern Epiros having similar climates to the Balkans, so freezing winters and very hot and humid summers. The Attica Peninsula, the Cyclades, Crete and the Dodecanes, as well as the central and eastern Peloponnese all have a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers, balanced by milder winters.
The rainy season starts in October for most regions, and the weather tends to stay wet and cold until February. That said, not every day during the Greek winter is doom and gloom, there are numerous days with blue skies and sunshine.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Spring and autumn are without a doubt the best times to visit Greece. May, June, September and October in particular are incredible. The biggest appeal of travelling to Greece during the “quiet” season is that the beaches aren’t crowded, rates aren’t inflated, but the surroundings and things to see and do remain. Time you trip to Greece well and you are sure to have one of the best holidays of your life, whether on the mainland or on one of the islands.