The beauty of Greece is legendary and spectacularly diverse with its stunning islands. Beyond its beautiful beaches, Greece boasts of mighty mountains and caves, salt marshes and cloud forests.
A country with many amazing sights, long beaches and picturesque views, Greece remains a destination of all time because of its warm weather. Its weather ranges from scorching summers to snowy winters and without doubt, just few countries have such varied landscapes and seasonal extremes. In addition, there is its ancient history, glorious food, and warm Hellenic welcome.
Visiting Greece for the first time is exciting and always feels like an adventure, and it can be a smooth one with these useful tips.
- Plan Ahead of Time
Greece is a country with so much to offer and unfortunately, Greece is not well-prepared and organized especially for people with disabilities, therefore, it is important to plan ahead of time to ensure a smooth trip.
You can start by creating a list of activities, this will help you stay on track and not overspend during your stay.
An important tip is to note the details of the rides from the airport to the island of stay because catching rides on ferries is sometimes a struggle.
If you are a person with special needs or are traveling with someone who is, ensure you book a room or cabin for the disabled in hotels and ferries early, in addition, try to stick to ‘flat’ islands as access to many facilities are not made for the disabled.
- Take Note of Dress Codes
This is another useful tip for visiting Greece because orthodoxy is predominant in Greece, thus, women dress conservatively even to this modern day.
Although in most cities, any fashion sense is accepted, but in most cases, tourists might need to follow some dress codes, especially when attending the church or sacred monuments such as St. Peter Basilica of Vatican City, St. Alexander Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria, Meteora, Greece
Nudity is not permitted except in designated beaches, and it is not advisable to visit churches or monasteries in skimpy shorts or tops. Since some areas require arm and leg covers before entering, they offer garments for covering.
- Bring Enough Cash
Unlike some countries, Greece is big on cash more than credit cards, as many shops and establishments still prefer to accept cash than any other payment method, so make sure to have enough money with you. If not, you can find ATMs, especially in the center of big cities and if you can’t find any cause ATMs are limited as well, do not despair though, as credit cards are accepted in the majority of big stores (shopping stores, large supermarkets, malls, restaurants in busy locations).
However, it is extremely important to always to have cash with you; just in case and when in doubt, always ask before getting to the register.
- Be Cautious When Driving
Greeks are known for aggressive driving especially in big cities like Athens, so if you are planning on renting a car, always be careful and if you can’t deal with the reckless driving, you can always opt for a taxi. While driving in Greece, you should know that motorcycles won’t stay behind you when driving and they will try to zigzag a lot, while other drivers may overtake you on the left or the right.
Additionally, the terrains in Greece are rough which can be tiring for first-time drivers in the country. Therefore, be vigilant and try to refrain from driving in the Greek capital, but on the islands and elsewhere, you should be fine.
- Dine like a Local
Eating out in Greece is a delectably casual affair and instead of sticking to three square meals a day, the Greeks eat more often and provide travelers and tourists the opportunity to try out the country’s many culinary delights.
However, it is better to look out for restaurants that locals dine in, because not only will the food be much better, but it will be better for your pocket too.
- Be Sensitive
While visiting Greece, It might be useful for you to be sensitive to certain gestures that could cause offence, or misunderstanding.
For example, hand gestures, don’t hold your hand up, palm out, to anybody, and don’t make an OK sign by forming a circle with your thumb and forefinger as these gestures are extremely rude in Greece.
In addition, nodding and shaking your head for “yes” and “no” are also likely to be misinterpreted because a slight forward inclination of the head is used for yes, and a more vigorous backward nod for no.
- Socialize with the Locals
Greeks are mostly extroverts and love exchanging views and opinions with anyone and everyone especially tourists, so don’t shy away or hold back on asking people about their beliefs and opinions, or expressing your own. Even when you travel with children, you’ll experience how much they love and adore children.
- Tipping Culture
Although common in some countries, the tipping is not necessary in Greece. Although some services expect tourists to tip like taxi drivers and other dining establishments, however, generally, most Greeks are not comfortable with tipping as they are satisfied with comfortable with praise for service well rendered. However, if tourists insist on tips, it is better to round up the bill for restaurants or practice the “keep the change” culture.
- Share the Wealth
In Greece, resort packages especially all inclusive ones can be very cheap, it would be nice if you decide to give a little back and stay in independent accommodation – a local guest house, or locally owned villa. Not only are there great deals to be had, but you’re also more likely to have a more authentic experience.
Greece is a beautiful country with long beaches, mountains, lakes, verdant valleys, and cities; therefore, there are many things to do in Greece.
One of the things you should do while visiting Greece is watching the sunset in Santorini overlooking the craters. This sight is popularly witnessed by many tourists because it is just romantic and every bit of the golden hour is worth the sight and experience.
In addition, do not miss the most popular site of Shipwreck Bay in Zakynthos, which was featured in the popular Korean Drama, Descendants of the Sun. Other diverse activities to try include visiting monasteries and cliff jumping.